ByTom Bacon, writer at
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Tom Bacon

Supreme Leader Snoke is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Lucasfilm didn't have a concrete plan for the villain during filming of The Force Awakens, but Andy Serkis — who voices the part — has recently revealed that his backstory has finally been decided. In his latest interviews, Serkis has begun to drop tantalizing hints.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Serkis gave some fascinating insights into the Supreme Leader's character and motivation. He also presented us with some major clues to this dark side being's backstory.

Snoke's Broken Body May Give Us Important Clues

Although we only saw a brief glimpse of Supreme Leader Snoke in The Force Awakens, he cut an impressive figure. The Last Jedi will reveal that he's an imposing, 9-foot-tall alien of ancient origins. The Supreme Leader has suffered terrible injuries in the past, and Serkis describes his body as "kind of twisted up like a corkscrew." Snoke has only limited movement, and as a result tends to sit in his throne, his rage and anger building due to his own infirmity.

The most visible damage is to Snoke's skull and jaw. As Serkis observes, "His jaw is completely mangled and the left side of his face is mauled." To play the part, Serkis taped down the left side of his mouth to restrict lip movement.

Significantly, these designs were modeled on injuries from the First World War. There, human bodies were torn apart by modern war machines, most notably those horrific machine guns. At the same time, improvements in medication ensured people could survive injuries that would once have been fatal.

This seems to be a tantalizing hint as to Snoke's origin. The Star Wars novels have already suggested that he's a powerful dark side being who was trapped in the Unknown Regions, watching the galaxy with a malevolent gaze. Now, the design of these injuries suggests that Snoke was the victim of an ancient conflict, left for dead after he suffered terribly on the front lines of a high-tech war. Stranded in the Unknown Regions, kept alive by some combination of medical technology and the Force, Snoke could only watch from the sidelines. Until, that is, the Emperor sensed his presence, and set in motion events that would ultimately bring Snoke into contact with the last remnant of the Empire.

Vengeance is Snoke's Motivation

Serkis describes Snoke as essentially the ultimate dark side being, driven by hatred and greed. The driving force for his attack on the New Republic was hatred, fueled by a lust for vengeance. As Serkis explained:

"The thing about Snoke is that he is extremely strong with the Force, the dark side of the Force. 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."

According to Serkis, Snoke's hatred isn't abstract. He hates the Republic because of something that was done to him, likely on the front lines of that ancient war. That's an intriguing hint that Snoke may have been battling against the Old Republic and the early Jedi. We already know that The Force Awakens will explore the distant past of the Jedi Order, with Luke potentially discovering the Journal of the Whills itself. If Luke recognized Snoke as a threat from the dawning days of the Jedi Order, it would explain why he headed to Ahch-To in the first place. He'd known the location of the first Jedi Temple for years, but Snoke's appearance made it much more pressing for the Jedi Master to go there for answers.

This also potentially fits with fan theories that Rian Johnson's new Star Wars trilogy will be set in the galaxy's distant past. Johnson has been presented with a "blank canvas" to work with, but in The Last Jedi he seems to have begun to add a wash of color to the background.

Snoke's Apprentices

Snoke uses his vulnerability and the promise of power to lure the unwary to his side. He's described as a predator, who identifies and exploits weakness, using and discarding his allies and apprentices when he grows dissatisfied with them. He saw Ben Solo's potential, and seduced the youth to the dark side. Now that Kylo Ren is failing, Snoke's wandering gaze has fixed upon Rey as a potential replacement.

It may be that the Supreme Leader has a dark purpose for these Force users, one somehow tied to the mysterious "Operation Resurrection" teased in Star Wars: Battlefront II. Or it may simply be that, when he sees power, Snoke desires to possess it. Serkis stresses that Snoke is motivated by greed and a lust for power. That's why he's made the galaxy's only mega-class Star Destroyer his home, that's why his court is so ostentatious, and that's why he wears shimmering golden robes. This greed may well extend to his desire to seduce the most powerful Force users.

Little by little, the pieces of Snoke's backstory are coming together. Serkis has dropped some intriguing hints here, and we can expect to see some of them developed in The Last Jedi. At the same time, don't assume we'll get a history lesson in the film. A lot of the Supreme Leader's history is no doubt being saved for next year's official tie-in novels and comics.

What's your theory about Snoke's origin? Let me know in the comments!

[Source: Entertainment Weekly]


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