After dropping a bunch of spoilerific photos Wednesday, Entertainment Weekly continues its cavalcade of exclusive Star Wars news. This time around they’ve given us a peek into two characters we’ve heard a lot about but haven’t really seen or gotten any definitive information on: Maz Kanata and the evil Supreme Leader Snoke.
We’ve heard actress Lupita Nyong’o’s alien character Maz Kanata in voiceover in the most recent TV spot, and it turns out she can be seen on the final poster as well. We can also make a good bet that she’s the one handing someone Luke’s lightsaber in a brief moment seen in the second trailer that was released this past April.
Until now we’ve only heard rumors about her pirate background, but EW’s interview with director J.J. Abrams and Nyong’o offered up some interesting character details.
“I had some specific ideas about how she would work and what she would do,” Abrams told the magazine. “I had this pitch about these goggles that she wore. Her eyes are an important aspect of her character, and you’ll see how it plays out.” Nyong’o added, “As an actor for films, your eyes are a lot of the way you communicate anyway, so it was definitely a gift to have that be the means to her magic as a motion-capture character.”
Unfortunately the pair stay mum about exactly what that really means, but couple that with her “I see your eyes, I know your eyes” lines from the TV spot and it looks like Maz definitely has an eye fixation. Spooky.
Other details that round out Maz Kanata include that she’s lived over a thousand years, used to be a pirate, and has set up shop on an unnamed planet in a sort of Jabba’s palace-type situation with minions at her beckoning call. Abrams originally wanted to create Maz as a puppet, but went with performance capture instead.
To iron out her performance, Nyong’o worked with Andy Serkis, who plays the even more mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke in The Force Awakens. Both characters are the only fully CGI-characters in Abrams’ decidedly practical effects-leaning movie. While we’ve seen nothing of Snoke yet, his voice can be heard uttering the memorable “There has been an awakening…” voiceover that kicked off the first teaser trailer from more than a year ago. But it turns out even Serkis doesn’t know what Snoke looks like.
“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!” the actor told EW. The final design for the character wasn’t fully formed during production, and changed significantly before the movie wrapped.
So just what does the still unseen Snoke look like? All that Serkis offered to the magazine was that “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.” So he’s essentially Sith Skeletor.
And that’s about it. From what we can glean from what Serkis served up, his character seems to be a new Palpatine-esque character overseeing the whole thing. There’s no word on when we’ll get our first good look at Snoke, but it’ll most likely when the movie opens on December 18.