We should not expect The Last Jedi to unravel the mystery of Snoke

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2018, 6:00 PM EST (Updated)

There aren't very many people outside of the Lucasfilm payroll who know a lot about Star Wars: The Last Jedi right now, but journalist David Kamp is definitely one of them. Kamp is the author of Vanity's Fair's fascinating cover story from the Last Jedi set that's been making the rounds this week, and his reporting has been so pored over by fans that Kamp himself was called upon to dish on whatever else he might know. He took part in a Reddit AMA on Thursday, and while he certainly offered no real spoilery details, sometimes what isn't said is just as interesting.

For example, here's what Kamp said he learned when asking about Supreme Leader Snoke as part of his reporting:

"I asked [writer/director] Rian Johnson about Snoke—Who/what is he?—and Rian was fairly up front in saying that Snoke is not a character he particularly gets into in TLJ. Hmmm."

"Hmmm" indeed.

Now, while it's possible Johnson was playing coy to avoid spoilers, it isn't likely. He could've always just said he can't talk much about Snoke, but apparently he instead told Kamp that there's not much to talk about. So, let's take Johnson at face value there.

The idea that there really isn't much to say about the character in the new film is interesting, since Snoke's background ranks second only to Rey's parentage on the list of mysteries that grew out of The Force Awakens. There are at least half a dozen very detailed fan theories out there, and countless more vague ones, speculating about Snoke's identity. Then there's the continued vague or nonexistent portrayals of the character in the Expanded Universe, where the closest we've really gotten to Snoke is a character a lot of people thought might be him who ended up dying anyway by the end of the Aftermath trilogy. It's been almost two years since he first appeared, and we still know virtually the same few details given to us in The Force Awakens: His name is Snoke, he leads the First Order, and he's Kylo Ren's teacher in some way.

Given all of that, a lot of fans (myself included) probably expected some kind of deeper dive into the character for his second time out, and while Johnson certainly didn't tell Kamp that nothing would be revealed about Snoke in his film, it would appear we'll have to wait for the real meat of his story. In a lot of ways though, that's not strange in the overall context of Star Wars. Think about Emperor Palpatine. He doesn't appear at all in the first Star Wars film, appears for mere moments as a hologram in Empire, and finally appears in the flesh in Jedi. Even then, no one ever actually calls him "Emperor Palpatine," and all those films really tell us is that he's evil and he's Darth Vader's master. We had to wait until the prequels to get the rest of the story.

Which is not to say that we'll be waiting that long to learn more about Snoke, but we may have to wait until Episode IX for the answers we really want. The Last Jedi seems to have other concerns.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives December 15.

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