The hits just keep coming from Entertainment Weekly as their “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” coverage continues to roll out. So far they’ve uncovered the childhoods of Rey and Finn, given insight into Leia’s current role, and gotten the down low on the character played by Lupita Nyong’o.

Now Andy Serkis tells all something about his mysterious character Supreme Leader Snoke. This ain’t your granddaddy’s Empire.

In an extensive interview, Serkis went into detail about his character, including the level of cloak-and-dagger employed by J.J. Abrams to keep leaks to a minimum.

“It’s the first time I’ve been on set not yet knowing what the character’s gonna look like. I mean, talk about secrecy!”

But the secrecy didn’t last long. Abrams and Serkis coordinated on how Supreme Leader Snoke should look. The character ended up going through many iterations, both on set and in post-production. According to Serkis, it was a fascinating process that culminated in a creature never seen before within the Star Wars universe.

“The scale of him, for instance, is one reason. He is large. He appears tall. And also just the facial design – you couldn’t have gotten there with prosthetics. It’s too extreme. Without giving too much away at this point, he has a very distinctive, idiosyncratic bone structure and facial structure. You could never have done it [in real life.]”

The most interesting thing here? It sounds as though Supreme Leader Snoke is an alien. This is a distinct departure for the First Order as the Empire was incredibly xenophobic towards non-humans. In fact, the only alien to ever climb the ranks of the Empire was Mitth’raw’nuruodo — otherwise known as Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Image Credit: Lucasfilm

In the now defunct EU, Thrawn studied under Emperor Palpatine. When the Empire fell during the Battle of Endor, it was Thrawn who swooped in and picked up the pieces. While the Expanded Universe has been cast into a Sarlacc Pit, pieces have been salvaged and reforged into the new canon. Han Solo’s former lover has had a name change and became his wife. If either Rey or Kylo Ren end up being Luke Skywalker’s kid, there has to be a version of Mara Jade kicking around somewhere. So why couldn’t Snoke be an amalgamation of new ideas and Thrawn?

Serkis does confirm the Supreme Leader was “outside the conflict” between the Rebellion and the Empire. Thrawn’s species of the Chiss originated from the Unknown Regions of the galaxy. Combining the strategic cunning of the Grand Admiral with the alien zealotry of the Far Outsiders and you might have an approximation of Snoke.

Image Credit: Lucasfilm

Or perhaps not. Fans will find out soon enough when “The Force Awakens” hits theaters next month.

Mom. Wife. Geek. Gamer. Feminist. Writer. Sarcastic. Succinct. Donna has been writing snark for the Internet in one form or another for almost a decade. She has a lot of opinions, mostly on science-fiction, fantasy, feminism, and Sailor Moon. Follow her on Twitter (@MildlyAmused) for more of all these things.