It just wouldn’t be a Star Wars movie without a whole slew of awesome antagonists, and though we don’t a ton about them, Star Wars: The Force Awakens looks to have a substantial stable of baddies for our heroes to tangle with. At the head of this villainous cabal is Andy Serkis’ motion captured character, Supreme Leader Snoke. Though he’s been kept in the shadows, even from Serkis himself, bits of information are starting to come out.
We heard Snoke’s sinister voice in the very first The Force Awakens trailer, and while it’s chilling that’s all we have. The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly provides a slew of fresh information about Star Wars 7, including the new baddie. Serkis chatted with them about his newest role. He’s a man with a long-range plan, and not prone to heated outbursts, making him methodical in his villainy, and that much more terrifying. Here are some of the other pertinent new facts we’ve learned about Supreme Leader Snoke.
Even Andy Serkis Had No Idea What Snoke Looked LikeThough we’ve heard him, and his voice made our blood run cold, we haven’t laid eyes on the new villain just yet. Even Andy Serkis himself had never seen the character before he started working on The Force Awakens, something of a rarity. He said:
It’s the first time I’ve been on set not yet knowing what the character’s gonna look like. I mean, talk about secrecy!
Though the film has been shrouded in secrecy and security since day one, there’s more to it than that. While each of these CGI characters is a collaboration between concept artists and digital effects people, Serkis was able to contribute to the process as well. His voice, mannerisms, and movements all played into the final design, and as the performance evolved, they kept going back and tinkering with the look.
Physically, Snoke Is Very LargeWith a renewed emphasis on using practical effects whenever possible, some have wondered why Serkis didn’t play Snoke under heavy make up and prosthetics instead of motion capture. Serkis is obviously one of the best actors working when it comes to motion capture, but there is another very good reason why The Force Awakens took this path: Supreme Leader Snoke is very, very big. He said:
The scale of him, for instance, is one reason. He is large. He appears tall. And also just the facial design – you couldn’t have gotten there with prosthetics. It’s too extreme. Without giving too much away at this point, he has a very distinctive, idiosyncratic bone structure and facial structure. You could never have done it [in real life.]
While he may have a far-reaching scheme, an intricate plan in place, and won’t likely get down and dirty in the ground level conflict, it sounds like Snoke will certainly have the physical tools to take care of himself, should the need arise. And that’s in addition to maybe having power with the Force. In this regard he’s similar to Emperor Palpatine, he won’t often mix it up with his enemies, but when he does, you might want to look out.
For All His Power, Snoke Is Also VulnerableSupreme Leader Snoke may be an imposing physical presence, and in control of the massive military might of the First Order, which rose from the splinters of the Empire after Return of the Jedi. But for all of that power at his fingertips, he’s vulnerable as well. Serkis said:
Supreme Leader Snoke is quite an enigmatic character, and strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful. Obviously he has a huge agenda. He has suffered a lot of damage. As I said, there is a strange vulnerability to him, which belies his true agenda, I suppose.
The most interesting villains in the Star Wars universe have always been the ones that are the most complicated, and Snoke definitely sounds like there is more to him and his plan than simply taking over that far, far away galaxy because he’s a dick and that’s what dicks do. We don’t much about his history or his motivations, but the fact that he has more going on, and isn’t just a stock evil character, already piques our interest even more.
Snoke Is New To This ConflictSome have speculated that Snoke could be a character who shows up at the very end of the new canon novel Aftermath. He’s not described and doesn’t have much action, but he is an ominous presence, one that has grand plans, and terrifies his underlings. This person has some ties to the crumbling Empire, and with the "damage" mentioned earlier, it’s easy to imagine that Snoke was somehow involved in the Rebel vs. Empire action of the original trilogy. However, it doesn’t sound like that’s the case. Serkis said:
No, he’s a new character in this universe. It is very much a newly introduced character. He’s aware of what’s gone on, in the respect that he has been around and is aware of prior events. I think it’d be fair to say that he is aware of the past to a great degree.
It sounds like he may be an outsider, someone watching from afar for the right time to step in and exert his power and influence. There have been ideas planted that the Empire could leave the galaxy in order to regroup and gather strength. Perhaps they do, and in doing so encounter Snoke, who takes over the reins and steers them towards The Force Awakens.
Like with most things related to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we won’t know the exact nature of Supreme Leader Snoke until it opens on December 18, maybe not even then.