Some fans don’t care about the details. Some fans don’t stress over the minutiae.
Star Wars fans however do care about every trivial detail and do stress over all the incidental minutia. We really do.
This permanent state investigation was probably caused by such long intervals between films and epochs between trilogies. OK, so I exaggerate.
But this is surely part of the reason why we love to stress over every detail, because we have a love/hate relationship with the extended wait before we find the solution to our dilemma on the big screen.
Surely ‘Who is Snoke?’ really has been up there with the best of the puzzles, that are as yet unresolved. The internet had been full of rumours regarding Snoke’s identity and some even have a had shred of legitimacy.
However, I don’t have a source on the inside so until the The Last Jedi hits our screens we’ll have to wait to find out who he really is. But maybe it is possible to at least get a little bit closer to Snoke’s true idenity by eliminating who, we can reasonably assume, he isn’t.
Some have drawn comparisons with the scars we see on Darth Vader’s face and head at the end of The Return of the Jedi.
But Snoke is not Darth Vader. Darth Vader dies aboard the second Death Star. His body was burnt by his son Luke SkyWalker on Endor and we see his saved Jedi spirit appear alongside Yoda and Obi Wan at the end of the film. He’s dead – for sure.
Slightly more outrageous claims have suggested that Snoke may be Darth Maul. Whilst this is one of the more playful suggestions it’s also one of the easiest to dismiss as Maul’s history and death are chronicled in detail and it’s all canon. Through Episode one and then Clone Wars, we see Maul’s fall, rise and ultimate death in Rebels season three. Snoke is not Darth Maul.
The Grand Inquisitor
There are compelling reasons to think that the Grand Inquisitor from Rebels Season one is Snoke. Mainly because of his appearance. The Grand Inquisitor is a Pau’an and Snoke does resemble a very old Pau’an with facial injuries and scars.
But across the canon there is no doubt anywhere that the Grand Inquisitor died at the end of Rebels Season one. So it’s not him.
We can fall on canon here to help us. For a millennia the sith followed the rule of two to bide their time until an opportunity arose to challenge the Republic. So our only options here are Darth Plagueis, Sidious, Vader or Maul, and we have already excluded Vader and Maul.
So can we rule out Sidious? Basically yes. Anakin Skywalker was the chosen one who would bring balance to the force. He did this by destroying Sidious and regaining said balance. Snoke is not Sidious.
But this is where things become interesting. Can we rule out Plagueis? Common sense would say yes but I’m not convinced. At least not yet and there are three reasons for this.
1. Death faker
The first is pretty simple. It’s canon that Plagueis was said to be so powerful he could both create life and prevent people from dying. So of all the people to have ever lived in the Star Wars galaxy, he is the only one that just might have been able to recover from his own death.
Did he see Sidious coming? Did he fake his own death in order to watch from a distance as Sidious tried to take over the galaxy?
2. A watcher
Secondly the novelisation of the Force Awakens, which I assume is canon reveals two points of interest.
When Hux and Ren speak to the hologram of Snoke for the first time, Snoke says the following to Ren after Hux leaves the room.
“I have never had a student with such promise – before you.” Student? Apprentice? That sounds like Sith talk to me.
He also says “Kylo Ren, I have watched the Galactic Empire rise, and then fall. …” So Snoke has been watching and scheming for some time. Was his plan to take control from Sidious once the war was won?
3. Hidden data
A search of StarWars.com’s Databank for Darth Plagueis does not return a page about the character. A search for Vader, Sidious and Maul all return individual records but not Plagueis.
It does return a video clip of Palpatine talking to Anakin in the Galaxies Opera House from Episode three.
Why wouldn’t such a pivotal character in canon have their own entry unless Lucasfilm wanted to keep the character quiet for the time being?
I admit it. I have fallen into the trap of trying to guess who Snoke is. But Snoke is a user of the Force. He is also training a dark side user how to use the force. So there is, obviously, more to the character than we know.
What I mean is that he is not a character that just recently discovered the force and managed to master its use in the last few years. So he has to have been around and studying the force for a long time.
If I were a gambling man
Without realising it we’re only really left with one option. Snoke is simply a fallen Jedi.
We all know that Jedi survived Order 66. No, not many but some did. Most would have fought terrible fights and battles to survive. Firstly against the clone troopers and then against the empire, the Inquisitors and Darth Vader himself. So there’s a good chance they would be scared as a result.
That really does make sense. It’s quite easy to imagine that after being trained as a Jedi and then having to watch your order being killed before your eyes that a sense of revenge was created. Perhaps a Jedi with a tendency to struggle with the call of the dark side, that survived Order 66 would be drawn to the dark side as a result.
That also draws the question of Snoke’s motives. Does he hold the Skywalker family responsible for the destruction of their order? Seeking revenge in the most satisfying way, he sets out to turn one of the Skywalker family and use their obvious ability in the force to wipe out the remainder of the Skywalker family?
No, I don’t know who Snoke is. But if I had to really gamble I wouldn’t rule out the return of a bounty hunter last seen in the vicinity of the Sarlacc pit.