Friday, April 18, 2014

New Episode VII set photo - AT-AT?

Star Wars: Episode VII has begun filming in Abu Dhabi (capital of the United Arab Emirates), in what we can only assume are scenes on Tatooine. This is based on Tatooine's historical Star Wars significance (both Anakin and Luke grew up there) and its sandy landscape. 

The tent shown here is most likely used as the production center and some shade from the extreme heat (the temperatures are in the 90ºs and higher every day). But the highlight is the large circular thing that is being pushed out from the tent (presumably for filming). Someone online has posted pretty convincing visual proof that this circular piece of metal/cement/plastic is, in fact, piece of an AT-AT, the infamous walking tank from The Empire Strikes Back. 

It's possible that the feet and legs of the walker are physically built on set, and the upper section will be added with CGI. Or, perhaps this piece is being used for a close-up of the walker's feet at ground level.

Either way, it seems pretty likely that AT-ATs will appear on Tatooine in the movie. My main concern is both how and why the AT-ATs are on Tatooine in the first place. 

Yes, they have been shown to be able to cross harsh terrain, such as the snowy tundra of Hoth, but the sand is a much softer substance, and you would think that the sand might get lodged into the machine and damage it.

Though it is likely that the Galactic Empire will have some kind of presence in the film, Tatooine is a strategically unimportant place. The entire planet is either hot sand or sleazy, scumbag-filled settlements. If a few isolated Jedi lived on the planet (possibly Skywalker children), an AT-AT would be impractical and pretty useless for apprehending them, and Tatooine isn't a likely choice for a Rebel stronghold or Jedi temple. 

Truthfully, any prediction is more or less futile. All we have for hints at the movie's plot is:

1. Expanded Universe novels/comic books that may or may not be used for inspiration,
2. A few vague and ambiguous statements about the movie's production/timeline,
3. A couple of set photos, and
4. An endless stream of acting rumors about the film. 

We actually have no idea in what state of order the galaxy will be in. Will the Empire still be a threat? Will the Yuuzhan Vong have any part in the movie? Will the Sith Order be rising again? Only time will tell. May the force be with you all.

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