Star Wars fans have been treated to a wealth of new details regarding Star Wars: The Force Awakens over the past few days, with a new IMAX poster, information on the mysterious Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o) and much more. Luke Skywalker, Maz Kanata and Max von Sydow's still-unidentified role are just a few of the characters still shrouded in mystery leading up to the December 18 release. But today, Entertainment Weekly has new information on another character we don't know too much about, Andy Serkis' Supreme Leader Snoke. We still haven't seen what this character looks like, and as it turns out, Andy Serkis knew just as much as we did when he first arrived on the set.
"It's the first time I've been on set not yet knowing what the character's gonna look like. I mean talk about secrecy! When we first started working on it, he (J.J. Abrams) had some rough notions of how Snoke was gonna look, but it really hadn't been fully-formed and it almost came out of discussion and performance."
Earlier this week, a piece of early concept art leaked that reportedly gave fans their first look at Snoke, who resembled a snake-like creature wearing green and yellow robes. While Entertainment Weekly hasn't seen what Snoke looks like yet, they claim that this concept art probably doesn't look anything like the Snoke we will see on the big screen. The actor revealed that the evolution of Snoke's look continued past the principal photography phase and well into post-production.
"We shot on set of course, and I was in the scenes I have with other actors, but the beauty of this process is you can go back and reiterate, keep informing and honing beats and moments. So J.J., after we shot last year, we've had a series of sessions where I'd be in London at The Imaginarium, my studio, while he's been directing from L.A., and we've literally been creating further additions and iterations to the character. That's been fascinating. And in the meantime I've been able to see the look and design of the character grow and change as the performances change. So it's been really exciting in that respect."
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set 32 years after the events Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. While there are certainly connections to the original trilogy, with Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher reprising their roles as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Leia Organa, the story will focus on a trio of new heroes, Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). When asked if Snoke has any connection to the original trilogy, Andy Serkis had this to say.
"Supreme Leader Snoke is quite an enigmatic character, and strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful. Obviously he has a huge agenda. He has suffered a lot of damage. As I said, there is a strange vulnerability to him, which belies his true agenda, I suppose. He's a new character in this universe. It is very much a newly-introduced character. He's aware of what's gone on, in the respect that he has been around and is aware of prior events. I think it'd be fair to say that he is aware of the past to a great degree."
Many fans have been delighted that director J.J. Abrams decided to go back to the franchise's roots with a practical approach that includes elaborate creature effects and a minimal use of CGI. We know that Maz Kanata was also portrayed through motion capture, and that Andy Serkis helped coach her on the set. When asked if it was ever considered to have the actor portray Snoke in a full costume, instead of CGI, the actor revealed that it wasn't possible, due to the size of Snoke.
No, no. The scale of him, for instance, is one reason. He is large. He appears tall. And also just the facial design - you couldn't have gotten there with prosthetics. It's too extreme. Without giving too much away at this point, he has a very distinctive, idiosyncratic bone structure and facial structure. You could never have done it [in real life.]"
Andy Serkis is part of a diverse cast including John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong'o, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis and Max von Sydow. J.J. Abrams directs Star Wars: The Force Awakens from a script he co-wrote with Lawrence Kasdan, with the director producing alongside Kathleen Kennedy and Bryan Burk. Do you think we may get our first look at Snoke in the new footage debuting on ABC tonight? Stay tuned for more on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and check back later tonight for the new footage.