Today, StarWars.com officially revealed what character Andy Serkis will be playing in Star Wars Episode VII.
The announcement comes from a blog post highlighting the work of photographer Annie Lebovitz, who took the above photo of Serkis in performance capture gear.
So just who is Andy Serkis playing?
Buried in that post is the off-handed mention that Andy Serkis will be portraying a character named Supreme Leader Snoke.
What do we know about this character?
We don’t know a heck of a lot yet. Until today, we didn’t even know if it would be a live-action role, or performance capture. Seeing the photo, we of course now know that it will indeed be mo-cap, which makes sense given Serkis’ experience in that area.
Aside from that, this Snoke guy is almost a total mystery. The title obviously lends a lot of weight to the character, as does Serkis’ intimidating posture. Could he be the Supreme Leader of the First Order? Perhaps it’s a twist on the “Emperor” title from the original trilogy.
One clue we do have is that it’s Serkis doing the voiceover in that original teaser trailer (“There has been an awakening. Have you felt it? The dark side and the light”). That seems to imply that whatever his role is, Snoke has some connection to the Force. That lends a little more weight to the idea that he could be the next Emperor Paplatine-esque character.
Either way though, it looks like he’ll be going full on mo-cap for the role (along with Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata).
Is he an alien then? Considering how human-centric the original trilogy’s Empire was, maybe not. Perhaps he’s been disfigured in some way, or has gone full-on cyborg like General Grievous from the prequels.
Right now though, all I have is speculation. I’ll keep you posted if any interesting rumors begin floating around.