As promised, Vanity Fair followed up on Tuesday’s four-cover reveal of its Last Jedi blowout with the main attraction Wednesday, digging deep into Episode VIII’s universe with David Kamp’s cover story and Annie Leibovitz’s amazing photos from the set.
The biggest reveals may be the identity of the characters played by Star Wars newcomers Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro. Dern (Jurassic Park) is playing Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, “a prominent officer in the Resistance.” Del Toro’s (Traffic, Sicario, Sin City) character, “a ‘shady character’ of unclear allegiances,” isn’t officially named in the film, apparently, but has been nicknamed “DJ” for reasons the filmmakers say will become clear.
Thanks to Vanity Fair, we also get introduced to the glitzier side of the latter-day Galaxy Far, Far Away, as we meet the diverse denizens of the casino city Canto Bight, described by director Rian Johnson as “a Star Wars Monte Carlo–type environment, a little James Bond–ish, a little To Catch a Thief.” In the Saga timeline, this will be the first time glamour and wealth has played such a prominent role on screen since Coruscant served as the center of social and political life in the prequel trilogy.
Holdo doesn’t appear to be your traditional military leader, but Star Wars has given us unconventional generals before. Her look evokes both the more elaborate outfits of the prequels’ Queen Amidala and the outrageous excesses of The Hunger Games’ Effie Trinket, as do other Canto Bight characters we see in Vanity Fair’s photos. I definitely can’t wait to learn more about her fascinating new character and the new worlds of The Last Jedi.
As hinted at yesterday, we now know that not only does General Leia Organa have more prominent role in Episode VIII than in Episode VII — The Force Awakens, but also that her role was supposed to be even bigger in the untitled Episode IX (which, incidentally, we now know begins filming in January 2018).
“She was having a blast,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told Vanity Fair. “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.” (Emphasis added.)
Carrie Fisher’s death late last year obviously forced a significant shift in plans. But Kamp reports that Fisher’s passing didn’t change The Last Jedi, except to “make it more poignant: the film farewell of both the actress and the character.” Does Leia become one with the Force?
There’s a trove of additional teases, anecdotes and, of course, spectacular Annie Leibovitz photos in Vanity Fair’s cover story — be sure to check it out.