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Star Wars theory: Palpatine made Snoke by cloning this OG trilogy villain

It's not the first time he's returned to the franchise.

When The Rise of Skywalker revealed Palpatine was actually a clone, the movie indirectly confirmed Snoke was one as well. When Palpatine first appears on Exegol, the camera pans over tanks of lifeless Snoke clones. This bit of visual storytelling proves the puppet leader is a clone, but a big question remains: a clone of who? A new theory argues the answer goes all the way back to the earliest days of Star Wars.

Reddit user ardouronerous speculates Snoke is a clone of Grand Moff Tarkin, the Imperial commander who oversaw the first Death Star way back in A New Hope. The resemblance is difficult to deny, Peter Cushing's prominent cheekbones reflected in the sunken face of Snoke.

Screenshot via Reddit

While Tarkin may have perished in the destruction of the Death Star, he appeared in multiple prequels over the years, cameoing as younger versions of himself in Revenge of the Sith and an arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He also served as antagonist for Star Wars: Rogue One. This role is unusual because Peter Cushing died in 1994, but what looked like a live-action Grand Moff Tarkin still oversaw the Empire fleet.

Lucasfilm actually created a 3D model of Cushing based on his performance in A New Hope, so it makes sense this already existing model could come in handy a year later for The Last Jedi, the first time we get an up-close-and-personal look at Supreme Leader Snoke.

an ultra-realistic CGI Grand Moff Tarkin


The evidence for this goes beyond pure aesthetics: the Force Awakens novelization revealed Snoke saw "the rise and fall of the Galactic Empire." Not only did Tarkin stand by Palpatine's side during the creation of the Empire, he was a casualty in the Rebels' first major victory. Between Snoke and Tarkin, he's been around about as long as the canon of the Star Wars Universe.

When would this clone have been created? If the Rise of Skywalker novelization is anything to go by, Palpatine had clones of himself ready to go by the time of his alleged "death" at the end of Return of the Jedi. This means he more or less perfected the cloning technology by that point, aside from the gruesome physical side effects. Since you can't clone beings after death, perhaps Palpatine saw how obedient Tarkin was and sought to create a replica for his own puppet use. After all, Grand Moff Tarkin was probably the only person in the Empire powerful enough to stand up to Darth Vader — besides the Emperor, of course —and if this theory is true, he got a legacy worthy of his status.

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