This Shocking ‘Star Wars’ Villain Reveal Was Actually Teased Before ‘The Rise of Skywalker’
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker offered one final chance to answer fans’ biggest questions. Sure, we knew the movie would leave some plot threads hanging. But surely it had to address the lingering mystery surrounding Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis).
The Force Awakens had positioned the character as the sequel trilogy’s Big Bad. So after The Last Jedi excised him from the trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker needed to posthumously unravel his backstory. Ultimately, the film’s big reveal — which we’ll discuss after the spoiler warning — divided fans. However, Star Wars, it seems, had laid some groundwork for it.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains MAJOR spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Read at your own risk.]
The mystery surrounding Snoke
In the films, viewers learn that Snoke seduced Ben Solo (Adam Driver) over to the Dark Side of the Force. Believing Luke (Mark Hamill) tried to murder him, Ben joined Snoke and adopted the visage of Kylo Ren. Yet, the Star Wars movies never give any further insight into the relationship between Kylo and Snoke.
So when Kylo turns on Snoke in The Last Jedi, there’s precious little history for the film to draw on. Rather than allowing Snoke to be merely a stand-in for the original trilogy’s Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), writer/director Rian Johnson kills him off. In the aftermath, Kylo would presumably ascend to the primary villain role, having taken command as supreme leader.
But The Rise of Skywalker undercuts that progress in its first few minutes. The opening crawl reveals Palpatine has returned and, what’s more, actually created Snoke via some form of cloning. The dynamic there, however, is never truly explained in the movie itself. The reveal has disappointed some fans, casting Snoke as a literal Palpatine puppet.
What the new ‘Star Wars’ reveals
As with so many plot holes and logic gaps, Star Wars is turning to the comics to pick up the slack. An issue of Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren recently shed some light on Snoke’s history with Luke. And now comics writer Tom Taylor has reminded fans one of his stories previously hinted at a deeper connection between Snoke and the dearly departed emperor.
In a Snoke-focused issue of Star Wars: Age of Resistance, the supreme leader and his apprentice pay a visit to Dagobah. Apparently, they are searching for an exiled Luke. But what really speaks to Snoke’s true identity is when Snoke alludes to a missed opportunity regarding Luke.
“If I had your uncle by my side instead of you, the galaxy would have been mine a long time ago,” Snoke tells his apprentice. This might have once been read as a reference to some unexplored bit of history between the two. But The Rise of Skywalker recontextualizes it as a callback to Palpatine’s failed attempt to turn Luke to the Dark Side in Return of the Jedi.
There’s probably a lot more to learn
Now the films have directly acknowledged Palpatine was behind Snoke the whole time. So we suspect a lot more of these tidbits will be sprinkled in throughout upcoming comics and novels. The Star Wars universe has always been a living, breathing organism which adapts as new canon is established.
The saga’s greatest evil achieved the ability to cheat death, as teased in Revenge of the Sith. Such a move must have repercussions on everything which follows. In The Rise of Skywalker, moviegoers may not get a satisfying explanation behind Palpatine’s resurrection. But it definitely gives other stories a lot of juicy material to expand on.