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Andy Serkis Makes Snoke Sound Much More Interesting Than a Palpatine Clone in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Snoke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

We’ve heard before that details on Supreme Leader Snoke, the evil overlord of the new Star Wars trilogy, will be fairly light in The Last Jedi, though the character will feature more prominently in the upcoming sequel. Now, actor Andy Serkis and Director Rian Johnson have let out a few more details, and the clarifications are a lot more encouraging.

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Director Rian Johnson previously compared his approach to Snoke to Emperor Palpatine in the original Star Wars trilogy, which may have, understandably, left some fans worried about a dated approach to storytelling. Palpatine was far from the most compelling character in the original trilogy, and a modern take on Star Wars would hopefully do something more interesting with its villainous, elder Sith Lord.

As Serkis tells it in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, a more modern take is what we’re going to get, even if we don’t learn more about the character than makes sense for the movie’s plot. In Johnson’s previous comments, he’d also mentioned that we’d only learn as much about Snoke as was necessary for the current story, which already left plenty of room open for him to be more fleshed out than Palpatine, but Serkis shed some light on what we may learn about his motivation for battling the Resistance:

“He’s terribly powerful, of course. But he is also a very vulnerable and wounded character. He has suffered and he has suffered injury. The way that his malevolence comes out is in reaction to that. His hatred of the Resistance is fueled by what’s happened to him personally.”

While his backstory isn’t going to be explored in any kind of depth, his personality and motivation at least sounds more developed than Palpatine’s general, nebulous brand of evil. He’s got a personal beef with the Resistance, tied to his rather obvious injuries. Who knows? Maybe he was an innocent bystander during the events of the original trilogy and wound up trapped and hurt by a conflict that had nothing to do with him, and he’s exacting his revenge on the Skywalkers for dragging their family drama out to planet-destroying proportions.

Fans have done a lot of talking over the years about the everyday people of the Star Wars universe and how they feel about the epic battle over good and evil they’re all swept up in—and whether the Skywalkers are really hurting or helping—so a nod to that with Snoke’s backstory, while not bothering to fill in all the blanks, could wind up pretty satisfying. It’d also be a solid way to put his history into the context of the rest of the story without the kind of over-the-top, unnecessary connections made in the prequels.

Of course, now I’m off on my own Snoke theory tangent, so feel free to tell me the standard “your Snoke theory sucks”—you can form your own based on the rest of the details, including the character’s greed and ostentatiousness (gold robes!), in the full interview.

(via Entertainment Weekly, image: Disney/Lucasfilm)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.