Time flies, eh? It’s just under seven months until Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the third and final part of the new Star Wars trilogy, blasts its way into cinemas, and so far all we’ve had to really whet our appetite has been the recent teaser trailer.
But now, thanks to Vanity Fair, we’ve got our first look at some of the new characters who are set to make their debut in Episode IX. The magazine’s latest issue features a huge behind-the-scenes preview of the new movie, and although it doesn’t actually divulge much in the way of plot or character details (presumably the cast and crew have taken a pretty watertight oath of secrecy), the accompanying photos – shot by the legendary Annie Leibovitz – do at least offer us a glimpse of what to expect from the newbies.
The pics offer a first look at the mysterious “masked scoundrel” Zorri Bliss (Keri Russell) moseying around the Thieves’ Quarter of the “snow-dusted world” Kijimi, First Order leader Allegiant General Pryde (Richard E. Grant). Russell’s Zorri looks like what you usually envision a bounty hunter to look like in the Star Wars universe, but her armor and helmet looks a bit more majestic and sort of from a different era, the gold and purple of her outfit more in line with what we’ve seen in the Prequel Trilogy. While it’s unlikely that Zorri actually hails from the days of the Old Republic, it’s nice to see a character who reminds you of that era in the Sequel Trilogy.
As for Grant, he looks as miserable as Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux in his First Order officer’s uniform. Pryde will likely be one of Hux’s direct subordinates in the movie — or maybe an equal or superior under Kylo Ren’s rule as the new Supreme Chancellor. After all, what better way for Kylo to lord over the petulant Hux than with a demotion? (Force pushing him into a wall also works, though.)
The preview also gives us a new look at newcomer Naomi Ackie’s character, Jannah, who was first introduced at Celebration Chicago in April.
“It’s extremely surreal to be in it and see how it works from the inside,” Ackie told Vanity Fair. The Brit actress previously appeared in Lady Macbeth and is soon to be seen in the Game of Thrones prequel series.
Elsewhere, the article also reveals that the events of The Rise of Skywalker take place a year after the downbeat finale of The Last Jedi, which saw our heroes on the back foot. “There has been a bit of shared history that you haven’t seen,” Oscar Isaac said in the piece. He’s back as skilled Resistance pilot Poe Dameron. “Whereas in the other films, Poe is this kind of lone wolf, now he’s really part of a group. They’re going out and going on missions and have a much more familiar dynamic now.”
Meanwhile, director J.J. Abrams, who’s returning to the director’s chair after handing the reins to Rian Johnson for the previous installment, has given us an idea about where he’s taking the franchise.
“This trilogy is about this new generation having to deal with all the debt that has come before,” Abrams said. “The idea of the movie is kind of how I felt going into the movie as a filmmaker, which is to say that I’ve inherited all this stuff, the good and the bad, and it’s all coming to this end, and the question is, do we have what it takes to succeed?”
We’ll find out when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits cinemas on Dec. 20.