Director Rian Johnson is currently putting the finishing touches on Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And while we still have months before the film hits theaters, we’ve only seen one trailer and a few screen grabs.
However, yesterday’s Vanity Fair covers gave us hope that we would learn more about the film, its new characters, and where the franchise goes from here since Carrie Fisher‘s passing. Now not only did the publication deliver on releasing images taken by the great Annie Leibovitz, but new plot details have been revealed that reveal Rey (Daisy Ridley) will be pushed to her limits, Finn (John Boyega) and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) will go on a secret mission, and how the new characters played by Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro will play a role in the highly anticipated sequel. Check it out below.
– Why Does Everyone Want To Go Back To Skellig Michael?
Mark Hamill wasn’t pleased that he would be returning to Skellig Michael in Ireland to shoot The Last Jedi. You may recall that Luke Skywalker didn’t show up until the end of the film and did not speak a word. This after Hamill put in some extensive training and was put on dietary restrictions for the role.
While it wasn’t the kind of payoff he was hoping for, Hamill could not have been happier with the response. â€œAs I said to J.J.,â€ he recalled, â€œIâ€™ve never been more happy to be wrong.â€
If anything, we should be excited for a Luke we’ve never seen before. Oscar Isaac who plays Poe Dameron, teased why we should be excited to see Hamill’s return:
“So to be there, and to watch Mark revisit Luke, particularly in these scenes we were shooting towards the end of the film, was bizarre and jaw-dropping. Itâ€™s like when you see an old band re-unite and go on the road, and they donâ€™t quite hit those high notes anymoreâ€”though in this situation itâ€™s completely the opposite. Itâ€™s the fulfillment of where your imagination would take you when you imagine where Luke would go, or what heâ€™s become.â€
– Rian Johnson Had Creative Freedom
As popular as Star Wars is, it’s hard to believe that there is room to play around, especially since there are already so many rules set in place. But Johnson says he was given a lot of leeway when it came to penning the script and creating the set pieces. â€œI started by writing the names of each of the characters,” he said, “and thinking, ‘Whatâ€™s the hardest thing they could be faced with?’â€
So The Last Jedi will put that to the test and answer the question on why Luke disappeared and lived as a hermit on Aceh-To. But the film will mostly be about Luke and Rey’s relationship, but it won’t be anything like the one between Luke and Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. “Thereâ€™s a training element to it,â€ Johnson said, â€œbut itâ€™s not exactly what you would expect.â€
On a lighter note, Johnson really paid attention to the small details. Among the things he noticed was the fact that General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson was staring out a star destroyer window that had a lot of smudges. â€œI donâ€™t know, does the First Order not keep its windows clean?â€ he asked. â€œDid you guys play it that way before?â€
It was the kind of question he would ask deferentially rather than critically. And it seems to be working.
The way the hiring system works, there is part of what makes Lucasfilmâ€™s new system work is that the story department, which consists of 11 people and is overseen by Kiri Hart, “maintains the narrative continuity and integrity of all the Star Wars properties that exist across various platforms: animation, video games, novels, comic books, and, most important, movies.” Hart says the whole team reads the drafts which would hopefully evolve into a screenplay.
However, they never “impose plot-point mandates on the filmmakers.” Instead they work out the kinks with the director. So for Johnson he met with the team two times a week for six weeks. He even took an office at Lucasfilm HQ.
– The New Kids On The Block.
Tran isn’t the only new character in the film. The film will be introducing Paige Veronica Ngo, Poe’s trainee who is learning how to be a gunner.
Another new character that will be introduced in the film is DJ (played by Del Toro). While his official name is being kept a secret there is a reason why he was given it. He is described as a â€œshady characterâ€ of unclear allegiances.
Joining him will be Vice Admiral Holdo (played by Dern), a prominent officer within The Resistance.
– It’s Through The Casino
Finn won’t be in that pod we saw in the trailer for very long. In fact, one of his missions involves him pairing up with Rose to go behind enemy lines at glittering casino city called Canto Bight, â€œa Star Wars Monte Carloâ€“type environment, a little James Bondâ€“ish, a little To Catch a Thief.” Here’s what Johnson had to say about this new element: â€œIt was an interesting challenge, portraying luxury and wealth in this universe.â€ It’s true, we’ve rarely seen a casino like area in the galaxy that is filled is bazaars, dusty temples, murky swamps, deep forests, and most importantly taverns and bars. â€œI was thinking, ‘O.K., letâ€™s go ultra-glamour. Letâ€™s create a playground, basically, for rich assholes,’â€ he said.
The casino will feature all sorts of new creatures, who sometimes may be aired for comic relief:
â€œI didnâ€™t want this to be a dirge, a heavy-osity movie. So one thing Iâ€™ve tried really hard to do is keep the humor in there, to maintain the feeling, amid all the heavy operatic moments, that youâ€™re on a fun ride.â€
– Carrie Fisher’s Legacy.
Fisher’s passing was a tremendous loss to the Star Wars saga. While she has a vital role in The Last Jedi, she would have had a more prominent role in Episode IX.
Fisher completed her part in Episode VIII late last summer, when principal photography on the film wrapped. Said producer Kathleen Kennedy:
â€œShe was having a blast. The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, â€˜Iâ€™d better be at the forefront of IX!â€™ 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.â€
It also won’t change anything about the film itself except make it more “poignant.” However it has forced Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow and Kennedy to take a new approach to the sequel. But one thing is for sure, they will not be using CGI to recreate the character as first rumored.
But Hamill seems to be one who has been affected by this the most. While they played siblings on screen, much of that carried off screen as well as the two would get into silly squabbles like who would get a million Twitter followers first.
Of Fisher, Ridley said:
â€œCarrie lived her life the way she wanted to, never apologizing for anything, which is something Iâ€™m still learning. â€˜Embarrassedâ€™ is the wrong word, but there were times through it all when I felt like I was â€¦ shrinking. And she told me never to shrink away from itâ€”that it should be enjoyed.â€
Head over to Vanity Fair for more, including additional images and a video from their shoot.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters on December 15, 2017.