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"Star Wars: Episode VII" to begin principal photography in May 2014

The wait for a new 'Star Wars" trilogy to start shooting is over. Nine years after the premiere of "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith," director JJ Abrams will begin principal photography on the first installment of the eagerly-awaited "Star Wars" Sequel Trilogy in a few weeks.

Director J.J. Abrams will begin principal photography of Sequel Trilogy's first film in May 2014
Director J.J. Abrams will begin principal photography of Sequel Trilogy's first film in May 2014
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

According to StarWars.com, Disney-owned Lucasfilm announced that director Abrams and the cast and crew of "Episode VII" will start shooting at London's Pinewood Studios next month. Abrams, who has directed the last two "Star Trek" films for Paramount Pictures, will be joined by director of photography Dan Mindel and a cast which is rumored to include Classic Trilogy veterans Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Anthony Daniels.

Also returning to the "Star Wars" production team are screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, sound designer Ben Burtt, composer John Williams, and concept artist Doug Chiang.

Disney and Lucasfilm have kept details about "Star Wars: Episode VII" under wraps, only saying that the film is set 30 years after "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi." The studio has not leaked any information about the Kasdan screenplay or the characters, but the time frame suggests that the story will pit the New Republic against the remnants of the Galactic Empire.

Citing a statement by Walt Disney Company's Alan Horn, StarWars.com reports that"Star Wars: Episode VII" is due in theaters on December 18, 2015, in time for the busy holiday season. Traditionally, "Star Wars" films were released in late May to coincide with the Memorial Day Weekend. However, Lucasfilm and Warner Bros. set a precedent in 2008 when "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" opened on August 15, 2008.

Blu-ray and DVD Release Date

Disney and Lucasfilm have not announced any release dates for "Star Wars: Episode VII" on Blu-ray, DVD, or digital download. Based on past home media release dates for "Star Wars" films and TV series, it's possible that the first installment of the Sequel Trilogy will be available by September 2016