‘Star Wars: Episode VII': J.J. Abrams reveals X-wing fighter in new video

July 21, 2014 | 1:17 p.m.
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Actor Harrison Ford, who was cast as Han Solo in the original "Star Wars" trilogy. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Two women have joined the cast of "Star Wars: Episode VII": Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, left, and Gwendoline Christie.

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"Inside Llewyn Davis" actor Oscar Isaac has been tapped to join the "Star Wars: Episode VII" cast. Click through to see who else scored a role in the film. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Actress Daisy Ridley, relatively new to the acting scene, has also landed a role in the upcoming film "Inbetweeners II." (Matthew Brooks)

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Actor Adam Driver, best known for his work in the HBO comedy "Girls." (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

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Actor John Boyega, best known for playing Moses in the sci-fi flick "Attack the Block." (Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images)

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Actor Max von Sydow, who received Academy Award nominations for his work in "Pelle the Conqueror" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

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Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson, who played Bill Weasley in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." (John Phillips / Invision / Associated Press)

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Actor Andy Serkis, best known for motion capture acting for roles such as Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and Caesar in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

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Actress Carrie Fisher, best known for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the original trilogy. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

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Actor Mark Hamill, best known for his portrayal of Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy. (Stephanie Cornfield / For the Times)

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Actor Anthony Daniels, best known as C-3PO in the original "Star Wars" trilogy. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

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Actor Kenny Baker, best known for portraying "Star Wars" robot R2-D2, left, and actor Peter Mayhew, best known for portraying Chewbacca in the original trilogy. (Keith Hamshere / Lucasfilm Ltd)

Want to take a spin in a battle-scarred X-wing starfighter?

In his new video promoting Star Wars: A Force for Change, the charitable project benefiting UNICEF and offering a lucky fan a chance to appear in the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII,” director J.J. Abrams doesn’t offer the winner a ride in the X-wing, per se, but hey, it can’t hurt to dream big, right?

The video, shot from the Pinewood Studios set in London, shows Abrams standing next to the single-passenger spacecraft, coated in planetary dust. Early speculation from fans online initially labeled the needle-nosed fighter as a Z-95 Headhunter, the clone starfighter first mentioned  in the “Star Wars” book “Han Solo at Star’s End” from 1979, but Lucasfilm verified via Twitter that it is indeed an X-wing.

Though it’s already been revealed that Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon will also appear in the seventh installment of the series, precious few details have been leaked from the secretive set, which makes a view of the X-wing especially tantalizing.

The “Star Wars” set has already seen its share of mishaps. Reprising his role as the dashing antihero Han Solo, Harrison Ford broke his leg on set in an incident with the door of the Millennium Falcon in June. The actor, 71, has been using a special leg brace while he recuperates in London.

A Force for Change, a powerful initiative from the start, is faring much better. In May, after Abrams announced the campaign, it collected a whopping $1 million in its first 24 hours of fundraising at Omaze.com/StarWars. The contest was originally set to end July 18 but has been extended to 11:59 p.m. PDT on July 25.

Also, the deal has been sweetened: A $10 donation not only gives entrants a chance to appear in the movie, but they’ll also be eligible to win an opportunity to host a private hometown screening of “Star Wars: Episode VII” before it is scheduled to open on Dec. 18, 2015.

So far, Disney has joined in with $1 million in support, and people from 119 countries have donated to A Force for Change. The program raises funds and awareness for UNICEF’s Innovation Labs, which benefit the world’s most vulnerable children.

–  Margaret Wappler |  @LATHeroComplex

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