Star Wars is both honoured and feverishly anticipated in Vanity Fair’s exclusive cover photos. The entertainment magazine has released four special covers to mark the 40th anniversary of Star Wars and the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi – also known as Episode VIII in the space saga.
Each one is significant in different ways, and here are five noteworthy things we picked up from the shots.
1. Carrie Fisher gets her own cover
In a tribute to Carrie Fisher, who passed away in December last year, the actress has been awarded a solo cover. As the unofficial queen of the Star Wars franchise, it’s fitting to see her looking so regal. Of course, Leia is genuine royalty so it makes total sense anyway.
2. One cover mixes three ethnicities
Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and newcomer Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) stand side by side with droid BB8 gracing the foreground. Oscar Isaac was born in Guatemala to a Guatemalan mother and Cuban father, while Peckham-born Londoner John Boyega’s parents are Nigerian. Kelly Marie Tran is Asian-American. Fans are also shipping Poe and Finn as the first openly gay couple in the Star Wars saga – could this picture be more representative than we at first thought?
3. Rose gets a look-in
At Star Wars Celebration in April, the character of Rose was revealed for the first time. And with the release of this cover, we get her full name: Rose Tico. Played by Kelly Marie Tran, director Rian Johnson said that she has the biggest new part in the movie. And featuring alongside Poe and Finn in the cover underlines her significance. Rose is part of the Resistance, and works in maintenance.
Johnson told Vanity Fair: “She’s not a soldier. She’s not looking to be a hero, and she gets pulled a very big way into an adventure in this movie with Finn.”
4. The Rey and Luke shot could be from the film
Although photographer Annie Liebowitz was on set to capture her shots, every cover other than the Rey and Luke version features a picture with a studio background. The shot of Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Luke (Mark Hamill) standing next to one another on a windy Ahch-To clifftop could have come directly from the film. The location, fact fans, is in fact Ireland.
A cover-line labels this shot ‘The Force’, reinforcing the idea that in this film Rey will be getting to grips with the all-powerful Force, and detracting attention away from the notion of ‘The Last Jedi’ and what that could mean. There’s a reason they didn’t call this cover ‘The Jedi’…
5. Captain Phasma is helmet-less
In Captain Phasma’s cover, actress Gwendoline Christie stands alongside Adam Driver as Kylo Ren and Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux. It’s labelled ‘The Dark Side’. But what’s interesting about this picture is that it’s the first time we’ve seen this First Order commander with her helmet off. Does this mean she’ll appear this way in the film? She’s also carrying a brand new weapon — a shiny staff.
You can also clearly see Kylo Ren’s facial scar, which has been the subject of controversy because of director Rian Johnson’s decision to change it from how it appeared in The Force Awakens.
These guys may look battle-worn but they look determined, and prepared to make the second instalment of the third trilogy their own.
More from the shoot and accompanying interviews is revealed below.