New 'Star Wars' starts filming, shrouded in mystery

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 17 2014 09:54 AM | Updated as of May 17 2014 05:54 PM

LONDON - The new "Star Wars: Episode VII" movie has had its first day of filming, its director's company said Friday while giving a tantalising hint of a return to the roots of the legendary series.

The Twitter account of Bad Robot, the company of director J.J. Abrams, posted a picture of a clapperboard for the eagerly-awaited latest instalment in the saga with the simple hashtag: "#dayone".

A light dusting of sand on the board appeared to show some link to the early scenes of the original "Star Wars" releeased in 1977, in which the hero Luke Skywalker is living on the desert planet of Tatooine.

Production sources said that some early filming would take place in Abu Dhabi, but it was not immediately clear if the first day of shooting had taken place there or at London's Pinewood Studios.

Reports in local media in Abu Dhabi have suggested that some sets have also been constructed in the Arabian desert.

The only other information on the clapperboard is the mention of Abrams as director and of Dan Mindel, whose name is partially obscured, as cameraman.

The new "Star Wars" movie is due for worldwide release on December 18, 2015.

The cast of "Episode VII" was announced at the end of April, with key original "Star Wars" cast members set to make a return alongside some newcomers.

Abrams said at the time that shooting was due to start "in a couple of weeks", adding that it was "both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again."

Harrison Ford, 71, is back as smuggler Han Solo, 62-year-old Mark Hamill will return as Jedi Knight Luke and Carrie Fisher, 57, reprises the role of Princess Leia.

Disney, the new owner of pioneering director George Lucas' record-breaking franchise, recruited blockbuster director Abrams in a bid to re-create the magic from the original trilogy, "Star Wars", "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi".

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse