(LONDON) — While director J.J. Abrams is hard at work on his — and Disney’s — first Star Wars film, he has remained tight-lipped about the anticipated project. However, on Thursday, he tweeted a rare behind-the-scenes snap as pre-production work on Star Wars: Episode VII continues in the U.K.
“Hi from the workshop! #StarWarsVII” Abrams tweeted through his Bad Robot account, showing a picture of himself, two male crew members, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and none other than R2-D2.
Star Wars fanboys immediately seized on the inclusion of the droid, wondering if he’d be seen in the next set of Star Wars films. As the only character to be shown onscreen in all six existing Star Wars movies — as well as the animated Clone Wars shows — R2 was important enough to creator George Lucas to have him half-joke that the entire saga was about the stubby astromech.
Nerding out even more, if R2-D2 is co-starring in Episode VII, that means that despite all the action he’s seen, he’s still ticking more than 60 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace. Or the picture just means Abrams likes hanging out with him. After all, Abrams sneaked R2 into action scenes in both of his Star Trek films.
Meanwhile, auditions for Episode VII continue all over the world, most recently in Chicago. Hundreds of fans lined up for a chance to show their stuff at the Windy City’s Park West venue Thursday.
Officially, Lucasfilm is looking for two people for the film, a “street smart” girl in her late teens and a “smart capable” man in his late teens or early 20s. However, most agree these open-ended characters, “Rachel’ and “Thomas,” are just “dummy” names that will allow casting agents like Maryellen Aviano to winnow the search for actual Episode VII characters.
“To find those unknowns to…get some roles in a movie like Star Wars is just fantastic for everyone involved,” Aviano said.
Shooting on Episode VII is scheduled to begin in London in the spring of 2014. The movie is slated to open on Dec. 18, 2015.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Tom Kludt, CNN
Adam Forsgren, EastIdahoNews.com columnist
Brian Stelter, CNN