Star Wars: The Force Awakens showed us its Emperor-figure, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), as a hologram, but in Star Wars: The Last Jedi we’re going to get see the villain in the flesh and learn a little bit more about him. Speaking to EW, Serkis says that Snoke, who in person is a 9-foot-tall alien humanoid, is driven by pain and greed. His M.O. (as glimpsed in Force Awakens and furthered in The Last Jedi) is to play his top two lieutenants Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) against each other. However, in Last Jedi, Snoke is going to be throwing a lot of anger towards Kylo Ren.
“His training of Kylo Ren is not yielding what he wants,” Serkis says. “Therefore his anger towards Kylo Ren is intensified because he can’t bear weakness in others. Part of the manipulation is goading him with Hux and playing them off against each other.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up backfiring and Snoke’s attacks against Kylo eventually lead him to either unite with Rey, or at the very least, driving Kylo away from the First Order.
Snoke will also be trying to wipe out what remains of The Resistance and even though Starkiller Base was destroyed in The Force Awakens, it turns out The First Order still has plenty of juice. “Despite the fact that the Starkiller Base has been destroyed and the Resistance has been putting up a fight, we will discover that the First Order has limitless resources in this one,” Serkis says.
However, for people hoping for some grand reveal with regards to Snoke’s origins, don’t count on some grand revelation or connection. “Similar to with Rey’s parentage, Snoke is here to serve a function in the story,” writer-director Rian Johnson says. “And, you know, a story is not a Wikipedia page.” Johnson continues:
“For example, in the original trilogy, we didn’t know anything about the Emperor except exactly what we needed to know, which is what Luke knew about him, that he’s the evil guy behind Vader,” Johnson says. “But then in the prequels, you knew everything about Palpatine because that his rise to power was the story. We’ll learn exactly as much about Snoke as we need to. But the really exciting for me is we will see more of him, and Andy Serkis will get to do much more in this film than he did in the last one, and that guy is just a force of nature.”
This is probably the smart way to go. While in an ideal world you could service every character and give them a rich, interesting back story, some characters serve more as functions of the plot. If we’re going to see worthwhile arcs for characters like Rey and Kylo Ren, then we can’t devote a ton of time to learning everything about Snoke.
So if he’s just an Emperor-figure, is there anything particularly different between Snoke and Palpatine? It turns out, Snoke is far more into the trappings of wealth. “He’s slightly oligarch,” Serkis says. “You know, he’s not afraid of showing his fineries. There is a luxury that’s native to him.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens December 15th.