Disney and Lucasfilm announced on March 18 that principal photography on Star Wars: Episode VII, directed by J.J. Abrams, will start in 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. Star Wars: Episode VII will release in theaters on December 18, 2015.
The big three from the original Star Wars films will be a part of Star Wars: Episode VII.
Carrie Fisher confirmed in January that she would be a part of the film, as will Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill.
Fisher confirmed the information during an interview with TV Guide about upcoming appearances on TV shows Big Bang Theory and Legit.
Star Wars Also Appears Headed To New Mexico
A film casting website posted in early December that "Star Wars: Episode VII" will film in New Mexico, as previously speculated by several websites.
At the time of the casting post in December, Feature Film Casting's website stated that casting calls would take place in primary shooting locations of London and Los Angeles along with New Mexico.
Extras will be cast for London and New Mexico throughout production in those locations.
The dates for the New Mexico casting have not been announced.
Casting calls for major characters "Rachel" and "Thomas" in the Star Wars film were held in Austin and Nashville in November and also in London. Read more about these two characters at the bottom of this article.
White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, with its beautiful dunes and gorgeous skies, could no doubt double for Luke Skywalker's home world of Tatooine.
But Arlan Ponder, director of media relations at Holloman Air Force Base which oversees the missile range, said in December all is quiet on the Star Wars front with them, reiterating what he'd told ABC-7 in September.
"I have received no word on any scouting visits to Holloman," Ponder said in an email to ABC-7 in September. "Holloman has been a part of a number of major motion picture projects to include: Transformers, Transformers Revenge of the Fallen and Star Trek Into Darkness. We have also been scouted to play a part in several other motion picture projects such as Book of Eli, Man of Steel, Lone Survivor, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and several others, however, for various reasons we were not chosen as filming locations. White Sands Missile Range was also the filming location for portions of the pilot for SGU Stargate Universe."
Ponder said, "When we did Transformers and SGU, the companies chose to shoot at White Sands Missile Range. They specifically wanted the white sands and the dunes. Therefore, they had to have access to that portion of WSMR. The fastest, and easiest, way to get there was through Holloman. We handled all the logistics with getting the equipment, personnel and production team on base. This included weapons, ammunition (even though they were shooting blanks), explosives, aircraft, vehicles, catering, etc."
The New Mexico Film Office has told ABC-7 they don't comment on filming rumors until a news release is sent out confirming any filming deals.
Star Wars: Episode VII Characters Rachel and Thomas
Rachel: Was quite young when she lost her parents. With no other family, she was forced to make her way alone in a tough, dangerous town. Now 17 she has become street smart and strong. She is able to take care of herself using humor and guts to get by.
Always a survivor, never a victim, she remains hopeful that she can move away from this harsh existence to a better life. She is always thinking of what she can do to move ahead.
Thomas: Has grown up without a father's influence. Without the model of being a man, he doesn't have the strongest sense of himself. Despite this, he is smart, capable and shows courage when it is needed. He can appreciate the absurdities in life and understands you can't take life too seriously.
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.