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Leading up to the 40th anniversary of the @starwars franchise, Vanity Fair introduces the next chapter in its saga with four covers devoted to The Last Jedi

Photographs by Annie Leibovitz.

“It’s not like I’m living in fear or anything,” Chelsea Manning says. “I’m so glad to be out and about and walking around.” After releasing thousands of government documents, Manning became one of the most talked-about people on the planet. Now, she is finally free to look forward and focus on her new life. 

Read the full story.

…Though that chrome-plated trooper suit is, by now, firmly a part of the Star Wars iconography, this portfolio is the first time Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma has shown her face. “I think a big part of the allure of her character was just wondering what might be underneath,” Hidalgo explains of keeping the Game of Thrones star helmeted in the first film of the current trilogy. “It was only relatively recently that we wanted to commit to the idea that there was a human under there. The Force Awakens left that question, but as we got further into Last Jedi, as well as some other stories we’re thinking about with Phasma, we had to ask ourselves, ‘All right, do we agree there’s a human under there?’ ”

The definitely human Phasma is also sporting a slick new weapon which, Hidalgo says, “doesn’t have a fancy name yet.” (But it will—these things always do.) Unlike the weapons we’re used to seeing in Star Wars—lightsabers and blasters—Phasma’s accessory is a retractable pole arm that collapses into a smaller, easy to carry form should she ever find herself shoved down a trash compactor again. This weapon, Hidalgo says, has a strong connection to Phasma’s history, which will be explored in a comic-book series out in September. “Her background,” Hidalgo hints, “is more low-tech than many would assume.” [x]