So Disney finally confirmed what we already knew last week, with its chairman Alan Horn admitting at a conference in New York that Star Wars: Episode 7 is indeed filming in the Abu Dhabi desert.
He didn’t give too much about anything else away, though. Casting remains a tightly guarded secret; as for the plot, all we know is that the film will take place about 35 years after the end of the final film of the previous two trilogies, Return of the Jedi.
That doesn’t stop us speculating, though, so here are some draft ideas we think have probably been through J J Abrams’s head.
Everyone’s assuming that Abu Dhabi will be standing in for Luke Skywalker’s desert home planet, Tatooine. But isn’t that a little bit obvious? And we already know that Davis Guggenheim, the director of the Oscar-winning global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, is currently working with Abu Dhabi’s Image Nation on its latest doc Malala.
Or at least that’s what they’re telling us. Surely it’s just as likely that Guggenheim has been in Abu Dhabi as a consultant on Star Wars? Abu Dhabi will, in fact, be standing in for the ice planet Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back, following a particularly fierce bout of global warming.
This would also help explain our AT-AT's (All Terrain Armoured Transport) foot photos. It's been pointed out on Star Wars forums that AT-ATs have never appeared on Tatooine, just on Endor and, yes, Hoth.
Our heroes will no doubt be searching the depths of Abu Dhabi’s uber-green Masdar City for a solution to the galaxy’s CO2 problems.
The Jawas, a short, robed race of scrap metal and technology scavengers native to Tatooine, realise that they haven’t changed their robes since the 1977 original. So, they decide to hotfoot it from the Abu Dhabi desert to Fashion Forward – the UAE’s premier fashion event – where they pick up the very latest in jewel-encrusted robes and capes. Jawas may live in the dust, but that shouldn’t stop them being on trend.
As a bonus side-product of their passionate love of scavenging, the now dazzlingly attired scrap merchants also clear the streets of the many cars that have been sitting at the side of some of Dubai’s roads.
Death Star redux
The Empire may have been defeated at the end of Return of the Jedi, but over the 35 years since, isolated pockets of its soldiers and supporters have been regrouping and planning for a return to power.
Now at their strongest since the last film ended, the resurgent imperial forces are ready to build another Death Star with which to keep the galaxy under the sole of their Stormtroopers’ boots.
Of course, building a planet-sized killing machine in as short a time as possible is no easy task, but with experience of constructing huge projects such as Ferrari World and Louvre Abu Dhabi to its name, the capital certainly knows how to get things built. What better place to start work on building your plans for galactic domination?
It’s September, and our heroes visit Tatooine for the reopening of the famous Mos Eisley Cantina, following a summer refurb into the Mos Eisley Spa and Desert Resort.
Unfortunately, an overenthusiastic bouncer decrees that Chewbacca falls foul of the newly introduced “no pets” rule and hilarity ensues as the team try to find a way into the hottest party in the galaxy.
By the time they get in, Chewy is so exhausted he collapses in a heap on the floor, prompting a waiter to note: “You can’t leave that lyin’ there.”
Han Solo narrows his eyes and whispers what is surely to become the iconic line of the new trilogy: “He’s not a lion. He’s a wookiee.”
For more of our continuing coverage of Star Wars in Abu Dhabi, go to thenational.ae/arts-culture