Anaheim may have played host to the bi-annual Star Wars Celebration a few weeks ago, heralding an array of tidbits relating to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but today is May 4, the one day on the calendar year dedicated to all-things-Star Wars. To mark the occasion, Vanity Fair has published the very first look at Adam Driver’s Sith Lord Kylo Ren sans mask, as well as a peek at Lupita Nyong’o’s character in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming sequel.
Included in the gallery above are images of Nyong’o donning the motion capture suit to render her alien, a space pirate known as Maz Kanata. According to VF’s report, Maz will be part of a crew who refer to themselves as galactic smugglers; a posse of would-be outlaws scouring across the galaxy not unlike Jabba et al. from the original trilogy. And though the actress’ character will be fully captured using CGI, Abrams is still making a big push toward practical effects, whether it’s real-life puppet work or on location shooting.
From Vanity Fair’s cover story, Bruce Handy provides a breakdown of the director’s decidedly old-school approach.
One scene features an alien creature that abruptly pops up out of the desert landscape with glowing, flashlight eyes that make it look like a distant cousin to the Jawas from the original Star Wars—Abrams calls it “a classic, old-school seesaw puppet. We just buried it in the sand, and Neal Scanlan, the creature guy, pushed down on one side and the thing came up on the other side.” In an effects session, the scene got a big laugh and some suggestions for digital polishing, but Abrams was wary, saying, “It’s so old-school and crazy. We could improve this thing, but at some point do we lose the wonderful preposterousness?”
In addition to Ren and Nyong’o’s space pirate, the gallery also boasts new looks at Oscar Isaac’s X-Wing pilot, Poe Dameron, a member of the Resistance who is considered to be one of the best in the galaxy. Moreover, Snowtroopers! On top of the revised design for the First Order’s menials, not to mention the rather badass Chrometrooper glimpsed in the stunning second trailer, Ren is seen flanked by two Snowtroopers on an ice planet. Hoth, potentially?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will open on December 18th.