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.