Massive, massive SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in this article, so if you still haven’t seen the film, please go do that, and then come back here and join us.
One of the many questions left dangling by The Force Awakens is, just who is the First Order’s Supreme Leader Snoke? Played by Andy Serkis in a motion capture performance, Snoke appears in the movie in just a handful of scenes as a giant hologram speaking to his subordinates, Kylo Ren and General Hux. He’s pasty white, with what looks like a scar across his face. He turned Ben Solo away from his Uncle Luke’s teachings and made him a dark side warrior…. and that’s about all we know for sure.
A long held theory by fans, one from before the film’s release, is that Supreme Leader Snoke is Darth Plagueis the Wise. In Revenge of the Sith, Emperor Palpatine tells his own backstory to Anakin Skywalker, that Darth Plagueis was a Sith Lord so powerful, he knew the secret to cheating death. But despite this knowledge, his apprentice Darth Sidious, a.k.a. Palpatine, killed him and became the new Sith master. The scene in question features a distinctive piece of music from John Williams called “Palpatine’s Teachings.” It doesn’t sound like anything else in any of the previous five Star Wars films. But now, for The Force Awakens, Williams has all but recycled that same piece of music for Snoke’s theme, which you can listen to above.
There’s a good reason to believe in the “Snoke = Darth Plagueis” theory, even without the massive musical hint. After all, Plagueis was famous for finding a way to cheat death, so who is to say he didn’t cheat his own death at the hands of Palpatine? And who better to finish the work Palpatine started with the Empire than Plagueis himself? On the flip side, there is also reason to think the Darth Plagueis theory is nothing but a red herring. For starters, it’s an element from the prequels, something these new movies have not overtly referenced. And also, if Snoke is Plagueis, why disguise himself at all? Why even keep that a mystery?
My own personal theory on who Snoke really is a bit crazier, but stay with me here: What if Snoke isn’t what he appears to be at all? We only see him as a giant hologram in the film. What if that hologram isn’t a transmission, but a Wizard of Oz–style facade, looking very much like what we expect a big bad Dark Side guy to look like. Sure, they got a great actor to play him with Andy Serkis, but maybe this is like the Mandarin from Iron Man 3 all over again, and Andy Serkis serves the same purpose as Ben Kingsley did in that movie.
We know that The Force Awakens has taken elements from the old, now discarded Star Wars Expanded Universe and done their own spin on them. For example, Kylo Ren is a weird mix of Jacen Solo and Ben Skywalker from the old EU. In the Expanded Universe, Luke’s wife was Mara Jade, a Force user originally was tasked to kill him, before she switched to the Light Side, married Luke, and had his child. But what if Luke’s wife in the new films never becomes good? What if she turns to the Dark Side, and seduces Luke’s nephew Ben to the Dark Side as well? Luke then might have had to take their child, Rey, and hide her from her mother much as he was hidden from his father as a child. The Empire Strikes Back style twist in Episode VIII could be “Rey, I am your mother.” It might sound cray-cray, but if I’m right, remember… you heard it here first.
Who do you think Supreme Leader Snoke really is? Is he Darth Plagueis, or do you have another theory? Let us know in the comments below!
HT: Comic Book Movie