'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' cast celebrated on Vanity Fair cover

Han Solo and Chewbacca hang out with new characters in Annie Leibovitz's latest "Star Wars" portraits for Vanity Fair magazine. Plus J.J. Abrams reveals his Jar Jar death fantasies.

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read

Old favorites meet new heros in the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" cover photo. Vanity Fair

Our favorite space smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his Wookiee best friend Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) make for great cover models in the June 2015 issue of Vanity Fair.

The beloved duo are joined by a few new characters Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and of course, the much-discussed BB-8 droid, who all star in the upcoming "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," opening December 18.

The cover, revealed by Vanity Fair on Monday, Star Wars Day, is shot by legendary celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz, who has taken numerous portraits of characters from a galaxy far, far away.

Past Vanity Fair covers shot by Leibovitz included the cast of the "Star Wars" prequels "The Phantom Menace," "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith."

In an exclusive behind-the-scenes video at the cover photo shoot, we see some of the cast including a CGI-dotted Lupita Nyong'o, along with Leibovitz, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy on the set.

On Monday, Vanity Fair tweeted several additional photos from the upcoming issue, including a very intimidating Leibovitz photo of "Game of Thrones" actress Gwendoline Christie dressed as her armored character Captain Phasma. Already nicknamed by fans as "Chrometrooper," we can see the character chasing the Millennium Falcon in the most recent trailer.

"Star Wars" isn't the same without a few brave pilots at the helm. Vanity Fair revealed this dashing Leibovitz portrait of the Resistance pilot Poe Dameron played by Oscar Isaac. The handsome fighter pilot stands next to his X-wing Fighter, ready for action. Annie Liebowitz, via Vanity Fair

We also got a good look at the next bad guy in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" -- Kylo Ren, played by "Girls" actor Adam Driver. Ren commands Snowtroopers in this chilly photo by Leibovitz. He's the guy who gets to battle using the infamous three-bladed lightsaber we first set eyes on in the initial teaser trailer. Annie Leibowitz, via Vanity Fair

The Vanity Fair cover article also features an interview with Abrams, who admits that he's thought about killing off Jar Jar Binks, who was the first lead computer-generated character in the prequels and is the "="" character="" ever"="" shortcode="link" asset-type="article" uuid="deb84f61-5c79-4293-bf92-be01d9ef41cd" slug="darth-vader-trounces-top-us-politicians-in-popularity-poll" link-text="most hated " section="news" title="Darth Vader trounces top US politicians in popularity poll" edition="us" data-key="link_bulk_key" api="{"id":null,"slug":null,"contentType":null,"edition":"us","topic":{},"metaData":{}}"> .

"I have a thought about putting Jar Jar Binks's bones in the desert there," Abrams told Vanity Fair. "I'm serious! Only three people will notice, but they'll love it."

While Jar Jar's skeleton won't be abandoned in the desert, fans can expect plenty of old school practical effects in the new "Star Wars" film, including real puppets and non-CGI sets including everyone's favorite hunk of junk.

"Walking onto the Millennium Falcon set? To be on it, it's insane," Abrams told Vanity Fair. "There were people who literally cried when they walked onto that set. It's a strange thing, the effect it has."

There are even more behind-the-scenes "Star Wars" revelations from Abrams, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, and others for Vanity Fair's June issue, available as a digital edition on Thursday, May 7, and on newsstands nationwide on Tuesday, May 12.