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Star Wars movie to start shooting in UK this summer

'Familiar faces'? PLEASE... NOT Jar Jar Binks

Jar Jar Binks in <i>Star Wars</i>

The shadowy figures behind the newest instalment of the Star Wars franchise have slipped out a few more details about the movie as they announced that filming will start at Blighty's Pinewood Studios in May.

Disney and LucasFilm said that Star Wars: Episode VII would be set around 30 years after the events of Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. They also teased that the film would feature "a trio of new young leads along with some very familiar faces".

Fans of the series will be hoping that means a return for Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher and not, say, Jar Jar Binks or the Ewoks.

The plot tidbits add to the pitifully small amount of information folks have about the movie. Open auditions were held for two roles in the UK and Ireland last November, for a young beautiful orphaned woman who is "street smart" and uses "humour and guts to get by" and a young handsome man who grew up "without a father's influence" - but it's not known if the roles were cast from those auditions.

Moving into the rumour and speculation field, the absence of parental figures for the beautiful young people could suggest that if Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker are going to be back in the movie, it'll be as blue glowy Force ghosts or flashbacks, not fully fleshed-out characters.

Sources have also told Variety and The Hollywood Reporter that Adam Driver, of Girls fame, is in talks to play the villain of the piece. Actors like Michael Fassbender and Hugo Weaving had also been linked to the movie as potential villains, but Variety said in February that Driver was close to signing on for the part.

The JJ Abrams-directed movie will be the fifth Star Wars episode to be shot in the UK. The original trilogy was made at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire and Episode I: The Phantom Menace was shot at Leavesden Studios in the same county.

The film is due to hit cinemas in time for the lucrative Christmas season in 2015, with an 18 December release date pencilled in. ®

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