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‘Star Wars’: Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong’o’s ‘Force Awakens’ Characters Revealed

What better way to celebrate May the Fourth (the unofficial “Star Wars” holiday) than with new images from “The Force Awakens”? As part of its June cover story, Vanity Fair has unveiled the first photo of Adam Driver’s villainous Kylo Ren, the black-clad bad guy seen wielding the controversial crossbar lightsaber in the first teaser for Episode VII.

In the new image, one of several by Annie Leibovitz for VF, Driver’s character is described as commanding two snowtroopers loyal to the evil First Order on the frozen plains of their secret base. The First Order is the new name for what remains of the Empire following the Rebel Alliance’s destruction of the second Death Star and the defeat of Emperor Palpatine, while the rebels are now known as the Resistance.

Star Wars” mainstay Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) also revealed the identity of Gwendoline Christie’s character via Twitter — the “Game of Thrones” actress will be playing Captain Phasma, described as a First Order officer.

A second Vanity Fair image shows Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o wearing motion capture tracking dots to turn her into Maz Kanata, a CGI creation who is described as a pirate.

While Vanity Fair didn’t debut an image of Maz herself, they did reveal a rogues’ gallery of “galactic travelers, smugglers, and other assorted riffraff” who are seen filling “the main hall of pirate Maz Kanata’s castle” in the photo below. Could Maz be the new Jabba the Hutt in “The Force Awakens”?

The magazine also shared a photo of star Daisy Ridley (Rey) on set with director J.J. Abrams as they set up a shot involving Ridley’s character Rey piloting her speeder through a bustling marketplace on the planet Jakku.

Although “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” won’t hit theaters until Dec. 18, merchandise for the franchise will begin rolling out beginning Sept. 4 as part of a “Force Friday” event.

Watch a behind-the-scenes video from Leibovitz’s “Star Wars” shoot below, and click back to Vanity Fair for  all the photos.

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