Emperor Palpatine’s return is imminent in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Fans have speculated that he’s used the power of Essence Transfer to possess dark objects, such as Darth Vader’s helmet, but what if Palpatine can possess living beings, too? Instead of simply transferring his spirit into material objects, a wild new theory suggests the Emperor has actually been masquerading as Snoke all along to get closer to Kylo Ren.
For awhile, Snoke did seem like he was the Star Wars sequels trilogy’s main villain. After all, he was the head of the First Order and had mentored Kylo Ren for a long time. But all that changed after Kylo killed his master at the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. One theory speculated that Snoke was Palpatine’s pawn the whole time, but redditor u/DARTH_PLAGUEIS66 adds another layer to Palpatine’s long-term plan and insists that he’s actually been Snoke this entire time.
The biggest clue lies in the scene where Snoke regales Kylo with the story of Luke turning down Palpatine’s offer to join the Dark Side, choosing instead to save Darth Vader. Obviously, this scene draws parallels to the relationship between Snoke and Kylo. Snoke sees Kylo’s reluctance and struggles with the Light Side of the Force and is intent on swaying him fully toward the Dark Side. The thing is, Snoke wasn’t actually there during the conversation between Palpatine and Luke. Or was he?
While it’s a theory out of left field, it’s probably not the most shocking twist we can imagine from Rise of Skywalker. Additionally, “In Episode 8, Snoke is talking to Kylo & Rey with similar mannerisms as the Emperor,” writes u/DARTH_PLAGUEIS66. Therefore, the only conclusion to draw is that Snoke is Palpatine, right?
Now, Essence Transfers are tricky in the Star Wars univers. Just because Palpatine may have transferred his essence into Snoke doesn’t mean that the Snoke we’ve come to know didn’t exist at all. It’s more along the lines of possessing his body. Palpatine’s proven he’d go to great lengths to get what he wants and he might have been controlling Snoke to eventually get to Kylo. He’s nothing if not a planner, patiently waiting on the sidelines until he can finally get his hands on the final member of the Skywalker family.
We know what you’re thinking: Why would Palpatine bother with Snoke when he could just have easily transferred himself to Kylo’s body to begin with? Well, Palpatine may not be able to perform Essence Transfers unless the host has fully committed themselves to the Dark Side. Palpatine as Snoke was possibly waiting for Kylo to give up all his attachments to the Light Side of the Force.
Snoke/Palpatine might have even known all along that Kylo would eventually kill him, but didn’t anticipate that the man formerly known as Ben Solo would still be conflicted in his loyalties, making it impossible for the Emperor to jump bodies at the end of Last Jedi. That could change in Episode IX, and if Palpatine has been Snoke the whole time, then the emperor’s plans will have been compromised following Snoke’s death, pushing him to possibly transfer his essence into Kylo earlier than expected.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019.