Two of the most enigmatic characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens are finally getting an official photo release, as Disney/Lucasfilm have just released these new character stills
The movie has just passed Titanic and is now on the precipice of becoming the highest domestic grossing US film in history (un-adjusted with inflation) so there’s ‘No Spoilers’ as many of you will have already laid eyes on the barkeeper Maz Kanata and the Supreme Leader Snoke.
Prior to this release, the only publicly available shots were of Lupita Nyong’o in her performance capture make-up as Maz, a tiny glimpse of her on the official film poster and a fraction of a second in a Japanese trailer. Andy Serkis also was only seen in Mo-Cap gear for his shadowy ruler of The First Order.
But now we have a new shot of the orange-skinned piratess owner of the now destroyed Castle located on the planet of Takodana, and two showing the ominous hologram of the damaged visage of Snoke.
In a recent interview Nyong’o said Maz’s eyes, which are augmented by a series of adjustable lenses, gave her something compelling to explore about the little alien’s physicality. “As an actor for films, your eyes are a lot of the way you communicate anyway,” says Nyong’o. “So it was definitely a gift to have that be the means to her magic as a motion-capture character.”
Nyong’o and Serkis didn’t share any scenes, but the two worked closely together, since the actor has pioneered performance capture acting through his previous cinematic roles.
“The biggest advice he gave me, that was so important to hold on to, is a motion-capture character you develop the same way as any other. You have to understand who the character is and what makes them who they are,” she says.
Serkis said he sympathized with fans who were dying to know more about Snoke before the film’s debut. That’s how he felt when he started, too. “It’s the first time I’ve been on set not yet knowing what the character’s gonna look like. I mean, talk about secrecy!”
“When we first started working on it, he had some rough notions of how Snoke was gonna look, but it really hadn’t been fully formed and it almost came out of discussion and performance,” Serkis added.
Although there was much speculation about who Snoke might turn out to be (one popular theory was that he’d turn out to be a Sith Lord known from the prequels as Darth Plagueis the Wise
The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis The Wise
Serkis said the character was aware of the events from the earlier films but was a new addition to the storyline.
“Supreme Leader Snoke is quite an enigmatic character, and strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful,” Serkis says. “Obviously he has a huge agenda. He has suffered a lot of damage. As I said, there is a strange vulnerability to him, which belies his true agenda, I suppose.”
It’s also clear from the character’s scarred, cavernous face why prosthetic make-up wasn’t an option. As Serkis explained before anyone outside the film saw Snoke, it could only have been played through motion-capture. “The scale of him, for instance, is one reason,” Serkis said. “He is large. He appears tall. And also just the facial design — you couldn’t have gotten there with prosthetics. It’s too extreme. Without giving too much away at this point, he has a very distinctive, idiosyncratic bone structure and facial structure. You could never have done it [in real life.]”
One recent revelation comes from YouTube Adam Underkofler who’s created a video, which suggests that John Williams’ musical theme for the “Darth Plagueis” seen in Revenge of the Sith is virtually identical to the one which was used for Snoke’s debut in The Force Awakens.
Sadly we’ll have to wait until Episode VIII, which starts shooting this month and debuts in May 2017, to learn more. Hopefully there will be plenty more Maz and Snoke to go around.