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