Who Is Supreme Leader Snoke? (UPDATED with ‘The Last Jedi’ Trailer)

Brandon Rhea
Star Wars
Star Wars

Everybody loves a good villain. Whether it’s Darth Vader, Darth Maul, or Emperor Palpatine himself, villains have a way of captivating us even when they scare us. It’s no surprise, then, that fans latched onto Supreme Leader Snoke when he was introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

We know Snoke leads the First Order and is the master of Kylo Ren. His deformed face and ghastly demeanor suggest he could be ancient and incredibly powerful in the dark side of the Force, but we know nothing more beyond that. This leaves fans wondering: who is Supreme Leader Snoke? And will we learn more about him when he appears in the flesh in Star Wars: The Last Jedi?

There are a lot of fan theories circulating that answer these questions. Some we can be fairly certain aren’t true — is he Mace Windu or Darth Maul? Probably not. But here are some of the more compelling rumors about Snoke’s identity.

Is Snoke Darth Plagueis?

Many fans would love it if Snoke was Darth Plagueis, Emperor Palpatine's Sith master.

Let’s start here, since Darth Plagueis has been the most popular fan rumor for Snoke’s identity. Plagueis was the Sith master of Emperor Palpatine and briefly mentioned in Revenge of the Sith.

Chatter about Plagueis and Snoke being one and the same started after the announcement that Andy Serkis would play the character using motion capture technology, and he was described as tall, thin, and ancient-looking. These are all words that could describe the alien Darth Plagueis.

Serkis was quick to say that Snoke is a new character, and even at San Diego Comic-Con in 2015 when a fan asked Lawrence Kasdan, the co-writer of The Force Awakens, about a connection between the two characters, he responded with a bewildered “Darth Vegas?”

There were even rumors that Rey’s quarterstaff weapon was the staff of Darth Plagueis, once referenced in the non-canon novel Star Wars: Darth Plagueis.

In the film itself, Kylo Ren says that “the Supreme Leader is wise.” Perhaps this is a reference to Darth Plagueis the Wise, the story told to Anakin Skywalker when Palpatine seduced him to the dark side in Revenge of the Sith?

Odds are, Plagueis will not be making a comeback in the sequel trilogy. Though there is something intriguing about the idea of Palpatine’s master, spoken of only in legend, being the true architect of evil all along.

Is Snoke Gallius Rax?

Gallius Rax intended to use the Battle of Jakku to give rise to a better, stronger Empire.

Star Wars novelist, Chuck Wendig, introduced Gallius Rax in the Aftermath trilogy, which tells the story of how the New Republic defeated the Empire in the year after Return of the Jedi. Rax was Palpatine’s protege ever since the Clone Wars and had the responsibility of carrying out Palpatine’s Contingency orders. The Contingency was created in the event of the Emperor’s death and had one central idea: if the Empire cannot protect its Emperor, it doesn’t deserve to survive and had to be destroyed.

Rax planned to use the Battle of Jakku as a way of destroying the Empire and the New Republic, and then lead the few chosen surviving Imperials into the Unknown Regions to start again. The Empire had been charting the Unknown Regions for years, using the knowledge of Grand Admiral Thrawn and the Emperor’s scouts.

However, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane killed Rax and prevented him from fully enacting the Contingency, and the Republic won the battle, but Sloane led the surviving Imperials into the Unknown Regions. It was there that they founded the First Order, which is why some fans have wondered if Rax, the architect of what became the First Order, could be Snoke. But unless he’s just faking his death, we can assume it’s not him.

Is Snoke the Ancient Sith Emperor?

Fans of the MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic have wondered if the Sith Emperor, known as Vitiate and Valkorion, could be the identity of Supreme Leader Snoke. This ancient Emperor lived during the first war between the Jedi and the Sith and rebuilt the defeated Sith into an empire that brought the Old Republic to its knees. His true goal, however, was to live forever and reshape the galaxy how he wanted it to be.

The Old Republic is a non-canon storyline, so it’s doubtful we’ll see its primary villain revealed as Supreme Leader Snoke, but with the transmedia storytelling involved at Lucasfilm, it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility. There have also been hints that Snoke has lived for a very long time and has seen everything that transpired during the previous six films, suggesting he could be ancient. In the novelization of The Force Awakens, Snoke tells Kylo Ren about how he watched the Empire rise and fall and that he wants to create something stronger than the Empire ever was.

Is Snoke A New Power From Beyond the Galaxy?

The Aftermath trilogy also revealed that the Emperor was obsessed with the Unknown Regions. It called to him. Yupe Tashu, an advisor to Palpatine before the Emperor’s death, was a dark side historian and argued that the future of the Empire was in the Unknown Regions, where the First Order ultimately came to power. He said that Palpatine believed his power came from beyond the known galaxy, and so the Emperor sent teams into the unknown to learn more about it. Tashu argued that the Empire should “seek the source of the dark side like a man looking for a wellspring of water.” Only Palpatine sensed his power. Not even Darth Vader could, suggesting it was an extremely powerful force.

All of the Aftermath trilogy’s talk about the Unknown Regions and its powers suggests that these are not off-hand comments or meant only for the rebuilding of the Empire into the First Order. If there was a power beyond the known galaxy, a power that had been there throughout the events of the previous films, could that be Supreme Leader Snoke? He is from or influenced by the source of the dark side itself, so will we learn more about this in The Last Jedi?

This would fit with Serkis saying Snoke is a new character, and it would mean that the seeds for Snoke’s arrival and true nature have already been planted in the post-Return of the Jedi storyline. It’s for these reasons that this is the most credible Snoke theory so far.

Who do you think Supreme Leader Snoke is? Join the discussion on Wookieepedia!

NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect new information about Aftermath and The Last Jedi, and to remove debunked theories.

Brandon Rhea
Brandon Rhea is Manager of Content Production at FANDOM. He's a huge fan of Star Wars, Star Trek, Game of Thrones, and Marvel. He's a Gryffindor whose Patronus is a cat.
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