It's been nearly a year since The Rise of Skywalker, but one aspect of the sequel trilogy still eludes Star Wars fans everywhere. Supreme Leader Snoke, once poised to be the new Big Bad of the franchise, was abruptly sidelined for Palpatine's return before we were given any sort of backstory for him. However, a new theory suggests the towering baddie's motivations ran a bit deeper than the typical galactic domination stuff.
Redditor skywalkinondeezhaterz theorizes that just as Kylo Ren idolized Darth Vader, Snoke idolized Darth Sidious. A love of Palpatine would explain a lot about Snoke, from the gilt robes to the need for a dramatic entrance. The Last Jedi revealed Snoke had seen "the rise and fall of the Empire," so it would make sense for him to see what Palpatine did and learn and improve, essentially one-up-ing the last great Star Wars supervillain.
This would also explain Palpatine's confusing line in Rise of Skywalker revealing that he "made Snoke." Perhaps this wasn't as literal as many have interpreted it. Palpatine could have "made" Snoke through mere influence, instead of manufacturing him as a clone.
There's lots of visual evidence for this as well. Many elements from the sequel trilogy felt like one step up from similar elements in the other movies, including the gratuitous use of oversized weapons, Force lightning, and royal guards clan all over in red.
One of Palpatine's most defining qualities is his elitist sensibilities. As the son of a minor Naboo royal, he's never been afraid to go out of his way to appreciate art or drama. It would explain where Snoke got his tastes for being so cryptic and foreboding with Kylo: he learned from the best.
Snoke's identity is one of the most speculated elements in Star Wars. Is he a clone of Palpatine, of a random Sith lord, of Moff Tarkin? Perhaps he's not a clone at all, just a Sith Lord wannabe who pushed himself to the limits of Force knowledge to the point of looking the way he does.
This provides an interesting lens to the sequels, as the relationship would give Snoke and Kylo Ren a huge trait in common: obsessive admiration of a Sith Lord. While Snoke looms over young Ben Solo, they're the same person at heart, just someone trying to find an identity in the shadow of the Empire.
The Inverse Analysis — Snoke has always been the odd one out of the Star Wars villains. This theory brings him more into the Star Wars fold, having things in common with both Palpatine and Kylo Ren. This also highlights their own relationship, as we see later in Rise of Skywalker.
Still not convinced? Check out the theory below.