5:09pm PT by Graeme McMillan
'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': A Few Questions About Those New Images
Empire has unveiled the Star Wars: The Force Awakens covers to its next issue, released on British newsstands next week, and in the process raised a few questions.
The magazine will have two variant covers for its next edition, showcasing the bad guys and the good guys in the new movie. It's worth noting that Han Solo, Leia or Luke Skywalker don't make any appearances in the images, nor do any characters the audience hasn't met yet, such as Max Von Sydow's as-yet-unnamed character, or Lupita Nyong'o's Maz Kanata. But while there aren't any outright revelations to be found, the images do bring to mind some new things to think about…
Are Those Original Stormtroopers?
Look at the two Stormtroopers at the far right of the cover showcasing the First Order. Don't they look more like the Troopers of the original Star Wars than the ones that audiences have glimpsed in the two trailers for The Force Awakens to date? While it's possible that this is just an oversight on behalf of whoever put the cover together, that seems unlikely — these are undoubtedly images that were heavily vetted before release. Does this mean that the First Order is still using first generation armor in addition to the updated versions we've already seen? And if so… why?
Just Who Is Kylo Ren?
Ren stands front and center in the triumvirate of evil on the First Order cover, flanked by Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). But why doesn't Adam Driver's villain have a recognizable rank in his name? Is it because he's an outsider to the military organization of the First Order, or — as rumored — because part of the name "Kylo Ren" is a title, a la "Darth" in Darth Vader? He does have the bright red lightsaber and masked, cloaked aura of evil already going for him, after all.
Why Is The Millennium Falcon Partially Covered?
On the Rebellion cover — presuming, of course, that all of these characters are actually part of the Rebellion — there's something very odd about seeing the Millennium Falcon partially covered by cloth in the right of the image. Is it in hiding (If so, they might need more coverage)? Does the fact that the cloth is blowing off suggest that it's coming out of storage, perhaps? And why is it on Jakku, anyway? (Could this mean that when audiences see Harrison Ford tell Chewbacca "We're home" in the trailer, he's referring to this desert planet? Is this where Han lived, once upon a time?)
Did The Rebellion Lose?
The appearance of TIE Fighters on the Rebellion cover really plays up the omnipresence of the First Order on both covers, which leads to the obvious question: Are the First Order in charge? It was assumed at the end of Return of the Jedi that the Rebellion had won, but teases in previews for the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens material have suggested that just because the Emperor died didn't mean that the Empire fell. Could it be that The Force Awakens will open by revealing that the good guys didn't succeed after all? It'll be as if millions of childhoods suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced, if so.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released Dec. 18. Expect the speculation to continue all the way up to then.