When Lucasfilm first added Naomi Ackie to the cast of Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, we had no idea who she’d play. Later, a leak suggested she might be Lando Calrissian’s daughter, but now, a sprawling Vanity Fair cover story previewing The Rise of Skywalker offers our best look yet at Ackie’s new character, Jannah.
A photo of Boyega and Ackie is among the pictures of returning fan-favorites and other new cast members, and the caption under their photo may be pretty revealing:
>Finn and new ally Jannah (Naomi Ackie), atop hardy orbaks, lead the charge against the mechanized forces of the First Order. “It’s extremely surreal to be in it,” says Ackie, “and see how it works from the inside.”
This tells us that Jannah is every bit a fighter and capable of holding her own. She seems in full control of her orbak as she wields a bow and arrow. It looks like we’re see some truly badass stunt work in The Rise of Skywalker as she fights alongside Finn.
In addition to finding out that Finn may be the first major character Jannah meets in Rise of Skywalker, Ackie shared more with Vanity Fair about her involvement in the film. One key quote highlights how her character may figure into the more grounded and realistic parts of Star Wars: Episode IX:
“It feels very grounded. There’s the kind of spectacular-ness, and the supernatural move-things-with-your-mind magic stuff, but then there’s also this really grounded, rugged nature where everything is distressed and old and kind of worn out and lived-in. And I think playing with those two ideas means that you get this feeling that it could almost be real. Like, in a galaxy far away, it could almost be the case that you could have this.”
Interest in Jannah has been holding steady since Lucasfilm revealed the first image of her during Star Wars Celebration in April. Ackie also appeared during a Stephen Colbert-moderated panel discussion with a majority of the Rise of Skywalker cast, but couldn’t reveal much about Jannah at the time. All Ackie would say about The Rise of Skywalker was that “the original group are going on an epic, epic adventure together and I’m so excited about where Jannah crosses paths with them. It’s wicked! It’s good!”
It’s still unclear what Jannah’s origin story is or how big of a part she’ll play in The Rise of Skywalker. Heck, we still don’t know on what planet she crosses paths with the rest of the Resistance! Despite this, Star Wars fans (myself included) will surely love seeing Jannah kick First Order butt with Finn, Rey, Poe, and the rest of the gang when The Rise of Skywalker premieres later this year.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theaters on December 20, 2019.