One of the biggest mysteries about Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is the whereabouts of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), but the hero of the original trilogy isn't the only Star Wars 7 character fans have not seen. Villain Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) has also been kept under wraps, with alleged leaked concept art the only clue viewers have in regards to his appearance.
From the sound of it, Snoke will essentially be the Emperor Palpatine of the sequel trilogy; a powerful Dark Side user who commands the First Order and is a mentor to Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), perhaps even manipulating New Republic senators towards his cause. As fans await their first official look at Snoke, Serkis provided more clues about the evildoer's personality and stature.
Speaking with Empire, Serkis detailed the process that was used to film his Force Awakens scenes. The man behind Gollum and Caesar the ape once again donned his famous mo-cap outfit, but director J.J. Abrams went the extra mile to illustrate Snoke's apparently towering figure:
"It was quite an unusual situation. I worked specifically with Domhnall Gleeson and with Adam Driver. My first day was basically standing on a 25-foot podium doing Lord Snoke without the faintest idea what he looked like... or in fact who he was! I was very high up, totally on my own, away from everybody else, but acting with them.
“We used sort of a ‘Kongolizer’ method of having sound come out of speakers to give a sense of scale and distance for the character. So it was very challenging and scary, in fact probably one of my most scary film experiences I’ve ever had."
Serkis previously indicated that it would have been impossible to play Snoke with makeup because of the character's facial features and the fact that he "appears tall." With Serkis standing on a 25-foot podium for his scenes, one has to wonder just how tall Snoke will be in the finished film. However, it's more likely the platform was used more to give Gleeson and Driver something practical to look up towards while shooting, rather than an accurate portrayal of Snoke's size (since nobody had finalized his look at the time).
Serkis also reiterated his prior statements concerning Snoke's vulnerability, teasing fans with a villain who seems more complex than what we've seen in the other Star Wars movies:
"He is severely damaged. Although he's a powerful leader, he comes across as vulnerable. Very scarred and disfigured."
Serkis has claimed that Snoke is a "newly-created character," implying that Snoke was not heavily involved in the events of the previous films (though he has knowledge of what happened). With that in mind, it will be interesting to learn more about his backstory and rise to power when the film finally opens next month. The Star Wars franchise is one known for its iconic villains, and the enigmatic Snoke certainly has the potential to be the next in the pantheon of greats, continuing the tradition of Darth Vader and the Emperor as an intimidating, but compelling, threat that must be stopped at all costs.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.