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Andy Serkis' Force Awakens character revealed

The performance-capture pioneer will deliver another out-of-body experience

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Annie Leibowitz

Andy Serkis is finally connecting some dots for Star Wars fans.

Ever since he was announced as part of The Force Awakens cast, no one has been sure which character would be brought to life by the performance-capture trailblazer, who breathed humanity into inhuman characters such as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, among many others.

Would Serkis be acting via remote control, as he has in his most famous performances, or turning up in the flesh as he did in Avengers: Age of Ultron, as the arms dealer who loses an arm, Ulysses Klaue?

Now, by way of a StarWars.com interview with iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz about her recent Vanity Fair shoot for the film, we’ve learned Serkis will portray a being known as Supreme Leader Snoke…

This opens up even more questions. Who — or what — is Supreme Leader Snoke?

The interview offered nothing more beyond his name, alongside an image of Serkis in motion-capture gear.

The only Star Wars reference to anyone named “Snoke” is a background character named Snoke Loroan from the 1992 novel The Lost City of the Jedi, who was a Corellian pilot serving the Rebels. He also apparently died during Return of the Jedi‘s Battle of Endor. So basically, not the same guy. (What kind of Supreme Leader would go by his first name anyway?)

Although we haven’t seen Snoke yet, we have heard him as the narrator of the first teaser trailer last November. “There has been an awakening … Have you felt it? The dark side. And the light…”

The voice is ragged and deep, leading some to speculate that it had been warped and altered. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in December, Serkis said this wasn’t the case. The voice of Supreme Leader Snoke is all organic. “That is the character,” Serkis says. “There’s no digital manipulation. That’s just me.” 

Obviously, those few lines from the trailer suggest that Snoke is Force sensitive. If he picks up on a disturbance, an awakening, he has ties to a power that goes far beyond military strength. All Serkis could say in his earlier interview was that his character has witnessed and participated in some harsh things during his time in the galaxy. “He’s been through some stuff,” Serkis says.

Speculation time: Has there ever been a “Supreme Leader” who has been a good guy? Sounds like a tyrant, the kind of person whose hobbies include wearing shapeless suits and running North Korea. In the recent trailer, is this Snoke at center stage, off in the distance, surrounded by a battalion of stormtroopers?

Lucasfilm

Military entourage. Ominous banners. Flattering, loose-fitting attire …

We can’t know for sure just yet, but that’s how a Supreme Leader rolls.

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