Ever since the credits rolled on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans has been obsessed with one question: just who in the blue harvest is Supreme Leader Snoke? It seems like every fan has a theory, to the point where they constantly bombard the twitter accounts of the Lucasfilm Story Group with questions. T-shirts were made that say "Your Snoke Theory Sucks" and were proudly worn at conventions, before they were somewhat replaced by the kinder "Tell Me Your Snoke Theory!" version. The second official trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi just came out, so it seems to be the perfect time to take a look at some of the biggest (and silliest) theories about the First Order's Supreme Leader.
WHAT WE KNOW FOR CERTAIN:
Not much. Thanks to the new trailer (as well as various toy promotions), we know that Snoke is not a giant, as his hologram form had suggested. He looks to be about the same size as everyone else, is largely disfigured (a huge gash in his forehead is most prevalent), and he wears a gold robe that looks like it is made out of the same material as Worf's S1 TNG sash.
He has trained Kylo Ren, master of the "Knights of Ren," and General Leia believes that it was Snoke that corrupted her son. He is highly attuned to the force, as he sensed both sides of it "awaken" in The Force Awakens, and he travels around the GFFA aboard the Finalizer, the biggest Star Destroyer yet produced. Based on his lines in the previous film, we can gather that he has seen the rise of Palpatine, the fall of the Jedi, as well as the rise and fall of the Empire. He's been around for a while.
Based on all of that, WHO IS HE? Here are some of the most widespread and interesting theories:
Snoke is...DARTH PLAGUEIS.
Did you ever hear the theory of Darth Plagueis the Wise turning out to be Snoke? It's not a story the Jedi would tell you. (Apologies, couldn't resist.) This is a logical notion, as the man who trained Palpatine would make a pretty threatening villain. Plagueis had been around for a while, according the old extended universe, and Snoke's scarring could be the result of ending up mostly dead at the hands of his former apprentice. For all of his talk about the dark side, however, Snoke never outright says that he is a Sith. Palpatine also seemed pretty sure that his old master was dead when he was regaling Anakin in that opera house.
Status: DEBUNKED. The story group has said on multiple occasions that Snoke is NOT Darth Plagueis. We can put this one to rest. Or can we?
Snoke is... SHEEV PALPATINE.
The Emperor was brought back in the old EU as a younger version of himself, could the same thing be happening here? The head gash could be the result of the rather large fall that Palpatine took at the end of Return of the Jedi-- current canon includes Darth Maul surviving his fall and being brought back, so why can't the same happen here? Palpatine was far more powerful than Maul, so if anyone could survive it (and the explosion that happened shortly thereafter) it's good ol' Sheev. Still, it seems doubtful that the filmmakers would use the same old puppetmaster once again. Palpatine was fantastic, and played to perfection by Ian McDiarmid, but his part in this story (at least in person) seems to be over. Plus, to bring him back would lessen the sacrifice of Anakin Skywalker.
Status: Chances are slim, but anything's possible.
Snoke is... THE OPERATOR.
Appearing in the first of the Aftermath books, the Operator is a shadowy character that feeds information to the New Republic about the dwindling Imperial Remnant. It isn't until the end of that book that we find out that he is actually the leader of the Imperials, and the information he is leaking is all a part of a grander design. Upon reading this first book, many people thought that this mysterious figure was Snoke... but then the second book came out, and it was revealed that his name was actually Gallius Rax. He could have changed his name after the end of the third Aftermath novel, right? Not exactly.
Status: The end of the third book in the Aftermath trilogy makes it pretty clear that Gallius Rax and Snoke are not the same person. Rax is important, but he isn't Snoke.
Snoke is... THE SON FROM MORTIS.
If you are a fan of the brilliant Star Wars: The Clone Wars show, then you probably remember the three episodes spent in a mysterious force nether-region called Mortis. Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka end up there, and they encounter the Father, the Son, and the Daughter. The father represents balance, while the Son and Daughter represent the dark side and the light, respectively. The Son tried to seduce both Ahsoka and Anakin, and nearly succeeds in both cases.
A few fans have speculated that Snoke is none other than the Son himself, given form in human flesh. The Son was very powerful with the dark side and is more or less a timeless being, so the pieces could fit together -- but would Lucasfilm actually use a character from an animated show that not everybody is familiar with? Most likely not, but it would be a fantastic thing for Clone Wars fans.
Snoke is... JAR JAR BINKS.
Some fans are convinced that this is true. The "Jar Jar was a Sith Lord" phenomenon lives on with this theory, as more than a few people think that the divine foolishness of the talented Mr. Binks could actually be the force behind the First Order. They look nothing alike and they sound nothing alike, but some are still keeping the faith. Sure, Andy Serkis performs Snoke through motion capture, and Jar Jar was done the same way back in 1999, but that's really where the similarities end. Aside from that, the third volume in the Aftermath novels depicts the fate of Jar Jar in an interlude. Spoiler alert: it doesn't involve him starting the First Order.
STATUS: No way. If this is true, I'll eat every hat I own. It's bombad ka-wazy.
Snoke is... DARTH BANE/DARTH REVAN/DARTH NIHILUS/ANY DARTH FROM KOTOR.
Knights of the Old Republic players everywhere would love this to be true. They don't even seem to care which Darth he is, they just want Knights of the Old Republic back in the canon. We already glimpsed Darth Bane in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (voiced by none other than Mark Hamill himself), and if he was still around during Palpatine's reign, it would kind of violate the "rule of two" that Bane himself created. Revan is a huge fan favorite, but I think he (or she) would be better served by a spin-off film. As for the rest? Once again, Snoke has given no indication that he is a Sith. He doesn't name Ben Solo "Darth Kylo" either, as much as Kylo might like that.
Snoke is... MACE WINDU.
Hear me out on this one, because I may be a convert. It's not just because I really want Mace Windu back in the movies, although that it certainly true. Imagine if you will: Mace survives his plummet out of the Chancellor's window, but smashes his head on the ground. How would be ever survive? Again, Darth Maul did it, anything is possible.
Let's say his fall left him with a gaping head scar, and his encounter with Palpatine's lightning grossly disfigured his body. He scrubs an existence as a crazy one-handed homeless person on the lower levels of Coruscant, and then somehow jets off to the unknown regions. Consumed by hatred because of all that he has lost, he decides to restore some semblance of the Empire to regain some kind of control. Who might Master Windu possibly seek revenge on? The house of Skywalker, of course. His nemesis Anakin is gone, but Luke remains -- and as we know, Snoke is obsessed with hunting down the last Jedi. Why does he change his name? Um... he just does. Why does he look and sound so different? Well, you see... uh... force lightning is bad for you.
STATUS: Not gonna happen... but like I said, it's fun to think about.
Snoke is... AN EWOK AND THREE PORGS IN A TRENCH COAT.
I just made this up. It's probably not true.
STATUS: Again, I just made this up. It's poodoo.
Snoke is... SNOKE.
The most likely scenario is that Snoke is simply a new character. The story group consistently says "Snoke is Snoke", but aside from that, this just makes the most sense. Since the First Order came from the unknown regions, it might be a safe bet that Snoke came from there too. We know from various books and comics (the Thrawn novel most recently) that Palpatine was obsessed with the unknown regions, sometimes referred to as "Wild Space." Palpatine constantly had his sights set there while the Empire was running itself. Was he looking to expand, or was he trying to assess new threats to his dominance? Perhaps Snoke is one of the items of interest that Palpatine was looking out for.
Sitting all cozy in his golden robe, Snoke could have watched (and sensed) all of the events of the saga. When the Imperial Remnant fled after being finally defeated on Jakku (the Aftermath book trilogy again), they fled to the unknown regions...and perhaps that is where Snoke met them all. He took the dregs of the former Empire, improved their designs, and built them up again in a new form with a little help from the dark side. When the time was right, they all came storming in. His various deformities indicate that he may be older than any other character we've met, so he could be an older evil, perhaps even older than the Sith. Was he exiled to the unknown regions? Was he waiting for Palpatine to fail? Who knows, but the odds are good that we will find out eventually.
STATUS: This is where I'd bet my credits, but always in motion is future. As Luke himself says, "this is not going to go the way you think."
Now then... who are Rey's parents? Is she a Kenobi? A Palpatine? A Bridger? A Skywalker? An Organa-Skywalker-Solo? A midichlorian virgin birth? I NEED TO KNOW.