WookieeLeaks: Three Big Questions About ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’
ScreenCrush’s WookieeLeaks is a weekly roundup of everything Star Wars! From The Force Awakens, to the upcoming spinoffs and the TV shows, if it pertains to that long ago, far away galaxy, we’re covering it here, bringing you our expert analysis. This week, recap everything we know about Andy Serkis’ Supreme Leader Snoke, learn about who may become a Jedi in the Force Awakens, and get a glimpse at Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode 8 progress.
Who is This Supreme Leader Snoke Guy, Anyway?
Yesterday, a StarWars.com article casually revealed that the amazing Andy Serkis is playing a character named Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And that was it. Nothing beyond that name and title. But this is Star Wars news we’re talking about, so the internet went ballistic. Who is this guy? What‘s his deal? Why does he need to brought to life through motion capture, as the nifty image above officially confirms?
We honestly know next to nothing about Serkis’ role in the film, but that’s not going to stop us from searching through our pebbles of knowledge and trying to figure out something about this guy. Let’s dive in.
1. That “Supreme Leader” title certainly implies that Snoke is the Big Bad operating above Kylo Ren. The Emperor Palpatine to his Darth Vader, if you will. That title also feels perfectly in sync with the Empire’s new name, “The First Order.” Star Wars villains have always been fanatical fascists, but these new names really drive that point home in a big, grandiose way.
2. Like all of the other major characters in The Force Awakens, Snoke was given a fake name on set. Unlike the others, his fake name may be giving us some actual information: Uber. That certainly makes it clear that he’s the real villain behind these new movies and it wouldn’t surprise us at all if he watches from the sidelines for a movie or two before leaping into the action and actually getting his hands dirty.
3. It has been confirmed that the creepy voice over from the first teaser trailer belonged to Serkis, which means that that those words belong to Snoke. If that is any indication, we are looking at a Sith villain, or at least someone in touch with the Dark Side.
4. This totally blows apart our crazy theory that Serkis was playing the Force Ghost version of Palpatine. Back to square one, eh?
Who Gets the Lightsaber in The Force Awakens?
Before we get into the potentially spoilery business of that question proposed right above this sentence, let’s get the non-spoiler business out of the way.
First of all, some people who are much smarter than us have seemingly figured out how the practical BB-8 works and have compiled their knowledge in a website called, uh, HowBB8Works.com. The entire site is essentially a single extended essay, but if you’re into cool movie tech, you’re going to want to give it a read.
Elsewhere, Star Wars Underworld has snagged a first look at a new The Force Awakens LEGO set. Named “Lead Villain Vehicle,” this Imperial Shuttle-esque design can be briefly seen in the second teaser. Based on that title, we can safely assume that it is the personal craft of Adam Driver’s evil Kylo Ren.
While we still don’t know exactly who Game of Thrones veteran Milos Yerolemou is playing in The Force Awakens, we do know from previous interviews that he is playing an alien. Now, in a new interview, he opened up about the larger experience, complimenting J.J. Abrams’ directorial chops and, like everyone else, emphasizing the practical effects:
Speaking about his Star Wars gig, Yerolemou says: “It’s not really a job where you ask any questions.” He didn’t divulge if he’ll be wielding a lightsaber instead of a sword in seventh part of the franchise, because he can’t say much about it. He does say however that the film, “Lives up to its expectations,” and that it’s in, “very safe hands,” explaining that director J.J. Abrahams has, “gone back to emotional storytelling.” Many of the actors not only won’t say much about the script, but actually don’t know much, as they were only given their parts of the script to read.
“We shot at Pinewood. I’d be sitting on set next to aliens, animatronics; only a little bit of blue screen was used.” He called the experience a “mouth opener… a virtual reality adventure ride,” in which he felt like he was inhabiting another world, a fantastic environment, replete with, “tiny little thing strutting past my feet.”
Based on his description of the set in the second paragraph, could he be playing one of the many aliens hanging out at Maz Kanata’s pirate stronghold? It certainly seems likely. We can totally see Arya Stark’s badass dancing master as a badass alien space pirate.
We’re going to enter spoiler/speculation mode now, so if you don’t want to potentially know anything about the actual plot of The Force Awakens, this is your chance to turn around and run as fast as you can. You still here? Moving on!
We know that The Force Awakens begins with the discovery of Luke Skywalker’s long lost lightsaber by Daisy Ridley’s desert scavenger, Rey. We know that she eventually teams up with John Boyega’s Finn and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron on a mission to return the Jedi weapon to its rightful owner. But who actually gets to wield it? Making Star Wars has the details (and as always, take this with a grain of salt). Potentially HUGE spoilers follow...
The short version goes something like this: Rey wants nothing to do with the lightsaber, so Finn takes it and actually uses it for much of the film. He even uses it to battle Stormtroopers during the final assault on Kylo Ren’s castle. However, he doesn’t appear to be cut out for the whole Jedi thing (at least not yet):
[Finn] uses it against stormtroopers during the First Order Fortress attack. He also uses the lightsaber to cut through some things to dismantle the shield protecting the First Order base. By the end of the film, after dismantling stormtroopers and shields, with a little practice under his belt he uses it against Kylo Ren, but loses the fight and the saber forever.
How’s the Future Looking?
Pablo Hidalgo may have one the most interesting jobs at Lucasfilm. As a “creative executive” and member of the studio’s story group, he’s paid to be the ultimate Star Wars fan. It’s his job to know the saga’s continuity and advising storytellers across all mediums on the stories they tell. Vanity Fair sat down with Hidalgo for a very entertaining interview and he addressed having to oversee not just Star Wars movies and television, but comics, novels and video games:
Yeah, any sort of storytelling that’s been done in the Star Wars space. We kind of break that out to different degrees of what we call canon, you know—whether or not we’re beholden to it in new storytelling going forward. It’s like if someone will come into a situation and say, “Have we ever done a story like this?” And I could be able to say, “Yeah, we did that, but it was, like, in a 1978 comic book, so, you know, take that as you will.” In the past, our storytelling had been a little bit more haphazard, and we had to make those maps after the fact and make realizations of like, Oh, if we move this story here, it connects properly, right? But now we’re able to be bit more formal and organized beforehand, and that’s super-exciting. I’m the kind of guy who responds well to whiteboard illustrations that show, Oh, this is where we’re going next and this is where we’ve been, because that kind of builds the world in my mind as we start going towards there.
We have talked before about the controversial decision to eliminate the old extended universe, but the old EU didn’t have guys like Hidalgo keeping careful watch. The books and games were free to essentially do whatever they wanted unless George Lucas had a specific objection. This is why the the EU was so impenetrable to so many casual fans just looking for another taste of Star Wars. It was messy. It didn’t make sense. The post-Lucas Lucasfilm masterminds are being polite, but the old stuff wasn’t just un-cinematic – it was mostly just kind of awful.
If anyone is going to actually top Marvel Studios at the shared universe thing, it’s going to be Star Wars, which has a big enough canvas to tell all kinds of stories across a massive timeline. With people actually dedicated to keeping everything in check, this could end up being something truly satisfying for fans old and new. Or it could quickly get just as complicated and messy as the old EU. We shall see.
And while we’re talking about the future of Star Wars, how about the first look at the script for Star Wars: Episode 8? And by first look, we actually mean the stack of moleskin notebooks that contain all of Rian Johnson’s notes.