Disney put out very little imagery for Star Wars: The Force Awakens prior to the film’s release (with good reason). What images/footage they did release centered on the film’s new “Big Three:” Rey, Finn, and Poe. However, two other new main characters were left to the imagination: Maz Kanata and Supreme Leader Snoke. All that was known was derived from concept art, as well as images of Lupita Nyong’o and Andy Serkis in their motion capture suits. Kanata also had a small spot on the theatrical poster.
Now though, Disney has released official images of these two mysterious beings, in an exclusive with Entertainment Weekly.
These images do not spoil anything regarding plot points. But Snoke’s reveal is a great moment in the movie, so if you haven’t seen it yet, bookmark this article and come back later (how have you not seen it yet?!).
In an interview with EW, Nyong’o said Maz’s eyes, which are augmented by a series of adjustable lenses, gave her something compelling to explore about the little alien’s physicality. “As an actor for films, your eyes are a lot of the way you communicate anyway,” says Nyong’o. “So it was definitely a gift to have that be the means to her magic as a motion-capture character.”
Nyong’o also spoke about the advice that Serkis gave her concerning motion-capture:
“The biggest advice he gave me, that was so important to hold on to, is a motion-capture character you develop the same way as any other. You have to understand who the character is and what makes them who they are,”
The highlight of the exclusive is Serkis’ comments on Snoke:
Serkis said he sympathized with fans who were dying to know more about Snoke before the film’s debut. That’s how he felt when he started, too. “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!” the actor told EW.
“When we first started working on it, he had some rough notions of how Snoke was gonna look, but it really hadn’t been fully-formed and it almost came out of discussion and performance,” Serkis added.
Although there was much speculation about who Snoke might turn out to be (one popular theory was that he’d turn out to be a Sith Lord known from the prequels as Darth Plagueis) he actually turns out to be … just Snoke.
Serkis said the character was aware of the events from the earlier films but was a new addition to the storyline.
“Supreme Leader Snoke is quite an enigmatic character, and strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful,” Serkis says. “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.”
It’s also clear from the character’s scarred, cavernous face why prosthetic make-up wasn’t an option. As Serkis explained before anyone outside the film saw Snoke, it could only have been played through motion-capture. “The scale of him, for instance, is one reason,” Serkis said. 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.]”
It is a very bold statement that Snoke is “just Snoke.” Fans have been speculating for months what the Supreme Leader’s backstory could be, and if he’s a character that has been seen/mentioned before.
It doesn’t seem like Serkis himself confirms that Snoke is a completely new character; it seems like that is just the assumption being drawn by EW. Is Snoke’s origin still a mystery?
Star Wars: Episode VIII is scheduled for release on May 26, 2017.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will have to hold fans over until then, releasing on December 16, 2016.