LONDON - The first new Star Wars movie for a decade will start filming in Britain in May, it was revealed Wednesday, and the loveable droid R2-D2 is among the cast.
Filming will begin at Pinewood Studios outside London, where pre-production has been under way for several months.
The movie, currently known only as "Star Wars: Episode VII", is being directed by JJ Abrams, known for the cult TV series "Lost" and the latest "Star Trek" movies.
A statement on the official Star Wars website said the new film would feature three "new young leads" alongside "some very familiar faces".
That will fuel speculation that the stars of the original trilogy - Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher - will appear in Episode VII.
Among the possible new faces, Adam Driver, one of the stars of the hit US TV series "Girls", is rumoured to be in negotiations to play a Darth Vader-style villain.
The statement said: "'Star Wars: Episode VII' is set about 30 years after the events of 'Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi', and will star a trio of new young leads along with some very familiar faces. No further details on casting or plot are available at this time."
Bob Iger, the chief executive of Disney which is behind the film, said on Tuesday that R2-D2 - whose mission to deliver secret blueprints to Obi Wan Kenobi was at the heart of the first Star Wars adventure - will be back and was an "official cast member".
The new film is scheduled to be released in December 2015.
Previous films in the sci-fi series were also filmed in Britain, at Leavesden Studios and Elstree Studios.