Had your fill of Star Wars news yet? No? Good. The floodgates are officially open, and even more photos and details from The Last Jedi have been unleashed. This time, we’re taking the path to the Dark Side with new intel on Supreme Leader Snoke and his “elite” Praetorian Guard — essentially an upgraded, more badass version of the series’ classic Imperial Guard.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi cover story,
Entertainment Weekly takes a closer look at Snoke and those red-armored guards we spotted in a photo released earlier today:

The Praetorian Guard is named after the real-life guards who protected and served emperors in ancient Rome — fitting, as Snoke’s guys (…and ladies?) are an updated version of the Imperial Guard, which served Emperor Palpatine. “You always got the sense that they could fight, but they didn’t,” says director Rian Johnson, who instructed his costume designer to put a samurai-inspired spin on the Emperor’s classic but “very formal” guards.

These new and improved guards are Supreme Leader Snoke’s “elite” team of personal bodyguards — and that’s not very surprising. We’ve only seen Andy Serkis’ mo-capped Star Wars villain via larger-than-life hologram in The Force Awakens, which raised plenty of questions about Snoke’s condition and left fans wondering if the new big bad is really all that big and bad in person.

We’ll definitely find out in The Last Jedi when Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren meets Snoke face to face. Although the sequel will shed some light on the mysterious villain and his motives, Johnson cautions, “we’ll learn exactly as much about Snoke as we need to” — meaning that we shouldn’t expect a history lesson or an explanation of Snoke’s family tree. Says Johnson:

Similar to Rey’s parentage, Snoke is here to serve a function in the story. And a story is not a Wikipedia page. For example, in the original trilogy, we didn’t know anything about the Emperor except what Luke knew about him, that he’s the evil guy behind Vader. Then in the prequels, you knew everything about Palpatine because his rise to power was the story.

If the diminishing returns of horror sequels have taught us anything, it’s that bad guys and monsters always become far less scary the more you learn about them.

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

More From ScreenCrush