• Mattie Stu

The Elite Praetorian Guard – Everything You Need to Know (The Last Jedi)

Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is less than fifty days away, and will no doubt even further develop the characters of Rey, Kylo Ren and Poe Dameron. But aside from those introduced in The Force Awakens, a whole new wave of individuals, creatures, planets, vehicles and much more are all set to make their silver screen debuts this upcoming December. And with this in mind, we here at TheCancrizans seek to educate your good selves in all the necessary backstories and trivia heading into The Last Jedi. So to kick us off, let's take a closer look at the Elite Praetorian Guard.

A group of eight highly-skilled humans specialising in melee combat, the Praetorian Guard are never far removed from the Supreme Leader of the First Order, thanks to their role as Snoke's personal guardians. And while their ornate and polished armour seem to suggest a severe lack of combat experience, these crimson-clad troopers are ever-ready to put their double-bladed, staff-like weapons to good effect. Whether Snoke needs added protection or not is perhaps a question for another time. But given his faction's stature as the successor state of the Galactic Empire, it's not difficult to imagine his thinking in carrying on yet another Imperial custom. So just as Emperor Palpatine surrounded himself with red-cloaked guards, Supreme Leader Snoke looks to have similarly-coloured figures flanking his every move. In saying that, however, there is at least one massive difference between the two sets of nearly identical warriors...

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly in August, 2017, Episode VIII director Rian Johnson described just how the Praetorian Guard came to be, and how he sought to make them even more deadlier than their Imperial predecessors:

“The Emperor’s guards were very formal, and you always got the sense that they could fight, but they didn’t. They looked like they were more ceremonial, and you never really saw them in action. The Praetorians, my brief to [costume designer] Michael Kaplan was that those guys have to be more like samurai. They have to be built to move, and you have to believe that they could step forward and engage if they have to. They have to seem dangerous.”

Behind the scenes, the Praetorian Guard take their name from the real-life warriors who protected Ancient Rome's esteemed Emperors. And unlike their Supreme Leader, who has once more been motion captured by Andy Serkis, each guardian is said to be portrayed by actors in costume.

So there is everything you need to know about the Elite Praetorian Guard heading into Star Wars: Episode VIII. Do let us know in the comments below if you are looking forward to The Last Jedi, as well as your thoughts on these newly-introduced warriors.

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