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VANITY FAIR SPREAD
Annie Leibovitz has had a long history with Star Wars, having gone out to many of the films and shooting portraits of the cast and crew as they went about their important work. Her lush, gorgeous photographs in Vanity Fair are always accompanied by a series of stories that drop an incredible amount of detail about the film and its characters, and the magazine just put out her latest, for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. If you want to remain as in the dark about Episode IX as possible, I'd avoid the Vanity Fair shoot. Otherwise, wade in.
There's a lot of interesting information contained in these pages. For one, we know that the Knights of Ren are, indeed, back ... not that they were ever substantially in a film for long enough to make us feel like they were really gone. Perhaps the thing that has me most excited are the acknowledgments from J.J. Abrams that this is capping off a nine-movie saga, not a six-movie saga or a three-movie saga. George Lucas spent so much of his life bridging the classic trilogy to the prequel trilogy and vice versa because he knew these films would be viewed as a single whole by future generations. Knowing that Abrams is on board with that vision — despite any misplaced dislike he may have for the prequels — makes me happy.
There are lots of photos and some video to explore, so be sure to check the articles out.
This issue of Vanity Fair hits newsstands in New York and Los Angeles on May 30 and nationally on June 4.
LUKE COMING BACK TO LIFE?
Thanks to the new Vanity Fair coverage, there are some who believe that this photo is proof that Luke Skywalker is coming back to life and that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is going to be retconned.
While I'll grant that literally anything is possible, I think we're just seeing a staged photo for the benefit of Annie Leibovitz. And it's not like Mark Hamill needs to actually be a Force Ghost for him to be portrayed as such. I mean, look at Alec Guinness on the set of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi:
We won't see how Luke Skywalker figures into The Rise of Skywalker until its release, which is December 20.
KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC
BuzzFeed News is reporting that three anonymous sources have said that there is a new movie based on the Knights of the Old Republic video game in the works.
The alleged potential trilogy of movies is being written by Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar, Shutter Island), according to BuzzFeed. Just last month, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy talked about how there was something involving Knights of the Old Republic percolating, and this is the first indication outside of that that something might be going on. At this stage, though, it seems as though Lucasfilm has a lot of things in development, and there's no guarantee that any of this will actually turn into a finished film. Or even a greenlit one.
Unfortunately, it's like Master Yoda says: "Always in motion is the future."
The Star Wars podcast The Resistance Broadcast set out on a campaign to gain the attention of Lucasfilm in the hopes of getting Solo: A Star Wars Story a sequel.
And it drew a lot of attention from fans and filmmakers alike. Here's Joonas Suotamo, the actor behind Chewbacca in Solo, throwing his support behind the idea.
Sound guru Matthew Wood (and voice of General Grievous!) chimed in, too:
As did Brian Herring, the puppeteer behind BB-8 and others:
Solo did almost half a billion at the box office worldwide and has been consistently tagged as a favorite by fans. Disney chief Bob Iger took the blame for the less-than-expected performance of the film, owing to the timing of the release and the marketing of the film, all to keep the runway clear for Mary Poppins Returns.
With so many dangling story threads and the lead talent not getting any younger, it feels like the time is now to get more stories with these characters, particularly Alden Ehrenreich's Han Solo and Erin Kellyman's Enfys Nest, going.
In the words of Grand Moff Tarkin, "When has become now."
ASSISTANT DIRECTING THE PHANTOM MENACE
Some of the best behind-the-scenes documentary filmmaking for any movie was done for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. In this mini-documentary, the unsung heroes of the set, the assistant directors, get their due.
For other celebrations of the 20th anniversary, we did some really great interviews and put some great pieces together. The first was about the technological breakthroughs of The Phantom Menace, and the other was about that lovable Gungan scamp, Jar Jar Binks.
Be sure to check those out.
Until next week: May the Force be with you!