Director J.J. Abrams was on course to finish principle photography on Star Wars: Episode VII by the beginning of this month, as Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy revealed a few weeks ago. Sure enough, the filmmaker's revival of George Lucas' space opera/epic franchise has now completed production, with more than a year left before it arrives in theaters.
The film's cast and crew spruced themselves up for the wrap party over the weekend, with everyone from the franchise veterans appearing in Episode VII - Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford - to series newcomers Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Avengers: Age of Ultron costar Andy Serkis in attendance. However, there was one unexpected guest at the event: Abrams' past collaborator and friend, Simon Pegg.
Pegg has long been rumored to have a role in Episode VII despite his claims and suggestion to the contrary. Then again, the fan-favorite actor/screenwriter also flat-out lied about the identity of the villain in Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness, so by now everyone ought to know to take what Pegg (or anyone associated with a big Hollywood tentpole) says about his movie roles.
Of course, for now we also have to consider the possibility that Pegg was at the Star Wars event just for the fun of it, given that he is a pal of Abrams' and whatnot. Either way, Coming Soon has a photo that shows Pegg was, in fact, at the Episode VII wrap party at London's Science Museum over this past weekend.
If Pegg - whose credentials already included recurring roles in the Star Trek and Mission: Impossible movie franchises - does indeed play a role in Episode VII, then presumably it's more than just a blink-and-you'll-miss cameo (seeing how he showed up at the wrap party). Nothing official has been revealed about the plot and characters of Episode VII yet (the same goes for conceptual designs), so your guess about who Pegg could be playing would be as good as ours, right now.
Moving on, below you can have a look at the thank-you card that Abrams and Kennedy, along with Episode VII producer Bryan Burke, sent out to the cast and crew of the next Star Wars live-action film installment, to mark the conclusion of production (via James Rose).
Episode VII is one of a handful of blockbuster franchise "revivals" that will be opening in theaters in 2015, alongside films like Jurassic World and Terminator: Genisys. Abrams' Star Wars movie, which he co-wrote with Lawrence Kasdan (Empire Strikes Back) based on an earlier script draft by Michael Arndt (Catching Fire), has the most of that lot riding on it, since it needs to kickoff not just a trilogy, but also future spinoff films set in the Star Wars universe.
The caliber of talent associated with Episode VII (onscreen and behind the camera) speaks for itself, as does the quality of filmmakers working on other Star Wars projects (see: Looper director Rian Johnson and Episode VIII). Meanwhile, the Disney XD cartoon TV show Star Wars Rebels is already reminding fans why they loved the Star Wars saga in the first place.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens in theaters on December 18th, 2015.