It’s here: Vanity Fair‘s cover story on ‘Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi‘ is out, and with it are a million little juicy tidbits about the upcoming film and the people that made it happen.
Here’s everything we learnt from this wild ride.
Carrie Fisher was meant to be the star of the final film.
Journalist David Kamp conducted interviews for this feature after Fisher’s tragic death on December 27, 2016, a few days after her 60th birthday. It gives the entire feature a tragic slant, with cast and crew reflecting her life even as they discuss her role in the film.
And it turns out, she would have been the star of the yet-to-be-named ‘Star Wars Episode IX‘.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed it as such.
“The minute she finished [shooting The Last Jedi], she grabbed me and said, ‘I’d better be at the forefront of IX!’” she said. “Because Harrison (Ford) was front and centre on VII, and Mark (Hamill) is front and centre on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been.”
But she is absolutely not going to be brought back to life with CGI hocus pocus. “We don’t have any intention of beginning a trend of re-creating actors who are gone,” said Kennedy. Phew.
She mentored new generation Star Wars stars Daisy Ridley (Rey) and John Boyega (Finn).
Ridley revealed that she felt the pressure coming in to VIII, “because I knew the expectations, and I understood more what Star Wars means to people. It felt like more of a responsibility.” But luckily, the late and great Fisher knew a little something about that pressure.
“Carrie lived her life the way she wanted to, never apologising for anything, which is something I’m still learning,” said Ridley. “‘Embarrassed’ is the wrong word, but there were times through it all when I felt like I was … shrinking. And she told me never to shrink away from it—that it should be enjoyed.”
And when Boyega’s character Finn – a black stormtrooper later seen wielding a lightsaber – irked racists and especially cooked Star Wars fanatics everywhere, Carrie told him to fuck ’em.
“I remember—and forgive me, I’m going to drop the f-bomb, but that’s just Carrie—she said, ‘Ah, boohoo, who fuckin’ cares? You just do you,’?” he said. “Words like that give you strength. I bore witness in a million ways to her sharing her wisdom with Daisy too.”
She enjoyed slapping Oscar Isaac’s character Poe Dameron so much she filmed it 27 times.
“We did this scene where Carrie [as General Leia Organa] has to slap me,” said Isaac. “I think we did 27 takes in all, and Carrie leaned into it every time, man. She loved hitting me. [Director] Rian [Johnson] found such a wonderful way of working with her, and I think she really relished it.”
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is damaged as hell from, y’know, murdering his own dad, Han Solo.
“I feel like almost everyone is in that rehabilitation state,” he said, referring to the ‘bacta suit’ healing Finn’s damaged tissue at the beginning of the film. “You know, I don’t think that patricide is all that it’s cracked up to be. Maybe that’s where Kylo Ren is starting from. His external scar is probably as much an internal one.”
‘The Last Jedi’ will introduce us to four new main characters.
Already known was new Resistance gunner Paige (Veronica Ngo), who is under the tutelage of swashbuckling X-wing fighter pilot Dameron. Vanity Fair has confirmed another three: Paige’s young sister Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), who goes behind enemy lines with Finn; a prominent officer in the Resistance named Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern); and an unnamed yet “shady character” played by Benicio Del Toro, whose allegiances are up for debate.
VIII will introduce us to a glittering Monte Calo-esque casino that’s basically “a playground for rich assholes”.
Ah, so like every single casino in existence, then. Finn and Rose travel to the casino city Canto Bight, which is basically the James Bond moment of the franchise AND the ‘cantina scene’ moment of the film, all rolled into one. The intergalactic one percent. I hope Finn murders every single one of them.
If Mark Hamill had it his way, his character Luke Skywalker would have witnessed Han Solo’s death.
“Now, remember, one of the plots in the earlier films was the telepathic communication between my sister and me,” Hamill said. “So I thought, Carrie will sense that Han is in danger and try to contact me. And she won’t succeed, and, in frustration, she’ll go herself. Then we’re in the situation where all three of us are together, which is one of my favourite things in the original film, when we were on the Death Star. It’s just got a fun dynamic to it. So I thought it would have been more effective, and I still feel this way, though it’s just my opinion, that Leia would make it as far as she can, and, right when she is apprehended, maybe even facing death—Ba-boom! I come in and blow the guy away and the two of us go to where Han is facing off with his son, but we’re too late. The reason that’s important is that we witness his death, which carries enormous personal resonance into the next picture. As it is, Chewie’s there, and how much can you get out of [passable Chewbacca wail] ‘Nyaaarghhh!’ and two people [Rey and Finn] who have known Han for, what, 20 minutes?”
He dieted and trained for almost a year (50 weeks) for ‘The Force Awakens’… before learning he had no lines and was in the damn thing for just one scene.
But Luke absolutely did find the first Jedi temple.
Just like Han Solo theorised. When Rey finds Luke, he’s on the planet Ahch-To, inhabited by a mysterious caretaker creature that are definitely “not Ewoks”.
And like probably everyone else, he’s still grieving Carrie.
“I can’t say that phrase, what you just said: Carrie’s name and then the d-word,” he said. “Because I think of her in the present tense. Maybe it’s a form of denial, but she’s so vibrant in my mind, and so vital a part of the family, that I can’t imagine it without her. It’s just so untimely, and I’m so angry.”