Following yesterday's report that Star Wars: Episode VII will utilize locations in Morocco to recreate Luke Skywalker's home on Tatooine, The Hollywood Reporter is now confirming that the shoot will actually take place in the United Arab Emirates city-state of Abu Dhabi.
The production begins in mid-May, and will last for four weeks. Our original report from last week claimed shooting would only last for two weeks, but it seems that the cast and crew will need to spend additional time on the desert planet. The sequel will also be shot at Pinewood Studios in London.
George Lucas used the country of Tunisia for the Tatooine locations, but sources claim that the political climate there is now too dangerous to host a big-budget Hollywood movie. Tatooine was the home to both Anakin and Luke Skywalker in the original and prequel trilogies, along with the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope and the pod racing sequences in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Tatooine also served as the headquarters of Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, and was the homeland of the Jawas and Tusken Raiders.
We reported last month that Star Wars: Episode VII will take place 30 years after Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, featuring a cast of, "some very familiar faces along with a trio of new young leads." The only character that has been confirmed to appear in the sequel is R2-D2. Though it has been widely reported that Peter Mayhew is reprising his role as Chewbacca. Neither Disney nor LucasFilm have confirmed that to be true.
Disney and LucasFilm has not confirmed Abu Dhabi as a shooting location, or a return to Tatooine. Universal's Fast & Furious 7 recently shot in Abu Dhabi when production resumed earlier this month, following a long delay after the death of franchise star Paul Walker.