If The Force Awakens was a conventional #StarWars movie in every sense, from the familiar visuals and costumes to the way its plot mirrored A New Hope, our first proper look at The Last Jedi suggests the franchise's eighth instalment is taking a serious, and long overdue, swerve into the realm of the downright weird.
And on the strength of these images, that's a very good thing below. The behind-the-scenes pictures and cast photoshoot were shot by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair, and together they form a truly mouth-watering appetizer for Rian Johnson's sequel, which now has the freedom to explore new corners of this vast and storied universe.
Check out the first-look Star Wars: The Last Jedi shoot below.
Welcome To Canto Bight, The Playground Of The Galaxy's "Rich Assholes"
Of all the planets visited in #TheLastJedi, likely to be among the most curious (and certainly the most outrageous) is Canto Bight, home to a casino populated by wealthy socialites and a menagerie of alien races. Johnson describes the casino as being in the flavor of Monte Carlo with a slight James Bond vibe, and considering The Force Awakens was so stripped back, the opulence seen here looks quite delicious.
Expect a healthy dash of humor from The Last Jedi's surrealist detour into the lives of the galaxy's uber-rich. Here's what Johnson had to say about the lavish casino city of his creation:
"I was thinking, OK, let’s go ultra-glamour. Let’s create a playground, basically, for rich assholes ... It was an interesting challenge, portraying luxury and wealth in this universe."
Benicio del Toro: A Face Without A Name
The identity of the mystery character embodied by Benicio del Toro has been a driver of conversation among the Star Wars fandom ever since his casting was confirmed. Naturally, Johnson gives almost nothing away in the Vanity Fair interview, but he does confirm that while del Toro's character genuinely does not have a name in The Last Jedi, he's been nicknamed "DJ" by the crew for reasons that will become apparent soon.
Carrie Fisher, Luke & Leia's Reunion & More
The slideshow below is full of new images, most exciting of which is perhaps a shot of Rey and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon. It's pretty heartwarming to see Chewie forging a new partnership in the wake of Han's tragic death at the hand of Kylo Ren — who can also be glimpsed in the gallery below, posing alongside Captain Phasma (minus helmet) and a more elaborately-styled General Hux.
Finally, one image likely to touch a lot of hearts is our first proper look at Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, a reunion which will also play out on-screen when Luke and Leia cross paths in The Last Jedi. It's going to be majorly emotional, and it remains to be seen how Johnson's film will tie up any of Leia's loose ends ahead of the ninth movie in the saga, which was set to feature Leia prominently prior to Fisher's death.
Check out the full story on Vanity Fair for even more first-look images from The Last Jedi, which enters our orbit on December 15.
New faces, old favorites or fresh planets — what are you most excited for from The Last Jedi?