snoke backstory

Disfigured, crippled, and cruel, Supreme Leader Snoke cuts an intimidating figure. In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, he will be finally rendered in the flesh after making a brief holographic appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

But there may be more to him than his opulent throne room and gaping maw suggests. Andy Serkis, who adds Snoke onto his growing list of motion-capture characters, revealed some details about the Snoke backstory, and how he came to be the powerful villain seen in The Last Jedi.

Entertainment Weekly has been steadily rolling out new Star Wars pieces, and today is all about Snoke. Serkis dishes out details about Snoke’s backstory — without revealing much at all, of course — including the fact that Snoke is a survivor of war, and has used his crippling injuries and trauma to fuel his hatred of the Galactic Republic, and now the Resistance:

“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.”

Though Snoke remains seated in his lavish throne room, often donning shimmering gold robes, Serkis describes the villain as a cruel, 9-foot-tall humanoid who exploits the weakness of his lieutenants Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). Kylo Ren bears the brunt of Snoke’s rage, Serkis says, leveraging Kylo’s vulnerability to play him and Hux off each other.

Perhaps Snoke is attempting to train Kylo and Hux to turn their pain into power as he did. Snoke’s physicality is astonishing, with his shattered skull and open jaw, which heavily influenced Serkis’ performance:

“His jaw is completely mangled and the left side of his face is mauled. So I had a way of taping down the lefthand side of my mouth to restrict the lip movement on that side… His deformity is very much based on injuries from the First World War, from the trenches.”

As to how Snoke actually got those injuries? Well, you’ll have to wait until the next movie to find out — or maybe you’ll never find out at all. Director Rian Johnson doubled down on his mission to keep exposition at a minimum, telling EW that the rest of Snoke’s origin will remain shrouded in mystery:

“For example, in the original trilogy, we didn’t know anything about the Emperor except exactly what we needed to know, which is what Luke knew about him, that he’s the evil guy behind Vader. But then in the prequels, you knew everything about Palpatine because that his rise to power was the story. We’ll learn exactly as much about Snoke as we need to. But the really exciting for me is we will see more of him, and Andy Serkis will get to do much more in this film than he did in the last one, and that guy is just a force of nature.”

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15, 2017.

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