Vanity Fair reveals Star Wars baddie on May the Fourth

The Vanity Fair cover which shows Star Wars: The Force Awakens characters (from right) Han Solo (Harrison Ford) with the wookie Chewbacca, and newcomers Rey (Daisy Ridley), the droid BB-8 and Finn (John Boyega). -- PHOTO: VANITY FAIR/TWITTER
The Vanity Fair cover which shows Star Wars: The Force Awakens characters (from right) Han Solo (Harrison Ford) with the wookie Chewbacca, and newcomers Rey (Daisy Ridley), the droid BB-8 and Finn (John Boyega). -- PHOTO: VANITY FAIR/TWITTER

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Vanity Fair on Monday unveiled the first photo of a new villain from the upcoming highly-anticipated Star Wars film - on a day fans around the world celebrate the blockbuster space saga.

Girls star Adam Driver will portray black-clad baddie Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens - Episode VII of the mega-franchise, which is due out later this year.

The character was featured in the first teaser trailer for the film released earlier this year, carrying a controversial cross-bar lightsaber, but his face was not visible.

The upmarket weekly also debuted a picture of Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o wearing motion-capture tracking dots to turn her into the CGI character Maz Kanata, described as a pirate.

The photos in the magazine's June edition were unveiled on May 4 - a veritable holiday for Star Wars fans who greet each other by saying "May the Fourth Be With You" - a pun on the Jedi mantra, "May the Force Be With You."

The Force Awakens - which features classic characters like Skywalker, Solo and Princess Leia, as well as several new faces - is due in cinemas on Dec 18.

Meanwhile, the eighth episode of Star Wars is to be filmed in Britain, the government announced on Monday, perhaps hoping the good news of jobs and investment might offer a pre-election boost.

The Conservative party of Prime Minister David Cameron may be hoping the "force" could help them beat centre-left rivals Labour at Thursday's general election.

Finance minister George Osborne made the announcement on the annual May 4 celebration of the George Lucas film franchise, describing it as "great news for the UK as a whole".

Like The Force Awakens, the seventh episode, the next episode is to be filmed at Pinewood studios in Buckinghamshire in southeast England, the home of many James Bond films.