Here’s J.J. on the Set of Star Wars

Are you ready for the first official look at footage from the set of Star Wars: Episode VII? Good, because here it is.

The video features director J.J. Abrams on the set of the film in Abu Dhabi, where he promotes the new charity initiative known as Star Wars: Force for Change, which is being set up by Disney, Lucasfilm, Bad Robot, UNICEF, and Omaze. Basically, anyone who donates to the charity will be entered for a chance to win a trip to the set of the film, where you’ll get to meet J.J. and the rest of the cast and crew. Sounds pretty cool, so if you’re interested, you can learn more by clicking here.

Most Star Wars fans are probably going to examine the video frame-by-frame to see all the stuff in the background. There’s the cool new creature that wanders out and interrupts J.J. halfway through the video. He’s not a CGI cartoon, and looks like he’d be right at home in one of the Jim Henson/Lucasfilm movies like Labyrinth or The Dark Crystal. There are also plenty of extras in costume who wander around in the background, although the red car probably won’t be in the final film. Given J.J. Abrams’ notorious fondness for secrecy, it seems unlikely that he would have allowed anything significant to the film’s story to be seen.

The best thing about this video is that it confirms Episode VII will rely on practical sets just like the Original Trilogy, and not just have the actors stand around in front of a green screen like in the prequels.

Star Wars: Episode VII will hit theatres on December 18, 2015.