Andy Serkis made a rare appearance in the flesh in Avengers: Age of Ultron, where he showed up briefly as the villainous Ulysses Klaue. Normally, the actor's real face is hidden beneath layers of digital covering, when he's portraying such characters as Gollum and/or Caesar the Ape by way of motion-capture performance. However, we can now confirm the actor put back on his customary mo-cap tight suit (with his face covered in dots to better capture his facial expressions) to play his character in the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Serkis, you may recall, was eventually revealed to be the narrator of the first Force Awakens trailer; what has remained a mystery since then, however, is the identity of his character - this growly-voiced fellow who had felt an "awakening" in both the Light Side and Dark Side of The Force. Details on who Serkis is playing remain firmly under lock and key, but at least now we know what to call him.
The reveal occurred in a newly-published interview on Star Wars.com, where celebrated photographer Annie Leibovitz discussed her longtime history of shooting Star Wars-related photos. Her body of work includes an Empire Strikes Back cast photo she took for Rolling Stone back in 1980, as well as the Force Awakens cast and set photos that she shot for Vanity Fair - which then debuted the images on Star Wars Day 2015 (a.k.a. May 4th, 2015). It turns out Leibovitz also took a photo of Serkis in his mo-cap gear on the Force Awakens set, but it was previously left unpublished.
Well, no longer. You can check out that Serkis image below, but the more interesting reveal is no doubt the name of his Force Awakens character: Supreme Leader Snoke.
Now, who is Supreme Leader Snoke? Well, based on previous rumors (which point to Snoke being a villain), it seems there's a chance that he's a leader in The First Order, which is the name the remnants of the Galactic Empire are now operating under in Force Awakens, thirty years after the destruction of the second Death Star (and the deaths of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader). Another possibly is that he is the master to Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), a.k.a. the masked dark side user with the cross-guard red lightsaber seen in the film's trailers.
Then again, Snoke might well be both Ren's master AND the First Order's leader. As for what he and/or Ren are after in Force Awakens, well, wouldn't everyone like to know...
Here's the rundown of other new characters in Force Awakens whose names have been revealed so far:
- Rey (Daisy Ridley), a ship scavenger living on the desert planet of Jakku.
- Finn (John Boyega), a stormtrooper who ends up crossing paths with Rey.
- Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), an X-Wing pilot who's on a mission for a "certain princess" when he meets Finn and, presumably, Rey.
- Lupita Nyong'o as Maz Kanata, a space pirate lord who, like Snoke, is a motion-capture creation.
- Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, the chrome-armored officer who's also rumored to be Finn's boss.
That leaves Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina) as the last main Force Awakens cast member whose character has yet to be revealed - any theories on who he's playing? How about Snoke: is he a Sith Lord or someone else with knowledge of the Force (especially the Dark Side)?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18, 2015; Star Wars: Rogue One on December 16, 2016; and Star Wars: Episode VIII (subtitle TBD) on May 26th, 2017.
Source: Star Wars.com