Who is the mysterious Supreme Leader of the First Order?
Who is Supreme Leader Snoke?
This was one of the many burning questions raised in the aftermath of the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015. With almost a year to digest the subtle nuances of his character, the fan theories have gone wild with imagination and have offered some startling conclusions. However, the anticipation of returning to the era of the Empire and the theft of the plans to their dreaded new super weapon, the Death Star shelved those arguments for another time.
Fast forward to today, with the splendour and adventure of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dissipating into the folklore of the saga, our attention is returning to the next chapter in the Skywalker story and the looming release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The sequel to the multi-billion-dollar blockbuster, The Force Awakens is due to arrive in cinemas on the 15th December and with the excitement building, the unanswered questions are set to be thrust back into the limelight for conjecture and hypothesis to begin again. The first of which is who is the mysterious leader of the infamous First Order, and what are his intentions toward the Last Jedi himself, Luke Skywalker.
The many rumours have been as outlandish as they have been abundant, yet there very well may be some truth ingrained amongst the absurdities. The trivial gossips have suggested that somehow, Governor Tarkin survived the destruction of the original Death Star and has finally returned to take his revenge after an absence of almost forty-years. Another, is the notion that he is none other than Grand Admiral Thrawn, mangled from the war that claimed the Empire, back to take revenge upon the Rebellion/Resistance. Snoke’s resemblance to Sith master Darth Plagueis, the sinister master responsible for teaching Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine the ways of the force, has unlocked the possibility of his return. The origins of the character, as told during Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith suggests that Plagueis was almighty with the dark side’s unyielding power and had discovered the secret to creating life itself. If so, Plagueis may well have discovered the secret to his own resurrection and returned to haunt the galaxy once more, bent on revenge against the Jedi and their lone representative, Luke Skywalker.
An additional rumour is based upon the character’s similarities to that of the sinister master of the dark side himself, Emperor Palpatine. The theory suggests that Palpatine somehow survived his plummet into the depths of the Death Star’s internal structure and managed to escape before Lando Calrissian and the rebel fleet destroyed the power generator contained within. This however, is a little too far fetched…even for me!
With each suggestion, the plausibility of their factuality diminishes but a new theory has arisen that is interwoven into the genuine and recognised platform of the official new canon novels. Contained within the pages of the journey to The Force Awakens novels are tidbits of information that once combined, aid us in our quest for knowledge. The Force Awakens novelisation suggests that Snoke was indeed present during the fall of the Empire and even went as far as to elaborate on his knowledge of Darth Vader’s sentimental turn away from the dark side.
The Chuck Wendig novel Aftermath, a New York Times Bestseller and its succeeding sequel Life Debt elaborated further on the fall of the Empire and subsequent rise of the First Order from its ashes. An Imperial Admiral known as Gallius Rax or “The Operator” believed the Empire to be a failing, ugly and inelegant machine of war, in desperate need to be broken to rise again as a stronger entity. In the aftermath of the Empire’s unequivocal destruction, Rax rallied the remnants of the Imperial forces and with the aid of General Hux’s father formed the sinister First Order, a new entity as envisioned by The Operator.
This may all be an elaborate misdirection by the mischievous masterminds at Lucasfilm, but with the new canon novels being regarded as gospel, who is to say they are not without fact. The connection between Snoke and Rax is strong but not without its flaws. Rax’s origin story implies nothing about his use of the force or subsequent ability to train Kylo Ren in its intricacies but, Kylo Ren’s techniques were revealed to be as crude and anarchic as the construction of his non-conventional lightsaber. This suggests that Ren has suffered from a lack of genuine Sith training, relying solely upon the teachings of his former Master Luke Skywalker. Could Rax’s lack of genuine force knowledge account for this unconventional style employed by Kylo Ren, born out of his lack of a true Sith Master.
All evidence points to this being the case and if this is hypothesis is indeed found to be accurate, it explains a great deal about Kylo Ren’s character and his lack of fluidity with the force. Snoke’s deep seeded hatred of Han Solo, as demonstrated in The Force Awakens can now be attributed to him being an instrumental hand in the destruction of the Empire, a defeat that Rax had taken personally. What better method of revenge than corrupting the son of one of your most hated enemies and using him to bring about the destruction of the architects responsible for the fall of the Empire.
With the relevance of the information taken into consideration, it creates a genuine and plausible origin story for the mysterious commandant of the First Order, a bitter and twisted Imperial tactician imposing his ultimate revenge upon the heroes of the Rebellion in the most heart-wrenching fashion.
Let’s try it on for size:
ADMIRAL GALLIUS RAX/SUPREME LEADER SNOKE:
Barely surviving the battle of Endor, the bitter and twisted Gallius Rax, suffering from horrific and life changing injuries rallies the remaining forces of the broken Empire to forge The First Order under the pseudonym Supreme Leader Snoke. After years of amassing his forces, he entices Jedi in training Ben Solo to his cause by tempting him with information about his grandfather…the fallen Sith Lord Darth Vader, information that his mother, father and uncle are unwilling to share.
Consumed by both his thirst for power and quest for knowledge of his lineage, Solo embraces the path of his grandfather and abandons the teachings of his Jedi mentor, Luke Skywalker and in doing so becomes the implement of Rax’s revenge. Twisted by Snoke’s hatred for the architects of the Empire’s downfall, Ben Solo transforms into the sinister Kylo Ren and sets off on a path to rid the galaxy of the rising new Jedi order. Snoke however, with no real knowledge of the force is unable to convey such teachings to his apprentice who, is left to fashion his new persona upon Darth Vader’s legacy. This explains both Kylo Ren’s crude and unfinished practices as well as his unorthodox lightsaber. Devoted to his grandfather’s dark path, Ren is manipulated into murdering his own father, an opening gambit of Snoke’s ultimate revenge that he hopes will see the elimination of the Skywalker and Solo bloodline forever and thus taking the ultimate revenge on the Empire’s conquerors.
And there we have it, a plausible origin story for the sinister Supreme Leader Snoke that takes its derivation from the fall of the Empire. The idea that he corrupts Ben Solo and forges him into his ultimate weapon of revenge is a fascinating narrative, especially when Snoke himself is proven not to be the mighty Lord of the Sith he professes to be. When Kylo Ren discovers this bitter untruth, the repercussions will undoubtedly spread throughout the rest of the saga with unimaginable consequences for everyone involved.
Whether this notion is another red herring remains to be seen, however with Star Wars: The Last Jedi only nine months away, we won’t have to wait long for confirmation. Until then we can all dissect the details and fashion our own opinion which, let’s face it is half the fun!
May The Force Be With You