Warning: SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi are ahead!
For two years, Star Wars fans wondered what the deal with Supreme Leader Snoke was. Sure, he was leading The First Order, but where did he come from? How was he so knowledgeable about the Dark Side? Did he have any close ties with any of the Original Trilogy characters? Well, despite having an expanded role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, not only were none of these Snoke questions answered, but the villain was killed off in the latter half of the movie. However, one Star Wars fan is theorizing that Snoke is actually still alive, and instead faked his death using the Force projection ability.
Luke Skywalker demonstrated the Force projection ability at the end of The Last Jedi when he cast a lifelike illusion of himself to Crait all the way from Ahch-To. Along with projecting himself, Luke also created objects like his lightsaber and Han Solo's dice, which Leia and Kylo Ren were able to interact with. This theory posted on Reddit posits that Snoke was also able to Force project, but to a greater degree. The main evidence provided for support this is the fact that the throne Snoke is sitting in while he's communicating with Kylo and General Hux over hologram in The Force Awakens is not the same one he was sitting in during The Last Jedi. As a result, not only was Snoke not on Starkiller Base during The Force Awakens, but he wasn't on his ship either.
To that end, this fan believes Snoke was projecting himself onto his Star Destroyer, The Supremacy, meaning that it was this "decoy" that Kylo Ren killed. It was all part of Snoke's manipulation, as he used this ruse to ensure that Kylo would fully cross over to the Dark Side. Snoke suspected or at least hoped that Kylo would strike him down, hence why Rey's lightsaber was positioned the way it was, and once Kylo did the deed, Snoke maintained the illusion of his corpse for as long as Kylo and Rey remained in that room.
This is an interesting theory, to be sure, although it flies in the face of what Rian Johnson intended to accomplish with Snoke's death in The Last Jedi: further developing Kylo Ren's character. Wanting to get Kylo to a place where "he was standing on his own two feet as a complicated villain" as well as not wanting to repeat the Palpatine story from the earlier Star Wars movies, Johnson decided to take Snoke off the board and have Kylo become The First Order's new Supreme Leader. If Snoke is still alive out there and will be back for Episode IX, that takes away the dramatic beat that his fatal stabbing provided. It's always possible that director J.J. Abrams and writer Chris Terrio might undo what Johnson did and somehow bring back Snoke back from the dead, but I strongly suspect that won't happen, if only because that would almost certainly be jumping the bantha (or whatever Star Wars creature you want to substitute for a shark). In the end, it was overconfidence that was Snoke's downfall.
Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters on December 20, 2019, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for updates on the movie's development, including whether or not it will answer any of the Snoke questions that went unaddressed in The Last Jedi.