Star Wars: The Last Jedi promises to go deeper on a variety of mysteries that were set up in The Force Awakens. One of those mysteries was what was up with Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), the evil guy in charge of running the First Order. Seen only as a gigantic hologram in The Force Awakens, it looks like we’ll see him in the flesh in The Last Jedi, but director Rian Johnson cautions that we shouldn’t expect a detailed backstory.
Speaking to Empire, Johnson explains that Snoke will be more like the Emperor in the Original Trilogy:
“We got the whole story of Palpatine’s rise to power in the prequels, but in the original films he’s exactly what he needs to be, which is just ‘The Emperor’” Johnson tells Empire in the new October issue. “He’s a dark force: the scary thing behind the thing. That was entirely how I approached Snoke. I wasn’t interested in explaining where he came from or telling his history, except where it serves this story.”
And that makes sense. Ultimately, there are a lot of characters that need to be served, and there isn’t time for everyone to tell you their life story. Additionally, Snoke could end up less threatening if we know where he comes from or his master plan. But most importantly, the real antagonist to focus on is Kylo Ren. Johnson explains:
“Writing Kylo Ren is just so much fun,” says Johnson “Star Wars boils down to the transition from adolescence into adulthood. That’s the heart of these films and Rey is most obviously the one that hangs on. But it’s also Kylo. In the originals you project entirely onto Luke, while Vader is the scary other — he’s the minotaur. The fascinating thing about Kylo and Rey is that they’re two sides of something. We can all relate to Kylo: to that anger of being in the turmoil of adolescence and figuring out who he’s going to be as a man; dealing with anger and wanting to separate from his family. He’s not Vader — at least, he’s not Vader yet — and that’s something I really wanted to get into.”
I think that’s a richer vein of storytelling, and I’m glad that Johnson is pursuing it. With Kylo, you not only have an interesting backstory that was already established in The Force Awakens, you know you’re going to get a great performance from Driver. Snoke may be the next iteration of the Emperor, but what’s far more compelling is to see the next iteration of Vader.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens December 15th.