There are few things Disney and LucasFilm hold closer than the secrets to their upcoming Star Wars films, except for the connective tissue which links its developing universe together. And these tightly held secrets often fuel wild fan speculation like a well-placed proton torpedo to an exhaust port. Well before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, theories abounded about the true identity of the apparent mastermind behind the First Order, Supreme Leader Snoke.
One of the most popular theories postulates that Snoke is actually Emperor Palpatine’s onetime Sith master Darth Plagueis reincarnated. Although somewhat far-fetched, the theory actually gained some momentum behind it, at least in the fan world, until now.
Pablo Hidalgo, LucasFilm’s continuity guru, fielded fans questions on Twitter about the theory (via /Film). Hidalgo addressed the Plagueis-Snoke theory, confirming that the Sith Lord was able to “keep loved ones from dying” but not himself. After further semantical debate, he finally asserted that Snoke was in no way related to Plagueis – spelling it out that Plagueis is deceased. Read his response to fans on Twitter below:
Based on the now-non-canon Plagueis novel and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine’s speech to Anakin Skywalker, the theory iterates that Plagueis could manipulate life and death. Due to Snoke’s short, damaged-yet-narrow head (vaguely similar to Plagueis’ Munn ancestry) and his mastery over the Force, many fans believed this to be a clear indication that Snoke is the reincarnation of Plagueis. Despite Andy Serkis’ (who plays Snoke through mo-cap) avowal that Snoke is a new, unrelated character, fans continued to connect Palpatine’s former mentor to the First Order’s head honcho.
However, Hidalgo’s words may have put an end to this popular theory, at least on the official side of things. As the creative executive of Lucasfilm’s Story Group, there are few people with as much insight into the full story of the third trilogy or the overall universal plotlines. The Snoke-Plagueis hypothesis is now caught in a paradox. Darth Sidious, a known liar and manipulator, could have been lying or uncertain about killing Plagueis. On the other hand, he also may have manufactured the entire story as a means to further corrupt Anakin to his way of thinking. Since the Darth Plagueis novel is no longer canon (at least for the moment), and there are no additional references to Plagueis in the non-EU (expanded universe) storylines to refer to, the theory is leaking water with little hope of a patch-job.
Of course, Hidalgo could be covering up the truth to save the reveal for Episode VIII or Episode IX. His words do sound rather final, though: “He is dead…three words.” And with that, perhaps one of the most intriguing fan-theories about the Supreme Leader dies as well. If what Serkis said is true, and Snoke is an unrelated character, his unconnected nature certainly won’t alter his ability to menace or manipulate the events of the Star Wars universe. One thing is for certain: until all of Snoke’s ties are revealed, more imaginative theories are bound to surface. It will be fascinating to field them all.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is available on DVD & Blu-ray now, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opening in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.