If we’d been told around this time two years ago that Disney had bought Star Wars and intended to add a new trilogy to the franchise, we would have dismissed it as a weak and unconvincing April Fool’s joke. The project is very real, however, and after well over a year in development, Star Wars: Episode VII will begin filming in just a few short weeks.

Director J.J. Abrams has expressed unhappiness at the prospect of being forced to move to the UK for the duration of production, saying that the studio decision to continue the Star Wars tradition of shooting in London studiosreally does make me insane.” Not everything can be filmed inside the confines of a studio, however, and the latest news regarding Star Wars‘ locations reveals that production will kick off a lot further afield.

Badass Digest reports several sources citing May 14th as the official start date for filming on Star Wars: Episode VII (which correlates with what we’ve heard before), and that production will begin with two weeks on location in Morocco, plus a possible trip to Tunisia as well. The latter was the original setting used to double for Tatooine, home planet of the Skywalkers, and some of the sets that were built still remain as weathered monuments to the making of the films.

Much of what we have heard about the plot of Star Wars: Episode VII remains unconfirmed speculation, and with so many rumors flying around, it’s hard to tell which ones might be closest to the truth. However, it seems very likely that Disney’s new trilogy will include another member of the Skywalker family or, at the very least, another hero with humble origins.

As origins go, Tatooine certainly is humble, but there’s no telling what might have changed in the 30 years since the end of Return of the Jedi. Badass Digest suggests that Abrams could  potentially use some of the remaining dilapidated sets as a tribute to the original trilogy as well as an easy way of creating a Tatooine that looks like it’s been through some wear and tear, though there’s no indication that this is actually the plan.

Even with the start of filming just six weeks away, it remains a mystery exactly which actors will be heading out to Morocco or assembling at Pinewood studios. After extensive searches – including an open casting – there is now a shortlist of actors who could potentially play the male lead, and Adam Driver (Girls) is reportedly set to play the new villain.

Dozens more actors – including Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Saoirse Ronan – have been rumored for roles, but Disney has mostly opted for silence on the matter of casting and, well, just about everything else. It looks like the producers ultimately decided to favor secrecy over spoilers.

Star Wars: Episode VII will arrive in theaters on December 18, 2015.

Source: Badass Digest