The future is upon is.
Disney and Lucasfilm announced today that principal photography is set to begin Star Wars: Episode VII in May at London's Pinewood Studios—just in time to get the hugely anticipated next installment in the storied franchise ready for its Dec. 18, 2015, release date!
The filmmakers also revealed that the new movie, the first of three planned sequels, will pick up 30 years after Return of the Jedi (aka Episode VI) left off.
Director J.J. Abrams is famous for the tight lid he keeps on all of his productions, be them for the big or small screen—but at least now there's something to start building a new hope off of, right?
And now that Episode VII production has a start date (well, May), all it needs are some stars.
"Rumor has it that almost every actor in the world has been cast in this movie, but so far, the official cast member that we've confirmed, the only one, is R2D2. Played by R2D2," cracked Disney chief exec Bob Iger at a shareholders meeting today in Oregon, per Variety.
He did say that "the team is well into preproduction...and from the concept art that I've seen so far, Star Wars: Episode VII really looks amazing. For now, that's it. I'll get in trouble if I say more."
As if to confirm R2D2's involvement at the time, Abrams' production company, Bad Robot, posted a pic to Instagram of the director chillin' with the robot at "the workshop" in November
Meanwhile, production has been plagued by all sorts of rumors, such as that Abrams was jumping ship (denied) and that everyone from Jonathan Rhys Meyers to Zac Efron was in line to star. (Time will tell. All Disney and Lucasfilm would promise is that Episode VII "will star a trio of new young leads along with some very familiar faces."
The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi scribe Lawrence Kasdan joined Abrams on script duty in October after Oscar winner Michael Arndt exited the project, and it appears that things have slowly but surely been underway ever since.