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It's been two years since Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduced Supreme Leader Snoke, the big bad of the new Star Wars trilogy. Hardly anything is known about that disfigured leader of the First Order (other than he's not a giant), and everyone knows that time + mystery=lots of fan theories. Fans have been trying to deduce the true identity of Snoke for years, rivaling only Rey's parents in the sheer number of theories. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is coming up fast and while there's no guarantee that Snoke's identity will finally be revealed, the sequel could offer some precious new hints.
You can sum up everything we know about Snoke pretty quickly: he leads the First Order, he's Force-sensitive, he turned Ben Solo, and he could be very, very old. That's not a lot to go on, but fans have poured over every line of dialogue, every novel, and every possible connection they can draw to find out who Snoke truly is. There's clearly something important backstory being saved for Snoke, but we've collected all the big theories people have made trying to figure it out. From plausible to completely silly, these are the big Snoke theories on the internet.
Snoke Is Secretly Darth Plagueis
This used to be a favorite Snoke fan theory. Darth Plagueis the Wise is Palpatine's Sith master. He was so powerful that he could use the Force to create life from nothing. He's supposed to have been killed by Palpatine in his sleep, but a master of life might not die so easily. The theory believes that Snoke is actually Plagueis, who has remained in hiding until the fall of the Empire and is now finally making his move. This theory was originally supported by Snoke's theme sounding extremely similar to Plagueis' (it plays when Palpatine first describes his old master to Anakin in Revenge of the Sith). However, other than that the two characters look nothing alike, this theory has been debunked by the Lucasfilm Story Group but... they kind of have to say that, don't they?
Palpatine Never Died
Emperor Sheev Palpatine met his end when he was thrown down a seemingly bottomless pit and exploded, but you can't keep a good Sheev down. Palpatine returns from the dead in the now non-canon expanded universe novels, so a resurrection isn't entirely unheard of. This theory claims that Snoke is an even more scarred Palpatine trying to rebuild his empire with some new branding due to how similar the First Order is to the Galactic Empire. The likelihood of this happening? Not very. There's not really much to gain from bringing Palpatine back, whose story pretty much concluded. These new Star Wars movies already have a bad enough rap for retreading the original movies without adding Palpatine.
He's Actually Darth Vader
Even though Darth Vader famously redeemed himself at the end of Return of the Jedi, some think that his villainous path isn't over yet. The main point of this theory is that both Snoke and Vader share similar facial scarring. Other than that...there's not really any other evidence. Viewers saw Vader die, his body burnt to ashes, and his actual ghost showed up at the end. Even if he, say, had a clone body that became Snoke, this theory seems pretty unlikely.
The Grand Inquisitor Makes A Comeback
First introduced in the Star Wars Rebels cartoon, the Grand Inquisitor is a dark Force user who was trained to hunt down the surviving Jedi in hiding following Order 66. He was incredibly powerful and pretty good at his job until he met his death in Season 1 of the show. However, death is sometimes not the end in Star Wars, and the Inquisitor may have survived to become Snoke. The two do have some resemblance, but this reveal wouldn't exactly be impactful for anyone who didn't watch Rebels. If Snoke is going to be a returning character, it's likely going to be one that everyone in the audience will recognize,
Mace Windu Has Got A Grudge
Yes, there's one theory out there that makes the case that Snoke is actually Mace Windu, who was seemingly killed by Palpatine after he was electrocuted and thrown out of a building. Windu has never been a big fan of the Skywalkers and after he was betrayed by Anakin, the theory believes that he swore vengeance against all Skywalkers. He's old enough to have seen the fall of the Republic and the Empire, plus Kylo Ren supposedly uses a signature lightsaber technique of Windu's. The theory goes on to say that Finn could even be his child and that he was made a stormtrooper so that Windu could keep an eye on him. There's almost no chance that this is going to be real, for a number of reasons. For example, if it were true, then why would they have Andy Serkis be playing Samuel L. Jackson?
Snoke Is Kylo Ren From The Future
Now we get to the silliest fan theory. There's a theory on the internet that states that Snoke is actually Kylo Ren from the future, who has come back to the past to train his younger self. The strongest case of evidence is that Ren receives a scar from Rey that resembles one of Snoke's, while another point is that Rian Johnson, the director of The Last Jedi, has directed a time travel movie before. And that's it. It's a fun idea, but Snoke being three Ewoks in a trench coat makes more sense than this. Plus, Kylo Ren's scar has been moved, so that already flimsy evidence doesn't have much footing anymore.
Snoke Is The Son
There is an excellent three-part story arc in Star Wars: The Clone Wars wherein Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Asoka land on the hidden planet Mortis, a place deeply connected to the Force. On this planet reside three beings of immense power who are the physical embodiments of the Force: The Father (balance), The Daughter (light side), and The Son (dark side). The Son seeks to kill The Father so that he may leave Mortis and return to the galaxy. By the end of the episode, Daughter and Father die while The Son seemingly dies, but what if he got what he wanted after all? There are theories that believe that Snoke is The Son, due to his immense power and knowledge. It's an interesting theory and while I'm as in love with those crazy Mortis episodes as the next Clone Wars fan, we again run into the problem that only like 20% of an audience know who The Son is.
Snoke Is Gallius Rax
Gallius Rax is a fairly new Star Wars character. He was introduced in the Aftermath trilogy written by Chuck Wendig and is an Imperial officer who sought to institute a new galactic regime following the collapse of the Empire. He is notable for having met Emperor Palpatine when Rax was just a boy and Palpatine took a special interest in him and gave him special tasks, hinting that he might be Force-sensitive. Rax is also from Jakku, which just so happens to hold some importance in Star Wars. While Raz does share similarities with Snoke (they are both described as having extravagant clothing), Rax doesn't believe in the Force, whereas Snoke is clearly a dark Force user. Also, Rax was shot in the face and died in the final novel, but if he were to live, that'd be one explanation for Snoke's scars.
Grand Moff Tarkin Strikes Back
When viewers last saw Grand Moff Tarkin (canonically, not recently), he was still on the Death Star while Luke Skywalker was busy blowing it up. Tarkin's fate is pretty self-explanatory but we didn't technically see him die, which is all the wiggle room fan theories ever need. Tarkin somehow survived the explosion of the Death Star with little more than severe disfigurement and then went into hiding as Snoke, building the resources to one day make his own gambit for the galaxy. The main problem with this idea is that Tarkin wasn't Force sensitive or a worshipper of the dark side. He was just a politician. So, even though they share similar cheekbones, there would have to be a pretty big explanation for why Tarkin is Snoke.
Snoke Is An Entirely New Character
Rather than having Snoke be a ghost of Star Wars past, he could always just be, well, Snoke. It's entirely plausible -- and likely -- that Snoke isn't a character that audiences are familiar with, but is simply a new bad guy character. The Force Awakens introduced several new faces to the Star Wars universe, Snoke among them. This doesn't mean that there isn't a reveal or mic drop moment in the works. Snoke is a big mystery and he wouldn't be if he weren't important. But not everything has to be tied to older Star Wars movies to be powerful; It just has to work in the context of the story. So, instead, maybe we should focus less on who Snoke is, but on what he is.
Snoke Is The Last Jedi
Rian Johnson has already gone on record saying that he considers Luke Skywalker to be the last Jedi, but what if Luke is the last of the Jedi as we have always known them? What if the Jedi seen in the films were not the original order, but merely what it eventually evolved into after centuries? One theory sure likes to think so and it posits that Snoke is actually one of these original Jedi; thus, he's the last true Jedi in their original form. In The Force Awakens, Luke is searching for an original Jedi Temple, setting up the idea of ancient Jedi history. Kylo Ren's lightsaber is an ancient design, something only someone as old as Snoke could have given him. This is a cool theory and I can't say for sure that'll turn out to be accurate (it's awfully tricky wording at play), but I feel like it's on the right track to the truth.