Vanity Fair has released new images from behind the scenes of the latest Star Wars movie, The Rise of Skywalker.
Attached to a long-form read by Lev Grossman, legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz was given unprecedented access to the sets of the final instalment of the Skywalker saga.
Grossman sat down with director JJ Abrams to discuss the movie and the challenges he faced in bringing closure to one of the greatest stories every told.
“It wasn’t just to make one film that as a stand-alone experience would be thrilling, and scary, and emotional, and funny, but one that if you were to watch all nine of the films, you’d feel like, Well, of course—that,” Abrams said.
Following the events of The Last Jedi, Grossman says that the Resistance and First Order are "headed towards a final smash" in The Rise of Skywalker.
According to the feature, sources close to the movie are also saying that the story will bring an end to "millennia-long conflict" between the Jedi Order and the Sith.
Abrams spoke about the loss of Carrie Fisher and the role she was to play in film as General Leia Organa.
Fisher passed away in 2016 and while she is a crucial element in the Star Wars franchise, Abrams knew that he wouldn't be digitally recreating her for the movie and Lucasfilm was not going to re-cast.
Abrams told Grossman: It’s hard to even talk about it without sounding like I’m being some kind of cosmic spiritual goofball,” Abrams says, “but it felt like we suddenly had found the impossible answer to the impossible question.”
It was decided that to keep Leia in the story, Abrams would reuse unseen footage from The Force Awakens and write scenes around it to tell her story.
“There are moments in this movie where Carrie is there, and I really do feel there is an element of the uncanny, spiritual, you know, classic Carrie, that it would have happened this way because somehow it worked. And I never thought it would.”
Sources at Disney have confirmed that the Knights of Ren will feature in The Rise of Skywalker in support of the story's villain, Kylo Ren.
The film sees the return of Adam Driver as the son of Han Solo and Leia, Ben who has fallen to the dark side and become Kylo Ren.
We will also be reunited with Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).
We also cannot forget Mark Hamill as the iconic hero Luke Skywalker, and returning to the Millenium Falcon for the first time since 1983 is Billy Dee Williams, playing his charming scoundrel Lando Calrissian.
The Rise of Skywalker also introduces a number of new players to the game like Naomi Ackie, Keri Russell and Richard E Grant.
While very little is known about their characters, Annie Leibovitz's set photographs give us our first bits of information about their roles.
Naomi Ackie will play a character by the name of Jannah who will be an ally to Finn and the Resistance.
Vanity Fair has also revealed that Keri Russell will play Zorri Bliss, who they describe as a "masked scoundrel".
Many fans within the Star Wars universe have been speculating as to the role Richard E Grant would be playing, with many theorising that he was cast as Grand Admiral Thrawn.
He will, in fact, be playing Allegiant General Pryde, joining Domhnall Gleeson's General Hux as one of the leaders of the First Order.
Reprising his role as C3PO is Anthony Daniels, who is the only actor to have appeared in every Star Wars movie since the original in 1977.
He will be joined by Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, who took over the role of everyone's favourite Wookie from Peter Mayhew, who sadly died in April at the age of 74.
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Rey (Daisy Ridley), Chewbacca (@JoonasSuotamo), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), and Finn (@JohnBoyega), prepare for a scene in Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert. Get your first look at exclusive images shot by Annie Leibovitz in @VanityFair’s #TheRiseOfSkywalker special issue. Head to our IG Story for more details!
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in cinemas in December 2019.