Warning! This article contains spoilers for Andor episode 8.Andor episode 8 brings Andy Serkis back into the Star Wars fold in a surprise appearance, proving that his presence in the sequel trilogy was wasted. Serkis was announced as the man to portray Supreme Leader Snoke in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, capitalizing on his mocap experience to bring an evil alien character to life. Serkis’ Snoke first appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and then again in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. While he did not actually appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Serkis’ Snoke has a brief voice cameo, giving him a limited presence in all three sequel-era movies.
Despite appearing in some capacity in all three films of the sequel trilogy, it is clear that Serkis’ talents were wasted. Serkis is an incredible actor and can bring performances to life, both through motion capture and live-action, in exceptional ways. His brief scenes in The Force Awakens alongside Kylo Ren were only by hologram, and his death in The Last Jedi removed Snoke as the sequels’ main villain, limiting the impact and extent of the role and proving that Serkis’ talents were not adequately realized in the sequel trilogy. This was further compounded by his surprise appearance in Andor. In contrast to his prequels appearances, this smaller role highlights many more of Serkis’ dramatic talents and gives him much more to do from an acting perspective than playing a two-dimensional villain. This only highlights what a wasted opportunity Snoke really was first time around.
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the film in which many thought Serkis’ Snoke would go on to become a huge villain for the Star Wars sequels, Snoke was only featured in two scenes. One of them was a conversation with Kylo Ren in which he reveals the latter is the son of Han Solo, and the other was a hint at things to come with Snoke beckoning Kylo to return to him and complete his training. In The Last Jedi, Snoke was featured in a larger capacity and at least appeared in person, allowing Serkis more to do than in The Force Awakens. However, Snoke was killed in a plot twist that, despite making for an outstanding stretch of scenes, stripped Serkis of all further parts in the sequel trilogy. Many expected Snoke to be the main villain of the three films, as an actor of Serkis’ caliber would not surely be hired in a limited mocap performance with little to no opportunity for character growth or development simply to be killed off. However, The Last Jedi proved these expectations wrong. While what was shown of Snoke in The Last Jedi makes for some of the most compelling scenes in all of Star Wars, Serkis himself actually had very little to do in the role, meaning his presence overall in the trilogy was a waste.
With Andor, on the other hand, Andy Serkis has returned for another role that is more interesting than Snoke in a way that only Andor can provide. Firstly, Serkis’ role in Andor episode 8 is not mocap. While Serkis is fantastic in this format, as proven by the likes of Gollum, Caeser, King Kong, and the brief glimpses of Snoke, his role in Andor allows him to showcase his full acting capabilities in a way he rarely does. Furthermore, the nature of Andor allows for Serkis’ role to be very compelling. Andor is a Star Wars project unlike any other before it, telling a much more adult and mature story that lives in the morally gray area of the previously black-and-white Star Wars war between the Rebellion and the Empire. Because of this, Serkis is able to play a morally nuanced character, as opposed to the very overtly evil Snoke, who many believed was Darth Plagueis in disguise.
While Serkis’ character is not the nicest of people and is working for his oppressors, in turn oppressing Cassian and the other prisoners, Andor episode 8 does enough to make him compelling. It is clear that Serkis’ character, named Kino Loy, has been in the prison Narkina 5 for a long time, and is committing to his job as a floor manager in order to live out the rest of his sentence without a hitch which has less than a year left. Given how well Andor has established the cruelty, injustice, and misconduct, it can be assumed Loy is not on Narkina 5 for a good reason, much like Cassian himself. All of this goes to make Loy a very compelling character, albeit not overly likable, highlighting Serkis’ acting abilities in the process.
Serkis’ return to Star Wars then, will likely lead to many asking if Snoke can return in some way. One project that could see the return of Snoke is The Mandalorian if the Baby Yoda/Grogu theories turn out to be true. Many believe that the Empire in The Mandalorian wants Grogu in order to successfully create Force-sensitive clones of Palpatine that are known to eventually become Snoke and Palpatine himself in the sequels. This is supported by some scenes in season 2 which show Snoke-like failed clones on the planet of Navarro. If these theories are indeed confirmed in future seasons of The Mandalorian, Andy Serkis could return as Snoke, returning to the Star Wars role that introduced him to the franchise after his brief stint in Andor. This could potentially allow him to enhance a character that, as yet, has been a waste of Serkis’ acting talents.
New episodes of Andor release on Wednesdays on Disney+.