This is the 15th post in a daily series. Read about it here and see the list of previous posts here. A new post about “Star Wars” will be posted every day for 40 days leading up to the franchise’s 40th birthday on May 25th.
In “The Force Awakens,” Supreme Leader Snoke is introduced as a new figurehead for bad dudes who use the Force. Appearing to Kylo Ren in the form of a large hologram in the same way the Emperor had appeared to Darth Vader in “The Empire Strikes Back,” Snoke could be a Palpatine-like presence for the new trilogy.
But little was revealed about Snoke. Even his full appearance was omitted, as he only appeared via hologram. Who he is and what he wants were unclear. Is he a Sith? Is he a ghost? Is he even human?
The upcoming movies will likely illuminate more about Snoke, but in the meantime, there is no shortage of fan theories as to who Snoke really is, and many of these theories revolve around characters we’ve already met.
There’s a hypothesis that he could be Palpatine, having survived the fall in “Return of the Jedi.” There’s nothing to support this other than the fact that Palpatine would be really old now, and Snoke seems like an old guy. Ian McDiarmid, the actor who played Palpatine, has said that George Lucas had been “quite categorical” in his assurances that the Emperor had died. That would seemingly end the theory, but one can argue that now that Disney is running the show, there’s no need to adhere to the visions Lucas once had about the series.
Then there’s a theory that Snoke is actually Darth Vader. If that’s the case, then there has to be really good explanation. Last we saw, Luke had barbecued him on Endor and then the Force ghost of Anakin Skywalker appeared alongside Yoda and Obi-Wan. How could he be a Force ghost like that if he weren’t really dead? That would raise questions as to whether Obi-Wan and Yoda were actually dead, too.
If Snoke were revealed to be Darth Vader, it would undo the ending of “Return of the Jedi” in a way that would scar that movie going forward. Vader grabbed Palpatine and threw him down the shaft in order to save Luke. We could see Palpatine’s blue lightning begin to fry Vader, leading us to think that was a huge factor in his death. If we find out that he’s returned as Snoke, that undoes the credibility of him being willing to die for his son decades earlier.
The theory that Snoke is an undead Vader seems to rest on the fact that both have scars on their faces. But it ignores the fact that even at a quick glance, these scars are distinguishable from each other. So the theory then becomes another variation of “we never technically saw him die, and he’d be old now, like Snoke.”
An even flimsier theory states that Snoke is actually Grand Moff Tarkin. There’s nothing that suggests Tarkin ever used the Force, so the only thing going for this possibility is that Tarkin had a similar head shape to Snoke.
But hey, at least Snoke vaguely looks like Tarkin. There are some other theories that would require a lot of suspending disbelief.
Like the theory that Snoke is actually Mace Windu. When we last saw him in “Revenge of the Sith,” we only saw him fall off the ledge. We didn’t see him die. So, there’s a chance that he’s still alive. Samuel L. Jackson himself has said he doesn’t think Windu died.
But even if Windu didn’t die, it’s hard to think he’d go from being a black guy with an American accent to being a pasty guy with a decidedly different accent. But then again, we’ve seen with Anakin and Vader how much one’s voice and appearance can change in this universe.
Then there’s the theory that Snoke is Jar Jar Binks. This seems to be wishful thinking based on Reddit user Lumpawarroo’s hypothesis that Jar Jar was secretly a Force User who was expertly skilled in the ways of the Dark Side. Lumpawarroo’s essay went on to say that it was “not only possible, but plausible that Jar Jar will make a profound impact on the upcoming movies.” He expanded, saying:
Jar Jar Binks has undoubtedly become the face of everything that is “wrong” with the prequels- he was too silly, too unbelievable, seemingly pointless. If you are able to somehow change the nature of Jar Jar from embarrassing idiot to jaw-dropping villain, suddenly the entire prequel trilogy must be seen in a new light, because it becomes the setup for the most astounding reveal in film history:
Jar Jar Binks is Supreme Leader Snoke!
Similarly, there’s a theory that Snoke isn’t Jar Jar, but was trained by him. This idea gained traction when earlier this year, writer Chuck Wendig included Jar Jar in his novel, “Empire’s End.” The book was the third installment in Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy, set between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens.” The fate of Jar Jar seemed bleak: banished by the Gungans, he was forced to wander the streets performing for children as a sad clown. The novel mentioned nothing of Jar Jar being a Force user, but did mention him meeting a “disfigured orphan” whose “scar tissue runs up from his jaw, over the hole that used to be his ear, and to the scalp.”
This description seemed be enough cause for some readers to think that child was the future Supreme Leader Snoke.
This kid isn’t the only character not previously shown in the movies to be mentioned in Snoke theories. There is another character from the Aftermath series, referred to as The Operator, who some suspect could be Snoke. And then there’s a theory that Snoke is Darth Plagueis, the Sith Lord mentioned by not shown in “Revenge of the Sith.” The implication from the movie was that Plagueis trained Palpatine, who then killed him. The Snoke theory suggests, “What if he didn’t die?”
The subscribers to this theory say that the song played in “Revenge of the Sith” when Anakin and Palpatine discuss Plagueis is similar to the theme for Snoke on the soundtrack for “The Force Awakens.”
And this is their reason for thinking Plagueis could be Snoke.
Of course, that’s a flimsy reason on which to base a theory, but then again, its stronger than picking Boba Fett or Tarkin, neither of whom have shown they can use the Force. And it’s no more flimsy than the theory that Snoke is Darth Maul.
But there’s something charming about these theories, because these theories say more about the fans than they say about Snoke. We fans are so devoted to all things “Star Wars” that we will read into the smallest details: “Snoke has ‘K’ as its fourth letter. And Ewok has ‘K’ as its fourth letter. Maybe Snoke is an Ewok? If so, which one?”
Some of you reading this will shrug that off as an attempt at humor. But then there are some of you who now are going through the Ewok characters you remember and ranking which ones are most likely to be Snoke.
And it’s that latter type of fan that helps push these theories. We just can’t help it.