Vanity Fair’s Photoshop Scandal


JJ Abrams on the set of Mad Maxine: Adventures Beyond The Forbidden Zone Episode Deux

Many readers will recall the lackluster Vanity Fair preview of Episode IX from last week.  They even published a YouTube video about it:

Well, it appears that the “photographs” have been heavily altered, using material from previous films.

Many will recall the following image from the marketing push for Episode VIII in Vanity Fair’s “definitive preview” of The Last Jedi:


Vanity Fair released the following image last week, as part of their “exclusive photos” for Episode IX.


See any similarities?

Twitter user Super Good Pixel noticed the similarities last week, and produced the following analysis which I present to you now:



That’s right.  Images for Vanity Fair’s Episode IX preview were created with elements taken from Episode VIII images.  Here’s are some close ups of the key areas:



But that’s not all.  Super Good Pixel, also helpfully pointed out the following:

Let’s first take a look at an image of Luke standing next to R2-D2 from the Original Trilogy:


Now let’s take a look at a picture of Luke kneeling next to R2-D2 in an image from Episode VIII:


Now let’s go back to the recent photoshopped Vanity Fair image released last week for Episode IX:


Notice the difference?  Let’s place the images side by side.

Either droids shrink in their old age, or Kenny Baker had to lose a lot of weight for this role.  Or maybe it’s a Disney cost cutting measure.  Because in the photoshopped Episode IX image, R2-D2 is now suddenly a foot and half shorter.

So yes, the entirety of R2-D2 was photoshopped into this image.

This revelation brings to mind a wonderful question.  Did Mark Hamill film anything at all for Episode IX?  Or like Carrie Fisher, is Mark’s unused footage from previous Episodes being ramrodded into Episode IX for marketing purposes, in a desperate attempt to get more butts in theater seats after Rian Johnson urinated all over the Luke Skywalker character?  I know what I’d bet on.

It’s absolutely hilarious that they’re trying to sell imagery from previous episodes as a preview of Episode IX.  And we can’t even be sure that the image of R2-D2 is from the Sequel Trilogy at all.

So who is responsible for these photoshopping shenanigans?

The Episode VIII article from Vanity Fair credits the photographs to Annie Liebovitz, and the article to David Kamp.



The Episode IX articles from Vanity Fair credit Lev Grossman for the article, and Annie Leibovitz with the photographs again.



And make no mistake.  The Luke Skywalker image is specifically credited to Annie Leibovitz’s photography in both Vanity Fair articles.



And keep in mind, this is the Sequel Trilogy whose production has prided themselves on “practical effects.”   Yet they can’t even offer a practical photograph.


Annie Leibovitz’s award winning photograph of a Cintiq Monitor.

So head on over to Lev Grossman’s AMA on Reddit to ask him all about it:


38 thoughts on “Vanity Fair’s Photoshop Scandal

  1. LOL at Lev Grossman’s typo there. Vanity Fairy!

    Annie Leibovitz is about as prestigious as a photographer can get, so this must be quite the scandal surely? Not sure about the etiquette of photoshopping among photographers. But I imagine there is some sort of rule, otherwise we would have ‘photographs’ of aliens and spaceships and things winning photography awards.
    She’s photographed all sorts of celebritards over the decades. Her Wiki page doesn’t mention anything about her Photoshop skills though?

    Liked by 2 people

    • There may be a modicum of image enhancement and color correction allowed. But I can’t imagine that copying and pasting entire elements from previous photographs is desirable. Especially if the image of R2 comes from the Prequel Trilogy or even the Original Trilogy.

      There are credits for photoshopping to be sure. But I believe they typically are credited with an “image” rather than “photography.” I could be wrong on that though.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Somebody should add to her Wikipedia page:

        Photoshop Skills
        Leibovitz caused controversy in May 2019 when she got the size of R2-D2 completely wrong in her Photoshop of Luke with R2-D2 for Vanity Fair, which made it look like either R2 has become tiny or Luke has become a giant.

        Liked by 3 people

    • My guess is that she was given sole credit because she also shot the original Episode 8 image. It had to have been the Vanity Fair staff who edited the photos.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That could be. But even still, it’s not really an Episode IX preview if they’re using image elements from Episode VIII or earlier, is it?

        Additionally, what’s to say that the “original” Episode VIII images weren’t photoshopped in the same manner?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I had the same thought. The original photo (whether shot for Ep VIII or even VII) was probably shot by Leibovitz, so she gets credit for it regardless of how many VF interns have photoshopped it into something else.


  2. Artoo’s height was changed in the official references for the new movies from .96 meters to 1.06 meters, but in the newest book on him (Meet the Heroes R2-D2 just published recently) it says he is “almost 1 meter tall”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “And keep in mind, this is the Sequel Trilogy whose production has prided themselves on “practical effects.” Yet they can’t even offer a practical photograph.”

    ^That line made my day! And JJ has been using the “muh practical effects” line since TFA. I took extra offense when he started barfing that line up in TFA. Because he knows, that his rallying cry was false and ill founded. And not only did he rehash ANH for TFA, but he used more CGI that you can shake a stick at!

    And now he is just pulling the same trash again with the, “Rehash of Jedi!” Except NOW, he is just putting his hands up in that air and basically “giving up” on SW after all this. So now he also just wants to do what, “feels right for him!”

    Now I am going to perform a little “translation magic” right here.

    “Do just what feels right!” Is what JJ said about how he is going to go about making TROS. Here is my “translation magic” on JJ’s statement.

    “I am not original nor do I possess any original thoughts or ideas. TROS is going to be a creatively bankrupt crap fest! So I am just putting on a façade of making the lemmings who turn out for this trash, think I have “conviction” by rehashing more material from past films. I will rest on my laurels, put out an inferior product and collect my huge pay for doing absolutely nothing!”


    So now he pre-emptively has his bag of excuses ready for when the inevitable flop is revealed and how he re-used parts and plots from the OT. In his mind now, he can say,

    “Yeah I rehashed! I was un-original.. again! So what? I did this on purpose because that “just feels right to me!” How can I be wrong for doing what I feel is right?

    Have no fear JJ, the $hills have your back. They will just say TROS failed due to,

    “Russian Bots”
    President Trump”
    “White Nationalists”
    “Alt-Right”y” types”

    So JJ don’t sweat it too much. You will have rejects working overtime to make your excuses for you!

    On a side note, why does that group of bad guys(?) who are most likely the Knights of Ren, look like Enfys Nest from SOYLO? And then in SOYLO they used a desert planet that looked like Jakku-lite? And Jakku was just Tatooine-lite! I guess this “new” desert planet will be (fill in)-lite?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well this guy(me) still cares about Star Wars…

      …pre- Di$ney that is. But it really kills me having to watch my favorite series form the jump(77) become fodder for the proglodyte savages with their nihilistic and deconstructionist views and takes on this once great series.

      I have had to sit by and watch characters I loved, most of the time without condition, be destroyed by dopes who don’t understand a damn thing about the series they are destroying!

      “The Jedi were the real bad guys!” <No the Jedi were a force for good. The were the guardians of peace and justice in the old Republic. They were serving as generals in the Clone wars in the name of the REPUBLIC!

      " Who says someone needs to train to use the Force?"

      “If Rey is a Mary Sue then so are Luke and Anakin!”

      “I think MaRey Sue is a grey Jedi!”

      These are just some of the reasons all of this pisses me off! Not only did they destroy SW, but they created a legion of douches with no concept of discipline, training, understanding etc. etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ya boi zack made an observation in the video below that Luke was actually barely competent. The only thing he was actually practiced at was being a pilot. I hadn’t actually noticed this until he said that, but i knew it at some level since 1977. So otherwise, his most defining attribute was his heart. And Hamill did a great job of communicating that, both on screen and off. 18:04m you can skip to the 2:45 mark if you are impatient.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah I agree with this video 100%. I also have commented extensively on other videos like, Rey is a Mary Sue videos. This was when TFA came out. I was being called a sexist, misogynist, bigot and every other stupid name for “daring” to call her what she was, a MaRey Sue!

          And when they brought Luke and Anakin into it, I had to write super long comments explaining why they were wrong. Because Luke and Anakin, even in TPM, are not Marty/Gary Stues.

          But Rey? She was a MaRey Sue since TFA. And hoping that TLJ would hand wave all of her “Sueness” away, well they were in for a rude awakening! TLJ didn’t take that way but actually multiplied like a Mogwai being sprayed with water!

          So then I returned to bask in my glory of how I was right all along and the “Reytards” were wrong just as they were wrong from the start. And then some of the ignorant ones finally had to fess up and admit defeat, while others are still deluding themselves to the FACT that she is a MaRey Sue! Their “savior” Ruin Johnson was the one who threw her “Sueness” into over drive. The problem with that is, there isn’t any compressor to bypass her “Sueness!”

          So yeah that is a brief history of some of my online battles with Di$ney War$ fan girls who aren’t really mad at people like myself for pointing out why they are wrong, they are just pissed because THEY are wrong!

          Liked by 1 person

        • I was going to say:
          “If Daisy, arguably the one person who should know all about Rey can’t comprehend what a mary sue is or can’t be bothered to research the origins and context, what chance do you have sparring with not-Daisys?”

          buuuuuuut… instead I’m going to go back to my belief that these narratives are some kind of contractual obligation. Daisy knows. Probably agrees. Was told what to say when confronted….I bet. Doesn’t really matter anyways. Watchers gonna watch, ignorers gonna ignore. But I still really like the idea of JJ getting his comeuppance and payback for TFA in the form of attendance to IX.

          “I was being called a sexist, misogynist, bigot and every other stupid name”

          Badge of honour. At this point, if you aren’t being called any of those, or an alt-righter, you’ve been into the tofu.

          23 seconds.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. You know, I wonder what would’ve happened if George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Paramount. Because when you look at the major studios at the domestic box office now, Paramount is in last place and has been suffering and struggling since 2012 when they sold the MCU and Marvel Studios to Disney, amongst other issues not limited to a lot of failed franchises or franchises being run out of for Paramount to make movies of, the response to the Terminator: Dark Fate and Sonic the Hedgehog trailers being so mixed to negative showing that. So, I wonder if Paramount getting Star Wars would’ve been better after Star Trek on the big screen went away and Transformers is now in the process of being rejiggers following the small but profitable success of BumbleBee. That would’ve been perfectly balanced: Disney gets Marvel Studios, Paramount gets Lucasfilm.


      • Yeah, I guess that’s true. But, Disney is gaining a questionable amount of power and Paramount is struggling, so, if anything maybe George could’ve had more influence at Paramount with Star Wars like how Bay had with Transformers, up until The Last Knight lost $100M for them and they had to reboot with BumbleBee.


    • Hmmm…I wonder…if GL would have sold LFL (SW, Indy, etc.) to Fox (think 20th Century…), would Fox have been able to be purchased by Di$ney? At that time, I’m sure Fox didn’t have the capital to purchase LFL, but they could have sold the rights to Marvel characters (Spidey, X-Men) to Marvel/Di$ney to get the money they would have needed for LFL.


        • Oops. My mistake. So, Fox could have sold the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Deadpool, and any other Marvel characters to which they hold the rights. While that sale alone would not have been $4B, it could have helped to make a decent payoff for GL. *shrug* perhaps. Just think, the classic 20th Century Fox intro at the beginning of every SW movie. Eh…what coulda been.


    • Lucas sold to Disney because he saw how they treat their acquisitions like Pixar and Marvel. They also worked together since the 80ies (Star Tours, Star Wars Weekends).

      The biggest mistake that Lucase made, was installing an incompetent person named Kathleen Kennedy. His decision was based most probably on their decade long working relationsship during the Indiana Jones movies and because she has a vagina and Lucas is a ultra leftist.

      The last point is what people always forget. Don’t believe me? He was at The Daily Shows host John Stewart last show and look at the whining during the 2012 Red Tails interview with Oprah Winfrey. There is probably more wokeness.

      So the mistake was not selling to Disney, but installing a very bad successor who had zero experience with Star Wars. Unlike Marvels Kevin Feige. He had years of experience with Marvel movies before working on the first two movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008.

      And one last point is that, Lucas had sold Lucasfilm to Disney and not only Star Wars. Star Wars is only a part of it. It includes all the Lucasfilm movies and companies like LucasArts (only one that was closed by Disney), ILM, Skywalker Sound, etc.

      The price was $4.05 billion. Half in cash and HALF IN SHARES of Disney stock. LUCAS STILL EARNS MONEY WITH STAR WARS trough Disney stock!

      “On October 30, 2012, Disney announced a deal to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion,[18] with approximately half in cash and half in shares of Disney stock.”


      • Well actually, he sold all of his shares and donated all of the money to charity along with the rest of the money he earned from Disney. He no longer has any stake in Disney.



        says: last updated 2018. net worth $5.3b; prior to the sale he was $3.3b and the sale put him to $7.3b. but does apparently misrepresent somewhat with the statement “Lucas owned 100% of the company which means the entire $4 billion went into his pockets.”

        Bing search has lots of chatter 2012-2013 about him saying he plans to donate it to education, and that he was talking to the SEC about seeking permission to sell his disney stock, but nothing suggesting action other than the drop from $7.3 to $5.3 in his worth.

        so, receipts please?


        • Georgie boy does indeed hold rather a large amount of Disney stock, he’s one of the biggest individual shareholders.

          The drop from 7.3 to 5.3 is because he injected the entire cash part of the Lucasfilm deal into the George Lucas Educational Foundation. He kept the shares and filed with SEC to sell small amounts from time to time at his discretion. I believe George has many, many more Disney shares than Bob Iger. Like thirtysomething million shares versus a million or so.

          George was also seen in November 2017 scouting locations – there are media reports about him ‘signing off’ or approving things. That was around the time there were reports of him visiting the GoT studio – that was because he was looking at the studio, which is now booked for Star Wars.

          We’ve come a long way since TLJ. Kiri Hart is no more… George is back in the picture on everything all of a sudden, Episode 9, Mandalorian, next movie…

          I’m assuming he’s still a very major Disney stakeholder.

          After all, he always said HE decided to stay away from the production, like a divorce, he didn’t want to meddle and he didn’t want to open old wounds with himself.

          But has that all changed now?

          Things that make you go ‘Hmmm…!’


          • This article is also interesting:

            Disney Deal Gives George Lucas a Billion-Dollar Tax Break

            “He and I started talking about this about a year and a half ago,” Disney CEO Bob Iger told shareholders. “But only decided pretty recently that this is something that we both wanted to do.”

            In other words, something pushed Lucas to accelerate the deal. That motivating factor may be personal, but the likely shape of Washington tax policy beyond December 31 probably didn’t hurt.

            Lucas has vowed to donate the vast majority of his fortune — now including his $4 billion Disney payout — to non-profit educational groups like the George Lucas Foundation, which runs and other teacher-oriented initiatives.

            He’s even signed the gazillionaire Giving Pledge along with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to make it official, which means he’s not exactly looking to game the estate tax system on behalf of his kids.

            On the other hand, pushing the buyout button now lets him lock in current capital gains rates on behalf of his foundation down the road.

            The normal rule of thumb is that any time you can defer recognition of income and the associated tax liability, you should do it.


            It’s all Obama’s fault!


  5. thought i might toss this in the fray if anyone hasn’t seen it before.

    i am so glad there are people who are able to pull the pants down on these so called creatives. the RIAA and MPAA are vicious defenders of copyright, but maybe if they got rid of their internal IP pirates, we’d get the odd production worth consuming.


  6. Pingback: Kathleen Kennedy Confirmed Star Wars IX Is About Villainizing Trump And His Supporters | Disney Star Wars is Dumb

  7. Pingback: Star Wars Insider Pulls A Vanity Fair | Disney Star Wars is Dumb

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