We finally know who Andy Serkis is playing in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The massive J.J. Abrams mystery box that is Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been slowly opening over the last few months, with more footage, more behind-the-scenes tidbits and, most notably, more details on the many new characters populating the galaxy 30 years after Return of the Jedi. In November, when the first trailer hit, we saw several new faces, but none of them had names. By December we knew about Finn, Rey, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren and BB-8, and then earlier this month a massive Vanity Fair cover story on the film gave us Maz Kanata and Captain Phasma. Now we can add one more name to the list.

Andy Serkis' role in The Force Awakens has been a particularly intriguing mystery for the past few months, ever since we learned that he was the one who provided that foreboding voiceover about "an awakening" back when the first trailer hit. So we expected a sinister character, but we really knew nothing about him. We still know almost nothing, but in a new interview with photographer Annie Leibovitz (she has a long history of photographing Star Wars sets) over on StarWars.com, we did learn his name: Supreme Leader Snoke. 

StarWars.com also revealed the above photo Leibovitz took of Serkis, in the motion-capture rig he must be so used to wearing at this point. So we know his name, and we know he's a motion-capture character (which, because it's Serkis, is no surprise at all), but that's about it. The "Supreme Leader" term and the likelihood that he's a villain make it seem like he must be the head of The First Order, the group that evolved from the Empire, but we know nothing else. Of course, now that the name is out there, that's likely to change sometime soon.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters Dec. 18. 

(Via StarWars.com)

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