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'Star Wars: Episode 7' Movie News and Update: J.J. Abrams Confirms Filming in Abu Dhabi

First Posted: May 21, 2014 03:59 PM EDT
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Just hours after Moviefone leaked J.J. Abrams' heartfelt letter to his cast and crew, we now know that the rumor that "Star Wars: Episode VII" would film in Abu Dhabi was accurate. Abu Dhabi's government-backed media hub, twofour54, confirmed that "Episode VII" was shooting in the country on Wednesday. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the "Star Wars" production team has chosen Abu Dhabi as their first shooting location because they are seeking to "re-create the desert planet Tatooine, which was the home of Anakin and Luke Skywalker as well as the headquarters of Jabba the Hutt."

Disney and Lucasfilm will be teaming up for the movie that will release on Dec. 18, 2015. Kathleen Kennedy, the President of Lucasfilm expressed her excitement for the commencement of shooting in an official statement.

"We were very excited to start the filming of 'Star Wars: Episode VII' in Abu Dhabi. It has been an incredible place to commence this journey," Kennedy said.

Though the Disney move will not be coming out until next year, "Star Wars" fans may get the opportunity to actually be in the movie.

In the midst of the Abu Dhabi announcement, director J.J. Abrams also released a video with behind-the-scenes footage from the Abu Dhabi set, all in the name of charity.

In the video, we see Abrams appear next to a new "Star Wars" alien to talk about his "Star Wars: A Force For Change" charity campaign that seeks to raise money for UNICEF. Abrams explains in the video the campaign is "Dedicated to finding creative solutions to some of the world's biggest problems."

If fans donate $10 or more UNICEF, they may get the opportunity to play a role in the upcoming film.

The Verge reports that the randomly chosen winner of the grand prize and one partner will be flown to "Episode VII's" Pinewood Studios set as guests of J. J. Abrams. There, they'll be "transformed" by costume and makeup teams, before being given roles in the next "Star Wars" movie.

Details on what role the winners will play have not been released.

Check out the video below.

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