The October issue, on sale on Thursday 27 August, is published as a split run of ‘Hero’ and ‘Villain’ covers featuring exclusive imagery from the movie. The ‘Villain’ cover features Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux and Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma. The ‘Hero’ features Daisy Ridley’s Rey, John Boyega’s Finn and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron.
The issue also includes a first-look behind the scenes of 2015’s most eagerly-anticipated release, say the publishers, scheduled to hit cinemas in December as well as an exclusive interview with Director J.J Abrams and the filmmaking team behind the movie to give a remarkable insight into just what it was like to pick up the mantle left by George Lucas. “Getting too close to your idols, historically, is never a good thing,” Abrams told Empire, “[Star Wars] was so near and dear to my heart that the idea of being involved in it, frankly, felt dangerous. But Kathy [Kennedy, producer] asked if I would meet with her anyway. I fully intended to once again say ‘thank you but no thank you.’ But when I heard how she wanted to do this in the most emotional, character-based and authentic way, I found myself leaning forward and, just for a moment, imagining what it would be to direct a Star Wars movie.”
This month’s issue marks another milestone in a special relationship between Empire and Star Wars. The Force Awakens will be Empire’s ninth Star Wars cover treatment (46 covers in total if you include split runs). In 2005 the magazine joined forces with Lucasfilm to publish a limited-edition ‘breathing’ Darth Vader cover which produced sound using chip technology embedded in its spine.
Executive Editor, Ian Nathan commented: “Empire is thrilled to begin another journey in the Star Wars universe. This is a friendship that began a long time ago, and once again we have been challenged to go above and beyond what we've done before. Our readers expect the best Star Wars coverage in the galaxy. These two unique gatefold issues are only the start of what is going to be the most extraordinary coverage one magazine has ever given to one movie saga. Watch this space."