It’s finally confirmed: The first Star Wars movie to be made under Walt Disney Co. has started filming in Abu Dhabi.

Rumours that shooting for the seventh Star Wars would take place in the UAE’s deserts have been flying around faster than the Millennium Falcon in hyperdrive, and have been nearly as unreliable.

Finally on Tuesday, Alan Horn, chairman of Disney’s film unit, confirmed Abu Dhabi as a location and revealed some secondary scenes have been shot already. Principal shooting on the film, to be directed by J. J. Abrams, hasn’t started, and casting was to be announced soon, Horn said

A spokesman for TwoFour54, the most likely partners for filming locally are TwoFour54, on Tuesday declined to comment on the report.

TwoFour54 last Friday wrapped up shooting in Abu Dhabi emirate on Fast & Furious 7, another Hollywood production. TwoFour54 offers at 30 per cent rebate on international productions.

Horn spoke at a Bloomberg Business of Entertainment event in New York, reported Bloomberg, adding that he was due to travel to the UK to finish work on the screenplay; Pinewood Studios will be the primary filming venue.

“We have all these locations we have to film and we have to give it that ‘Star Wars-ian’ look,” Horn said. “So we need to go to different places that give us the right look and feel.”

The film has a scheduled release date of December 18, 2015, and is the first part of a planned third trilogy in the franchise. The first film, Star Wars: A New Hope, was made in 1977, and had two follow ups, The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi. A second trilogy, a prequel to the first films, was released from 1999-2005.

Lucasfilm, the makers of Star Wars, was purchased in 2012 by Disney in a $4.05 billion bet on the franchise created by George Lucas.

At Warner Bros, where he co-lead the film studio for 12 years, Horn oversaw the Harry Potter and Dark Knight franchises.