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?
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.
So head on over to Lev Grossman’s AMA on Reddit to ask him all about it:
I wrote about story about Star Wars for this month’s Vanity Fairy. In a few minutes I’m going to do an AMA about it here https://t.co/UdeOVs19Oc?
— Lev Grossman (@leverus) May 22, 2019