Star Wars: Episode VII to recreate Tatooine in Abu Dhabi

Star Wars Pinball Episode IV 1

Star Wars: Episode VII will recreate the desert planet of Tatooine among the sand dunes of Abu Dhabi, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

An unconfirmed report suggests JJ Abrams and his team will shoot for four weeks around the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Tunisia, which doubled as Tatooine for the original Star Wars trilogy, is considered too politically unstable for a major Hollywood production to film there this time around.

Episode VII will centre on the key trio of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo, played by original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. Solo's perennial sidekick, Chewbacca, is heavily tipped to return with original actor, Peter Mayhew, in the furry wookie suit, and Disney has confirmed the new film will feature the diminutive droid R2-D2.

Studio Disney is planning a new trilogy of films after purchasing all rights to the space saga in October 2012 for $4.05bn. Later movies in the series will move the focus to younger characters, while there are also proposals for spin-off "origins" films featuring characters such as Yoda, Boba Fett and Solo.

Episode VII will shoot mostly at London's Pinewood Studios for a Christmas 2015 release date. Alan Horn, the Disney chairman, said last week that filming had already begun on the new movie.

In other Star Wars news, Obi-Wan Kenobi has been named the saga's greatest character in an official vote. The Jedi Knight beat off competition from Han Solo, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker in the poll, conducted for the This Is Madness fan event.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Ben Child, for theguardian.com on Friday 11th April 2014 11.30 Europe/London

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