About six months ago when pre-production began, J.J. Abrams tweeted out the very first photo from ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’. That picture featured the director with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, a few workers, and the familiar blue and white droid known as R2-D2. Now, the project is in full production mode after the cast was announced a few weeks ago and more pictures have begun to emerge once again.

Over the past few days, the Bad Robot social media accounts have been quite busy yet again with pictures from the set of Abrams’ upcoming film from a galaxy far, far away. First, their Twitter shared the slate from day one of shooting. Then, their Facebook posted a shot of the Pinewood Studios soundstage where the crew has set up shop. Finally, a note surfaced from the director expressing his gratitude to the cast and crew for being a part of this experience as sort of a welcome aboard/pep talk sort of thing. You can check out all three pictures in the gallery below, followed by the transcription of the note from ScreenCrush just in case you can’t make something out:

“Dearest Cast and Crew, What an honor it is to work beside all of you, on Star Wars Ep VII. I can’t thank you enough, for all work past and future. Let’s take good care of not just ourselves, but of each other. Amazing, but true: the world awaits this film. Let’s give ‘em something GREAT. xo JJ”

But shooting on the seventh film in the iconic franchise isn’t the only ‘Star Wars’ related activity that kicked off recently. The annual Star Wars Weekends event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios began in Disney World over the weekend and even though he couldn’t be there in person, Abrams sent along a video for the fans filled with more positive words about the beginning of the new trilogy. You can check out that video below courtesy of Inside The Magic, which also features some great photos of the various costumed characters around the park as well as the Admiral Ackbar Snack Bar:

What do you think about the first pictures from the set of ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’? Did you enjoy J.J. Abrams’ words to the cast, crew, and fans of this beloved franchise as production (and Star Wars Weekends) gets underway? Let us know in the comment section.

‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ starring John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker premieres on December 18, 2015.