We’ve been fed a few tasty morsels of material concerning the long awaited meal that is the next chapter of Star Wars. The most cryptic and curious clue was the introduction of a “new” character known as Supreme Leader Snoke.
Who is Supreme Leader Snoke, the man behind Kylo Ren? I have a theory.
: Be forewarned: possible Star Wars related spoilers may follow:
In almost every aspect, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been a heavily guarded film. The identity of Supreme Leader Snoke, in particular, is so secretive that even the actor playing Snoke, Andy Serkis, was not permitted to see the finished character. What we know on the surface about Supreme Leader Snoke is also limited. We know that he is regarded as a mentor of Kylo Ren, who is slated to be the main villain in the upcoming Star Wars, which places Snoke as the possible leader of the Knights of Ren. Since Andy Serkis portrayed the character solely in a motion-captured outfit, Snoke can also be assumed to be deformed and transfigured but ultimately humanoid. Andy Serkis has said that the character is seven feet tall and extremely thin. Serkis went on to reveal that Snoke is “severely damaged,” and “Although he is a powerful leader, he comes across as vulnerable. Very scarred and disfigured.” Furthermore, Serkis claimed that Supreme Leader Snoke is a “new character in the movie franchise.” Notice the qualifier, “movie franchise.” That can be interpreted as a technicality, stating the character is present in the Star Wars universe but has yet to be shown on-screen. Why would such a powerful, over-arching villain be introduced as a new character when there exists a plethora of canon and lore to pick an already existing one?
Let’s stop beating around the bush and proceed to punch the bush right in the face. Supreme Leader Snoke is Darth Plagueis. This epiphany may not blow a Star Wars obsessed mind, but let me address why I believe Darth Plagueis to be the sole suspect.
The fact that Supreme Leader Snoke is humanoid, but not necessarily a human, and possesses zombie-like reptilian features, he would resemble a race known as the Munn. It so happens that Darth Plagueis was born a Munn somewhere between 200 to 100 B.B.Y–before the Battle of Yavin. Darth Plagueis was the former master of our dearly departed Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Sidious, also known as Emperor Palpatine. What little is known about Supreme Leader Snoke’s physical appearance matches that of Darth Plagueis’s.
The poor guy had a rough go at life. He–much like Serkis revealed about Snoke–had a disfigured, damaged body, and in the process of being nearly decapitated, his trachea was severed, along with vital blood vessels. In order to continue living, he was required to wear a type of respirator. As if that wasn’t enough, a cave crumbled, collapsing upon him and his former master, Darth Tenebrous. This avalanche nearly killed the two, but Plagueis finished the job by breaking his master’s neck after the cave incident. Those Sith have some wacky traditions, am I right?
Above is a cropped picture that was released shortly after Star Wars: The Force Awakens was announced. Behind who I presume to be Rey–wielding a blue lightsaber–is a dark, tall, slightly reptilian-looking figure wearing some sort of mask apparatus or respirator, holding an oversized red lightsaber. Did I mention that Darth Plagueis had a special red lightsaber modified to fit his abnormally large anatomy?
The hearsay of Supreme Leader Snoke’s physicality seems to match up with that of Darth Plagueis’s. However, I assume most of you Star Wars gangsters (I was going to say geeks, but it is 2015 and now we, nerds, rule the world) are thinking, “All right, but there’s one big problem: Darth Plagueis is dead!” Moving on to the Star Wars film saga, Plagueis is divulged to be dead in Episode III when Palpatine narrates to Anakin Skywalker the “Sith legend” of Darth Plagueis the Wise.
Palpatine: Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis “the wise”?
Palpatine: I thought not. It’s not a story the Jedi would tell you. It’s a sith legend. Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith who lived many years ago. He was so powerful and so wise that he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life… He had such a knowledge of the dark side that he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying.
Anakin: He could do that? He could actually save people from death? …What happened to him?
Palpatine: He became so powerful… the only thing he was afraid of was losing his power, which eventually, of course, he did. Unfortunately, he taught his apprentice everything he knew, and then one night, his apprentice killed him in his sleep. It’s ironic that he could save others from death, but not himself.
Is this story concrete cannon or a tricky, tongue-in-cheek foreshadow? After all, Palpatine himself was Plagueis’s apprentice, who he so pompously refers to. In Star Wars, a character being dead usually means he’s dead–that’s a little obvious, right? However, as Palpatine mentioned, Plagueis had a fitting obsession during his life: pursuing immortality. Plagueis had a tangible, almost scientific, view of the force, believing it could be studied, as opposed to the Jedi’s view of the force being more spiritual. To this end, Plagueis’s master, Darth Tenebrous, was using his apprentice’s unique abilities to manipulate midi-chlorians in order to extend Tenebrous’s life. Plagueis uncovered this truth while his master was dying, when Tenebrous revealed his intention to use Plagueis’s powers to essence transfer Tenebrous’s being into the chosen one once born (Anakin). Therefore, indefinitely prolonging his life. Obviously, Tenebrous’s plan never came to fruition.
Now, let’s move to the next Sith master and apprentice relationship. Once Plagueis selected his apprentice, Palpatine (Darth Sidious), he proceeded to share his knowledge. While Palpatine’s power in the senate grew, Plagueis covertly continued to develop his power of midi-chlorian manipulation. At one point, he killed an unnoted Sith, Darth Venamis; however, he repeatedly resurrected and murdered Venamis until his victim’s organs liquefied. At one point, Plagueis and Palpatine attempted to create life from nothing by combining their powers. They saturated the entire galaxy with the dark side. Their experiment coincidently failed at the same time that Anakin Skywalker was conceived. Plagueis was convinced that his experimental use of the force resulted in the Chosen One being born.
Why am I getting into the lore so deeply here? It’s an attempt to illustrate the importance and impact that Darth Plagueis had on the Star Wars storyline. He had even convinced Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas to manufacture the clone army. Yes, he was behind the creation of the freaking Storm Troopers.
Plagueis was supposedly “killed” on the night before Palpatine was to be elected Supreme Chancellor. That night, the two gorged on wine, and once Plagueis was intoxicated, he went to sleep. Taking advantage of the situation—as any good Sith apprentice would—Palpatine struck him with force lightning, killing his master… or so he believed. As Plagueis “expired,” Palpatine felt a monumental disturbance in the force. He became frightened that his master’s experiments had inevitably succeeded. Although, he later convinced himself that the simultaneous deaths of Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul were instead responsible for the anomaly he felt.
Contrary to Palpatine’s belief, my theory is that Plagueis’s experiments were indeed successful. In the past, he was able to trick powerful force users with convincing illusions–including, once fooling his own apprentice, Palpatine himself. Could he not have fooled him again, feigning his death? Plagueis had three hearts, two of which he could stop beating at any given time; he could dash around the battlefield during a lightsaber fight like the Flash; he had spent his entire life studying immortality, writing multiple scientific journals that contained all his knowledge and research. Luke Skywalker just happens to obtain these journals between the timeline of Episode VI and the upcoming Episode VII. Luke was terrified that Plagueis’s personal books might fall into the wrong hands—frightened to the extent that he trusted only himself to destroy them. Is it possible these tomes held the secret of resurrection and immortality? If Plagueis could help others cheat death, why could he not elude it himself? Has he stayed in the shadows, patiently watching these important events transpire and waiting for the right time to emerge again? Surely a character this integral to the Star Wars storyline, who has influenced nearly every significant event, would eventually emerge in the films. Darth Plagueis will awake in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Supreme Leader Snoke, and I will be pumping my fist in the theater when he does.
This editorial was co-written by Matthew Michael James and Benjamin James.