It’s the 40th anniversary of the release of A New Hope and Vanity Fair has teamed with iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz yet again for a massive photo shoot which offers fans the world over a first-look at many characters both new and returning.
LucasFilm, Vanity Fair, and Leibovitz have been doing exclusive photo spreads like this since 1999’s The Phantom Menace. For the latest Star Wars episode, the magazine has released four different Star Wars: The Last Jedi covers that provide new looks at Rey (Daisy Ridley), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), General Leia (Carrie Fisher), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and new character Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran). While there is no doubt these photos are aesthetically pleasing, they don’t offer much more than that as Disney and Lucasfilm continue to keep hush-hush on Last Jedi.
You can check out all the variant covers below:
One of the highlights of the shoot is the return of Luke and Leia. Carrie Fisher’s untimely passing certainly sent a surge through the movie industry (and the world), but knowing that she did complete her role for The Last Jedi gives the fans a final farewell to an icon.
Director Rian Johnson spoke about the relationship he developed with Fisher. They spent much time at her Hollywood home, where she lived with her mother, the late great Debbie Reynolds:
“After I had a draft, I would sit down with her when I was working on re-writing. Sitting with her on her bed, in her insane bedroom with all this crazy modern art around us, TCM on the TV, a constant stream of Coca-Cola, and Gary the dog slobbering at her feet. Out of everyone, Carrie was the one I really became friends with and expected to have in my life for years and years. I last saw her in November, at the birthday party that she threw at her house. In a way, it was the perfect final, encapsulating image of Carrie-receiving all her friends in the bedroom, with Debbie holding court in the living room.”
The head of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy said of Carrie Fisher’s final performance in the movie:
“She was having a blast. The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, ‘I’d better be at the forefront of IX!’ Because Harrison was front and center on VII, and Mark is front and center on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been.”
In addition to the wonderful images of Luke and Leia together once more, we finally have word (and first looks) at who Benicio del Toro and Laura Dern will be playing the in the upcoming sequel. Benicio Del Toro, is playing a character referred to as DJ, though that is not is official character name. Director, Rian Johnson only had one thing to say of del Toro’s character so far: “You’ll see, there’s a reason why we call him DJ…”, well, that’s not very helpful but it certainly is intriguing as the character’s allegiances are not entirely known and that he is also described as “shady.”
Laura Dern also joins the cast as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, a key player in the resistance. Looking at the first official photo of her character you can see this pinkish-purple hair, and apart from rampant rumors as to how her character fits into the larger scheme of things, we know even less than Benicio del Toro’s character at this time.
And let’s not forget relative newcomer Kelly Marie Tran, who was introduced at Star Wars Celebration, as a “maintenance worker for the Resistance named Rose Tico.” Rian Johnson has said that he believes Rose to be the real heart of the movie and that audiences are going to have a blast watching her character’s journey on screen.
It also wouldn’t be a Star Wars movie without an assortment of creatively designed aliens. Similar to Maz Kanata’s castle in Force Awakens, which was a lot like the cantina from A New Hope, there will be a similar alien dwelling in The Last Jedi in the form of the city of Canto Bight. However, judging from these photos, it will have a distinctly different look and feel than any other alien epicenter.
The place is referred to as the Monte Carlo of the Star Wars universe. And the scenes set there between Rose and Finn have a very James Bond-like feel to them. They are also reminiscent of the classic caper movie To Catch a Thief. Says director Rian Johnson:
“I didn’t want this to be a dirge, a heavy-osity movie. So one thing I’ve tried really hard to do is keep the humor in there, to maintain the feeling, amid all the heavy operatic moments, that you’re on a fun ride.”
There is also an accompanying behind-the-scenes video, which offers us some footage of The Last Jedi. Unlike Star Wars: The Force Awaken, Disney has been keeping things very quiet on the sequel, only debuting the official title a few months ago, and the very first teaser trailer during Star Wars Celebration in Florida back in April. This new behind the scenes video gives fans a closer look at each of the characters and their return to their respective roles, and get a real feel for what the tone will be for Star Wars monumental return this Christmas.
You can check that behind the scenes video out below:
The cast for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi includes Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’O and Mark Hamill. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is written and directed by Rian Johnson and is set for release on December 15, 2017.
Images: Lucasfilm, Disney, Annie Leibovitz, Vanity Fair
Source: Vanity Fair