“Star Wars: Episode VII,” the highly anticipated next installment of the “Star Wars” franchise is set to begin filming in May at London’s Pinewood Studios, Disney and Lucasfilm confirmed Tuesday.
Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), reportedly observed during the company's annual shareholders' meeting in Portland, Ore., that “Star Wars: Episode VII” will come along more than 30 years after “Return of the Jedi,” the last film in the original trilogy. "There will be some very familiar faces along with a trio of new young leads," Iger reportedly said.
“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,” he added, according to Variety. R2-D2 is an astromech droid that has appeared in all six "Star Wars" films and was portrayed by Kenny Barker.
Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are expected to reprise their roles as the classic "Star Wars" trio, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.
Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o is said to be in talks with J.J. Abrams, the film's director, to take on a major role in the film, while “Girls” actor Adam Driver may play a new Darth Vader-esque villain.
During the early part of the meeting, Iger reportedly said: “I know many of you were hoping for some ‘Star Wars’ news, but it’s really early in the process, so there really isn’t much that I can share with you right now,” but went on to add 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,” Iger reportedly said.
The six films in the “Star Wars” franchise have so far grossed more than $4.4 billion at the worldwide box office since the first film was released in 1977.
“Star Wars: Episode VII” is scheduled to release on Dec. 18, 2015.