Supreme Leader Snoke’s Praetorian Guard from Star Wars: The Last Jedi has officially been revealed. The First Order rose from the Galactic Empire’s ashes following their defeat during the Galactic Civil War, depicted throughout the original Star Wars trilogy. After all, several leaders from the Imperial Army, who refused to surrender to the New Republic following the Empire’s crushing loss on Jakku, had broken off from the Empire and became the genesis for the First Order.
Throughout J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, it becomes quite evident that the sprawling First Order had taken many cues from the fallen Empire – and not just visually, with regard to their military uniforms and Stormtrooper Corps, but overall. Supreme Leader Snoke and his apprentice, Kylo Ren, became the new Palpatine and Darth Vader, respectively (at least, Kylo hopes to become Vader). Beyond harnessing the power of the dark side of the Force to establish control across the galaxy, Snoke has also taken inspiration from Palpatine in another way: using bodyguards.
Snoke’s red-colored Praetorian Guard (his personal bodyguards) heavily resemble Emperor Palpatine’s own Royal Guard from Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. For those that don’t know, the name comes from an elite unit from within the Imperial Roman Army who were tasked with protecting the Roman Emperor at all costs. In this case, Star Wars’ version of the Praetorian Guard protect the Supreme Leader of the First Order. Here’s the first look at the new guards, courtesy of EW:
Although the Emperor’s Royal Guard surrounded him at all times, they never actually fought on-screen, yet their presence – and the fact that they carried Force pikes as weapons, which could possibly parry lightsabers – gave off the impression that they certainly could defend themselves and the Emperor if needed. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson wanted to take those guards to the next level and make them more combat ready, and that’s where they got the design for Snoke’s guards:
“The Emperor’s guards were very formal, and you always got the sense that they could fight, but they didn’t. They looked like they were more ceremonial, and you never really saw them in action. The Praetorians, my brief to [costume designer] Michael Kaplan was that those guys have to be more like samurai. They have to be built to move, and you have to believe that they could step forward and engage if they have to. They have to seem dangerous.”
It’s unclear if audiences will see the Praetorian Guard in action in The Last Jedi, though by Johnson’s comments, it certainly sounds like they’re ready to protect Supreme Leader Snoke, who’s played by Andy Serkis in Disney’s sequel trilogy. The actor made his debut as Snoke in The Force Awakens, but hopefully, he gets more than a few fleeting moments of screen-time in the upcoming sequel.
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