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– by Campbell Clark

Warning — This article contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you have been warned!!

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While The Last Jedi is currently polarizing fans across the globe as it marches towards more box office milestones, one of the most divisive parts of the movie was the death of Supreme Leader Snoke. For myself, I’m not so sure his death itself is what annoyed me. It was more a feeling of wanting some explanation of who this person was. Snoke is clearly shown to be more powerful with the Force than any character we have seen on screen in any Star Wars movie so far. I can’t help but be intrigued by this, and it appears as if many fans feel the same.

I feel like if there was no more information about Snoke and why he is so powerful, then it would really weaken this trilogy because it makes no narrative sense. It screams of the writers simply creating an Emperor stand-in, only to kill him without explaining who he was because they have no damn clue and never thought deeply enough about his origins, to begin with. To me this is simply bad writing if Snoke is indeed dead and never mentioned again.

Director Rian Johnson has talked about this scene since the movie was released, and he explained that for him, it seemed far more interesting for Kylo Ren to kill his master and be the main threat going into the final movie of the trilogy. So his comments would appear to indicate that this was indeed the end for the mysterious Snoke. However, there are some fans that are not yet ready to throw in the towel and accept that Snoke is really gone.

Browsing the dark paths of internet discussion forums I have heard some very compelling theories about Mr Snoke, or Smoke, as one of my IQ-challenged friends insists on calling him.

Before I relay the details of this, let me say that whilst this is possible, I am certainly not yet convinced about this. At the same time, however, a twist in the final act of the trilogy would be rather entertaining. There is a strong possibility that this is fans just making up theories for what they want to happen next, rather than actually logically predicting the next steps. This certainly led to many people being disappointed in The Last Jedi, because they felt their own head canon was far superior. But let’s explore the theory anyway, because….why not? Personally, this kind of speculation is one of the things I get immense enjoyment from.

The whole premise of this theory revolves around what we were shown about the Force in The Last Jedi, and what this could mean for the character of (former) Supreme Leader Snoke?

The Setup

In The Last Jedi we were shown that the Force can do things we never imagined throughout the prequel trilogy (PT) and the original trilogy (OT). Luke, we learn, is powerful enough to project himself halfway across the galaxy, in such a way that his own nephew and sister believe he is really there. He even physically seemed able to touch Leia. Kylo couldn’t actually attack Luke, as we found out, because physically he was never there. We are also shown that Snoke may even be more powerful than Luke. This is evidenced by his ability to bridge the minds of Rey and Kylo for his own ends. Even Kylo remarked that Rey couldn’t be doing this as the strain would kill her. We also see how badly damaged the body of Snoke has become, perhaps due to his continued use of powers his body is unable to sustain. Whereas a light sider like Luke was so physically weakened, he became one with the Force as his body was unable to cope. We were also shown that Luke was able to present Leia with the dice from the Falcon, which even Kylo was able to initially hold in his hand until they vanished.

I think most fans were a little surprised at first when they realized Luke was never really present on Crait, despite there being several clues in the lead up to the reveal.

The question then seems to be initially, was Snoke even there, or was he also able to project himself into another place? Well, it can’t work exactly the same for one simple reason, Snoke’s body WAS physically there: it was cut in half and the body remained in two halves lying on the ground for a long time afterwards. So this was no Force projection like Luke was using, but perhaps Snoke could be using the Dark Side equivalent?

This could then lead us back to some of the theories leading up to The Last Jedi, where people thought Snoke could be some kind of ‘Force Vampire,’ that he exists in a spirit form. This is not necessarily a Force Ghost like we have seen so far, but something far more sinister.

Is it possible that the great battle of wills and powers may be between the deceased characters in Episode 9? Luke has passed on and will now be more powerful than he was previously. Will Snoke be his opposite?

I’ve never been a fan of the idea of Dark Side ghosts, because to me it was something only a Jedi who felt love and attachment to those still alive could learn. However, it is possible for the Dark Side to have something else very different, something which defines hanging onto life jealously and being willing to sacrifice anyone else to remain alive (i.e. looking after one’s self as priority number one), which does seem like the traits of the dark side. What if Snoke’s spirit is some kind of dark side wraith, not quite dead, not quite alive, his essence can only be sustained for so long without a host body. Are we being misdirected in thinking Snoke is completely gone, only for us to realize in Episode IX, that this was a part of his overall plan?

If it was Snoke who bridged Kylo and Rey together, why were they both able to see each other again at the very end of the movie, long after Snoke’s death? Are they still linked through Snoke? Or is the link he made just permanent even after his death? Are we being shown the Light Side powers in Luke and the dark side versions of the same powers in Snoke without us realizing?

The Theory

Snoke is a not really the person we see in The Last Jedi. This was merely the latest body he has inhabited. After being betrayed by Kylo Ren, his spirit is wandering around looking for another host to take over. This is somewhat backed up by the visual dictionaries, which explains that Snoke always hid his true appearance from everyone, even those closest to/within his inner circle. What if Snoke had put his sights on Ben Solo because he thought that the heir of Darth Vader might be able to fully house his spirit better than anyone else (or at least be less prone to decay and entropy caused by his use of the dark side). After all, Anakin was potentially the most powerful Force user in the universe, and even with terrible injuries he was able to survive by sheer will and anger.

What if Snoke was somehow able to inhabit Kylo’s body while he was unconscious after his tussle with Rey? Is it possible that this side of Kylo Ren could resurface during Episode IX and that a battle of wills between Snoke and Kylo within his own mind could happen? Perhaps Snoke knew that the only way this would work, would be to completely eliminate the Light and conflict from his apprentice, to make him truly dark side. And thus the key to Snoke’s end would be to try and reignite the spark of light in Ren. It then gives a new light to that scene when Snoke dies, perhaps he knew that Kylo was about to strike him down and take his place as ruler of the First Order? Snoke had to allow him to make this choice to eliminate all the light from him. Or perhaps the act of killing Rey would have had the same effect and Snoke never did know Kylo would destroy him?

This could be more interesting than a simple “Kylo is the new bad guy and Rey needs to defeat him” angle. What if the only way to destroy Snoke is for Rey to convince Kylo to turn back to the Light Side and sacrifice himself to end Snoke forever? With no one else around for Snoke to cling onto, his spirit would fade away. It’s possible that Rey could learn about this from Luke, whose knowledge after death will have increased dramatically.

It would also be interesting if Luke can keep appearing to Kylo Ren as well as Rey. Imagine this battle between Snoke and Luke going on in the head of Kylo Ren driving him practically insane as he is unable to control it.

Star Wars has always been about choices and redemption in many ways, but is it possible for Kylo Ren to be redeemed at this point? Surely only a heroic sacrifice, to give his own life to rescue others would be enough to redeem him, as it was for Vader. Or is Kylo now irredeemable, and will the Skywalker bloodline will end with Rey simply defeating him? It certainly doesn’t seem as if either of them wants to kill the other. They both had the chance to decide their own fate, but chose different paths from one another.

To be honest, whilst I am not convinced any of this is actually going to happen, I cannot help but get caught up with other fans in wishing this was the way Episode IX progressed. It certainly seems far more interesting a tale for these main characters than what we were seemingly left with at the end of The Last Jedi. But perhaps I, along with other fans, am just setting myself up for disappointment when these ideas are left unexplored in the final movie. At this point, it would do two things for me, it would be a fitting conclusion to the entire nine movies of the Skywalker saga, and it would also make The Last Jedi a better film to watch again after you see Episode IX. Though that’s just me and my own issues with the The Last Jedi coming out, you readers may feel that Snoke is simply as dead as Han Solo now in this tale.

Either way it’s going to be a couple of years before we find out anything about Star Wars: Episode IX. What do you think of the new theories about Snoke, is it good reasoning, or simply a way for there to be another two years of ‘Your Snoke Theory Sucks!‘ memes? Let us know what you think in the usual place.

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  • Moby85

    I just want to see some coherance to the story. I loved The Force Awakens and enjoyed The Last Jedi but there’s no doubt the trilogy is an absolute mess after two films. It reminds me of a game of “telephone” where someone whispers something to the person besides them and the humour is in them messing up what was brought to them and further distorting the message as it’s sent on…That’s what I feel happened here.

    I think without a doubt Rian Johnson made a number of changes that JJ would not have. For example, Johnson disposed of both Snoke AND Phasma quick and dirty. I think especially in Phasma’s case JJ would have been sensitive to how he treated that character and expanded her role. Likewise, I think JJ probably had something else in mind for Rey’s parents.

    What will be interesting to see is if JJ has the type of personality to try to “redeem” the trilogy back to his vision in episode 9. Resurrecting plot points or even actual characters to suit his vision. He’s also left with the mess Rian Johnson left him with Carrie Fisher.

    How hard would it have been to have Leia turn to ice after being blown out of the command ship – but then you cut, and during a cut scene you see Rey and Luke prostrate on the ground and share a cry as they both felt her death. Sudden, beautiful, and done. Holdo takes over and dies, Poe becomes leader of the resistance wizened up that he can’t be all heroic all the time.

    All it would take is simple editing and a cut. But nope, Johnson gives it to JJ like a hot potato and says “you take it”.

    • Have to say I agree and i like the analogy.

    • Storymark

      Why would she turn to ice? If she were out there longer, maybe. But what happened on-screen is entirely in-line with sub-zero vacuum testing in mammals. When NASA did those tests, any exposure under 2 minutes had a 100% survival rate. In the film, she was in vacuum for 1:49.

    • M@rvel

      So you’re explanation of the new trilogy being a mess hinges on two aspects of TLJ that we don’t even have concrete answers for yet since the trilogy isn’t even complete……We DON’T know if Snoke is gone, and we DON’T know if Phasma is gone. Granted, they most likely are gonners, but who are you to make that assumption?? People thought Phasma was a gonner in TFA and look what happened… I would have no problem if she returned. She could have jet boots who the fuck knows?? I’m not going to say the trilogy is a mess based on unanswered questions. That’s not logical to me. And let’s just say we find out in Ep 9 that Snoke and Phasma are gone for good; how does that in any way make the trilogy a “mess”?? All your points are based on your preconceived expectations that we would get answers to all these questions that we never necessarily needed answers for…. I’ve noticed this is the case with most fan’s negative opinions on TLJ. 90% of them are based on personal expectations that weren’t met. And that’s not logical.

      • Moby85

        If “we don’t know Snoke is gone” by watching him being cut in half, and don’t know Phasma’s gone by being sucked into the vacuum of space, I would say that says a lot about the state of this franchise.

        • M@rvel

          I’m sorry that you lack imagination..

          • agooseontheloose

            I’m sorry but that sounds terrible.

          • Loveblanket

            Having dead characters constantly come back takes all of the tension out of any adventures they may have. Fake deaths are the opposite of imagination, not evidence of it. Bringing Snoke back under certain circumstances could make sense if he’s Darth Plageius or he can move into other bodies, but bringing Phasma back after two fake deaths would be eye rollingly stupid. And honestly she’s not even an interesting character. She did nothing in the first two films to even matter.

          • M@rvel

            That’s all a matter of opinion. Personally, I think Captain Phasma was awesome. Do I wish she had more to do in the two films? Hell yeah I do. But her scene in TLJ against Finn was sick! It was the perfect length, and it showcased all of her abilities. She can hold her own in hand to hand combat, and she’s got wicked good aim. Not to mention her suit is blaster proof!! That was frickin awesome to me. And she only lost cause it was 2 against 1 and Finn got hella lucky with that elevating platform.

        • HaroldNMaudeDib

          Sounds like comic book characters who never are dead. Which is apt since this guy’s name is Marvel.

          • M@rvel

            Oh so now we’re talking shit about Marvel too?? lol you people sound pathetic

      • Loveblanket

        Snoke might be alive if he’s Darth Plageuis or has the power to enter other bodies, but that would be dumb, and it would be even worse if Phasma were still alive. She served no purpose in the first two films, why bring her back for a third.

  • Kindofabigdeal

    How did Snoke show he was the most powerful force user? He levitates Rey and uses Force lightning. And as far as that BS force tether plot device, who’s to say he’s the only one who could have done it. Maybe everyone else just realized how study of a force power it is.

    • Just seemed to me like it wasn’t dialed up to 11. The way he has Rey frozen in place and easily stops her taking her lightsaber. Even Vader never did anything like that or Palpatine.

      • TheOct8pus

        He did have Freiza-like power (over 5,000,000!)

      • Storymark

        But Kylo stopped a laser bolt and held it for a couple minutes. Holding a person is far more in line with the pre-established baseline.

  • Storymark

    As with 99% of fan theories, these will likely be irrelevant.

    I half expect them to just make Ezra into Snoke at the end of Rebels just to shut everyone up. Unlikely, but would be funny.

  • Lenin1959

    Truth is… Obi-Wan did NOT die on the first Death Star because he has never been there. He projected himself there, ending the projection when it was no longer needed – just like Luke did. But Kenobi did survive and lived on as a bartender in Mos Eisley. In Episode IX, a hundred years old Kenobi will in the end project himself on Death Star 4.0 and will challenge Darth Kylo – and it will be a drinking challenge! Kenobi will use Force Liver AND Force Projection and will by this save the whole universe. Then he will marry Rey and will slowly turn into a green, small creature over the next few centuries. He might even find a ring and… Sorry, that was another, better story.
    Sounds weird? Well, it is not weirder than the story episode VIII told.

    • Moby85

      Don’t say Death Star 4.0…That’s probably one of the most unfortunate yet predictable things yet to come with Star Wars.

  • Kronx

    The problem is no one gives a crap about seeing Snoke again. Whatever device used to bring him back would undercut the whole emotional point of making Kylo Ren the bad guy in the first place.

    If Ben Solo is saved, he will likely have to deal with General Hux instead of Snoke 2.0. And something tells me Hux may already be scheming to kill Kylo Ren before the movie starts. Maybe it will involve the Knights of Ren? Who knows?

    Or maybe we’ll see our first Red Glowie, and Luke will show up as a Blue Glowie. They’ll fight and fall in love and give birth to Purple Glowie Jith babies.

  • HaroldNMaudeDib

    This isn’t a bad idea at all. Reminds me of the old Dark Empire comics where the Emperor was still alive because he had cloned dozens of copies of his body to dark side spirit jump into.

  • opiemac25

    I guess I’m just missing something. Exactly how much of a backstory and explanation was given for the Emperor in the original trilogy? Not much. I don’t understand this need to have Snoke’s background explained in any of these films. His purpose, clearly, was to move Kylo along on his journey. Maybe we get it in the next film, maybe we don’t. It shouldn’t be a reason to hate the movie. I’m sure, if it’s not addressed in the next film, they novelize it so everyone who needs everything wrapped up in a nice little bow can be happy.

    • Loveblanket

      At the time the OT came out though, people had tons of questions about the emperor just like with Snoke, and everyone wondered and theorized about him and the clone wars, there just wasn’t an internet at the time so you would read things like that in magazine articles. And I would also point out that the OT was 4,5,6 and we did get an entire trilogy of films about the emperors rise and even his history and Lucas told us that he wanted to do those at the time, so we knew we would eventually get those answers. If you didn’t see the OT when it came out like some of us old farts here, you maybe wouldn’t realize that it was scrutinized in a pretty similar way at the time. That aside, Snoke’s lack of interesting development or motivation is the least of the problems with the awful e8. The biggest problem is that despite its supporters statements to the contrary, it did nothing new and made all the films before it irrelevant because when the movie ends we’re right back where we were when we went to see the original film. A fallen Skywalker leads a galactic empire in a chase against a band of small but growing rebels led by a potential young jedi. Nothing that happened from E1-7 means anything because we’re in the same place. E8 did what even the awful prequels couldn’t do, it made me like the OT less. And that’s a shame because I liked E7 and loved Rogue One.I don’t see how E9 can fill all these holes and wrap up the Skywalker saga in any satisfying way.

  • Loveblanket

    People have really become slaves to overdeveloped characters. I agree that some insight into Snoke’s goals and origins would be good, the trilogy isn’t over yet, so we may still get some answers. I still think it would be fitting if he were Darth Plageuis (sp?). It would be a nice bookend to the 3 trilogies and would allow him to return again in Episode 9, but I doubt it. The problem is that the fan fiction on what these movies would be about is far better than what we’ve gotten. Episode 8 was a pointless movie and the horrible ending left us right back where we were in 1977. There is a fallen Skywalker in charge of a galactic empire chasing a small band of rebels led by a young jedi in training and now we only have one film to resolve it. It even makes all the movies that came before it worse because we now know that nothing that happened in those movies mattered at all. It might as well be Vader chasing Han, Luke, and Leia around still because nothing has changed in the state of the galaxy. I even went to see this dumpster fire twice just to see if I thought better of it the second time and it wasn’t only worse, it kinda made me dislike Star Wars as a whole and even the prequels didn’t accomplish that feat.