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As the first entry in a new trilogy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens raised a lot of questions about the saga. For years, fans have wondered where Rey (Daisy Ridley) came from, how she and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) are connected, and — of course — whether Disney could successfully tie up the Skywalker story.

Now that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out, we’ve received answers to those questions and more. For better or worse, fans have even learned a bit about Snoke’s (Andy Serkis) origin as well. While the character is only briefly referenced in The Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars has turned to the comics to peel back the veil a bit more.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains MAJOR spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Read at your own risk.]

Andy Serkis at the 'War for the Planet Of The Apes' premiere
Andy Serkis at the ‘War for the Planet Of The Apes’ premiere | Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

The mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke

Snoke only appears in a couple of scenes in The Force Awakens. In that film, he’s positioned as the next Big Bad, perhaps this trilogy’s answer to Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). Naturally, fans were shocked when The Last Jedi literally cut him out of the rest of the series.

We learn in those first two films how Snoke seduced Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren to the Dark Side. Appealing to his lineage as “heir apparent to Darth Vader,” Snoke corrupted the youngest Skywalker. We know Kylo was manipulated into being the First Order’s chief enforcer. But the films never really shed too much light of the circumstances surrounding their partnership.

Fans never learned much about where Snoke comes from or even his motivations behind the creation of the First Order. According to what’s on-screen, audiences likely chalked it up to a simple power grab. Snoke saw an opportunity to continue the work left behind by Palpatine and seized it. The connection there, as The Rise of Skywalker reveals, is far more direct than anyone thought possible.

What ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ tells fans

In its first few minutes, director J.J. Abrams’ new film reveals not only Palpatine’s survival — “the dead speak!” — but Snoke’s role in the saga. Palpatine continues to exist thanks to the “unnatural” abilities of the Dark Side and some kind of mechanical apparatus. While he hasn’t been able to reclaim his full power, Palpatine tells Kylo he, in fact, created Snoke.

So The Rise of Skywalker decides Snoke is some kind of failed clone experiment of Palpatine’s. The film doesn’t make clear whether Snoke himself was sentient or if he was just a body Palpatine was able to inhabit. But such a move would allow him to continue the Empire under the guise of a new identity, rebranding it as the First Order.

More than Snoke’s backstory though, fans have been hungry for information about Kylo Ren’s ascendance in the galaxy. Now a new comic book — appropriately titled Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren — reveals more about Kylo and even solves a key mystery surrounding his disfigured master.

The new ‘Star Wars’ comic reveals more

A recent issue of the comic — by Charles Soule and Will Sliney — attributes Snoke’s facial scars and general disfigurement to a battle with none other than Luke himself. Granted, this battle isn’t depicted in the issue. So perhaps Snoke is lying to Kylo in order to further turn him against Luke. But it does tie the saga together in a very satisfying way.

In fact, The Rise of Kylo Ren teases an entire history between Snoke, Kylo, and Luke. The Knights of Ren also have a role to play in the story, including a battle against Luke and Ben Solo. The comics’ continued revelations only underscore just how much fascinating backstory is unexplored in the sequel trilogy.

At least hardcore Star Wars fans can count on the comics — as well as other forms of media — to fill in such tantalizing narrative gaps. Will we actually see Luke and Snoke face off at some point? We sure hope so, especially in light of what The Rise of Skywalker reveals about Snoke’s true nature.