With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story just a week away, me and my fellow Star Wars news sites will begin switching tracks and start the year-long news train for Star Wars: Episode VIII. Even with Rogue One stealing the headlines for most of 2016, there have been several big rumors for Star Wars: Episode VIII. From a Force battle royale on AHCT-TO to Poe’s mutiny aboard a starship, the spoilers will undoubtedly keep coming in 2017.
Today that slow moving train began to pick up some steam with MakingStarWars.net revealing details of Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: Episode VIII. Jason and Making Star Wars, once again being the only spoiler game in town, announced that we would indeed see Supreme Leader Snoke in the flesh on screen. No more holograms for this Dark Side user as we get to see this large imposing figure in person with Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma and General Armitage Hux.
Snoke being present in Star Wars Episode VIII isn’t huge news of course but what is juicy about this story, is the details of how he is presented on screen as a full-scale puppet.
For Star Wars: Episode VIII it appears, at least in part, that Snoke will not be a character generated in a computer. Instead, he will be a huge puppet around seven to eight feet tall, taking several people to operate and a man inside a suit to make him walk. Stylistically, it seems as if Snoke may be CGI generated for the holographic communication sequences, but when he has scenes in Episode VIII next to real flesh-and-blood humans like Kylo Ren he will be a practical puppet with facial features operated by the crew.
Supreme Leader Snoke has been built as a practical humanoid in Star Wars: Episode VIII that will be further enhanced with CGI. There are great benefits for Actors working alongside actual puppets. The sort of natural reveries and subtlety that only happens when Actors are looking at something real in front of them. Moreover having this large figure looming into the frame will be compelling, even alongside my fellow towering giants of Adam Driver and Gwendoline Christie. The dimensions of the puppet are as large as the persona of this titanic character. Supreme Leader Snoke, standing over eight feet tall with freakishly long arms highlights Snoke’s humanoid alien race. Which we believe is the Anchorites of Jakku.
The size of Snoke brings a delightful dilemma for us here at The Post. In a very rare occurrence, we have staked our claim on a Snoke theory and set it firmly in concrete, that Supreme Leader Snoke is none other than Admiral Gallius Rax from Chuck Wendig’s novel, Star Wars: Aftermath “Life Debt.” A character that escapes almost all descriptions of his appearance, except for the alabaster white paleness of his skin and his powder blue eyes.
We know from the Art of the Force Awakens book that Snoke was a good looking fellow in the past until a traumatic event or mutation injured and contorted this Dark Force wielder into the grotesque being we see in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Which brings us to the size question with today’s spoiler reveal from Making Star Wars. Was Admiral Gallius Rax an eight foot giant humanoid in Aftermath: Life Debt? If not then does this confirm that Snoke does indeed undergo an incredible transformation to the contorted nightmare we witnessed in a hologram on Starkiller Base?
The Art of the Force Awakens may provide another clue suggesting that Snoke’s fall into the Dark Side disfigured him over time. The Battle of Jakku may explain Snoke’s injuries, but it doesn’t explain the unusual size and dimensions of Supreme Leader Snoke. A size that arguably wouldn’t be purposely left out of the pages in Life Debt. But in all honestly, it may have been to safeguard the grand reveal. Out of all the characters in Life Debt, Admiral Gallius Rax is the only one with minor description.
But let’s say for speculation’s sake that Admiral Gallius Rax does undergo a sort of transmutation mentioned in the Art of the Force Awaken book. An event that changes not only his incredible power in the Dark Side of the Force but the outside ugliness that goes with it. Just like Papa Palpatine before him, the Dark Side don’t make them pretty in the long run. Those gorgeous Space Jesus looks only come with the Light Side of the Force. Just like the Sith that proceeded Snoke, a new name comes with the dark death and rebirth into the Dark Side of the Force. In his case, it’s Admiral Gallius Rax to Supreme Leader Snoke.
The mysterious web that encapsulates Admiral Gallious Rax and Snoke lies in the doorway of the secret Imperial Research Base beneath the hot sands of Jakku. This mystical facility mentioned in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens “The Visual Dictionary” by Pablo Hidalgo, Rey’s Survival Guide by Jason Fry and in Star Wars: Aftermath “Life Debt” by Chuck Wendig could be the tie-in to Snoke’s metamorphosis. Could there be some Dark Side power or wellspring that resides at this base? A power so envied by Lord Sidious, which spurred his excavation and first encounter with the young Anchorite Gallius Rax on the Plaintive Hand plateau. An ancient holy site of the Consecrated Ermite of Jakku.
This thought of this ancient sacred site, secret research facility and the Force transforming a being, harkens me back to my days at George Mason University playing Star Wars Jedi Knight on my trusty Pentium II PC. There is that center block cell of a dorm room; I spent hours playing as Kyle Katarn pitting himself against Jerec, in the Valley of the Jedi, as the wellspring of the Force supersized this menacing villain. I wonder if the Plaintive Hand plateau on Jakku is paying homage to the Valley of the Jedi from the Jedi Knight PC game.
All of this is pure speculation of course, but Lucasfilm bringing in elements from legendary Star Wars PC titles into the new canon isn’t uncommon. Just this past week on Star Wars Rebels we were delighted to witness the return of the TIE Defender from a Star Wars flight simulator series that ate up more of my early college years than should have been allowed.
One of the central tenants of Rax’s persona is hubris. The character is chock full of it. If there were some way to increase his power in the Force by orders of magnitude, he would leap at the chance. The parallels between Snoke’s transformation, the secret Imperial research base on Jakku to the Jedi Knight Series and the Valley of the Jedi are really fun and worth a guilty minute or two swimming around your brain meat.
I’m curious if Admiral Gallius Rax delved too deeply into unnatural manipulations of the Dark Side of the Force on Jakku, leaving him powerful but transfigured and grotesque. There is still a chance that we are completely wrong on this one, but alas why introduce such a meglomaniac character to only have him step aside for some new guy named Snoke.
In a few short months, we may just find that out with the last installment of Chuck’s Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath series “Empire’s End.” There at the Battle of Jakku, we just may find out more about Supreme Leader Snoke and his ultimate metamorphosis and rise to power.
Also be sure to check out the books and novels mentioned above. Believe me folks, they are worth the time and treasure spent within them. You can find direct links to Amazon for them above.