(This is Mos Eisley from the movies, not a set photo)
In April, The National made news with the first set photos from the Abu Dhabi set of Star Wars: Episode 7. Fans quickly dissected the few visible details, and discovered what they believed to be a giant, practically-built foot of an AT-AT. Its been quiet for the last month with few details leaking from the set, but The National is back with a new report that gives the first details on the Star Wars 7 Abu Dhabi set.
Note: possible early spoilers follow.
It appears that JJ Abrams and Disney ordered extra security after those first photos went around the world, originally sparked by a Star Wars crew member bragging via the social discovery app Tinder. Apparently, Abu Dhabi police and military are checking all vehicles in the area, and preventing those on the crew from getting anywhere near the sets.
While the Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn quickly wrote off the reports by saying “We did some second-unit work in Abu Dhabi”, it seems like the shoot in Abu Dhabi is more extensive than that. According to one crew member, the main unit shoot will begin on Tuesday May 13th, and is expected to last almost three weeks, until at least the end of May. (Sandstorms could delay shooting.)
But here come the juicy details, in the form of a brief description of the Star Wars Episode 7 film set in Abu Dhabi:
A “whole world” having been built on an otherworldly salt lake at one location, a “shuttle-like” spacecraft, a large tower, a “big, centuries-old-looking market”, something the crew are reportedly referring to as the “alien house” and 10 to 15 “really fast buggies” powered by jet engines (landspeeders of Tatooine fame from the previous films, perhaps?)
They also learned that a blast crater has been created with explosives. Some unnamed cast members were spotted out in the high sand dunes practicing driving the vehicles they’ll likely be using during the filming. Head on over to The National to read more details. One thing is clear, JJ’s stormtroopers may have put a stop to the photographers, but he has yet to get the crewmembers on the film to stop talking. (Another report says “The crew had several large white bags of rusted and bent metal parts, which are to be strewn in the desert, possibly to show a spacecraft crash or perhaps a post-apocalyptic civilization.”)
The initial reports were that Abu Dhabi was being used for Tatooine, the desert planet which was the home of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. But these early reports could have been just speculation based on the desert location of the film shoot.
A map of Mos Eisley from Wookiepedia.
Star Wars fans have already begun coming up with theories. One of the stronger theories involves Han and Leia’s daughter traveling to Tatooine to find her uncle Luke Skywalker, who has been living in exile. An unexpected Imperial attack happens resulting in a landspeeder chase though the Mos Eisley market place. Of course, it is extremely unlikely this guess will come anywhere close to what is actually shot at the location — but its fun to speculate.