rian johnson millenium falcon

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Star Wars this week, Vanity Fair has published a huge cover story on this year’s forthcoming sequel, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We saw the four covers that will be on shelves this week, but now the full photo spread shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz is online.

Along with the photos, there’s an extensive cover story that reveals a bunch of new Star Wars The Last Jedi details. So let’s run through everything we learned, including new information on characters played by Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro, the location known as Canto Bight, and a surprising interaction between Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and General Leia (Carrie Fisher). Keep in mind that if you want to go into The Last Jedi completely blind, you probably shouldn’t read beyond this point.


Mark Hamill Didn’t Want to Go Back to Skellig Michael

For Star Wars: The Force Awakens, saga actor Mark Hamill had to hike all the way up the cliffside of the Irish landmark Skellig Michael to film the final scene of the movie, all so he could stand there and look meaningfully at Daisy Ridley without saying a single like of dialogue. Therefore, when it came time to go back to the island, Hamill was not thrilled. The actor said, “When I read the script for Episode VIII, I went, ‘Oh my God, we’re going back?’ Because I said I was never going back.”

Though Hamill is hardly decrepit at the still-young age of 65, he’s not nearly as young and fit as Daisy Ridley, or the rest of the crew that had to scale Skellig Michael with him. While all the young members of the production were given 45 minutes to climb to the shooting location where Rey and Luke met, Hamill was given an hour and a half to get up there, and the actor explained, “I had to stop every 10, 15 minutes to rest.”

Still, Hamill is only complaining in a very tongue-in-cheek way, because he couldn’t be more grateful to return to the role that made him the sci-fi icon that he is today.

rian johnson millenium falcon

Rian Johnson Had Immense Freedom in Crafting the Story

Even though there’s a Lucasfilm story group of 11 people who maintain the continuity of the entire Star Wars universe (spanning comics books, video games and more), they don’t have a mandate of plot points that filmmakers directing a Star Wars movie have to hit. In fact, Rian Johnson had the freedom to take The Last Jedi in whatever direction he pleased, and that was almost too much freedom.

Johnson indicated in the interview that he wanted “more give-and-take with the Lucasfilm team” when it came to cracking the story, so he set up base in San Francisco for six weeks during the writing process, just a couple doors down from story department head Kiri Hart, and met with the story group twice a week to bounce ideas off them and get a little more guidance on where to take the saga next.

star wars the last jedi trailer 1 rey

The Last Jedi Knocks the Stool Out from Under Our Characters

So far, we’re very much in the dark when it comes to the actual plot of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and director Rian Johnson isn’t budging when it comes to revealing specific details about the story (at least not this far out from release). But he did say that his goal was to really challenge the characters this time after The Force Awakens set everything up for him to play with. The director said:

“J.J. [Abrams] and Larry [Kasdan] and Michael [Arndt] set everybody up in a really evocative way in VII and started them on a trajectory. I guess I saw it as the job of this middle chapter to challenge all of those characters—let’s see what happens if we knock the stool out from under them.

I started by writing the names of each of the characters, and thinking, ‘What’s the hardest thing they could be faced with?'”

Who is the Last Jedi

Luke Skywalker Hasn’t Been Alone on His Island

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we learn that Luke Skywalker has been missing for quite some time. As Han Solo explains to Rey and Finn, Luke had formed a new Jedi academy, but “one boy, an apprentice, turned against him, destroyed it all.” We’ve all assumed, presumably correctly, that boy is none other than Kylo Ren, also known as Han and Leia’s son, Ben. After that, it was believed that Luke went to look for the first Jedi temple, and no one has seen or heard from him since then.

Rian Johnson has confirmed that the hearsay about Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens is true. Luke did indeed go in search of the first Jedi temple, and he found it in the location we reunited with him at the end of The Force Awakens, a planet called Ahch-To. Many have assumed that Luke has been alone this whole time, but Rian Johnson revealed an interesting tidbit during his Vanity Fair interview.

While they were on Skellig Michael, the set builders “duplicated the beehive-shaped huts where the monks lived on Skellig and made a kind of little Jedi village out of them.” The village isn’t just a remnant of the old Jedi temple left abandoned, because Johnson revealed that Luke has been living “among an indigenous race of caretaker creatures.” The director wouldn’t reveal any more about the creatures than that, but for those concerned we’re looking at another Return of the Jedi scenario, Johnson reassured everyone that these are “not Ewoks.”

On the next page, you’ll find details about Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro’s characters, as well as a shocking interaction between Oscar Isaac and Carrie Fisher as Poe Dameron and General Leia.

Continue Reading Star Wars: The Last Jedi Details >>

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