Rian Johnson: Snoke is Completely Performance Capture in The Last Jedi, and more on his Praetorian Guards!
Entertainment Weekly’s massive latest coverage of The Last Jedi continues, with Anthony Breznican speaking with Rian Johnson about Supreme Leader Snoke and his menacing, blood red armor wearing Praetorian Guards!
This section of the coverage at EW has Anthony Breznican speaking with Rian Johnson about Supreme Leader Snoke, what we can expect to see from him in The Last Jedi, in addition to his bodyguards, the Praetorian Guards.
The most important part of this piece is Johnson clarifying that Snoke is 100% completely CGI-motion capture in The Last Jedi, and puppets or physical/tangible manifestations on set were used for angles and aiding Johnson in setting up shots:
“No, it’s entirely a mo-cap performance,” Johnson says. “[Creature designer] Neal Scanlan built a maquette that we had on set for lighting reference and to give the actors a sense of what it was going to feel like. And then we scanned that and [Industrial Light & Magic] used that in their renderings, but Snoke will be an entirely CG creation.”
Johnson goes on to talk about Andy Serkis. Johnson who has never been one to exaggerate, was in awe of Serkis’ performance in the film:
“I’d be sitting at the monitor just with my eyes as big as dinner plates,” Johnson says. “It’s one of those performances where after every line, I’d look over at whoever’s standing next to me with an expression on my face like, ‘Oh, my God, we just got that.” Andy Serkis will get to do much more in this film than he did in the last one,” Johnson says. “And that guy is just a force of nature.”
It’s funny how Star Wars is so big, we almost sometimes get lost on the fact that an iconic talent like Andy Serkis is not only in the film, but is playing the leader of the dark side and First Order! Johnson concluded his points about Snoke by confirming we will be seeing more of him than we did in The Force Awakens, but never felt it necessary to over-expose him, keeping in mind we never really saw Palpatine (aside from a brief hologram) until Return of the Jedi.
“Similar to Rey’s parentage, Snoke is here to serve a function in the story. And a story is not a Wikipedia page,” the filmmaker says. “For example, in the original trilogy, we didn’t know anything about the Emperor except what Luke knew about him, that he’s the evil guy behind Vader. Then in the prequels, you knew everything about Palpatine because his rise to power was the story.”
In The Last Jedi, Johnson says, “we’ll learn exactly as much about Snoke as we need to.”
SNOKE’S PRAETORIAN GUARDS
Rian Johnson had a specific intention of how he wanted these guards to differentiate from the ones utilized by Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi. He wanted guards that seemed less predictable, less statuesque, more menacing:
“The Emperor’s guards were very formal, and you always got the sense that they could fight, but they didn’t,” writer-director Rian Johnson tells EW. “They looked like they were more ceremonial, and you never really saw them in action. The Praetorians, my brief to [costume designer] Michael Kaplan was that those guys have to be more like samurai. They have to be built to move, and you have to believe that they could step forward and engage if they have to. They have to seem dangerous.”
Their main purpose is simply to protect Supreme Leader Snoke, by his side at all times. As we see in the photo, we are seeing them up close and personal, which means holograms be-gone, we will be seeing Snoke in person in The Last Jedi, perhaps aboard his rumored Mega Star Destroyer:
“They’re his personal guards,” Johnson says. “They stick with [Snoke]. So they’re essentially bodyguards.”
The background of this new photo of the guards seems to match perfectly with that shot we saw in the behind the scenes sizzle reel at D23, all but confirming this shot represents Snoke’s throne or at the very least throne room of sorts:
Here is Breznican’s video discussing Snoke and the Praetorian Guards:
Are you happy that Snoke will NOT be a puppet, but a full-on Andy Serkis motion-capture creation? What do you think of his guards? The dark side means business in The Last Jedi and we look forward to seeing Andy Serkis deliver another incredible performance.
The title of this article was updated to say “Performance Capture” from “Motion Capture” after Collider Video’s @KristianHarloff asked Rian Johnson if Snoke was motion capture or performance capture. After admittedly not knowing the difference (neither did I), Johnson confirmed it was full performance capture. See the tweet and response below.
— Kristian Harloff (@KristianHarloff) August 10, 2017
Read the replies, if I understand what you're asking it was both. Mo-cap suit + face cams.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) August 10, 2017
You know we’ll be discussing this on The SWNN podcast The Resistance Broadcast this week as well! You can find me performing motion-capture on Twitter talking about all of this at @JohnnyHoey and be sure to follow The Resistance Broadcast at @RBatSWNN.
“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.”