This year’s May the 4th, a.k.a. Star Wars Day, is a whole lot like Christmas morning, with all sorts of exciting new presents piled up high.
Following last night’s reveal of the new Vanity Fair cover — which features Harrison Ford, Chewbacca, and new stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and BB-8 hanging out in the Millennium Falcon — the magazine has unleashed more intel on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, including new photos (and some brief footage) of Adam Driver as bad guy Kylo Ren. There’s also a look at Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o, and a shot of ace pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) next to a spiffy X-wing. (Go to Vanity Fair’s site to see a gallery of the Annie Leibovitz photos.)
In a video accompanying the story, we see Driver in his Force Awakens costume — a loose, all-black cape-tunic draped around him in the vein of a Jedi. Not pictured: The infamous crossguard lightsaber that appeared in the film’s first teaser.
The video also shows Nyong’o in a motion capture suit in her role as pirate Maz Kanata, a CGI character:
One CGI character Star Wars fans don’t need to worry about is the prequel trilogy’s Jar Jar Binks; in the magazine’s tease of its upcoming cover story, Abrams said that he was thinking of killing the universally loathed Gungan in this new film.
“I have a thought about putting Jar Jar Binks’s bones in the desert there,” he joked while looking at footage in an editing bay. “I’m serious! Only three people will notice, but they’ll love it.”
Watch ‘Star Wars’ fans reacting to the new ‘Force Awakens’ teaser:
Whether or not Abrams scattered the remains of the goofy digital Naboo native across the desert, the writer-director is most definitely going to please traditionalists with his insistence that the film use as many practical, physical effects as possible. For example, he teases a Jawa-like creature that emerges thanks to a rudimentary “seesaw” trick, that had a technician pushing down off camera to make the figure pop out of the sand, with no digital manipulation to smooth out the rickety image.
“It’s so old-school and crazy,” he explained. “We could improve this thing, but at some point do we lose the wonderful preposterousness?”
Speaking of old-school, Abrams told the magazine he had one director’s note for Ford, who’s playing Han Solo for the first time since 1983′s Return of the Jedi. “I knew that he had done in some movies a kind of more growly thing, and I didn’t want Han to be growly,” Abrams told Vanity Fair. As a result, he says, “there was a fire in his eyes that you see in the movie.”
Vanity Fair’s not done with the Star Wars scoops: The magazine promises one more big character reveal on Tuesday at 4p.m. EST. Go here for more details.
Watch a teaser for ‘The Force Awakens:’