Vanity Fair’s anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi cover story hasn’t disappointed. On top of a batch of Annie Liebowitz-shot images of the cast in character from the set, they’ve given us an in-depth insight into learnings from their set visit, which included interviews with director Rian Johnson and cast members. Here are the six most significant reveals:
1. Benicio Del Toro’s unnamed character is “shady”
Rian Johnson and the rest of the Lucasfilm team still won’t be drawn into revealing too many details about who Del Toro’s playing, except to call him a “shady character” without a defined allegiance.
Johnson and co. call him DJ, though and the director tantalisingly says: “You’ll see—there’s a reason why we call him DJ”. From the Vanity Fair portrait, you can surmise he’s pretty cocksure. You might say he looks like a more sinister version of Han Solo.
2. Ahch-To is the site of the first Jedi temple
Rian Johnson has confirmed what people have been speculating on for months. The site at which Rey first meets Luke at the end of The Force Awakens, and where the action picks up again in The Last Jedi is the location of the first Jedi temple.
It’s where Luke disappeared to and has been hiding all these years. The production team recreated the stone monk dwellings found at the shooting location, Ireland’s Skellig Michael, on the Dingle Peninsula and turned them into a Jedi village. In The Last Jedi, these huts are now populated by a native race of “caretaker” dwellers.
3. There’s news of another new character
And her name is Paige. Although there are no pictures, David Kamp who wrote the Vanity Fair feature says he saw the character in a scene receiving training from Oscar Isaac’s X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron. She’s a gunner, and is played by Veronica Ngo. She’s also sister to Rose Tico – the new addition to the saga who was revealed at Star Wars Celebration in April, played by Kelly Marie Tran. We also learned that Rose will embark on a mission behind enemy lines with John Boyega’s Finn. There’s no word on whether Paige will be joining them.
4. Vice Admiral Holdo has purple hair
Yes, that’s right. Laura Dern’s character has a neat purple rinse. And being photographed from the back, thereby making it more prominent, gives it a significance that we might not otherwise have read into it. So why should we be interested in Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo’s hair colour?
Lucasfilm’s Story Group creative executive Pablo Hidalgo told Vanity Fair that the character is human. He goes on to say that the colour is in keeping with her “cultural background”. Which suggests she’s dyed it this colour. Additionally, the dress she has on looks to be an aubergine hue. Purple is traditionally a regal colour – could this reflect the high-ranking member of the Resistance’s own origins? And could she be being set up to take on a more significant role in Episode IX in Carrie Fisher’s absence?
5. General Leia Organa slaps Poe Dameron
Fans are massively looking forward to seeing the dearly departed Carrie Fisher’s Star Wars swan song in The Last Jedi. And one particular scene sounds like it’ll make an impact. If only on Oscar Isaac’s cheek.
Isaac told Vanity Fair: “We did this scene where Carrie has to slap me. I think we did 27 takes in all, and Carrie leaned into it every time, man. She loved hitting me.”
6. A closer look at Canto Bight
While Rose and Finn are off on their adventures, they find themselves in Canto Bight. The Las Vegas of space, this casino city was described by Rian Johnson as “a Star Wars Monte Carlo–type environment, a little James Bond–ish, a little To Catch a Thief”.
A playground for the rich, sequences will be similar in tone to Mos Eisley cantina scenes. Johnson says he wanted to balance the “heavy operatic moments” of The Last Jedi with a sense of “fun”. It will show us a side of the galaxy that we haven’t seen before – we’ll get a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy who have built a bubble for themselves that separates them off from the galactic shenanigans.
‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ hits screens on December 15.