Last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduced several new heroes and villains to fans of the galaxy far, far away, and one of the more intriguing additions to the canon was Supreme Leader Snoke. Presumably set up to be the sequel trilogy's "big bad," Snoke is Kylo Ren's Dark Side master and the one in charge of the First Order. His mission - at least in Episode VII - was to crush the Resistance and Luke Skywalker to eliminate any threats to his reign. By Star Wars 7's end, as Starkiller base crumbled, he asked for Kylo Ren to complete his training.
In Force Awakens, Snoke was played by motion-capture extraordinaire Andy Serkis and was presented as a CG character. Snoke appeared exclusively as a hologram during Episode VII, and it would appear that Rian Johnson had something else in mind while filming next year's Star Wars: Episode VIII. According to the latest rumor, Snoke will (at least in part) be done practically as opposed to being all digital for the length of the runtime.
The report comes courtesy of Making Star Wars, who say that Snoke will be a puppet that is seven or eight feet tall. It obviously requires several people to operate, as well as someone inside a suit so the character can walk around. As of this juncture, it's unknown if there will be a puppet/CGI blend to portray Snoke in Star Wars 8. Making Star Wars points out that Unkar Plutt in The Force Awakens was a practical costume for Simon Pegg that was digitally augmented in post, so perhaps something similar could take place here. In the event Snoke is involved in an extensive action sequence (such as a fight with Luke), odds are CGI will be required. But for scenes where he is simply talking with Kylo Ren and General Hux, the puppet will be on-screen.
This is fascinating to consider, and it will be interesting to hear what brought this change about. As Serkis has displayed brilliantly in the new Planet of the Apes films, mo-cap performance is more than capable of bringing lifelike creations to the big screen. At the same time, it is exciting that in today's day and age, Johnson is relying on old school techniques that harken back the the revolutionary effects of the original Star Wars trilogy. Puppets were of course used for Yoda and Jabba the Hutt in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, so hopefully the practical Snoke can rival those in terms of design and execution. An argument can be made that using a puppet could be a risk (if viewers don't buy into it), but with all the talent involved with Star Wars 8, they wouldn't have gone this route if they weren't 100 percent sure of it.
One possible reason for the shift is that some fans were critical of Snoke's look in The Force Awakens, and the thought process is that a puppet made from real materials would make for a better visual. In any event, Snoke is shaping up to be the inverse of Yoda in more ways than one. Since Episode VIII picks up moments after its predecessor, we're going to see a youngster from the Skywalker bloodline be trained in the Dark Side by an eight-foot tall alien. That's certainly a new and fresh angle and many will be curious to see it come into fruition.
Source: Making Star Wars
- Star Wars: Rogue One / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) release date: Dec 16, 2016
- 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