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STAR WARS: RISE OF SKYWALKER: 5 Biggest Reveals From Vanity Fair Magazine

Vanity Fair released a new behind-the-scenes article on the making of the newest Star Wars movie Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019). It includes in-depth interviews with the cast and crew and lots of amazing photos by masterful portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz. The whole article is worth reading but here are the biggest highlights.

First, here are the covers:

1. The Return of the Knights of Ren

While we got a brief look at the Dark Side order of elite warriors led by Kylo Ren under Supreme Leader Snoke. They showed up in a flashback of the fall of Luke Skywalker's Jedi Training Academy. Now they're back.

Sources at Disney confirm that the Knights of Ren will finally arrive in Rise of Skywalker. Now we have some photos to prove it.

They have some wicked weapons too. Most Jedi leave blasters behind and use "elegant weapons for a more civilized age". But these guys are packing some serious hardware.

2. Carrie Fisher Returns With Her Daughter

The studio struggled with how to deal with the 2016 death of Carrie Fisher. What happens to the character she plays: General Leia Organa. She needed to be in the movie. But how?

Should they recast? Use a digital recreation like in Rogue One? The studio was adamant they weren't replacing Fisher. Abrams didn't want to use a digital mask or double. Then he got it.

Abrams remembered that there was footage of her from The Force Awakens that had been unused. "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." He wrote scenes around the footage from the movie so her dialogue matched the new contexts. Abrams even went so far as re-creating the lighting to match the old footage of Fisher. "It was a bizarre kind of left side/right side of the brain sort of Venn diagram thing, of figuring out how to create the puzzle based on the pieces we had."

Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, appears in the movies as a Resistance officer named Lieutenant Connix. At first, Abrams wrote her out of the scenes because he thought it would be too hard for her. But Lourd refused to let him do it. She wanted to be in them. "And so, there are moments where they’re talking; there are moments where they’re touching," Abrams says. "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."

3. Naomi Ackie Plays Jannah

There's a picture of John Boyega, who plays Finn, and Naomi Ackie, who plays Jannah riding furry horses. The creatures are called Hardy Orbaks. Ackie makes her Star Wars movie debut. She can't say much about her character but says the movies feel "very grounded".

"There’s the kind of spectacular-ness, and the supernatural move-things-with-your-mind magic stuff, but then there’s also this really grounded, rugged nature where everything is distressed and old and kind of worn out and lived-in," she adds. "And I think playing with those two ideas means that you get this feeling that it could almost be real. Like, in a galaxy far away, it could almost be the case that you could have this."

4. Abrams Loves Practical Effects

Abrams went to the desert valley in southern Jordan called Wadi Rum, or sometimes "the Valley of the Moon" to film scenes for Star Wars. Creator George Lucas filming the desert Tatooine scenes in Southern Tunisia.

Did they go there because it's easy? Nope. They had to build miles of road into the desert. They had to set up a small town to host the cast, extras and crew. The creature-effects department by itself had over 70 people. Not to mention the sandstorms. But why?

"It's the things that you can't anticipate—the imperfections," says Oscar Isaac, who plays the Resistance pilot Poe Dameron. "It's very difficult to design imperfection, and the imperfections that you have in these environments immediately create a sense of authenticity. You just believe it more."

When Isaac arrived in Wadi Rum for his first week of shooting, he noticed a huge green screen. So why film in the desert? And Abrams said, "Well, because look: the way that the sand interacts with the light, and the type of shots you would set up—if you were designing the shot on a computer you would never even think to do that." Isaac added, "There's something about the way that the light and the environment and everything plays together."

5. Kerri Russel Plays Zorri Bliss

Kerri Russel worked with Abrams on Felicity and Mission: Impossible III. While we don't know much about her character we know she plays a masked "rogue" named Zorri Bliss. Vanity Fair notes the "similarity between Russell’s costume and the one worn by the short-lived female bounty hunter Zam Wesell in Attack of the Clones".

Does she play a bounty hunter? Is she a hero or a villain? No word yet, but she looks awesome. Russell said "I do have the coolest costume. I will say that."

So far the movie is shaping up to be the event of the year and could be the best Star Wars movie ever.

About Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Official synopsis: "TBA"
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Cinematography by Rick Carter and Kevin Jenkins
Production Design by Dan Mindel
"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Kari Russell
"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" is scheduled for release December 20, 2019 (United States)
Check back with the Geek Twins for more Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker movie news and hype!

[Via Vanity Fair]

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