12 months ago
The Force is strong with Vanity Fair.
And from what director Rian Johnson and stars Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and Daisy Ridley are teasing, the eagerly-awaited film is going to be as dark as The Empire Strikes Back.
“I started by writing the names of each of the characters,” Johnson, who is the sole credit on the script, told Vanity Fair’s David Kamp, “and thinking, What’s the hardest thing they could be faced with?”
The greatest scoop in our galaxy comes with four covers of the major cast from The Last Jedi—including the late Carrie Fisher, who died in December—shot on the set by legendary lenswoman Annie Leibovitz.
More important than even the visuals for spoiler-sifting geeks is Johnson’s revelations about the plot and new characters.
There are three significant newbies—a “shady character” played by Benicio Del Toro, the Resistance’s Vice Admiral Holdo, played by Laura Dern, and a maintenance worker-turned-hero named Rose Tico, who is played by a young actress named Kelly Marie Tran, sent on a mission with Boyega’s Finn.
Hamill found himself having to climb all those steps back up Ireland’s Skellig Michael island (it takes an hour and a half for the 65-year-old to scale) to shoot one year after filming his one-minute cameo in The Force Awakens. But that’s exactly what he had to do since Episode VIII picks up moments after the end of the previous film.
Just as important as any big reveals in the article, the cast shared stories about their royal audiences with Princess Leia herself, Fisher.
Boyega regales Kamp with how much the actress helped him deal with the racist social media backlash when the first images of him in Stormtrooper costume appeared on the internet.
“I remember—and forgive me, I’m going to drop the f-bomb, but that’s just Carrie—she said, ‘Ah, boohoo, who f— cares? You just do you,’ ” he told Vanity Fair. “Words like that give you strength. I bore witness in a million ways to her sharing her wisdom with Daisy too.”
But no one misses his friend and peer of four decades more than Hamill.
“We did this scene where Carrie has to slap me,” he said, “I think we did 27 takes in all, and Carrie leaned into it every time, man. She loved hitting me. Rian found such a wonderful way of working with her, and I think she really relished it.”