Star Wars Designer Confirms Supreme Leader Snoke Was Inspired by Peter Cushing

supreme leader snoke star wars grand moff tarkin peter cushing
(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Audiences first met Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but given his brief screen time, we were left to speculate about who he was and where he came from, with creature designer and sculptor Ivan Manzella recently detailing how he often draws inspiration from the world of horror movies and that his concepts for Snoke were inspired by Hammer Studios star Peter Cushing. Given that Cushing starred as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars: A New Hope, fans have already picked up on the physical similarities, though Manzella confirmed it wasn't his intention to make fans think Snoke was Tarkin.

"I actually based him on Peter Cushing," Manzella revealed to the Force Material podcast. "Because 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, kind of thing."

Snoke was easily one of the most mysterious elements of Force Awakens, only for him to meet his demise in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Even more reveals were made about the character in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but with J.J. Abrams developing the first and last entries into the sequel trilogy and Rian Johnson developing the middle chapter, the character underwent a number of different changes in the films.

"He was quite graphic in that first iteration, in Force Awakens. You don't really see much, he's a hologram, I guess," Manzella pointed out. "What they did to him there is they got rid of some of his ... they made his face a bit more friendlier, he went more to a flesh color and some of his face was softened up a bit so it wasn't so graphic. He originally had that hole in the side of his face taken out, it was really kind of nasty stuff going on. I quite liked the idea of him having a marble skin type, all the veining like you get in marble, and these piercing, blue eyes. But he kind of evolved and got a little bit softer, I think."

In Rise of Skywalker, audiences learned that who we knew as Snoke was merely part of a master plan of Emperor Palpatine's, removing a majority of the character's mystique and the necessity for a backstory.


Did you notice the similarities to Cushing? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!