‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens': Theories on Supreme Leader Snoke

     December 21, 2015

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If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this is your official SPOILER WARNING—turn back now!

There was little attempt to hide the fact that master motion-capture performer Andy Serkis would be playing a character named Supreme Leader Snoke in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but beyond that simple fact, the character was shrouded in mystery. Now that audiences around the world have had a chance to view the movie – and this newly introduced character – for themselves, many are left with more questions than answers. Spoilers abound in the discussion below, so if you haven’t been able to catch a screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, turn back now before the Dark Side claims you.

We have to wait until May 26, 2017 for Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII for any further confirmation on just who and what Supreme Leader Snoke is, and why his machinations in this universe are so important. Despite the long wait, fans have already come out in droves to offer up theories on Snoke’s origins and intentions. Some are more far-fetched than others. Below, we’ll flesh out what we know about Snoke so far from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and then cover some of the more popular fan theories that have been making the rounds.

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Image via Lucasfilm

Andy Serkis’ Motion-Capture Performance

First of all, you don’t hire Serkis – aka Gollum, Caesar, King Kong, Captain Haddock, etc – to bring his particular blend of acting and technology to just any old character. Just like you don’t bring Lupita Nyong’o and her Oscar-winning talent to a character that’s going to be seen on screen once and then swept aside. Both Serkis’ Snoke and Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata clearly have more of a role to play in future films, even if their involvement hasn’t officially been announced. In other words, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is just the beginning.

Perhaps the most curious thing about Snoke is how inactive he was in the movie. Yes, his size is impressive, at least if his holographic projection is to be believed. He looms over both Kylo Ren and General Hux from his seated perch upon a giant stone throne. As leader of the First Order, his size is likely more symbolic in nature than an actual representation of his true form. I’m speculating here, but it reminds me of Big Brother’s enormously imposing visage on the telescreen in 1984, or John Hurt’s similar appearance as High Chancellor Adam Sutler in V for Vendetta or even Emperor Palpatine himself. But just because Snoke may not be 50 feet tall doesn’t mean his physical appearance won’t be impressive once he’s finally face to face with other characters.

Supreme Leader Snoke’s Appearance

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Image via Lucasfilm

While his real height will be called into question for a while yet, his scarred, haunting visage has already been revealed. Relatively recently, Neal Scanlan, chief of creature and droid effects, told People:

“This character is much better executed as a CGI character. That’s just a practical reality when he’s 7-foot-something tall; he’s very, very thin.”


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