The latest rumors for Star Wars: The Last Jedi detail villain Supreme Leader Snoke's elite Praetorian Guards, including their costumes and weaponry. Though writer/director Rian Johnson has admitted the Dark Side master is not a character he covers to a great extent in the film, fans are still curious to learn more about the First Order's ruler. Any bits of speculation about Snoke have been somewhat small - such as the revelation he will be brought to life via practical effects and call an elaborate throne room aboard a Star Destroyer home. It's also been said Snoke is a "maniacal zealot" and people now see the First Order as a serious threat following the destruction of the Hosnian system and the New Republic.
Previous reports have indicated Snoke has his own personal team of guards, which are all different in their design. Last month, a leaked listing of Last Jedi action figures seemed to lend credence to that bit of information, since there were characters referred to as "Guards of Evil" included among the products. Now, it's becoming all the more likely the Supreme Leader has his own security force, since the latest word on Episode VIII includes a breakdown of the Elite Guards' armor and a sketch of one of them.
Coming courtesy Making Star Wars (which recently had several scoops confirmed by LEGO packaging), the Praetorian guards are essentially updates of the Emperor's royal guards seen in Return of the Jedi - but with their own spin. Clad in red armor, each one has their own weapon, helmet, and "fabric ornamentation." For instance, one fights with a nunchuck, while another wields "double-bladed fighting sticks." The guard in the sketch you can see below is in possession of some kind of electrified weapon with a pink energy field that can be used for parrying attacks or cutting through things:
The big question is how substantial of a role these guards will have in Episode VIII. Making Star Wars has heard from sources that they will be involved in some kind of action sequence and won't just stand around. A while ago, rumors pointed to Luke Skywalker demonstrating his immense Force powers by single-handedly wiping out the Knights of Ren, though it could now be these Praetorian Guards that encounter the Jedi on Ahch-To. Viewers will have to wait and see, but hopefully the guards have something to do in The Last Jedi and don't become the latest instance of Star Wars antagonists that look "cool" and can't justify the hype with their on-screen actions. If each one has their own get-up, it would be a wasted opportunity if they didn't actually use the weapons in a fight.
It's been mentioned before Episode VIII is far different from the other episodes in the saga, and all signs are pointing to that being the case. Between Finn embarking on an undercover mission, Luke living with the indigenous creatures of Ahch-To, and the upper class lifestyle of Canto Bight, Johnson seems to have put a fresh spin on the formula to take the property in new directions. These guards are another illustration of that. Yes, there are parallels to the Empire's royal guards, but they make for an interesting concept and should be fascinating to see in live-action. Much like The Empire Strikes Back, Last Jedi is going to expand its universe and offer an even better look behind the curtain, which many want to see.
Source: Making Star Wars
- 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: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019