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Star Wars director's UNICEF message

Episode VII director JJ Abrams announces the creation of Star Wars: Force for Change, a campaign to raise funds and awareness for UNICEF's projects for children in need.

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In a video clip that is sure to quicken the pulses of Star Wars fans everywhere director JJ Abrams has revealed a first look at one of the spacecraft that will grace the screen in the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII.

Abrams stands in front of the battered vehicle, most famously piloted by Luke Skywalker, in an on-set video promoting the UNICEF fundraiser Force for Change.

Flight fantastic ... Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) fights the good fight.

Flight fantastic ... Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) fights the good fight.

Initially assumed to be an X-Wing Starfighter, the clip has already touched off a furious debate among the sort of Star Wars fans for whom these details really matter. At issue is whether it might, in fact, be an earlier Z-95 Headhunter.

After an extensive and free-wheeling debate on Twitter, the film-makers confirmed via the official Star Wars account that the beaten-up fighter is an Episode VII X-Wing, despite all appearances to the contrary.

During the video a suited and helmeted "pilot" climbs aboard the Starfighter, closing the canopy as if making ready to take off.

Since May, Force for Change has been offering fans who visit fundraising platform Omaze.com and donate at least $US10 ($A10.82) to Force for Change, the chance to visit the London set of Episode VII and appear in the film.

In this new video, as part of one final push for the campaign, Abrams says they're also putting fans who pledge in the running to win a private screening with their closest friends before the highly anticipated movie hits cinemas next December.

"We know how much Star Wars means to so many of you and we'd love to share the movie with you first while supporting this truly great cause," he says.

The director says they have been so grateful for the support for Force for Change, which helps children in need.

When it was launched in May, with another on-set video from Abrams (this time in Abu Dhabi), $US1 million ($A1.08 million) was raised within just 24 hours.

"People from over 119 countries have already participated and that's incredible and we're so grateful. But we're still going, we have one week left," he says.

Other prizes for fans who donate include t-shirts, signed screenplays, a lightsaber hilt, concept art and limited edition posters depending on the amount pledged.

Star Wars Episode VII is released in Australian cinemas on December 17, 2015

with AAP