Snoke. The big bad. The evil overlord. The source of rumour, theory and eventually, confusion for all of us. Let's talk about a highly underutilised character and a sad ending for a good idea.
Okay - we've been meaning to write this one for awhile but have made sure we waited until we've LONG past spoiler territory. If you've yet to watch the latest Star Wars trilogy beginning with The Force Awakens, obviously stop reading this article now.
You've been warned...
Who is Snoke?
To answer who Snoke is, we need to split it into the pre- and post-Rise of Skywalker era.
Pre Rise of Skywalker
Before the final film in the trilogy dropped, Snoke was a hugely popular source of theorycrafting and fan guesswork. He was a shadowy leader whose origins were hotly debated.
Snoke is set up as the main antagonist of the third trilogy in Star Wars...until he isn't. He's the head honcho of the First Order and is titled 'Supreme Leader'. Snoke cuts an imposing figure when he first appears as a giant holographic projection, his alien features and malformed face sending shivers down your spine.
In the events leading up to the final trilogy, Snoke appears from relative obscurity as a powerful Force wielder. He found the remnants of the Galactic Empire in the Unknown Regions, where he brought them together as the First Order under his command.
Snoke then gave General Hux military leadership, freeing him to focus on his real goal - finding other Force users. He found Ben Solo and lured him to the Dark Side, styling his new apprentice as Kylo Ren.
Ren would prove to be Snoke's undoing, as his own hunger for power and his complex relationship with morality sees him slaying his leader and taking control of the First Order himself.
Post Rise of Skywalker
In the ninth instalment of the Star Wars franchise, we found out that Snoke is merely a genetic experiment, created by the Sith Eternal in secret on the planet Exegol.
Snoke was the result of a Sith experiment designed to find ways to extend Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious' lifespan and give him immortality. His body was not deemed sufficient to house Sidious' essence, but was powerful enough to become a puppet. Snoke had some form of sentience and free will, but his creator always had control over his actions and was manipulating events all along.
What abilities did Snoke have?
Snoke may have turned out to be pretty useless in the films, but his presence in the extended lore is terrifying. The dark ruler possessed huge strength in the force, specifically in the Dark Side.
Snoke held many of the famous dark side powers in his grasp. He could communicate telepathically, probe other's minds, wield Force Lightning and of course use telekinesis to throw objects around the room. He used the force exclusively, not using a lightsaber due to the physicality of duelling sabers and his frail, broken body.
Who plays Snoke in Star Wars?
Unsurprisingly for such an unusual looking character, Snoke is mainly designed and depicted via CGI. He is a digital creation powered by a motion captor actor who is in charge of his movement and mannerisms. In the films, he's played by the inimitable Andy Serkis, a master of playing CGI characters and a mainstay in another favourite fan franchise (cough, Gollum, cough).
Snoke fan theories
Sadly, the 'who is Snoke' question is never as fulfilling to answer as we'd once hoped it would be. When first unveiled, fans came up with theories which are easily more compelling than the real storyline. The best, in our opinion, were:
- Snoke could have been a Force-reincarnated version of Grand Moff Tarkin. They looked alike and both were strategical, calculating leaders.
- Perhaps the Supreme Leader was Darth Plagueis, Palpatine's own master who had been hinted at being able to overcome death itself.
- He could also have been a revitalized version of the Grand Inquisitor, as the character was never truly confirmed dead in Star Wars: Rebels.
We could go on and on about the waste of Snoke's character. Unfortunately, he was a vehicle for the plot to move on and was simply a puppet for Palpatine's return. But while he was alive, his terrifying grasp of the Force and mysterious origins led to some great speculation.
If you want to master the Force, you'll need a lightsaber to suit your dark side tendencies. Grasp one of ours today and wield the red blade in style.