Adam Driver may be the only person not charmed by a John Boyega hug and other The Last Jedi tidbits

Vanity Fair is following up their blockbuster cover story and portfolio with a number of The Last Jedi sidebars today.

→ First up, how seriously Adam Driver takes his role as Kylo Ren. Includes priceless anecdotes from Mark Hamill and John Boyega.

→ Kathleen Kennedy and Rian Johnson dodge questions about the title.

Rey’s lightsaber is now officially Rey’s lightsaber, says Pablo Hidalgo. (Sorry, Anakin.) And what about Luke’s? (The green one.) Well…

What’s not in The Last Jedi? Romance. There’s “no one-to-one equivalent of the Han-to-Leia, burning, unrequited love.” Johnson says. “In our story, that’s not a centerpiece.” Good.

→ And finally, Kathleen Kenndy on Carrie Fisher, Episode IX, and other future films.

So many photos! The Vanity Fair spread is live

Vanity Fair’s full spread and story is up! You need to go check it out, but here’s a quick rundown what we’ve learned: Laura Dern is Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo of the Resistance, and Benicio Del Toro doesn’t get a name at all in the film – though they’re calling him DJ. (Seeeecretsss.) And yes, there are pictures of both. Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico has a sister, Paige, a Resistance gunner, played by Veronica Ngo. And the planet filmed in Dubrovnik is indeed named Canto Bright. “I was thinking, O.K., let’s go ultra-glamour. Let’s create a playground, basically, for rich assholes,” director Rian Johnson said.

The article also includes some touching tributes to (and photos of) Carrie Fisher, so keep the tissues handy.

Writer David Kamp will be answering questions about the story on Reddit later today.

The Last Jedi’s Vanity Fair covers revealed!

Vanity Fair and Annie Leibovitz have come for The Last Jedi with a vengeance. They ‘re offering four covers (a rarity for them) which they revealed today. Tomorrow we get a look at the inside photos and the full story.

From the cover reveal, we see Phasma unmasked for the first time (RIP the popular Tumblr theory that she’s a Chiss) and learn the full name of Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico, “the new character with the most screen time.”

The issue will be on newsstands May 31 in New York and Los Angeles, and June 6 nationally. You can also order each cover individually, or get a poster with a subscription.

The boss: New Kathleen Kennedy profile, and about that slave bikini…

vf-kathleen-kennedy

Vanity Fair has a new interview and profile of Kathleen Kennedy in the wake of The Force Awakens. The most interesting part, perhaps, comes from writer Tony Kushner (Angels in America:)

“She talked about the way in which the conventional approach to these things is that a script starts from an outline, and that’s what everybody focuses on before there’s a word of dialogue.” In Kushner’s recollection, Kennedy was urging the writers to turn their focus to the characters. She kept saying to them, “Who are these people? I don’t know who these people are.” Kushner felt that “she was expressing an impatience about character being secondary to story line, which violated something very essential for her.”

He went on: “We had an interesting conversation about how a lot of playwrights start with outlines because it gives you something to hold on to, but that you know the characters are likely to derail the outline once they start doing what they do.” He and Kennedy talked about how “there’s no telling what will happen once you have invented a person. They may be willing to do what the outline says to do, but they may have very different plans in mind.” The sense Kushner got was that Kennedy “was pushing people to be unafraid of being lost for a while. It was good to see her holding the banner of complexity in the middle of this huge enterprise of Star Wars.” The machines, in other words, have not won.

She also addresses Leia’s slave bikini:

Referring to a notorious scene in Return of the Jedi, I asked Kennedy if she would ever have put Princess Leia in a golden bikini—the famous “slave Leia” costume that is embedded in the collective unconscious of legions of men who were adolescents in the 80s. “With a chain around her neck?,” Kennedy asked, arching an eyebrow and laughing. “I don’t think that would happen.” She quickly added that she didn’t think George Lucas would put her in that bikini today.

Lucas’ wife, Mellody Hobson, on the other hand, says “George is not apologetic about that bikini.” I don’t doubt it.

The article notes that there isn’t a ban on the slave bikini – but I’ve always suspected the real story is that there’ll be less bikini, as opposed to a blanket ban, considering the source of the ‘banning’ brouhaha is a pinup artist.

In any case, you’re going to want to read the whole thing.

The Force Awakens: Interviewing Annie Leibovitz, revealing Andy Serkis’ role

snokeStarWars.com has an interview with Annie Leibovitz today about her Star Wars work for Vanity Fair. There’s a photo of Andy Serkis in mo-cap gear, and the reveal that his character is Supreme Leader Snoke.

Snoke! Granted, it’s no Sheev, but aren’t we glad I didn’t do the Twitter roundup last night?

→ The first actual The Force Awakens action figures have been spotted – on eBay, naturally. It’s a stormtrooper.

→ Spoiler corner: Finn and his hot new accessory.

Kathleen Kennedy on what really makes Star Wars

Kathleen KennedyThere’s some great stuff from Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy at Vanity Fair today.

George made it personal. He just made a movie that meant something to him. And I think that’s probably the biggest challenge for anybody stepping into this is that they can’t spend a lot of time thinking about what other people are going to think of the movie. They have to come at it from the point of view of, What does this mean to me and what does it have to do with me? Frankly, I don’t think great movies ever get made unless there’s some aspect of that going on between the creator and the story that’s being told. It can only become emotional [for an audience] if it’s operating on some kind of personal passion.

She also the emotional resonance of Star Wars, the old school experience, and how she and Steven Spielberg ended up hiring J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) to fix up those old Super 8 films.

Lawrence Kasdan on Star Wars past, future, and Lando

braintrustVanity Fair isn’t done just yet: In addition to (finally) posting their complete cover story on The Force Awakens, they have an interview with Lawrence Kasdan where he talks about the old film, the new film, and hints that Lando Calrissian’s journey isn’t over just yet.

As for TFA, less is more when it comes to running time:

…it’s turning out really great. J.J. directed it so beautifully, and it’s so exhilarating and everything. It’s a big movie. It’s full of wonderful stuff, incident and character stuff and jokes and effects. One of the things that we always refocus on from the get-go was that it not be one of these very long, bloated blockbusters. A lot of very entertaining movies lately are too long. In the last 20 minutes, you think, why isn’t this over? We didn’t want to make a movie like that. I mean, we were really aiming to have it be—when it’s over you’ll say, “I wish there’s more.” Or, “Wait, is it over?” Because how rarely you get that feeling nowadays, and I think we’re headed there. But it means that there will be constant critical looking at it from now to the end, saying, “Do we need this? Do we need that? Is it better if this comes out, even though we love it?” Killing your darlings.

Out this week: Vanity Fair, Star Wars #5

The official street date for this month’s Vanity Fair was yesterday, so if you still need a copy of the article that drove fandom nuts on the 4th you’re probably more than safe to go looking. (FYI, certain things about the article have been wildly exaggerated, but that’s pretty much par for the course.) UPDATE: The full article is now online.

But if you’re here for the usual books and comics, there’s always Star Wars #5, dropping on Wednesday. Preview? Preview.