7DAYS goes in search of Han Solo and the Star Wars crew in Abu Dhabi
It may be more than a year until the seventh film in the Star Wars saga hits the screens, however a trip into a desert not so far away has already revealed a few insights into how one of the most anticipated films of recent years is shaping up.
Production on the movie is expected to start in Abu Dhabi this month.
And pre-production staff, who have been in the UAE since February, have narrowed their search down to two desert locations close to each other in the Western Region. Both have been marked off with traffic cones to help the rest of the crew locate the sites easily. It is believed the location manager scouted the locations because of their dramatic, high sand dunes.
The entrances to both locations have been locked off by security and the area is protected by fencing. The crew has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the production secret.
All production staff, and even staff at hotels where the cast and crew will stay, have been asked to sign confidentially agreements so that the story line is not revealed, a source close to the production said. This weekend, the crew were also seen moving a set workshop away from public view and inside the fenced-off perimeter so that nobody could see it.
Several large transport trucks were also spotted moving the set, which is believed to include a spacecraft that lands on the exotic “planet” being created in the Western Region.
The crew had several large white bags of rusted and bent metal parts, which are to be strewn in the desert, possibly to show a spacecraft crash or perhaps a post-apocalyptic civilisation. Meanwhile, it’s understood that the Lucas Films has block booked accommodation near the set in anticipation for full production.
And every morning, two police cars arrive at the accommodation of the crew already on location and escort them to the site, making sure that they are not followed by media or curious members of the public, using diversionary measures if necessary.
The entire project is being overseen by government company, TDIC. Harrison Ford, as Han Solo, and Carrie Fisher, as Princess Leia, are among the stars set to revive their roles for the latest film.
However, the production crew are staying very quiet about which stars will be coming to Abu Dhabi.
“We would advise the curious to stay well clear of the set. It is extremely hot out there and you will not see anything. But we invite you to see it in the cinema when it comes out next year,” said a person close to the production.