Insider reports from the set of Star Wars: Episode VIII say Supreme Leader Snoke might appear in the movie as a puppet instead of a CGI character.
According to recent reports, the seven-foot-tall Supreme Leader of the First Order may be nothing more than a puppet in Star Wars: Episode VIII. Of course, since we’re talking about a real seven-foot-tall puppet, the effect is nothing short of impressive.
Per insider reports fielded by Making Star Wars, Lucasfilm constructed a huge rig to bring Snoke to life as a puppet. The rig takes several people to operate, including someone inside a suit to make him walk.
The shift to puppetry is a huge one compared to how Snoke was portrayed in the last film. In The Force Awakens, Snoke appeared only as a hologram and was rendered completely in CGI. For Episode VIII, in which Snoke will probably appear outside of comm call, Lucasfilm obviously decided to take a different tack.
Actor Andy Serkis performing motion capture for CGI Supreme Leader Snoke. Image Credit: Lucasfilm
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What the folks at Making Star Wars don’t know, however, is if Snoke will be a mixture of practical and CGI effects and what the ratio will be. Lucasfilm already demonstrated a combination of both in the character Unkar Plutt in The Force Awakens. Plutt was mostly just a guy in a suit, but his face was digitally enhanced to be more fluid and lifelike. I could see that happening with Snoke, as well.
But will Snoke as a puppet actually work on-screen? It is definitely a risk, much like the risk George Lucas took in making Yoda a puppet. Snoke is obviously a powerful character with a (literally) larger-than-life presence. His appearance has to convince the audience he means business. That is why a mixture of puppetry and CGi may be the best approach. What looks stilted and unrealistic in the puppet can be fixed using digital enhancement.
What do you think of Snoke being, at least in part, a puppet? Tell us in the comments below.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is slated to premiere in December 2017.