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what inspired the look of Supreme Leader Snoke? Well…

January 19th, 2016 by Matt Gault Comments

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Much of the post-Star Wars: The Force Awakens has focused on the true identity of Andy Serkis’s villain Supreme Leader Snoke. Some keyboard quasi-prophets purport that he’s really this guy, while others have went as far as to say he’s actually this guy. While both of those are extremely debatable, what can’t be argued is that he will have a pivotal role to play in Kylo Ren’s development in the forthcoming Episode VIII.

However, while we assumed the inspiration for Snoke stemmed from a classic Star Wars villain, perhaps out of one of the many books, we’ve been caught off-guard by ILM visual effects artists Rogert Guyett and Pat Tubach, who revealed to Cinema Blend (via Squareeyed) that a large part of their inspiration for how Snoke appeared came directly from Abraham Lincoln. While Abe Lincoln isn’t exactly the figure that springs to mind when thinking of comparisons to Snoke, you can clearly see the inspiration taken from the Lincoln Memorial that sits in Washington D.C. Here’s how Guyett explained it:

“Imagine when you’re a kid or whatever, you go up and you stand in front of the Lincoln Memorial. And you see old Lincoln in a huge chair. There’s a certain quality about that. So, that was certainly sort of part of the inspiration for it all. But I think, hologram, you know? The idea really in that opening scene is sort of like, ‘What is going on here. Ok, it’s a hologram. Is he really this big?’ OK, once you figure out that it’s a hologram, of course it’s like, ‘Well how big is he?’

“At the end of that first scene [with Snoke], it kind of really gives it away, because obviously he disappears, like a classic hologram. But the idea is the holographic technology is really way more advanced than the… we’ve traveled 30 years in time, so you’re seeing a hologram. The thing that I think will be revealed in future movies is more of, you know, you’re probably seeing more of Snoke. Obviously he’s an ongoing character and a lot of those things I think your fans and people on your site or whatever are analyzing, will be discussed. A lot of that stuff will be revealed in the future. But I mean, he is a hologram.

Lincoln

“I think one thing that is interesting, too, is just the nature of how he ended up looking, that kind of came out of a lot of exploration. Just our lighting tests, just starting to light that chamber and figure out, kind of, what did that light do in there. Seeing him so dramatically backlit like that is something that I think was kind of inspirational. Because there is, realizing that, ‘Hey, if you reduce a lot of the color down and you just make this very visceral, black-and-white silhouetted character, he gets that much more menacing.’ His size, you know, already makes him menacing, and then you have this sort of [effect of] you can’t quite see what you’re looking at all the time. I think it really adds to his mystique.”

So, there you have it, you never know what will inspire a Star Wars movie. However, now that we know Snoke’s appearance is partly inspired by Lincoln and that he’s 100% a hologram and not a ‘Force Ghost,’ as many had predicted, what will be his role in Episode VIII?

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Matt Gault is a sports writer and film fanatic. He is a fully-qualified journalist and has worked for BBCNI, Sunday Life and has been published on The Guardian's website. He interns at REDNI, sub-editing for the Belfast Telegraph. He studied at Queen's University pretending to like history and literature and then University of Ulster Coleraine, where he slacked off enormously for a year and somehow got away with it. He also enjoys Captain Morgans, The Sopranos, Led Zeppelin and Hunter S. Thompson which makes him a remarkably uninteresting person.

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