(CBR) Just last week J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot released an image of the "Star Wars: Episode VII" clapboard, signaling that filming had begun. The big question, though, was where?

As it turns out, Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is the first location for the eagerly anticipated sequel, reportedly doubling at Tatooine. Tunisia was previously used for scenes on Luke Skywalker’s home planet, but The Hollywood Reporter contends that locale has become too dangerous.

Confirmation of the Abu Dhabi shoot arrives courtesy of twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi, which announced that Abrams and crew arrived early this month. “The combination of diverse desert landscapes and an extensive production infrastructure provide the perfect formula for the movie ensuring the shoot is going smoothly and on schedule,” the press release states.

Opening Dec. 18, 2015, "Star Wars: Episode VII" features a cast that includes franchise veterans Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker, joined by newcomers John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson and Max von Sydow

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