The Last Jedi photos reveal Snoke's villainous Praetorian Guard

The mysterious villain of the new Star Wars trilogy, Supreme Leader Snoke, is stepping out of the shadows for the eighth episode in the series—and he won't be showing up alone. In new photos released by Entertainment Weekly, the soldiers of Snoke's personal Praetorian Guard are revealed in all their bright, imposing glory.

Writer-director Rian Johnson said that in designing the new villains, he wanted them to seem "more like samurai" than Imperial guards have appeared to be in the past. "They have to be built to move, and you have to believe that they could step forward and engage if they have to," Johnson said. "They have to seem dangerous."

The Last Jedi's Praetorian Guard, named after the ancient Roman force sworn to protect emperors, will serve much the same purpose as their real-life historical counterparts, being what Johnson calls "essentially bodyguards" to the scarred, ancient-looking Supreme Leader. With their sharp angles, severe coloring, and full-face visors, they should serve to amplify Snoke's menacing presence when he appears to threaten our heroes in the Resistance. 

According to the director, audiences will see much more than a glimpse of Snoke this December. "Andy Serkis will get to do much more in this film than he did in the last one, and that guy is just a force of nature," Johnson said. "I'd be sitting at the monitor just with my eyes as big as dinner plates. It's one of those performances where after every line, I'd look over at whoever's standing next to me with an expression on my face like, 'Oh my God, we just got that.'"

While we wait for more details on the upcoming blockbuster, familiarize yourself with the most terrifying villains in the Star Wars universe, some of which you may never have even heard of. We'll see if Snoke and his crimson company have what it takes to join those ranks when The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15.