Supreme Leader Snoke was simultaneously one of the most intriguing and controversial figures in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This mysterious, nefarious figure leads the dreadful First Order and managed to turn Kylo Ren to the Dark Side. Yet, we only see a few brief glimpses of him as an enlarged hologram.
Trying to figure out the true identity of Snoke is a mystery that has kept the internet buzzing ever since the film’s release last December, with fans spawning all sorts of theories about his nature and origins. Among those theories, we’ve selected 12 that we feel are the most compelling, and while it’s unlikely that any of these theories will turn out to be true, we should caution you that they do contain spoilers if you happen to be one of the two remaining people in the world who haven’t seen The Force Awakens.
12. Snoke Is Boba Fett
Although Boba Fett was last seen falling into the Sarlacc Pit in Return of the Jedi, nearly every Star Wars fan out there thinks that he somehow found a way to survive. In the Expanded Universe, there’s a story that explains he survived by making the Sarlacc contract around his jetpack, causing it to explode, and freeing the bounty hunter from the Sarlacc’s grasp in the process. He then uses some concussion grenades to blows a hole in the side of the creature to escape. But, of course, that story means nothing now because it’s no longer considered canon.
Still, there’s a sizable portion of fans out there who think that Boba Fett has become Supreme Leader Snoke. While his ordeal in the Sarlacc Pit would explain Snoke’s disfiguration, this theory is still a huge stretch when you consider that Boba Fett never once showed any real connection to the Force, let alone the degree of skill that would empower him to become Kylo Ren’s master and Supreme Leader of The First Order.As the most far-fetched hypothesis on this list, it almost certainly won’t come to pass. And despite the millions of Boba Fett fans who would love it to be true, ultimately, it just wouldn’t work well with the franchise.
11. Snoke Is Darth Vader
The second least-plausible theory on this list postulates that Snoke is really Darth Vader (who is somehow still alive after the events of Return of the Jedi). While Darth Vader is no doubt going to tie into the new trilogy in some interesting ways, we’ve already seen Anakin Skywalker as a Force Ghost so it really wouldn’t make much sense to see him brought back to life in the flesh. But, then again, since we’ve only seen Supreme Leader Snoke as a hologram, who’s to say it’s not a Force Ghost that’s been communicating with Kylo and the Knights of Ren the whole time?
10. Snoke Is Palpatine’s Son
There’s certainly no shortage of Emperor Palpatine theories concerning Snoke’s true identity. This one claims that the Sith lord had a son at some point, with the hopes of training him to become his apprentice. However, after discovering that his son wasn’t Force sensitive, Palpatine set his sights on young Anakin Skywalker to help him achieve his goals.
We should probably mention that there’s absolutely zero evidence that Palpatine ever had a son. Furthermore, in The Force Awakens, Snoke implies that he can feel the presence of the Force, and since he’s instructing Kylo Ren in the ways Dark Side, that would probably mean that he has at least a few Force powers, meaning that this theory totally contradicts itself.
9. Snoke Is An Entirely New Character
Sometimes the simplest suggestion is the most obvious one. And Snoke simply being a new character without any direct links to previous Star Wars characters is probably the most likely scenario. A lot of fans feel that a big Snoke reveal wouldn’t work too well because it’s exactly what people are expecting and would cheapen the story. While it would no doubt be interesting for the villain of this trilogy to be an original creation, if it turns out he has no ties to the original trilogy, it might also feel massively underwhelming. Which is why we don’t think the scriptwriters would have chosen such a route.
8. Snoke Is Really A Jedi In Disguise
This idea is based purely on the fact that Palpatine was once able to play both sides of the Force for his own purposes. Some fans have suggested that Luke Skywalker is still working undercover with the wayward Kylo Ren. Considering how little we know about Snoke, we suppose anything is technically possible, but having the main bad guy turn out to be good seems like it would be more than a little anti-climactic.
7. Snoke Is A Former Sith Apprentice
There’s a code among Sith lords called the Rule of Two, which states that any Sith can only train one apprentice at a time. However, seeing as Sith have a real problem with authority, this rule has been broken on more than one occasion. Back when Emperor Palpatine was Darth Sidious, he trained Darth Maul, Darth Tyranus, and Darth Vader (at different times, of course), so it wouldn’t be completely unheard of it was revealed there were other secret Siths in training throughout all of the Star Wars movies. Therefore, Snoke could turn out to be a pupil of Darth Plagueis, Darth Sidious, Darth Tyranus, Darth Vader, or even one of the ancient Sith lords who never made appearances in the films.
6. Snoke Is Darth Bane
Darth Bane’s only canonical appearance occurs in the final episode of the Star Wars: Clone Wars series when Yoda battles his ghost on the Sith homeworld of Moraband. What we know of Bane is that he’s an ancient Sith lord responsible for creating the aforementioned “Rule of Two.” If the new trilogy brought Darth Bane back as a resurrected Force Ghost, it would not only give Snoke a ton of historical significance, it would also pit the heroes against what could very well be the most daunting evil force the Star Wars universe has ever seen.
5. Snoke Is Kylo Ren From the Future
This theory was formulated when some fans noticed that the facial scars inflicted by Rey to Kylo Ren’s face are similar to the wounds you can just make out on Snoke’s face. From that they inferred that Snoke is really Kylo Ren from the future and is communicating with his younger self in order to push him further toward the Dark Side, presumably to make him more powerful as a result. But there are a few reasons why this theory doesn’t quite sit right. For starters, time-travel isn’t really a subject that has ever been broached in the Star Wars universe, so this would feel totally out of the blue if it happened to be true.
In addition, if the new Star Wars trilogy plans to continue paralleling the themes of the original trilogy, it would follow that in Episode VIII audiences will be getting a shocking reveal similar to the”I am your father” scene between Luke and Vader from The Empire Strikes Back. Only in this case, when Kylo and Snoke come face to face, Snoke would say something like, “Kylo, I am you”, which sounds as though it wouldn’t have anywhere near the same level of dramatic effect.
4. Snoke Is Emperor Palpatine
This theory toys with the idea that Palpatine succeeded where his master failed and actually learned to cheat death. The Expanded Universe showed us a Palpatine that managed to survive through the use of clones, and seeing as how the The Force Awakens actually dropped a mention of a clone army, there could be some truth to this. Fans were also quick to point out that Snoke bears a slight resemblance to Ralph McQuarrie’s original Palpatine concept art, and the theme music for both characters is strikingly similar.
The only problem is that Palpatine died in pretty spectacular fashion in Return of the Jedi after first being thrown down a giant shaft in the second Death Star and then blown to bits when the Rebels destroyed it. So if he did somehow manage to survive all that, it would stand to reason that not only can Palpatine cheat death, he’s damn near invincible.
3. Snoke Is The Operator From Star Wars: Aftermath
In the novel Star Wars: Aftermath, which ties directly into The Force Awakens, a summit of Imperial leaders is held following the destruction of the second Death Star at the Battle of Endor. It’s later discovered that the summit was betrayed by one of their own — an admiral by the name of Sloane who was working under the instruction of an informant known only as “The Operator,” whose goal was to destroy the remnants of the old Empire so that a new one could be built in its place.
It seems strange to tease a mysterious, nameless informant in the new canon if he wasn’t meant to play a significant role further down the line. If Snoke really is The Operator, it would go a long way in explaining how he was able to reform the remaining Empire into the First Order, and how he has such knowledge of the Force and past events.
2. Snoke Is the Grand Inquisitor From Star Wars: Rebels
The Inquisitors are Force-sensitive Jedi hunters who have yet to appear in any of the Star Wars films, but are still considered canon since they were introduced in the Star Wars: Rebels TV series. After the Jedi purge at the end of Revenge of the Sith, Darth Vader and the Empire send out the Inquisitors to hunt down any remaining Jedi. They hold so much authority within the Empire that they can commandeer any Imperial vehicle or asset to use in their hunt for the Jedi. This makes the Inquisitors very similar to the Knights of Ren, who are trying to eliminate the Resistance in The Force Awakens.
Though there hasn’t been much revealed about The Inquisitors’ origins, we do know they were trained by Darth Vader and that one of them is ranked higher than the rest: he’s referred to as the Grand Inquisitor and he bears a bit of a resemblance to Supreme Leader Snoke. Seeing as how the Grand Inquisitor used to work for Vader directly, it makes sense that he would want to continue the task he was previously dedicated to. And although the Grand Inquisitor appears to have met his end in season two of Star Wars: Rebels, his final words seem to foreshadow the rise of something ominous. Just before falling to his death in the Imperial Star Destroyer Sovereign, he says: “You have no idea what you’ve unleashed here today. There are some things far more frightening than death.” Rebels showrunner Simon Kinberg has often hinted at an eventual connection between the series and the new trilogy. Perhaps the Grand Inquisitor’s warning was foretelling his return as Supreme Leader Snoke. It might seem a little unlikely that Disney would choose to introduce its new primary Star Wars villain in an animated series with modest ratings, but the physical resemblance and cryptic final words certainly don’t seem accidental.
1. Snoke Is Palpatine’s Old Master Darth Plagueis
Ever since The Force Awakens was released, fans have been drawing comparisons between Supreme Leader Snoke and the mysterious Darth Plagueis who trained Palpatine. Plagueis was first mentioned in Revenge of the Sith, when Palpatine tries to lure Anakin to the Dark Side by telling him it holds the power to save his loved ones from death. Palpatine tells Anakin, “Darth Plagueis was a dark lord of the Sith, so powerful and so wise. He could influence the midichlorians to create life. He had such a knowledge of the Dark Side, he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying.”
Darth Plagueis’s backstory was later revealed in a novel by James Luceno. In this book, it’s revealed that all of the major events leading up to and during The Phantom Menace — from the appointment of Padme Amidala as Queen of Naboo to the creation of Anakin Skywalker through experiments with the Force — were manipulated by Plagueis and Palpatine. The book also reveals that, much like Palpatine, Plagueis was hiding in plain sight as a highly influential political figure. And if you note the cover art of the Darth Plagueis novel, the way it depicts Palpatine bowing down to an enlarged hologram of Plagueis is exactly the same way Snoke presents himself to Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens. Furthermore, Plagueis is said to be a Munn — a race of tall, slender humanoids. According to Neal Scanlan, the chief of creature and android effects on The Force Awakens, Snoke is described as being over seven feet tall, and very, very thin, which sounds awfully similar to the description of Plagueis. Snoke even looks severely disfigured, with bodily damage that would fit in nicely with the idea that he was poisoned and attacked by Palpatine when he was Plageuis, but somehow survived through his experiments with the Force.
Undoubtedly, if Snoke does turn out to be Plagueis, this would be a brilliant way to bring the Skywalker legacy full circle to the Sith master who started it all.