The earliest moments ofThe Rise of Skywalker, as Kylo Ren stalks into Emperor Palpatine's secret lair on Palpatine, revealed that Snoke was a clone. Briny yellow tanks in the background revealed dozens of lanky dopplegangers of the late Supreme Leader, but the moment felt like such an afterthought that it became meme fodder rather than going down as an epic Star Wars moment. That was only the beginning of a tidal wave of clone news, including the official Rise of Skywalker novelization's reveal that Rey's father was a clone of Palpatine himself. Now, an intriguing fan theory may have revealed the true purpose of all those "Pickled Snokes."
Redditor Irish_Warrior raises an important question: what happened to those Snokes? Are they still chilling on Exegol, blissfully unaware of the events of The Rise of Skywalker? Seemingly, there's nothing to prevent a a future Sith lord from releasing them and using them as an army. This could be a loose end a future Star Wars movie takes advantage of.
If these clones were useless corpses, there would be no need for them to be stored in this manner. The jars suggest that Palpatine, or the SIth Eternal, might have had more ambitious plans for its gaggle of Snokes.
Going by the mechanics of cloning we learned in the Rise of Skywalker novelization, cloning someone who's Force sensitive is far more complicated than the mass production cloning seen with Jango Fett in the prequel trilogy. Either the clone's body is "perfect," but not Force sensitive, or the clone is Force sensitive but physically distorted. This explains Palpatine's unsettling appearance in Rise of Skywalker.
Supreme Leader Snoke wasn't the best-looking evil overlord in the galaxy, but we have no way of knowing if he always looked like that, or if his appearance was distorted by the Dark side of the Force, as was the case with Palpatine. Perhaps that is what a "perfect" Snoke body looks like, and those are just the non Force-sensitive Snokes tucked away for a rainy day, in case a need for manpower arises. That primes them for use in future by some plucky Sith looking to finish what Palpatine started all those years ago.
Of course, this is all dependent on whether or not they were destroyed by the demise of Palpatine. If the Snoke storage tanks remained intact, it could provide a straightforward way to tie future Star Wars movies to the Skywalker saga: if Palpatine can't return (and that's never a guarantee) a Snoke army would carry on his legacy.
Just as Snoke was a puppet leader, these spare Snokes are a whole marionette theater just missing one thing: a puppeteer. Could the next Star Wars stories provide one?
The Rise of Skywalker is out now on digital and Blu-ray.