‘Star Wars: Episode 7′ Filming Underway; Casting Almost Complete

Published 1 year ago by

The J.J. Abrams “mystery box” approach to publicity has provoked a swirl of rumors around his next project, Star Wars: Episode VII. The more reports about the film surface, the less we seem to know for sure, but here are the basic facts so far: Abrams is directing a script by he and The Empire Strikes Back co-writer Lawrence Kasdan (from an earlier draft by Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt) and the original cast is returning for a story set 30 years after Return of the Jedi.

In order to deliver the film on time for its December 2015 release date, Abrams and company are thought to begin shooting in London in just a few weeks, with early reports on the shooting locations suggesting that a return to Tatooine is in the cards. A dizzying array of names are said to be approached for roles, from Gary Oldman and Benedict Cumberbatch to Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction), with Adam Driver (supposedly) as the main villain.

While we haven’t been exactly sure how far along the production is, now we have details straight from Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn, who recently attended a Q&A with THR‘s Stephen Galloway at Loyola Marymount University. According to Horn, not only is the cast essentially locked down, the film has already begun shooting.

Watch the video above for Horn’s full remarks.

When asked about the toughest part of the development of Star Wars 7, Horn said simply: “Casting.” Though Horn would not disclose any details of just who has been cast, he confirmed that they’re almost done with the process, saying:

“We have a lot of them. We’re just not completely done yet.”

star wars episode 7 image Star Wars: Episode 7 Filming Underway; Casting Almost Complete

Filming was thought to officially begin in six weeks, but according to Horn, “We’re actually shooting some of it now.” The Disney chief did not reveal what’s being shot or where… but most likely in the UK.

Horn also touched on the film’s script and story, possibly the aspect of the film which induces the most anxiety in longtime fans. The prequel films were roundly derided for their simplistic screenplays, all of which were written or co-written by George Lucas. Horn acknowledged that this time around:

“It’s all about the screenplay. It has to be screenplay, screenplay, screenplay.”

Asked if the script was now complete, Horn replied: “It actually is now.” Horn also confirmed – seemingly once and for all, if the issue remained in doubt – that Episode VII will be a real-time continuation of Return of the Jedi. According to Horn, the new film takes place:

“[...] where 6 left off — and where 6 left off is 35 years ago by the time this is released.”

So the film is shooting, the script is done, the casting is nearly complete… still, Horn’s comments are remarkable for how much he doesn’t reveal. At this point, we’re about 20 months from the movie’s release, but hardcore fans have no inkling about the film’s actual story or whether or not aspects of the Star Wars Extended Universe will be included (and if so, which ones and to what extent).

Darth Vader in The Force Unleashed 1024x576 Star Wars: Episode 7 Filming Underway; Casting Almost Complete
Also, Horn confirmed that Episodes VII, VIII and IX are not shooting back to back – this opens up the possibility that we’ll have a timeline for those standalone films (supposedly featuring Han Solo and Boba Fett) before too long.

Now that the filming is underway, we can probably also expect some unofficial development and set pictures to make their way online eventually. Abrams will keep the cloak of secrecy firmly in place for as long as possible, but fans will need something concrete, and sooner rather than later. Stay tuned for more news, as always.


Star Wars: Episode VII will be released in theater on December 18, 2015.

Source: THR

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
TAGS: Star wars
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  1. I really hope that the screenplay is good.

    • You might say you have, A New Hope.

  2. I haven’t minded the secrecy. Something will come soon now.

  3. I don’t see the big complaint about secrecy. It’s not like the knowledge is pivotal and must be announced to the world ASAP.

  4. I prefer secrecy. I want something to talk about, but I want absolute minimal spoilers.

    • That’s the only way to go with anything, whether it’s a movie or a TV show.

    • As Kofi said ‘avoid internet altogether’ if you don’t want any spoliers ;)

      • I’m aware. I’ve been successfully navigating spoilers on the internet since before that article was written. I’m not talking about spoiling myself, I’m referring to the way I would prefer information about the movie is released from a PR perspective.

        People are starting to throw that article around as if the internet (and this site) is only a place for those that want to be spoiled. The thesis was that if you want to guarantee you don’t get spoiled, you should stay off the internet. That doesn’t mean that everyone but those that don’t care about spoilers should never be online.

  5. Old news SR. You need to be a little faster.

  6. Suppose I could just pop over to the studio and have a look…..

  7. Secrecy, Schmecrecy. I just want this movie to make me excited about the Star Wars universe again.

  8. I want to see a return of General Grievous, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and Boba Fett, hopefully clones as well as Yoda. Maybe a clone army.
    I would also like to see Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael B. Jordan, Jennifer Lawrence, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emma Watson casted.

    • Also throw in Harrison Ford, shortround, Michael Douglas, Chris Evans, RDJ, and Chris Hemsworth LOL

    • I don’t really see why there would be Emma Watson :/ But yes, Benedict, Michael B. Jordan, and everyone else would be great! :)

    • Muppet

  9. I know JJ is big on secrecy, but I have a feeling that they’ve been holding off announcing too much until after Cap 2 came out. Just from a marketing standpoint, it’s best to market Cap 2 right now to get maximum exposure. If you over saturate audiences with movies that you want them to go see, they’ll just tune out. Give Cap a week in theaters and I’m sure we’ll get something concrete and official.

  10. Anyone else notice that every article (not just on SR) about Episide VII is accompanied by a picture of Darth Vader? Vader will have been dead for 30 + years by the time EP VII takes place.

    • He became so iconic with time. He’s still very much the face of Star Wars. Like wolverine is the face of Fox now :)

  11. “It’s all about the screenplay. It has to be screenplay, screenplay, screenplay.”

    As Daniel Bryan would say “NO! NO! NO!”

    Actually this is the first time I’ve heard anything about people complaining about the
    “simplistic screenplays” I’ve heard plenty of foolish talk about the dialogue of course (which is unfounded as people don’t seem to understand Lucas with full intentions used old-time Hollywood and romantic era speech and dialogue patterns) I must have missed the “complex” screenplay ethic of the OT! LOL!

    The regular run of the mill pedestrian movies might be so dependent on the screenplay but Star Wars is not. Never has been. Doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Of course they are very important but it has to be put in it’s proper place in movies that are grand stories where visual and audio spectacle the likes of which were never seen before. The screenplay is not the story, the screenplay is not the characters, the screenplay is not the settings, the sound effects, the music not a hundred others thing. What it is is in part the organizer of those elements but only in part and in that aspects it’s really important for the actual live action shooting itself.

    Past that it doesn’t in post production dictate SFX, sound, music or any myriad of things including the editing which is even more important to the final film.

    • So, are you saying that the dialog in the prequels wasn’t a problem? It’s not about complexity — the original trilogy was (for the most part) a masterpiece of simplicity.

      It’s surprising to me that someone would get so upset about focusing on the screenplay, for film(s) in general, but specifically for Star Wars. I don’t know if there has been any other cinematic series in recent memory that has drawn more criticism for having bad screenplays than the Star Wars prequels. That’s why so many people (myself included) are concerned about having well-written films this time around.

      Also, with JJ Abrams, it’s a given that he is good with visuals and directing. But some of his films have had sketchy screenplays IMO, so for SWVII to the best it can be, I say that it is all about the screenplay. Isn’t that a good thought?

    • Brilliant! A lot of people don’t seem to understand why Lucas is considered to be a filmmaking visionary. Was it for his amazing screenplays? No. Heck, during the filming of American Graffiti, Lucas told Ron Howard that he wasn’t going to direct the movie until they were done filming. That’s because Lucas is a master of the post-production process: editing, sound, etc. Don’t get me wrong, you need a solid screenplay, but film is a visual medium. Episode VII isn’t just another silly EU book.

      • “Silly EU book”?

        He may not have been praised for his screenplays, but he was criticized for his bad screenplays.

  12. Oh for cryin out loud, We all know there will be lens flare.

  13. “The prequel films were roundly derided for their simplistic screenplays, all of which were written or co-written by George Lucas. ”

    I agree with the last part of that statement, yes, the screenplays were indeed written by Lucas, but as for being simplistic, I think just the opposite is true. What with all the Trade Federation nonsense, the Separatists, the Midi-frikin’-chlorians, and the mind-numbingly boring detour to Kamino, the prequels were doomed under the weight of their own fussiness.
    The original trilogy, in comparison, was simplicity at its finest. Empire bad, rebels good. Works for me.

    • Exactly — “simplicity at its best.” That’s what the original films (especially the first two) are, dialog and plot included.

      • And God forbid they try to do something original so all the movies, you know, aren’t the same thing over and over again?

  14. I would really like to see Darth Malgus from The Old Republic in a movie. That sith is too badass to not be casted in a Star Wars film!

  15. “Are you saying that the dialog in the prequels wasn’t a problem? It’s not about complexity — the original trilogy was (for the most part) a masterpiece of simplicity.”

    No it wasn’t. It’s a red herring that people who don’t like the films for whatever reason use. Just like complaining that HC was a bad actor because Anakin was so whiney in AOTC. Erm…he was supposed to be! That was the point he was venting his underlying frustrations in regards to the Jedi. He did it wonderfully people just don’t like that
    it was done at all.

    I am always amazed at people that go on about the dialogue but seem to have no problem with the OT dialogue which the cast famously also criticized. I absolutely guarantee that if the PT used the exact same lines as the OT right from the mighty ESB itself they would say it’s terrible because they want it to be. Is anyone really saying that if the PT movies were exactly the same save someone who they thought was a dialogue master went over it then the movies would then be great to their eyes?

    The reason the PT gets so much criticism from some quarters is that it wasn’t the story they wanted. Lucas did his story and not the nice safe and easy way but a difficult challenging way which reshaped the way the OT is seen to the core.

    The OT was able to be “simple” because Lucas did what he likes to do and skips over all sorts of details and story elements to the point of excess. When you really look at the OT the lack of explanation of that universe was so complete that the term Sith was never even used! Their are so many holes in the story that the PT simply HAD to address as many of them as it could. Certainly the major ones.

    Another reason for the PT “complexity” is that Lucas wanted to get in all sorts of things that were in his imagination that he couldn’t possibly do in the past beyond the basic sand planet, forest planet, ice planet etc. Simplicity was forced upon him by all the things that couldn’t be done.

    At the same time to pretend the PT was all that complex is untrue as well. The underlying overall story was complex but for the movies he had to give us a much simpler version of it all by doing what he does skimming past them and letting books and later The Clone Wars fill in a lot of material.

    The basic way it works is this: The PT fills in all kinds of backstory that the OT didn’t do and The Clone Wars fills in all kinds of backstory the PT couldn’t begin to do even if they had been 4 hours each.