Speaking with a crowd at the Loyola Marymount School of Film and Television in Los Angeles, Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn dropped a few surprising details about the space-bound sequel.
"We're actually shooting some of it now," Horn said when asked whether filming would begin in May, as expected based on previous comments from director Abrams
This lines up with recent rumors that the film has already started shooting in Cairo, Egypt. It's possible that what Horn might be referring to is second unit shooting, grabbing location shots and B-roll for use in effects-heavy pieces; rather than having a cast on set. But he was mum on any further details of the shoot.
There are two other elements that make this news surprising: we haven't had a formally announced cast; and as far as we knew, the script wasn't done yet.
"It's actually there now," Horn said when asked if the screenplay was finished. "It's all about the screenplay. It has to be screenplay, screenplay, screenplay."
The script is co-written by J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, based on a previous draft written by "Toy Story 3" writer Michael Arndt. Though this also hasn't been confirmed, the script reportedly concerns the three original "Star Wars" actors — Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford — passing the torch to three members of the younger generation.
Horn also confirmed that the movie will take place 35 years after the original, to time with the December, 2015 release date.
"We have a lot of them, it's not completely done yet," Horn noted on the casting.
Speculation, but this may include Ford who as of yet hasn't commented officially on returning to a galaxy far, far away; while both Hamill and Fisher have leaked their involvement.
As for the rest of the cast, and other details? "Patience you must have," Horn quipped, in his best Yoda imitation.
You can watch the full interview here:
"Star Wars: Episode VII" is scheduled to hit theaters on December 18, 2015.