Over the last couple of days a number of concept images have been released for Star Wars: Episode VII, trickling out in a most calculated fashion by the site Indie Revolver. They've been pretty cool; showing off designs for the Stormtroopers and Han Solo, both fitting nicely with some big plot reveals about the movie's villain. Whether any of these are truly legit we probably won't know for some time, but the latest image claims to be our first look at that villain, who promises to be a major presence in the Star Wars universe. Turn away now if you don't want anything spoiled.
This piece of "official" concept art also comes from Indie Revolver, and it's one of the Inquisitors, the villains of Star Wars: Episode VII. They'll be introduced first in the animated Star Wars Rebels, or at least one of them known as the Inquisitor will be. The Inquisitors are a Vader-obsessed order of the Sith, and this one is at least partially cybernetic. He's also admiring the remnants of Vader's mask like Hamlet. They've apparently been around for a very long time, and Latino Review details just how far back their history goes. So we've heard that the plot is driven by the discovery of a severed hand and lightsaber on a desert planet. Found by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega's characters, they set out to find the weapon's owner and meet up with Han Solo and Chewbacca (more on the Millennium Falcon's whereabouts in a sec) to find Luke Skywalker. Luke hasn't been seen in years, and it turns out he's been a captive of the Inquisitors. When Luke is found and discovered, he recounts the history of the Inquisitors, triggering a flashback that reveals their ties to the Sith. The scene also features an appearance by a young Princess Leia and Darth Vader. Yep, Vader will be showing up, too. As for Leia, reports surfaced a few weeks ago that Carrie Fisher's daughter was hanging around set, and it looks as if she's there to play a younger version of her mother's most famous character.
That's a lot to digest and yet it's just the beginning. Harrison Ford is currently laid up with an injury but he'll be back as Han Solo soon enough. And when he does return, Solo will be sporting some new threads and piloting a totally different ship. Some new concept images were released showing Solo in a couple of different outfits that may make their way into the film. One is definitely a rogueish variety but the other is clearly designed for cold weather. Perhaps a return trip to Hoth? Look closely through the irritating watermarks and you'll see he's got two blaster holsters rather than one.
So where is Solo's ride? Y'know, the fastest one in the known galaxy? Well, according to Badass Digest the Millennium Falcon is in the possession of Oscar Isaac's character, who they describe as the trilogy's Lando Calrissian-type. Solo and Chewie are now piloting a Super Star Destroyer, indicating they've either stolen it or have acquired Imperial rank since we saw them last. We'll also have a chance to see him wield a lightsaber again, hopefully for more than slicing open Tauntauns.
While the Inquisitors are poised to be the latest threat, the old (un)reliable Stormtroopers are still around and boasting a new look. A few days ago artist Tom Hodges posted this sketch of what he says is the new-look Stormtrooper, which features a kind of helmet visor. He refused to say how he saw the design, and the Instagram was quickly deleted but concept images emerged just a few days later of a Stormtrooper and Snowtrooper that are similar to Hodges' rendition.
J.J. Abrams is the most secretive director working today, and chances are he won't reveal anything until he's ready and probably through official set photos. Plus, even if these are "real" they would only qualify as conceptual images and may not be in the film at all. In other words it may be a good idea to take this with a spoonful of salt. Star Wars: Episode VII opens December 18th 2015.