Snoke remains a point of discussion among fans following the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Leading up to the release of the film, one of the biggest mysteries is the seven-foot-tall humanoid — where he comes from, what his true intentions are, and whether he is connected to another character in the Star Wars saga.
Many theories were spawned as a result, but fans who were hoping to know more about Snoke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi were left disappointed when he was killed by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in one blow in the middle act of the film.
There are a lot of fans who are still holding out hope that Snoke is not dead and will be back in Star Wars: Episode 9 in some form. However, the popular and ever-ardent Star Wars watcher and YouTuber Star Wars Explained believes that he is a goner, providing a number of reasons as to why it is time to let go.
His main belief is that Snoke’s death is important for Kylo Ren’s development as a character in the story and the saga as a whole. It was his destiny to take his master down and succeed him as the supreme leader of the First Order, unlocking a new level of his abilities in the process while also appearing to banish the conflict within him.
While the resurrection of Darth Maul in Star Wars Rebels easily makes Snoke’s survival possible, the YouTuber believes that it was not Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson’s intention all along.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Johnson implied that his focus in Star Wars: The Last Jedi is to move Kylo Ren and Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) characters forward, and killing Snoke was necessary to do that. He said that his role in the story did not matter and revealed that he wrote the script before Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out, so the buzz about the villain was nonexistent back then.
“Even if it had, my perspective is it’s similar to how the Emperor was handled. The first three movies you know nothing about the Emperor because you don’t have to, because that’s not the story. You know exactly what you need to know. Whereas in the prequels, you know everything about him because that is the story.”
Johnson went on to say that exploring his origins in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, no matter how intriguing they are, would not make sense and just did not have a place in the sequel.
“In this movie, Rey doesn’t really care where he comes from, so if in any of their scenes he had stopped and done a 30-second monologue about how he is [Darth] Plagueis or whoever, Rey would have blinked and looked confused and the scene would have gone on … and we would have ended up cutting it in the editing room because it doesn’t matter to the story right now.”
Now on to the arguments some theorists are using to support their claim that Snoke is still alive. First is that by the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rey and Kylo Ren’s Force connection kicked in once more, even after Snoke died. It was revealed that it was him who was bridging their minds all along.
Star Wars Explained believes that Kylo Ren would have likely just triggered that last one himself. Since they are on the same planet and the distance between them is not that great, it will not require the same level of power than when they are being linked between the opposite sides of the galaxy, which was the case in their earlier encounters.
The YouTuber went on to say that while Kylo Ren said in the film when they first discover about the connection that the effort to pull it off will kill Rey, never did he say that he cannot do it.
On the other hand, there are those who are saying that like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Snoke was projecting himself all along and wanted to be killed.
Johnson has already explained that in the scene where Luke, in Force project mode, kisses his sister Leia (Carrie Fisher), she does not actually feel it. This means that Rey would know if Snoke is physically there since he touches her face in the confrontation scene.
In line with this, Star Wars Explained adds that Snoke will have to change his purported Force projection by visualizing his body cut up to make Kylo Ren believe that he is dead and that he successfully deceived him.
The Star Wars watcher believes that this is definitely reaching and that the simpler and more realistic answer as far as the film goes is that Snoke, claiming that he sees his apprentice’s every move, was just outsmarted due to his overconfidence. Even great masters can be outmaneuvered. Emperor Palpatine met his end at the hands of his apprentice, Darth Vader.
Star Wars Explained also poked holes in the theory that Snoke is regenerating to his true form since he apparently looked a bit healthier in Star Wars: The Last Jedi compared to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The YouTuber says that the explanation for this comes down to the production design.
Kylo Ren’s scar was moved in what Johnson thought was a better location, and this change was not meant to have any bearing on the story at all. The same could be the case with Snoke’s purported difference between the films.
There is the argument about Snoke being the Prime Jedi, who is featured in a mural on Ahch-To, which the official Star Wars: The Last Jedi visual dictionary provided a closer look at. Star Wars Explained says that some theorists tend to put too much weight on an image that is ancient and probably not even exact representation.
Finally (and this one is a biggie), there is the theory that Snoke is the great Darth Plagueis, who is said to have found a way to cheat death. The YouTuber argued that there is no evidence to support that the latter actually pulled that off.
In the Star Wars prequels, Emperor Palpatine was clear in saying that cheating death is something only one has achieved but also indicated that Darth Plagueis ironically failed to save himself from such fate despite doing the same for others. With no other stories indicating that he is alive, even in legends, Palpatine killed him as far as canon is concerned.
As for those who speculate that Snoke is dead but could return as a Force ghost in Star Wars: Episode 9, the YouTuber says that this would require major rule changes to work. So far in the canon lore, dark siders are unable to become Force ghosts, which is why fans always see them do their best to prolong their life.
Star Wars creator George Lucas has long decided that becoming a Force ghost is a power for the light side, which is why the plan to have Darth Revan and Darth Bane take such a form in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars was scrapped. The apparition of the latter featured on the show is simply a vision.
Star Wars Explained says that the only plausible theory that could work is the idea of transfer essence, which in Star Wars legends, involves moving the consciousness to another body.
It is what allowed Emperor Palpatine to survive for a few more years after his death, at least in the non-canon books. However, there is no evidence at this time that this was the case in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
While J.J. Abrams, who will write and direct Star Wars: Episode 9, could undo Snoke’s death easily with this to continue the idea of introducing new Force abilities and uses, Star Wars Explained feels that it will also undo Kylo Ren’s growth in the film and ultimately weaken the story.
The director also pointed out in a Wired interview back in 2015 that Johnson’s take on the Star Wars: The Last Jedi was “very much in line with what we were thinking” anyway, so the powerful master of the Force was meant to bite the dust either way.