We’ve had reveals from Star Wars Celebration and a teaser trailer that enlightened us on much of the first act, but the Vanity Fair Star Wars: The Last Jedi preview has given us the most concrete info on Rian Johnson’s next entry in the space opera yet.
There are many constants in Star Wars – rousing score, sarcastic droids, sound in space and a seemingly never-ending run of planet-destroying space stations. But one lesser-recognized element is the Vanity Fair first-look; the magazine has had dibs on the initial images from each new Episode in the series since The Phantom Menace in 1999. And, positioned for the original movie’s 40th Anniversary (at one point intended to be the release date for Episode VIII), the one for The Last Jedi was particularly special.
Between four different covers (a first for Star Wars), a in-depth series of articles, a beautiful photoshoot by Annie Leibovitz and an incredibly candid Reddit AMA from writer David Kamp, there’s a lot to digest. To make it a bit easier, here’s our breakdown of everything we learned.
- View Article on One Page
- Luke and Rey (This Page)
- New Characters and Locations
- Snoke and The Dark Side
- Episode IX and Beyond
The First Jedi Temple (And Non-Jedi Village)
We’ve known for a long time that The Last Jedi picks up exactly where The Force Awakens left off with Luke and Rey on Ahch-To. The water planet spotted with jagged cliffs has long been assumed to be the site of the first Jedi Temple care of Han’s line in Episode VII, and the Vanity Fair feature confirms that in no uncertain terms. It also reveals that the huts seen in the previous film’s finale (real structures from the Ireland set) are in fact an active village, serving as the home to some non-Jedi indigenous creatures to the island described as caretakers and, a little more jokily, “not Ewoks”. These may be the birds rumored recently.
Beyond that and those striking pictures, little more concrete information regarding Luke or his wish to end the Jedi was discussed. Johnson repeated the inference from Celebration that Luke and Rey’s relationship wasn’t going to be a harmonious Master-Apprentice one and reaffirmed that this time around we get “very different side of the Luke character“. One little thing that was confirmed is that Luke has a brown glove over his cybernetic hand, meaning he was the one reading the Jedi book in the trailer.
Rey’s New Possessions
In The Force Awakens, Rey didn’t just uncover Force powers but also came into possession of two important pieces of Star Wars iconography: the Skywalker lightsaber and the Millennium Falcon. There’s been some speculation over where there will finally end up, but it’s now clear they belong to the former scavenger.
The weapon is, per the Lucasfilm Story Group’s Pablo Hidalgo, now referred as “Rey’s lightsaber” inside Lucasfilm, meaning it’s now transitioned to the new generation (in the process downplaying the possibility of Luke wielding it again). Nothing has been explicitly said about the Falcon, but as the pictures show her and Chewie in the cockpit (with Rey in the pilot’s seat) the inference is that it’s somehow now her ship too.
Luke’s Green Lightsaber May Return
The former Skywalker saber isn’t the only Jedi weapon floating around. According to Hidalgo, Lucasfilm has been keeping track of Luke’s green lightsaber from Return of the Jedi and, although he way coy about details, it may still appear in the films. The lightsaber was last seen on Luke’s belt at the end of Jedi (he reclaimed it before the Death Star blew up) and was used in sequel comic Shattered Empire, meaning he presumably still has it.
Whether he’ll use it in The Last Jedi (or Episode IX), or he’s developed beyond such rudimentary weaponry a la Palpatine, is kept a mystery, but it seems likely to be a factor in the expanding story in some form.