Earlier this month in a galaxy far far away, known as Abu Dhabi, JJ Abrams began filming "Star Wars: Episode VII" ... and TMZ has obtained pics from the ultra-secretive set -- including one GIANT creature.

Jedi sources tell us the new alien was manned by 5 men inside it's belly ... and was used in two scenes taking place in what looks like a Tatooine marketplace (Star Wars nerds get it)

READ THE FULL STORY ON TMZ.COM