New Star Wars '30 years after Jedi'

This Is Lancashire: JJ Abrams will start filming Star Wars: Episode VII in May JJ Abrams will start filming Star Wars: Episode VII in May

The new Star Wars sequel is to start filming in May and will be set 30 years after Return Of The Jedi.

A date has finally been announced for director JJ Abrams to begin shooting Star Wars: Episode VII, which is set three decades after the 1983 film starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.

Casting details are still firmly under wraps however, despite a raft of rumours about the original cast returning and a number of well known actors joining the next generation of Stars Wars heroes and villains.

Speaking at the company's annual shareholder's meeting in Portland, Oregon, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the movie would feature "some very familiar faces along with a trio of new, young leads".

Abrams has a penchant for secrecy, and Iger said R2-D2 was the only "official cast member" he would announce.

Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o was the latest in a long list of big names who have been linked to the next instalment in the sci-fi saga. Her 12 Years A Slave co-star Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Speleers, Gary Oldman, Ryan Gosling, Leonardo DiCaprio, Saoirse Ronan, Alex Pettyfer, Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael B Jordan are among the other names that have also been rumoured for roles, and Adam Driver is apparently in final negotiations to play an undisclosed villain.

Episode VII is set for release in December 2015.

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