Who is Snoke? Didn’t think you’d be asking that question again, right? Suddenly, though, the villain who was introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens has had his origins surprisingly re-framed. Now, Andy Serkis’ sinewy Supreme Leader has what appears to be a direct tie-in to The Mandalorian season 2.
In the wake of that shock reveal, it’s time to look back at Snoke and everything to do with the character that was once Supreme Leader but, ultimately, turned out to be nothing more than Palpatine’s puppet. From the Uncharted Regions and beyond – let’s find out who Snoke was, how he was made, and why he could be so important to The Mandalorian’s immediate future.
Who is Snoke?
With Snoke, it’s important to map the differences between what we once knew as Snoke’s origin and what came to light in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Originally, Snoke (played by Andy Serkis until Star Wars: The Last Jedi) was introduced as a wielder of the Dark Side of the Force who resided in an uncharted area called the Unknown Regions in a galaxy far, far away. After the remnants of the Empire fled to the Unknown Regions, he eventually became Supreme Leader of what would become known as the First Order.
Of course, as we know from Episode 9, much of Snoke’s life and origins is a lie. He was created by the Sith Eternal on the lost Sith world of Exegol – several failed Snoke clone bodies can be spotted in a tank at the beginning of the movie.
In effect, he was used as Palpatine’s puppet; a way to restore order to what remained of the Empire and to help bend Kylo Ren to the Emperor’s will. Given the Emperor’s near-death state in his post-resurrection phase, he proved a useful instrument and carried out the Emperor's orders – perhaps unwittingly. It’s worth noting that Snoke seemingly had his own free will and may not have even known that Palpatine was pulling the strings from the shadows.
In terms of his links to the Force, Snoke had two apprentices. One was unnamed, the other Ben Solo, later Kylo Ren, who he helped harness his anger and hate. He even helped Kylo Ren – once Ben Solo – emerge as the new leader of the Knights of the Ren after killing the previous leader.
Snoke's apprentice would also be his downfall. After realising just how much he was being used by Snoke as well as threatening Rey, Kylo Ren kills him by slicing him in two with his lightsaber and takes his place.
How was Snoke made?
As revealed in Episode 9, Snoke was the product of the Sith Eternal’s cloning experiments. It was apparently a long road to get there judging by the mini-Snokes that populated the tanks in Rise of Skywalker.
But the actual method itself is unclear. Sith science has always been better left unexplained (otherwise you end up picturing Darth Maul tinkering with beakers and Bunsen burners), but it’s clear that decades of tests and technology-heavy exploits allowed Palpatine and the Sith Eternal cult to create Snoke after more than several botched attempts along the way.
Is that Snoke in The Mandalorian?
Quite possibly. In The Mandalorian season 2, episode 4, Mando (along with Greef and Cara Dune) infiltrate an Imperial base on Navarro which turns out to be a lab. There, they stumble upon a video recording of a scientist explaining that they’ve been taking blood from someone with a high midichlorian count (most likely The Child) and transferring it into the subject’s body.
Now, that could be Palpatine’s body, but the timelines don't match up. There's also potential that it's a body meant for the spirit of Palpatine to inhabit. However, it’s more likely that we’re witnessing the growing pains, in a manner of speaking, in the attempts to create Snoke. That’s further backed up by a foetus-like figure in the tubes in the lab that each resemble Snoke.
As of writing, that hasn’t been confirmed either way – either in the show or by anyone at Lucasfilm or Disney. The identity of the mystery experiment remains just that, a mystery. Still, the Snoke truthers – and those who want to know more about his hidden history – will surely cling to the idea that we’re seeing the genesis of the future Supreme Leader.
What’s next for Snoke and The Mandalorian?
We’ll have to wait and see! Much of The Mandalorian season 2 has settled on introducing people and concepts and just cruelly snatching them away after only a single episode. Cobb Vanth came and went, while we’re still waiting for Boba Fett to properly return after his one-off cameo at the end of the premiere. Hopefully that’s not the case again, but you never know.
For now, Mando is off to Corvus to seek the Jedi Ahsoka Tano and get more answers about The Child. It's unlikely Tano knows about Snoke, so it could be nothing more than a nice little nod to the sequel trilogy.
If nothing else, we’ve learned more about why Moff Gideon wants Baby Yoda – and it’s also more of a connective tissue to explaining Snoke and the sequels than Episode 9 ever offered us. That’s gotta count for something, right?