'Star Wars VII' takes to the desert in Abu Dhabi
"May the force be with you"
With questions hanging over its location, Alan Horn – chairman of Hollywood's Walt Disney studio – quelled such rumours by confirming that the upcoming spot for the next Star Wars instalment will indeed be taking place in the desert dunes just outside of Abu Dhabi. In his statement at a recent Bloomberg Entertainment Event in New York, Horn said:
"We have to give it that 'Star Wars'-ian look... So we need to go to different places that give us the right look and feel."
The growing focus on the UAE as a hotspot for production companies has been emphasised in recent years by projects that have seen the region's landmarks taking centre stage in a number of box office films, including Tom Cruise's stuntwork atop the Burj Khalifa in the filming of 2011's Mission Impossible IV: Ghost Protocol.
There have also been claims that production company Lucasfilm has been scouting the region recently, sourcing potential desert locations for its upcoming films.
While various reports about the new Star Wars title have been flying around in recent months, the most solid confirmation was received when Abu Dhabi newspaper The National posted images which it claimed to be the first sights of the film's set. In spite of this press, Abu Dhabi media production arm twofour54 has yet to confirm, responding with "no comment" for the time being... The movie is set for release in December 2015.