Disney CEO Bob Iger got on the phone earlier today with investors to give updates on Disney’s upcoming sequels. He spoke about The Incredibles 2, Cars 3 and, most importantly, Star Wars: Episode VII.
While no cast names have yet been announced, surprisingly Iger confirmed that the JJ Abrams directed film would begin shooting in the UK in May, just over a month away, and as we STILL await confirmation of who will be cast, Iger did promise some very familiar faces, along with a trio of new faces. Naturally, the familiar faces are expected to be Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo respectively.
While the returning cast names are yet to be confirmed, it has been said that original screenwriter for Episode VII, Michael Arndt, was not as keen as Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan to stretch the returning cast members story to an entire film. Abrams and Kasdan then took over writing duties with the plan to pass the baton on to a new trio in Episode VIII.
According to Iger, the new film will take place thirty years after Return of the Jedi, which would be perfect for Hamill, Fisher and Ford to return.
No other details were revealed, but the official word can be found in the following press release, which also documents the start day of filming for all the previous Star Wars movies.
The Press Release:
Disney and Lucasfilm are excited to announce that principal photography on Star Wars: Episode VII, directed by J.J. Abrams, will commence May 2014, and will be based at London’s historic Pinewood Studios.
This will be the first Star Wars film to start shooting in the month of May. Lucasfilm has documented the first day of principal photography for every installment of the Star Wars saga:
- March 22, 1976 – The first day of principal photography in Tozeur, Tunisia, for Star Wars. A crew of 130 ventures into the desert in 42 trucks and cars, including eight army trucks full of equipment. The first shot was completed at 9:35 a.m.
- March 5, 1979 – The first day of principal photography in Finse, Norway, for The Empire Strikes Back. The crew endures the subzero temperatures, frostbite, heavy winds, and avalanches to pull off the first shot within 65 minutes of setup.
- January 11, 1982 – The first day of principal photography at EMI Elstree Studios outside of London for Return of the Jedi. Although inside a studio, the set must weather a sandstorm in a scene that would ultimately be cut from the film.
- June 26, 1997 – The first day of principal photography at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, England, for The Phantom Menace. Ending a long absence from the director’s chair, George Lucas shoots a sequence in a bluescreen-lined set with actors Ian McDiarmid and Ray Park.
- June 26, 2000 – The first day of principal photography for Attack of the Clones at Fox Studios Australia. In their new home Down Under, the production crew once again photographs actor Ian McDiarmid three years to the day after Episode I started shooting.
- June 30, 2003 – The first day of principal photography for Revenge of the Sith at Fox Studios Australia. The first scenes shot feature Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor as Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, respectively, along with R2-D2.
It has also been confirmed that Star Wars: Episode VII is set about 30 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, and will star a trio of new young leads along with some very familiar faces. No further details on casting or plot are available at this time.
Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by J. J. Abrams (Super 8, Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek)and is being scripted by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi). Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Jack Ryan, Star Trek Into Darkness) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds) serving as executive producers. John Williams is returning to score Star Wars: Episode VII.
Star Wars: Episode VII will release in theaters on December 18, 2015.