"Star Wars: Episode VII" has begun filming. J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company tweeted the first official set photo for the forthcoming sequel to herald the news.
Work on "Episode VII" started in Abu Dhabi last month; it was reported earlier this week that "Episode VII" would begin proper production in the United Arab Emirates capital on May 13. The location, perhaps a stand in for Tatooine, Luke Skywalker's home planet in the original trilogy, might account for the smear of sand on the clapboard. According to tweets from filmmaker Joseph Kahn, the scene Abrams was about to film on day one was likely a visual effects shot.
Per many published reports, there is still one major female role -- perhaps the film's co-lead -- yet to be cast. Otherwise, Abrams' "Star Wars" call sheet is pretty much set: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will reprise their roles from the franchise's original trilogy, joining John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis and Max von Sydow in the cast. All of the plot details have been kept under wraps thus far.
"Star Wars: Episode VII" is due out in theaters on Dec. 18, 2015.