Annie Leibovitz’s recent Star Wars photo set for Vanity Fair was, for many fans, their introduction to new characters whose names sounded silly at first but gradually became less so over time, in the tradition of science-fiction, bands, and bizarre sexual acts. And now we have another to add to the Kylo Rens, Poe Damerons, Maz Kanatas, and Captain Phasmas we have already met, snickered at, then gradually accepted: StarWars.com has an exclusive reveal of Supreme Leader Snoke, the character played by the already acceptably Star Wars-named Andy Serkis.
Theirs is an exclusive photo, but much like Lupita Nyong’o, Serkis’ performance will be entirely motion-capture. So while it’s typically lovely in that Leibovitz way, really it’s just a picture of Serkis with a bunch of dots on his face. You can find literally hundreds of those on the Internet already. I mean, here’s one I found in two seconds. It lacks the intricate geometrical pattern on his bodysuit that makes him look like a particularly intense spin class instructor, but just pretend it’s from Star Wars.
What most people will want to talk about, of course, is that name. What is “Supreme Leader Snoke” a Supreme Leader of? The First Order? The lunch shift? We already know it’s Serkis who’s heard in the first trailer getting a wake-up call from the Force, though we don’t yet know which side of the Force he’s waking up on. His croak of a voice and Serkis’ grim countenance in the Leibovitz photo suggests it’s most likely on the grumpy side, though obviously no one’s saying anything just yet.
As for “Snoke,” Webster’s Dictionary defines it as a variant of “snook,” which is a “a large vigorous bony fish,” suggesting Supreme Leader Snoke may have attended the same military school for young seafood as Admiral Ackbar. Urban Dictionary, meanwhile, defines “snoke” as “smoking marijuana whilst snowed in,” “snorting cocaine,” or “the act of combining smoking, toking, and snorting in one action”—an impressive feat that could only be pulled off by the most powerful wielders of the Force, or my old, terrifying roommate James. But hopefully Supreme Leader Snoke isn’t that bad.
Anyway, whatever the explanation, the revelation of Serkis’ probable villain confirms that J.J. Abrams is still obsessed with Snoke monsters.