Note: Contains minor spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
One of the most contentious decisions in Star Wars: The Last Jedi – for some fans anyway – was the unceremonious killing of Supreme Leader Snoke.
In one lightsaber ignition, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) ended all of the Snoke theories about his importance, with little known about his background, his links to the Jedi or the Sith and whether we’ve seen him before.
But with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker bringing back JJ Abrams, the man who introduced Snoke to the Star Wars universe, would some of those unanswered questions be resolved?
Not quite. Minor spoilers ahead for the opening scene of the movie, so don’t read on if you haven’t seen it yet.
The opening sequence of The Rise of Skywalker sees Kylo Ren head to Exogol to confront the returning Emperor Palpatine.
We hear Palpatine’s voice before we see him, and he’s taunting the new Supreme Leader of the First Order: “My boy. I have been every voice you have ever heard inside your head.”
This isn’t just spoken in the voice of Palpatine, though – we also hear Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) and Snoke (Andy Serkis) at various points. (You can see it in the clip released below.)
We then see Kylo Ren walk past a tube of Snoke clones that seem to confirm that the former Supreme Leader was just a puppet of Palpatine, used by the evil Sith Lord to control the galaxy from the shadows.
And it seems that it means Palpatine has been keeping a close eye on Kylo Ren all this time, something that is expanded on in the recent canon comic book series Rise of Kylo Ren.
A sequence in issue #1 sees a younger Kylo Ren, still Ben Solo, meet Snoke at his sanctuary, where he’s gardening (of course), following the destruction of Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Temple.
It’s implied that Luke was responsible for Snoke’s facial injuries, but he’s more concerned with tempting Kylo to the dark side: “Let us put Skywalker aside for now. He has stolen too much of your life as it is. Tell me… Now that you are finally free… What will you do?”
What is unclear after The Rise of Skywalker‘s reveal of Snoke clones is whether Snoke was ever real (ie Palpatine just made clones of someone he previously knew), or if he’s entirely a being of Palpatine’s creation.
Given the timeline, the Snoke we saw in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi is definitely a clone, unless Palpatine had had some clones made of the real Snoke on the off-chance he would need to – and be able to – bring him back.
After all, what else is an evil Sith Lord to do as he whiles away the days on Exogol waiting for his comeback?
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out now.
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