The long, long pre-release roll-out of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens continues with the release of new behind-the-scenes and in-character images of Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley, Lupita Nyong’o, and Adam Driver. The last two are particularly significant for those following every scrap of information released from the film—and at this point, does anyone have a choice? (Hey, here’s a scary theory: What if there is no Force Awakens and this is all just an elaborate experiment stringing fans along in the run-up to a movie that will never happen?)
They’re the first images we’ve seen of Driver in character as (presumed) bad guy Kylo Ren, and the first shot of Nyong’o, who will apparently be doing a motion-capture performance as “space pirate” Maz Kanata. Also included: an array of suspicious-looking characters hanging out in what the caption describes as “the main hall of pirate Maz Kanata’s castle.” Space pirates! A castle! All we need now is a picture of Oscar Isaac looking dashing as he prepares to mount an X-Wing. Oh wait: There’s one of those, too. And since they’re shot by Annie Leibovitz, they’re all pretty striking.
You can find them all at the Vanity Fair site, but now let’s play Kremlinologist with just one of them:
No, not that one. This one:
So there’s Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, seen for the first time without his hood. And he looks… not happy. In fact, he’s wearing an expression worthy of Alan Rickman as Severus Snape. The caption reads “Next-generation bad guy Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) commands snowtroopers loyal to the evil First Order on the frozen plains of their secret base.” Like the previously unveiled stormtroopers, the upgraded snowtroopers recall their appearance in the classic trilogy—skirts and all—without looking quite the same. It appears the remnants of the Empire have a base on a snowy planet, in a nice reversal of The Empire Strikes Back. Does “secret base” mean the Empire, like the Rebel Alliance, is on the run, as the rebels were in that film? Maybe not: Looks like what used to be known as the Rebel Alliance is now called “The Resistance,” which makes it sound as if there are still some pretty serious forces of evil to resist.
So there are some tidbits to chew over on Star Wars Day. All this and more, including a cover with a smiling Harrison Ford, can be found in the June issue of Vanity Fair. And if you sign up for the magazine’s newsletter, there’s the promise of yet another Leibovitz photo, which will be sent directly to your inbox, another scrap to feed the Sarlaccian hunger for info about the film, which is rumored to be scheduled for release in December.