Snoke is easily the worst Star Wars villain. And yet, he's also the greatest Star Wars villain because we all can't stop talking about how cool he could have been. Snoke's apparent lack of backstory plagued Star Wars fans and pundits for nearly four years. Then, in The Rise of Skywalker, we were all just casually told that Palpatine "made him." Bummer.
But what if that isn't it? What if Snoke was slightly more than a puppet of Palpatine. One new fan theory suggests that the Dark lord's original identity could come from The Clone Wars, and it's enough to get you excited about Snoke theories all over again.
Over on Reddit, Keonmcaree2710 suggests that Snoke's true origin could all be wrapped up in the Force gods of Mortis, introduced in the famous (or infamous) Season 3 "Mortis" Clone Wars episodes 15, 16 and 17; “Overlords” “Altar of Mortis” and “Ghosts of Mortis."
Briefly, those episodes create a metaphysical (and also literal) explanation for how the Force gets balanced and unbalanced. There were two beings — the "Son" and the "Daughter" — being held in check by "the Father." This Father was, in theory, keeping balance in the Force, and, in these episodes, he straight-up asks Anakin to take his place, which, of course, would fulfill the prophecy that Anakin will bring balance to the Force. Spoiler alert: Anakin doesn't do it, and the "Son" — the Dark side god — is eventually killed by Anakin, but not before the "Daughter" and the "Father" die, too. Anakin specifically kills the Son.
What this new Snoke theory presupposes is: What if the Son didn't "die" and was later reborn as Snoke.
Redditor Keonmcaree2710 puts it like this:
"[The Son being Snoke] would certainly explain his appearance too, and an explanation for his survival could be that he absorbed the remains of his father's life force to keep him living, in line with his character and his abilities, though perhaps he transferred his remaining life force and conscience to his father's body as it was much more powerful."
Here's my slightly shorter synopsis: The Son didn't die because he somehow managed to get back up and suck out his Father's life-force, which is why Snoke (who is the Son) looks so weird and disfigured in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
Now, the Reddit theory basically says The Rise of Skywalker ruined this theory because J.J. Abrams disregarded the Mortis lore and "went against" whatever might have been "planned." I say, let's leave that out of the conversation and just operate from the assumption that we have to make this Snoke =The Son idea work with all three sequel films, including The Rise of Skywalker.
How do we do that? Like this:
What did Palpatine mean by "I made Snoke"?
Palpatine said: "I made Snoke." This presumably means he constructed a clone puppet of Snoke, and that's why we see extra Snokes laying around in vats at the beginning of The Rise of Skywalker. But what if it's not that simple?
Palps clearly based this "Snoke" person on somebody else, right? Some fans have said it might be cool if Snoke is really the reanimated corpse of Darth Plagueis, which is fun and all, but there's no reason we can't apply that same thinking to the Son. If the Son were "dead," it's possible Palps could have used Sith mojo to bring him back to "life" during the prequel era, assuming that Palps could find Mortis.
This may seem a little far-fetched, but if we let that be true, then it's a hop-skip-and-jump to Paps saying he "made" Snoke. He brought the Son back to life and then put him on ice. The vats we saw were clones Palps had to make because...
What if Palpatine cloned the Son as a test?
We know Sith Lords love testing evil science experiments on other people before using said evil science on things they really care about. Vader tested the carbonite freezing chamber on Han Solo before trying to use it on Luke Skywalker. Maybe Palps did the same thing with the Son.
He gets the corpse from Mortis and then realizes it's a great way to test a plan he has in place to clone himself... but later. To make sure this tech works, he clones the Son and renames that clone "Snoke." This works well enough and Palps is happy. Because of that, he decides to grow himself a whole bunch of extra Snokes/Sons, just in case he needs them. Which, of course, he does!
Making the Son subordinate to Palpatine's plans makes sense
Throughout all nine episodic movies, there's ample evidence to suggest that Palpatine was trying to "balance" the Force in his own sick way. To put it another way, Palps was very obviously trying to gather as many secret Force weapons as possible. If Palps thought he could somehow harness the raw power of the Son (a dark side "god") he totally would do it.
Palpatine was obsessed with living forever in order to personally make sure the Sith ruled the galaxy. If he learned that some kind of immortal Dark side being existed, he would do everything in his power to co-opt the essence of the Son. In other words, Palpatine's patterns of manipulation and basic philosophies about the Force all suggest that he would totally try to get the Son on his side, and if the Son was already dead, and that somehow helped Palpatine, even better.
In Revenge of the Sith and The Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine says "the Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural." And if Palps learned how to master those abilities from the Son, and even managed to harvest the essence of the Son (and construct Snoke), then, the idea that Palpatine was the end-all-be-all of the Dark Side suddenly makes a lot more sense.