Star Wars Episode VII will begin shooting under the direction of director J.J. Abrams this May in London, England at Pinewood Studios, it was revealed by Lucasfilm today at the official Star Wars website. Disney and Lucasfilm also offered up the first story and character tidbits for the new Star Wars sequel trilogy including the time elapsed since Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
The Episode 7 announcement comes timed with Disney’s annual shareholders meeting that took place earlier today in Portland, Oregon. Disney shareholders are looking forward to six or more Star Wars films coming in the next six years if the current plan to alternate between saga and spin-off features remains intact.
While an exact Star Wars Episode VII principal photography start date was not offered, the narrowing of the time frame down to May means that casting announcements are imminent. Adam Driver is reportedly in final discussions to play a villain in the film. Scores of other actors and actresses have tested for parts with agents regular feeding the rumor mill. Thus far Driver is the only name to surface with any indication that he’s been chosen for a role.
The announcement also states that Star Wars Episode VII takes place approximately 30 years after Return of the Jedi. The film will star a trio of new young leads, as well as feature familiar faces. R2-D2 is already confirmed to be in the film, and it is highly expected that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, at minimum, will also appear.
One of the more recent names thrown into the rumor hat is Academy Award-winner Lupita Nyong’o, who reportedly met with J.J. Abrams about a villain role in the film. Her attachment to the film is as up in the air as the other countless names tossed about.
Star Wars Episode VII has a release date of December 18, 2015. We should hear much more about the big sequel in the coming weeks as the cast is solidified.