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Return to a galaxy far, far away: Leaked photos from the set of new Star Wars movie reveal an 'eerily familiar' desert landscape featuring a giant pig-like creature, R2 droids and extras taking selfies

A series of photos have emerged from the ultra-secretive Abu Dhabi set of Star Wars: Episode VII including a massive four-legged alien creature that looks like a cross between a rhinoceros, a pig and a bulldog

SPOILER ALERT: A series of photos have emerged from the ultra-secretive Abu Dhabi set of Star Wars: Episode VII 
The pictures offer some encouraging first signs of what fans can expect from the new movie
Abu Dhabi is believed to be a stand-in for the desert planet of Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s home planet
Several photos include a massive four-legged alien creature that looks like a cross between a rhinoceros, a pig and a bulldog
The new alien is manned by five-man team inside its belly and it is set to appear in two scenes taking place in what appears to be a market place
According to reports, producers have made a deliberate move to use less CGI and are relying on practical effects like in the original trilogy
Another photo shows two busted robots, who bear a resemblance to R2D2, sitting in what could be the remnants of a pod-racer
Other photos show extras dressed in muted colored costumes taking selfies on set

 A series of photos have emerged from the ultra-secretive Abu Dhabi set of Star Wars: Episode VII and although none of the franchise’s big stars put in an appearance, the pictures offer some encouraging first signs of what fans can expect from the new movie.
Director J.J. Abrams began shooting the highly anticipated film last month and while little is known about the script, the photos suggest a back to basics style to filming, shunning the unpopular CGI-heavy approach of George Lucas’ prequels.
The photos reveal many encouraging signs for fans of the original trilogy. Abu Dhabi is believed to be a stand-in for the desert planet of Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s home planet.

 Highlights from the collection of leaked photos, obtained by TMZ, include a massive four-legged alien creature that looks like a cross between a rhinoceros, a pig and a bulldog.
According to sources onset, the new alien is manned by five-man team inside its belly and is set to appear in two scenes taking place in what appears to be a market place on Tatooine.
Another photo shows two busted robots, who bear a resemblance to R2D2, sitting in what could be the remnants of a pod-racer, popularized in the first episode of the prequel trilogy, The Phantom Menace.
Bits and pieces of battered machinery and technology can be seen in the background of other photos, while extras dressed in a variety of muted colored costumes appear in other photos taking selfies.

 The impression made by the collection of photos is of a world eerily familiar to fans of the previous films, in particular Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope when we are first introduced to Luke Skywalker.
What should be especially exciting to a lot of fans of the original trilogy is the amount of practical effects that can be seen in the photos, rather than the all-green screen ‘sets’ of the prequel movies which proved unpopular with actors and audiences alike.
A crew of 600 descended on Abu Dhabi last month and started to construct the sets on a site closely guarded by security services. Filming has since been completed in the desert and filming has moved to stages in London.
Taking the production to Abu Dhabi marked a move away from the original desert locations used in the first six Star Wars installments.



 For Episodes I-VI, various spots in Tunisia were used to film most of the sandy scenes, including Tatooine. Additional footage was later shot in the Death Valley National Park.
At the Tunisian government's request, the set for Anakin Skywalker's (Darth Vader) hometown in the Tatooine desert, Mos Espa, stil remains in the Sahara desert.
Even if we are still a while away from official trailers and stills for Star Wars: Episode VII, these amazing photos are an opportunity for fans to grab a sneak peek at the planets and costumes being created for the next installment which is believed to be set 30 years after the battle of Yavin.
In other Star Wars: Episode VII news, Lucasfilm has announced that Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie have joined the cast.

For Episodes I-VI, various spots in Tunisia were used to film most of the sandy scenes, including Tatooine. Additional footage was later shot in the Death Valley National Park.
At the Tunisian government's request, the set for Anakin Skywalker's (Darth Vader) hometown in the Tatooine desert, Mos Espa, stil remains in the Sahara desert.
Even if we are still a while away from official trailers and stills for Star Wars: Episode VII, these amazing photos are an opportunity for fans to grab a sneak peek at the planets and costumes being created for the next installment which is believed to be set 30 years after the battle of Yavin.
In other Star Wars: Episode VII news, Lucasfilm has announced that Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie have joined the cast.

Nyong’o earned an academy award for best supporting actress this year for her breakthrough performance in 12 Years A Slave.
Gwendoline Christie, currently starring in the hit television series Game of Thrones as Brienne of Tarth, has also been cast. She can next be seen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.
'I could not be more excited about Lupita and Gwendoline joining the cast of Episode VII,' said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. 'It’s thrilling to see this extraordinarily talented ensemble taking shape.'
Star Wars' legends Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2) have all returned to the franchise, but Abrams has still made room for some fresh faces.

British actors John Boyega (Attack The Block) and Daisy Ridley (Mr. Selfridge) have joined Adam Driver (Girls), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) and Dohmnall Gleeson (Frank) in the film.
Performance capture king Andy Serkis will also bring his precious talent to a number of roles and veteran screen actor Max von Sydow (The Exorcist) has also signed on. Abrams previously said: ‘We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.
‘It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.’
Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams.

Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams is returning as the composer. The movie opens worldwide on December 18, 2015.
J.J. Abrams last month announced an opportunity for one lucky person - and a friend - to appear in the saga’s next adventure.
The competition is part of an initiative called Star Wars: Force For Change that is raising funds and awareness for the United Nations Children's Fund's (UNICEF) Innovation Labs project to help benefit the world's most vulnerable children.
In a specially recorded video - unveiled on Good Morning America May 21 - Abrams talked about how excited he was to be making the movie before explaining what the competition winner will receive.

The competition offers one lucky person - and a friend - the opportunity to visit Pinewood Studios in London and visit the set as Abrams' VIP guests.
They will have the opportunity to meet members of the cast and will be transformed by the film's makeup and costume teams, most likely into alien extras, and will appear in a scene.
The competition is being run by Omaze.com a charity auction site which allows anyone to enter for just $10.
There are various levels of contribution to the campaign and for each level, participants will receive a special Star Wars-themed item. The deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. PT on July 18.

Disney, which now owns the iconic film franchise, has committed $1 million toward the Force For Change initiative and via this exciting competition they hope to raise a lot more.
'The Star Wars fans are some of the most passionate and committed folks around the globe,' said Abrams. 'We're thrilled to offer a chance to come behind the scenes as our VIP guests and be in Star Wars: Episode VII.
'We're even more excited that by participating in this campaign, Star Wars fans will be helping children around the world through our collaboration with UNICEF Innovation Labs and projects.'
Star Wars Episode VII opens worldwide on December 18, 2015













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