Leaked tie-in product packaging for Star Wars: The Last Jedi gives fans a better look at Supreme Leader Snoke's elite Praetorian Guards. These guards have been the subject of many headlines recently, as fan sketches and promotional artwork provided glimpses of them. Design-wise, they are reminiscent of the Imperial royal guards seen in Return of the Jedi and Rogue One, but writer/director Rian Johnson made sure to put his own spin on the concept. According to the reports, each one wears their own suit of armor and carries a unique weapon. It is unknown what their role in the film is, though speculation points to the guards being involved in at least one key action sequence.
Even though Snoke is not a character Johnson covers in great detail during Episode VIII, the filmmaker still crafted some interesting-sounding visuals for the First Order ruler, as the guards should be seen in an elaborate throne room while Snoke dons a gold robe. Many cannot wait to see it all unfold on the big screen, but there are still six months to go until Star Wars 8 makes its way into theaters. However, fans continue to get early glances at the guards through leaks, and the newest one comes in the form of a sports drink.
TheForce.net got a hold of photos of four cans of Space Punch, a "galactic vitamin drink" that contains 20 calories per can. The limited edition series features a couple of familiar faces from Episode VII - Captain Phasma (flanked by stormtroopers) and lovable droid BB-8. The other two place a spotlight on the Praetorian Guards. Lining up with earlier rumors, both are wearing different helmets and seem to be carrying a special weapon. You can take a look at the images by clicking the link below:
Given the eye-catching aesthetics of the red-clad guards, they are unsurprisingly poised to be a key element of the Last Jedi marketing campaign when Disney forges ahead on promotion. Fans may recall that the aforementioned Phasma received a similar treatment back in 2015 during the buildup to The Force Awakens before becoming one of the more disappointing aspects of the film. One can hope that things will turn out differently this time, and the guards will make for more than just being "cool" Star Wars villains that inspire legions of cosplay at conventions. Hopefully, they do have a set piece or two, especially since it appears Kylo Ren will be accompanied by some allies when he makes the trek to Ahch-To. Originally, it was thought Kylo's own Knights of Ren would get in on the action, but all's been quiet on that front for a while. Based on everything that's come out recently, the Praetorian Guards will get the big push in Episode VIII.
All this leak will do is increase the already high levels of demand for more Last Jedi advertising materials, but fans are probably going to have to wait until the fall at the latest for another substantial look at the film. Star Wars will have a presence at D23, but it's expected the anthology side of things will receive most of the attention with young Han Solo details and a possible announcement regarding the mysterious third spinoff. It will be fascinating to see if these guards (or any of the new characters) are part of the first wave of Force Friday merchandise. Lucasfilm may prefer to place the returning faces in the spotlight, but they've been known to surprise before.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019