Supreme Leader Snoke was seemingly killed off unceremoniously in the climax of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, leaving a major mystery about who he really was and what his motives were, but with Palpatine confirmed to be back in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, could the two characters have more in common than fans assumed?
Some Star Wars fans were upset when Kylo Ren killed Supreme Leader Snoke before they could get more answers about who he was or where he came from, but now that Palpatine is back, we can forget everything we thought we knew about the sequel trilogy. There's clearly more at play here than was apparent with Snoke, and the answers could be even more of a twist than fans expected.
We don't know much about his role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker yet, but his ominous cackle at the end of the first teaser trailer opens up a world of new possibilities.
- This Page: Palpatine's Survival Changes Everything We Know About the Sequel Trilogy
- Page 2: Palpatine-as-Snoke Answers Every Big Snoke Mystery
Palpatine's Survival Changes Everything We Know About the Sequels
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The First Order is presented as an organization that grew out of the ashes of the defeated Empire after it retreated into the Unknown Regions, and their return to the galaxy to destroy the New Republic was a mystery.
Now that Palpatine is back, there's a complete shift of context. Thanks to Chuck Wendig's Aftermath book trilogy, which took place shortly after Star Wars: Return of the Jedi we know Palpatine was seeking a dark power in the Unknown Regions and was seeking to find a way to navigate to it. The route was long and treacherous, so it took decades of research and calculations, but he finally found a way, laying out a plan for the Empire to retreat there in the event of his death.
Known as the "Contingency," Palpatine's plan was full of revenge, mystical ceremonies, and assassination plots all intended to destroy the New Republic and what was left of the Empire, with only some hand-picked loyal followers selected to retreat into the Unknown Regions to create a new Empire. One of his followers, a Sith cultist named Yupe Tashu, was convinced Palpatine wasn't actually dead and they'd find him in the Unknown Regions:
"Palpatine lives on. We will find him again out there in the dark. Everything has arranged itself as our Master foretold. All things move toward the grand design. The sacrifices have all been made."
If this is the case and this was all just part of Palpatine's plan, that means the First Order itself and likely its mission in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi was also according to his will, whether directly or indirectly. But how does Snoke fit into all of this? Did Palpatine simply allow someone else to lead his reborn Empire, were they working together? Or is there more to their relationship?
Palpatine Survived, But His Body Was Destroyed
Palpatine may have lived beyond his fall into the chasm in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, but it seems likely his body was destroyed, meaning his consciousness would be in search of a new host. This is an idea that was already heavily explored in the now non-canon Expanded Universe, AKA "Legends," stories. A popular concept created by the comic Dark Empire saw Palpatine survive by transferring his consciousness into the body of a clone, and something similar to that seems like the most logical route for the sequel trilogy to follow.
Gallius Rax, the man Palpatine brought up since he was a child with the sole purpose of executing his Contingency for him, didn't believe in the same mystical aspects of Palpatine as Yupe Tashu did, but he still used Tashu's belief to keep the cultist in line, indicating they planned to go to the Unknown Regions to "find Palpatine and revivify him, bringing his soul back to flesh anew," suggesting Palpatine would be formless and need new flesh.
Whether this new flesh is custom-grown as a clone, an unwilling sacrifice from someone Palpatine chooses to possess, or something else entirely remains to be seen, but one possibility that clears up a surprising number of dangling questions is that Palpatine chose to inhabit Snoke's body.
Page 2 of 2: Palpatine-as-Snoke Answers Every Big Snoke Mystery
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019