Today is May the Fourth (be with you), the unofficial holiday for Star Wars. And given the fact that we’ve already been wowed by the latest trailer earlier in April, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate the holiday than by showing new images for the upcoming first entry in the new trilogy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, courtesy of a photo shoot by Vanity Fair and Annie Leibovitz revealed in the video above.
Among many anticipated characters, the photo shoot revealed Adam Driver (Girls) as Kylo Ren, the hooded baddie who had the honor of wielding the three-pronged lightsaber in the first teaser trailer for The Force Awakens. While his all black outfit recalls Luke’s Jedi garb in Return of the Jedi, Kylo Ren is clearly on the other side here, as we get a peek at the “Snowtroopers” right behind him. As Variety reports, Kylo is part of The First Order, which is the new name for the Empire following the aftermath of the defeat of Emperor Palpatine in the aforementioned Return of the Jedi. The rebel alliance will be called the Resistance in the new film.
We also get to see Lupita Nyong’o’s face full of motion capture tracking dots to play the computer generated character Maz Kanata. As Vanity Fair reports, we don’t know whether Kanata will be part of the Resistance, but the photo of the rogue’s gallery, filled with smugglers and galactic travelers, hints she is of the same ilk as Han Solo, and Chewbaca — slightly less than savory, in other words. That doesn’t necessarily reveal whether she’s a villain, or a team player like Han and Chewie turned out to be, but in the Star Wars canon, it could mean she can be swayed towards the light.
Star Wars veteran Peter Mayhew, aka Chewbacca, also revealed via tweet the identity of Gwendoline Christie’s character. The Game of Thrones actress will play Captain Phasma, described as a First Order officer:
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) May 4, 2015
Of course, not everyone is new to the scene, as we see Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron standing triumphantly next to his X-Wing fighter. Revealed during the Star Wars Celebration event, Dameron’s role in the movie comes from a mission handed down to him by “a certain princess,” who we can presume is Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia.
Newcomer Daisy Ridley, who will play Rey, is also shown in a behind-the-scenes picture with director J.J. Abrams, as we see her piloting her speeder through a marketplace in her home world of Jakku.
Finally, we see the folks behind the curtain, so to speak, including the brilliantly integral composer John Williams, producer and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, and the director and fellow co-writer, J.J. Abrams.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18.