The first photos have leaked from the Abu Dhabi set of Star Wars: Episode VII, and fans are already finding them revealing, TMZ reports.
The 45 images — which were posted to TMZ‘s website last night — show the desert set of Star Wars in Abu Dhabi, revealing along the way a new, unknown alien creature, as well as a fenced in perimeter and what looks to be an elevated, horizontal building. The alien, which resembles a cross between a rhino and a pig, it reportedly operated on the Star Wars set by five stagehands concealed in its massive belly. TMZ claims that the beast is used in two scenes which occur in what appears to be a “Tatooine marketplace,” hearkening back to the original 1977 Star Wars film, Episode IV: A New Hope, and 1999’s much-maligned Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Both installments of the Star Wars saga featured the desert planet prominently.
The photos also raise the hopes of Star Wars fans who felt the second trilogy, which began with Episode I, made too much use of CG effects. Fans who prefer the original Star Wars trilogy, which was filmed before the advent of CG tech, hope that Director J.J. Abrams will make much greater use of practical effects in Episode VII. If the new set photos are any indication, they have little to worry about. A giant cylinder recalling the foot of an Imperial Walker, or “AT-AT,” from Episode V, was glimpsed on set previously, according to Yahoo UK‘s movie blog.
Of course, the practical effects are not the only things in the images that Star Wars fans will find exciting. While none of the Episode VII main cast appears, there are plenty of people shading themselves from the desert sun in Jedi-like robes, or hiding under cylindrical structures that Star Wars fans will recognize as a starship engine. Black smoke rises above the desert in several pictures, reminiscent of the scene in the first Star Wars movie when hero Luke Skywalker finds his home destroyed.
While the photos will no doubt stoke excitement for the film, Star Wars fans have much more to look forward to in the next few years. As The Inquisitr has previously reported, Disney is rumored to be producing a plethora of new films in the Star Wars universe. A spinoff featuring iconic bounty hunter Boba Fett is thought to be in the works, and is believed to be helmed by Gary Whitta, a newcomer to Star Wars who has worked on the Walking Dead video game series. Director Gareth Edwards, fresh off his success with Godzilla, has also been hired to direct a Star Wars spinoff, though it is unclear which one.
In the meantime, fans can check out the pics at TMZ, and look forward to more leaks from the set of Star Wars: Episode VII.