Star Wars fans will be talking, or perhaps arguing, about Snoke for as long as the franchise is relevant. The villain made his ominous debut in The Force Awakens before making a proper in-the-flesh debut in The Last Jedi. Now, Ivan Manzella, who helped to craft the character, has revealed that Snoke was originally quite a bit different. Specifically, that Snoke was originally a female. The version we got instead was inspired by the late Peter Cushing.
Ivan Manzella, a creature designer and sculptor who worked on the Star Wars sequel trilogy, recently appeared on a podcast to discuss his work. The most interesting reveals came when discussing Snoke. First up, Manzella rather surprisingly revealed that the villain, played by Andy Serkis, was originally a female early on in the process. Here's what he had to say about it.
"I think initially when they spoke about her, [Snoke] was female. Because the first image I did I based on a female, but then that just very quickly went away. So either it was just in passing or something. But I think I just did one image. And that was it, and no one else did any more. I don't know if anyone did really. Then, from then on, it just became the male."
Had Snoke remind a female it certainly would have shifted the dynamic quite a bit. It's impossible to say whether or not it would have been for the better, but it certainly would have been remarkably different. Ultimately, Ivan Manzella took inspiration from another famous Star Wars villain, Grand Moff Tarkin, who was played by Peter Cushing.
"I actually based him on Peter Cushing. Because there were always Snoke theories that he was Grand Moff Tarkin, which I always found quite amusing. You can see there are elements there. The maquette, there's elements of Peter Cushing, just the cheekbone and the profile and stuff, but he wasn't meant to be Peter Cushing. He was my Hammer reference, kind of thing."
Indeed, there were abundant theories running rampant online regarding Snoke's true identity. Following his surprising death in The Last Jedi, it was revealed in The Rise of Skywalker that Palpatine created Snoke to help corrupt Kylo Ren. Ivan Manzella also discussed during the interview how Snoke evolved between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
"He was quite graphic in that first iteration, in Force Awakens. You don't really see much, he's a hologram, I guess. What they did to him there is they got rid of some of his ... they made his face a bit more friendlier, he went more to a flesh color and some of his face was softened up a bit so it wasn't so graphic. He originally had that hole in the side of his face taken out, it was really kind of nasty stuff going on. I quite liked the idea of him having a marble skin type, all the veining like you get in marble, and these piercing, blue eyes. But he kind of evolved and got a little bit softer, I think."
The Star Wars sequel trilogy was a huge financial success, taking in more than $4.4 billion at the global box office. But it also ended up being largely controversial in the end. Snoke was arguably one of the most controversial elements of all. For many, he proved to be a bit anticlimactic as a villain. Still, he was an important part of the movies and this does provide a little insight into how he came to be. For more with Ivan Manzella, you can check out his episode of Force Material.