As Luke Skywalker searches for answers to the Jedi’s past, the Star Wars fandom couldn’t be more wrapped up in Supreme Leader Snoke’s identity. Another theory has been gaining traction amongst fans, one that suggests Snoke is not only a Jedi, but the first Jedi to ever go to the Dark side and the founder of the Sith. But the argument isn’t bulletproof, and confirmation from a Lucasfilm executive disproves the theory altogether.
Reddit user Joshikins29 posted a theory he’d drummed up back in May to Reddit’s r/FanTheories. In the post, he outlines a reasonable argument that Supreme Leader Snoke, who’s been shrouded in mystery thus far in the Star Wars universe, is “the ancient rogue Jedi” that left the Jedi Order behind and founded the Sith “thousands of years” before the original trilogy, making him a more dangerous entity than fans have ever seen before on-screen.
If you thought Emperor Palpatine was tough for Luke, just think about the original Sith.
But before delving into why, exactly, this theory won’t work, we’ll unpack the idea. Be warned: There’s a lot going on here.
Snoke is ancient
The two biggest points of the argument rely on canon Star Wars novels. (It’s worth noting that these bits of information about Snoke have been the same ones that most Snoke identity theorists have latched themselves onto.)
Most importantly, in Alan Dean Foster’s The Force Awakens novelization, it’s revealed that Snoke is incredibly old, as he tells Kylo Ren that he “watched the Empire rise and then fall.” While that’s not too long of a time period (as Star Wars fans also watched the Empire rise and fall through the first two trilogies), Snoke’s ragged appearance, and another clue from Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy, further support the “Snoke is an ancient being” theory.
Palpatine could sense Snoke’s presence
See, Aftermath, as the theory points out, reveals that Palpatine was incredibly interested in the Unknown Regions where Snoke is theorized to be from. The idea that the Emperor knew about Snoke has been going around for awhile, too.
And as Snoke’s First Order is thought to have been formed in the Unknown Regions when the remainder of the Empire fled there after being chased out by the Rebellion, the theory points out “it is reasonable to conclude that the ‘dark presence’ Palpatine sensed was indeed Snoke.”
Luke has been hanging out in the Unknown Regions
The theory also says that the first Jedi Temple that Luke has been seeking out and has found on Ahch-To is most likely in the Unknown Regions, as C-3PO says in Force Awakens that the map leading to Luke “matches no charted system on record.”
Appreciation for the Light side of the Force
Then there’s Snoke’s appreciation for both the Light and Dark sides of the Force. Snoke has a discussion with Kylo in the Force Awakens novelization, saying: “It is where you are from. What you are made of. The dark side – and the light.”
Snoke rejects personal attachment
Snoke also rejects personal attachment in the Force Awakens novelization, blaming the fall of the Empire on Darth Vader’s “sentiment” toward his son, Luke. It’s pretty common knowledge that the Jedi are big advocates for rejecting personal attachment.
This is all well and good. It’s great, actually. The theory is definitely one of the most thought-out Snoke ideas currently on the market. But it actually kind of ends up destroying its own argument early on.
The theory points out that Pablo Hidalgo, a creative executive for Lucasfilm Story Group, confirmed in February 2016 on Twitter that Snoke is not a Sith. If Snoke was the founder of the Sith he would still be a Sith, even if he had rejected the Sith later on. If Snoke were a Jedi that went to the Dark side and founded the Sith, he’d still have that reputation and be a legend among Sith throughout history — and someone as power hungry as Snoke seems to be wouldn’t give up a reputation like that too easily.
And then, there’s the non-in-universe explanation for why this theory doesn’t work: It’s too complicated.
As much as Star Wars fans love to argue about canon and debate complicated theories that combine several books, movies, television shows, and hints from Lego toys, a majority of the fanbase is nowhere near as dedicated as the rest of y’all. Try fitting this explanation into a 2-hour movie with 12 other plots going on at once; it’s just not realistic.
The real answer to Snoke’s identity is, probably, much less complicated.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres in theaters on December 15.