If you squint and dissect Star Wars frame by frame, it may be a little difficult to see it as anything but a film of fancy, and therefore it would appear curious how and why it struck such a chord in the very souls of the people who watched it. But if you open your eyes, you’ll realize that not only is it American as it gets (Millennium Falcon was modeled off a burger, is a bootlegging vehicle won in a card game), but the story is as old as time. It’s simple good versus evil – the dark lord fighting the good princess and her knights, one of which was a swashbuckling rogue with a lovable pet/sidekick dog.
So I suppose today is a bittersweet day for photographers, children like me in a grown man’s body, because not only do we get a further glimpse at what is likely the most anticipated film in years, but that once again we weren’t chosen to photograph any of it. And that’s sad, because I know when many of us watched that trailer, and saw the Millennium Falcon being driven like a bootlegging hotrod (and it was actually designed to smuggle contraband), the clock started to roll back. By the time Harrison Ford and that cuddly creature modeled after Lucas’ dog, Chewbacca, stepped out, we were 8 once again.
The Empire is rebooting, and who else would get to go behind the scenes and photograph the cast other than Annie Leibovitz. In this brief behind the scenes video from Vanity Fair, we see that Leibovitz was granted unprecedented access to the cast and set to photograph the Vanity Fair cover. The cover looks to actually be shot ‘inside’ the Millennium Falcon, a character in itself, along with other characters Han Solo, Chewie, Rey, Finn, and BB-8.
Of course, the resulting cover image, which is the only one revealed at this time, has the classic Leibovitz look, but she somehow manages to encapsulate that very distinct Star Wars feel. Though the video is very brief, you get a little feel for Annie’s set up, which to me looks rather simple, and I love that. Sure she’s shooting medium format on a Hasselblad, but there doesn’t appear to be a mess of manipulating lighting, which I think is probably a good thing, and contributes to getting the feel of the film, rather than a stylized take. How would you shoot this given the chance? The issue hits stands this week.