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It's hard to believe it, but Star Wars' Skywalker Saga will come to an end in less than a month. J.J. Abrams' The Rise of Skywalker will hit theaters come December, and will wrap up the nine-film narrative that began with A New Hope. Abrams is also wrapping up the sequel trilogy, which he personally kickstarted with The Force Awakens. The most recent installment in the main franchise is Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi, which subverted fan expectations. This includes killing off Andy Serkis' mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke. And now Abrams has finally addressed that shocking plot twist.
Snoke had a very brief appearance in The Force Awakens, as a hologram giving orders to Kylo Ren and General Hux. Fans had endless theories about the villain's backstory, so it was a big shock when he was unceremoniously killed in The Last Jedi's second act. J.J. Abrams recently addressed Rian Johnson's handling of Snoke, saying:
When I read [Rian Johnson’s] first draft, it made me laugh, because I saw that was his take and his voice. I got to watch cuts of the movie as he was working on it, as an audience member. And I appreciated the choices he made as a filmmaker that would probably be very different from the choices that I would have made. Just as he would have made different choices if he had made Episode VII.
Well, that's a very mature perspective. While J.J. Abrams clearly didn't plan to kill Snoke off so quickly, he respects Rian Johnson's unique vision for The Last Jedi. But the question is: what did Abrams originally have in store for the Sith Master?
J.J. Abrams' comments to Rolling Stone might help to quell the naysayers who are still sore about Rian Johnson's bold narrative choices in The Last Jedi. Johnson purposefully subverted fan expectations in his first Star Wars flick, cutting down popular theories like he was using a lightsaber. Snoke's backstory was never revealed, and Rey's parentage was thoroughly anticlimactic. This resulted in some backlash when Episode VII hit theaters in 2017, although critics seem to have calmed down in the years since. And Lucasfilm was happy with his work, as he's going to develop more movies for the space opera.
The Force Awakens seemingly set up Supreme Leader Snoke to be the big bad of the trilogy, similar to Palpatine in the original trilogy. His appearance was mystifying, and theories popped up relating him to various characters in the galaxy far, far away. The character got more screen time in The Last Jedi, but Kylo Ren struck down his master, and became the new Supreme Leader of the First Order.
Snoke actor Andy Serkis has also expressed disappointment in his character's fate, no doubt hoping to appear in Episode IX, and have his backstory fleshed out in the process. But we shouldn't expect him to return in The Rise of Skywalker. Luckily, Palpatine is somehow going to factor into the narrative, which should make hardcore fans very happy.