Already done filming in Abu Dhabi? That was fast! So now what to do with all those sets they built? Find out after the jump . . .
As the calendar rolled over to June it seems, based on this JJ/KK pic, that Bad Robot/Disney/LFL rolled into London, marking the rapid end of the Abu Dhabi [presumed to be Tatooine] leg of the production:
Wow, does time fly! The Abu Dhabi production has gone by quickly. Now that the crew has pulled up their tents and moved on, I ask, What is to become of all those awesome sets?
For an answer to that burning question we turn to The National who released an article about that very subject. The National, you may recall, was the same outlet that broke the rumors that panned out, regarding the massive market set, the crater set, and the "pod" like crafts with jet engines. According to their latest piece, Chief Executive Noura Al Kaabi of TwoFour54 said that they are in the process of exploring ways to preserve the sets:
“We are storing them [the sets] until we curate them with the support of our friends in the Cultural District. We haven’t finalised the location but it is likely to be Saadiyat.”
This makes sense for a couple reasons. First, Episode VII is a momumental movie for the world, let alone the film industry in Abu Dhabi. Second, it could very well be a record-breaker as I suspect it will be. But could there be another reason to preserve them?
This is pure speculation, but IF any future Star Wars projects should require the sets they will be preserved in pristine condition. (This is similar to how the Millennium Falcon is being built full-scale in Pinewood. Most likely the future Star Wars productions will need to use that set as well.)
Case in point, recall that the original sets for Tatooine were built in Tunisia. You may or may not know, but many of the set pieces were abandoned on location -- not once but twice for each of the previous trilogies -- where they decayed and eroded over the years.
It's sad, really, that no one in Tunisia had the foresight to realize what kind of fortune in tourism could have been gained by preserving these sets. Even Lucas himself allowed a valuable film treasure to be lost.
Some devoted fans, leave it to the devoted fans, have discovered some of the Tattoine remains and have spent $11,000 dollars, not to mention their effort and time, toward restoring the Lars Family Homestead. Fortunately, they were able to salvage something form the original 1976 shoot, but, unfortunately, a lot has been lost, as well as the treasures from the Prequel shoots, to the harsh, unforgiving Tunisian desert.
Thankfully, the good folks in Abu Dhabi recognize the treasure they now possess and will take great care of it for future fans to hopefully someday visit and see with their own eyes!