Star Wars designer reveals Snoke's shocking, true inspiration
In an appearance on the Force Material podcast, Star Wars designer Ivan Manzella revealed Snoke theories influenced his design of the Sith Lord.
In the Star Wars fandom, Snoke theories are as commonplace as discourse about who shot first. Popular guesses about the Supreme Leader's true identity range from Palpatine himself to Mace Windu, but there's never been much evidence to who he truly could be — even after Palpatine revealed Snoke was his creation in Rise of Skywalker.
But recently, a designer who worked on Snoke revealed who inspired his gaunt appearance, and it could confirm a dark horse Snoke theory.
In talking to the Force Material podcast (via ComicBook.com), Star Wars designer Ivan Manzella revealed the process behind designing characters like Rothgar Deng and Babu Frik. While there were some interesting reveals, like the fact the cuddly Babu was originally going to be insectoid, the most interesting reveal concerns Supreme Leader Snoke.
Manzella discussed his love for old fashioned horror movies like those from Hammer Studios, the British production company responsible for foundational monster horror movies like The Curse of Frankenstein and The Mummy, and how that influenced his design. He also revealed how the design of Snoke was inspired by Peter Cushing, both in reference to the actor's Star Wars role and his connection to Hammer Studios.
"There were always Snoke theories that he was Grand Moff Tarkin, which I always found quite amusing. You can see there are elements there. The maquette, there's elements of Peter Cushing, just the cheekbone and the profile and stuff, but he wasn't meant to be Peter Cushing. He was my Hammer reference," Manzella said.
So while it was first thought the design of Snoke fueled the Snoke/Tarkin theories, it seems like the opposite was true, the theories sparked by The Force Awakens shaped the character and inserted more Cushing-esque features into the detailed depiction of Snoke we get in The Last Jedi.
Manzella also addressed other Snoke theories, saying he was surprised at the theory Snoke was Palpatine's former master Darth Plagueis because he had never heard of that character before. Sorry, Plagueis fans, it doesn't look like that was the intention of Palpatine's puppet leader.
The Inverse Analysis — Does this mean Snoke is actually a clone of Moff Tarkin? Well, not exactly. A design influence doesn't equate to canonical proof of cloning. However, it's certainly the most evidence pointing towards a certain character in relation to Snoke's appearance, and considering that Star Wars film canon seems to be done with the Skywalker Saga, it may be possible we never learn Snoke's true identity, at least not on the big screen. For now, this may be the answer the fans need to settle for, or at least begrudgingly accept.