The Star Wars universe is no stranger to alien creatures. We’re quick to forget that when A New Hope first hit theaters, now-iconic characters like Chewbacca and Jabba the Hut were fresh designs. So when Lucasfilm revived the Star Wars saga with The Force Awakens, we knew we were getting new creatures. The Force Awakens was mainly focused on fleshing out BB-8 but also introduced folks like Maz Kanata and, of course, Supreme Leader Snoke, but with The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson is creating his own creatures and new characters that will hopefully become memorable pieces of Star Wars lore.
That certainly extends to The Praetorian Guard, which as revealed by EW serve as the protectors of Supreme Leader Snoke, played by Andy Serkis via performance capture. As seen in the photo below, these guys know how to fight, and that was exactly Johnson’s vision:
“The Emperor’s guards were very formal, and you always got the sense that they could fight, but they didn’t,” writer-director Rian Johnson tells EW. “They looked like they were more ceremonial, and you never really saw them in action. The Praetorians, my brief to [costume designer] Michael Kaplan was that those guys have to be more like samurai. They have to be built to move, and you have to believe that they could step forward and engage if they have to. They have to seem dangerous.”
Johnson says The Praetorians, who get their name from the elite guard that protected ancient Roman emperors, essentially serve as Snoke’s bodyguards. This is fascinating, and suggests that while powerful, Snoke may not be as physically intimidating as someone like Darth Vader or even Emperor Palpatine.
Johnson confirms that we will see more of Snoke in The Last Jedi, but that doesn’t mean we’ll learn everything about him, so you may wanna pocket all those Snoke theories:
“Similar to Rey’s parentage, Snoke is here to serve a function in the story. And a story is not a Wikipedia page. For example, in the original trilogy, we didn’t know anything about the Emperor except what Luke knew about him, that he’s the evil guy behind Vader. Then in the prequels, you knew everything about Palpatine because his rise to power was the story.” In The Last Jedi, Johnson says, “we’ll learn exactly as much about Snoke as we need to.”
The filmmaker also puts to rest rumors that Snoke might be performed via puppet, confirming it’s an entirely mo-cap performance in The Last Jedi.