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'Last Jedi' preview reveals new characters, juicy plot points

Here's your first chance to see Benicio del Toro and Laura Dern's characters, in costume.

Warning: Possible spoilers for "The Last Jedi" ahead.

Can't believe "The Last Jedi" is still half a year away? Purist fans can go the no-spoiler route, but nosy ones can delve into every nook and cranny of the internet that promises leaks and previews. This article is for the latter type of fan.

On Tuesday, Vanity Fair released the four stunning magazine covers coming in June for its special Star Wars issue, all photographed by the legendary Annie Leibovitz. (The late Carrie Fisher stole the show, to no one's surprise.)

And on Wednesday, the magazine posted the related story -- surprisingly, not making fans wait to purchase the issue. Fans will want to go read it all and examine the photos, but here's a short version in case you're in a rush to fix your R2 unit's bad motivator. (Some of the details have been revealed in other places before, so if you're an obsessive fan, not all of it will be new.)

1. Luke, where've you been?

Any Screenwriting 101 student knows to create drama by putting obstacles in your characters' paths. Director and screenwriter Rian Johnson says he actually wrote down the names of his main characters and asked himself, "What's the hardest thing they could be faced with?"

And that seems especially true for poor Luke Skywalker. As stated in "The Force Awakens," a disastrous encounter with an apprentice as a Jedi academy he was running sent Luke fleeing to Ahch-To, the planet that's home to the first Jedi temple.

"Luke, it transpires, has been living in this village among an indigenous race of caretaker creatures whom Johnson is loath to describe in any more detail, except to say that they are 'not Ewoks,'" the story reports.

2. Meet the DJ

Benicio del Toro plays an unnamed "shady character of unknown alliances." The magazine reports the filmmakers nicknamed him "DJ," and feel free to start creating theories as to why.

Said Johnson: "You'll see -- there's a reason why we call him DJ." Just Google del Toro's name along with the movie title, and you'll be treated to all kinds of fan speculation about who he is, with several characters from "Star Wars Rebels" being tossed about as possibilities.

3. Rose-colored glasses

The largest new role revealed is played by young actress Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose Tico, described as "a maintenance worker for the Resistance." Rebels often rise up from unexpected places, after all.

"(Rose's) plotline involves a mission behind enemy lines with (John) Boyega's Finn, the stormtrooper turned Resistance warrior," Vanity Fair reports, also noting that Rose's sister, Paige (played by Veronica Ngo), is a Rebel gunner who gets some coaching from Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).

4. Aye-aye, admiral

Laura Dern is also pictured, with lilac hair and a sweeping gown (think "Hunger Games" Capitol couture), and is listed as playing Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo. Though not a lot more is revealed about Holdo, she's described as a "prominent officer in the Resistance."

5. Do you know the way to Canto Bight?

The Star Wars universe is full of fascinating places -- we've still never found a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than Mos Eisley. But the new destination in "Last Jedi" is fancier and looks more like a place where James Bond might hang out. It's casino city Canto Bight, where Rose and Finn will head at one point. Johnson describes it as "a Star Wars Monte Carlo-type environment," saying, "I was thinking, OK, let's go ultra-glamour." Like Mos Eisley and its cantina, however, it'll be full of a diverse variety of "gnarled aliens and other grotesque creatures."


The Vanity Fair story also will make you miss Fisher even more, and it explains how important she was supposed to be to the film she never lived to work on -- the yet-unfilmed Episode IX. Her co-stars share lively memories of Fisher. Oscar Isaac recalls her delight at slapping him for a scene, and John Boyega tells how she counseled him to stay strong against the racists who didn't like seeing a black man in Stormtrooper armor.

"The Last Jedi" opens on December 15, 2017.

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