With early details of the shoot first revealed one month ago today, The National today delivers an update that J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII will begin the Abu Dhabi desert-based portion of its production this Tuesday, May 13.
Although far from confirmed, Abu Dhabi is expected to double for the desert world of Tatooine (featured in five of the six Star Wars films so far). According to the news outlet, a full-scale city has been constructed in the desert with a marketplace, a tower, an alien house, a large spacecraft and roughly a dozen landspeeder-like vehicles. There's also rumored to be a massive setpiece involving a crater (formed with explosives) that is said to look like a crash site. The remote location is secure and distant enough from the city, however, that fans shouldn't expect unofficial photographs from set anytime soon.
Set to star John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow in addition to original cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker, Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by Abrams from a script he co-wrote with Lawrence Kasdan. It will open in wide release on December 18, 2015.