Warning: the following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
After two years of heated speculation over a number of fan theories, The Last Jedi put nearly every lingering question from The Force Awakens to bed, and fans weren't always happy with the answers. While Rey's parentage was hotly debated, it turns out they weren't anyone of galactic significance, and the true identity of Supreme Leader Snoke ends up being totally irrelevant as he's shockingly killed off by Kylo Ren. While some see the subversions of these expectations as brilliant twists, many fans still want to know more details, especially about Snoke.
When he's introduced in The Force Awakens, Snoke is a giant hologram, commanding Kylo Ren and General Hux from an unknown location, teasing his proper reveal in the sequel when he tells Kylo Ren to return to him at the end of the movie. In The Last Jedi, we get a much better look at him, learning that he's powerful in the dark side of the Force and wants to stop the Jedi from restoring hope to the galaxy. But before we learn anything else about his backstory, Kylo Ren turns on his master, cutting him in half.
While fan disappointment here is understandable, writer/director Rian Johnson had repeatedly stated during The Last Jedi's promotion that not all questions would be answered and a story isn't a Wikipedia (or Wookieepedia, in this case) article, even outright saying Snoke's backstory wouldn't be revealed. This approach is very comparable to Emperor Palpatine in the original trilogy, where the words "Palpatine" and "Sith" were never even uttered on screen. Most of what fans knew about Palpatine came from the Expanded Universe, and, eventually, the prequels.
Similarly, Despite a lack of movie information, we've been able to infer a number of details about Snoke that, while they don't give a whole picture, definitely give greater context to the villain. The biggest hint previously came from the origins of the First Order. While the evil organization grew out of the ashes of the Empire, that didn't happen in the known galaxy. After the Battle of Jakku, what was left of the Empire fled the galaxy to the Unknown Regions where it slowly became The First Order, re-emerging with Supreme Leader Snoke at its head. Logically, since Snoke was not a known member of the Empire prior to it fleeing into the Unknown Regions, he would have come from there himself, and more evidence from Pablo Hidalgo's Star Wars the Last Jedi the Visual Dictionary lends credence to that theory.
On Snoke's 2 page spread in the Visual Dictionary, there's an image of Snoke's "Attendants," tall humanoid figures in flowing purple robes:
"Snoke's retinue includes mute alien navigators who originated in the Unknown Regions. Were it not for the ancient hyperspace trails blazed by these towering servants, the Imperial survivors who fled into this uncharted realm would certainly have perished. These navigators designed and operated the oculus viewing scope in Snoke's throne room."
These Attendants/Navigators have enlarged brains that can "process multidimensional calculations" which would be key to traversing the mostly uncharted space between the known galaxy and Unknown Regions.
Given, there isn't any outright statement that Snoke himself hails from the Unknown Regions, and even if he is, it's quite a vast space, so it's hardly narrowing it down to one planet or system. Even so, it does explain why he seems to come out of nowhere.
With much of Star Wars's non-movie canon giving a big focus to the Unknown Regions, particularly since that's where Thrawn comes from, Star Wars fans hoping for more information on Snoke's backstory shouldn't give up hope. He could even play a big part down the road if any Star Wars stories eventually jump into the Unknown Regions as the Thrawn novel sets up. Who knows, with the Thrawn novel teasing a powerful threat in the Unknown Regions that the Grand Admiral wants to stop, we just might have a big Snoke vs Thrawn story coming to a Star Wars book or comic in the future.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019