What's the deal with Snoke? The Star Wars sequel trilogy is spotty at best when it comes to the pockmarked Supreme Leader, and while the novelization of Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker provided an answer, it wasn't a very good one. However, The Mandalorian may have just provided Snoke fans with an answer, and it has everything to do with Baby Yoda.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 4.
The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 4 (aka, Chapter 12, "The Siege") focuses on an Imperial base on the far side of Nevarro where Moff Gideon is carrying out some bizarre experiment. What exactly? To quote Dominic Monaghan: "Dark science. Cloning. Secrets only the Sith knew.
After returning to the planet to fix his ship, Mando agrees to help his old friends Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano) blow up this old Imperial base, which they believe holds nothing more than some old weapons and a "skeleton crew." However, it turns out that intel was wrong. The base is fully operational, and it's not just a military base — it's a secret laboratory.
After discovering these cloning freaky tanks, our heroes find a recent hologram message from Dr. Pershing (that scientist from Season 1 who hung out with Werner Herzog) to Moff Gideon in which Pershing mentions the need for a "high M count" and notes that they were only able to take so much from "the Child" (aka, Baby Yoda).
Pershing is clearly talking about midi-chlorians (aka, the tiny little organisms that live inside everything and give people Force powers). So this means that Moff Gideon was experimenting with midi-chlorians and clones, or, in other words, he was trying to create some sort of Force-sensitive clone.
This could mean a lot of different things. As my colleague Ryan Britt points out, the most obvious answer is that Gideon is making super-soldiers who can control the Dark Trooper armor seen at the end of this episode. But let's not rule out the possibility that The Mandalorian just retconned Snoke's backstory in a big way.
Here's a closer look at one of those tanks from The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 4:
And here's that tank full of Snoke clones from The Rise of Skywalker:
The similarities are hard to ignore...
Now, I'm not saying that Moff Gideon is trying to create Snoke during The Mandalorian. I think his clone project is probably directly connected to that creepy Stormtrooper armor at the end of the episode. We also know that Snoke is technically a failed Palpatine clone, so for this theory to work, Gideon needs to be experimenting with Palp clones, which is possible if not exactly likely.
But assuming everything does line up, it's possible these Imperial holdouts are trying to use Palpatine clones to create an army of supersoldiers. And if that's the case, then injecting Baby Yoda's midi-chlorians into one of those clones could be the mistake that created Snoke in the first place.
It might not be the simplest explanation, but hey, it's still a lot better than what Rise of Skywalker had to say about Snoke.
Update 11/21/2020: Here's even more proof that Snoke is in that tank.
The Mandalorian is streaming now on Disney+.