The latest issue of Vanity Fair is dedicated to the next 'Star Wars' film

By Anthony Breznican
May 24, 2017 at 08:56 AM EDT

It’s a bittersweet revelation in The Last Jedi edition of Vanity Fair that tells us Leia’s story was understandably cut short in future films by Carrie Fisher’s death – yet here she is again, bigger than life.

The image below shows another young woman picking up the mantle of hero, with Daisy Ridley’s Rey igniting the Skywalker family lightsaber as part of her training alongside Mark Hamill’s lost-but-now-he’s-found Jedi knight.

Annie Leibovitz exclusively for Vanity Fair

And we learn that Benicio Del Toro plays a “shadowy figure” nicknamed “DJ” in the film, while Laura Dern is costarring as a magenta-haired, glamorous Resistance officer named Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo — someone sure to throw sparks with the rough, tough Leia and her crew.

All in all, the story by Vanity Fair writer David Kamp and accompanying gallery of images by Annie Leibovitz should stir a broad mix of emotions from the Star Wars faithful around the globe: joy, wonder, surprise, and even a little sadness.

For one, there’s this shot — brother and sister, reunited.

We don’t get much detail about Admiral Holdo beyond her name, but her costume is more reminiscent of a ballgown than combat fatigues. Fisher joked that Leia’s attire in The Force Awakens made her look like “a fancy gas-station attendant,” but Dern’s character looks like she may be attending the galactic version of the Met Gala.

While we’ve seen plenty of dive bars and low-rent “hives of scum and villainy” (to paraphrase Obi-Wan Kenobi), The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick) will grant audiences a trip to a higher class of hang-out with scenes set at casino city called Canto Bight.

Johnson describes it as “a Star Wars Monte Carlo–type environment, a little James Bond–ish, a little To Catch a Thief… I was thinking, O.K., let’s go ultra-glamour. Let’s create a playground, basically, for rich a–holes.”

Among other surprises: newcomer Kelly Marie Tran’s character, a Resistance fighter named Rose Tico, has a sister. (“A sistahhhhhhh…”) as Darth Vader would purr. Actress Veronica Ngo will play Paige, who gets some machine-gunning tips from Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron.

As for Del Toro, his character apparently goes unnamed in the film — a set-up for another mystery. “You’ll see—there’s a reason why we call him DJ,” Johnson said.

Darth …uh, Junior?

No. No, that’s not possible. (Seriously, it’s not that.)

There’s plenty more in the Vanity Fair story to keep Star Wars fans nourished with new details, while also leaving room for speculation about what else the Dec. 15 film may unveil.

We see creature shop maestro Neal Scanlan and costume designer Michael Kaplan surrounded by their black-tie and ballgown creations from the extras in the Canto Bight casino, and learn much, much more about Fisher’s firebrand presence on set and her connection to the other cast and crew.

She may be gone now, but Leia — and the woman who called herself the princess/general’s custodian — remains ever-present.