‘Star Wars’: This Villain Was Originally Supposed to Be Female

Few movie villains are as imposing and iconic as Darth Vader. The character’s suit, James Earl Jones’ voice, and his Force powers proved integral in making Star Wars the phenomenon it is. However, Vader is only the first in the saga’s long line of baddies. Yet, no Star Wars movie has yet featured a female villain. According to a new report, that nearly happened.

The 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' premiere
The ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ premiere | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

‘Star Wars’ has an impressive pantheon of villains

Fans might consider Vader the quintessential Star Wars villain. But he’s far from the only one to wreak havoc on the “galaxy far, far away.” After all, even Vader must answer to his own master, Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). The latter Sith Lord even managed to — somehow — cheat death, as seen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

But audiences have met several other villains in the films. These include secondary baddies like Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison), Jabba the Hutt, and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). Yet, Star Wars has also featured other Force-wielding villains, such as Darth Maul (Ray Park), Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

So which Star Wars villain was originally female?

RELATED: This Shocking ‘Star Wars’ Villain Reveal Was Actually Teased Before ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

A major villain from the sequel trilogy was a female at first

The first major female Star Wars movie villain nearly happened in the sequel trilogy. According to an interview on the Force Material podcast, creature designer and sculptor Ivan Manzella revealed none other than Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) was female in early designs.

I think initially when they spoke about her, [Snoke] was female. Because the first image I did I based on a female, but then that just very quickly went away. So either it was just in passing or something. But I think I just did one image. And that was it, and no one else did any more. I don’t know if anyone did really. Then, from then on, it just became the male.

Manzella apparently wasn’t given much of a description to work with. This isn’t a surprise, considering the huge mysteries of Snoke’s past in the final film. But it’s interesting to learn the design team was at least exploring the option of a female baddie, especially given Snoke’s power.

RELATED: ‘Star Wars’: Snoke Didn’t Create Rey and Kylo Ren’s Force Connection

Would a female Snoke have been an improvement?

Given the controversy among some fans surrounding Rey (Daisy Ridley), it would have been telling to see the reaction to a female Snoke. Regardless of how Snoke’s storyline ends, pitting a female hero against a female villain could have been a strong thematic choice. In fact, it might have even improved the dynamic, drawing a closer parallel between Rey and Snoke.

The most likely reason director J.J. Abrams opted for a male Snoke was to tap into nostalgia. From top to bottom, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is designed to echo the earlier films. And elements of Snoke’s design call to mind Palpatine himself. Perhaps with the next batch of movies fans will finally get to see a female Star Wars villain. Asajj Ventress anyone?