In Star Wars, Snoke is a character who arouses fascination, envy and anger all at once. Some fans have even revealed their fear of him since Star Wars IX…
Snoke: his role and his secrets
Who was Snoke before the First Order?
Little information is available on the subject. But from the clues given in the films and other sources, we can assume that:
- Snoke had a long history
- He has in-depth knowledge of the Force
It’s likely that he was trained as a Jedi or Sith. But other avenues are open… Some theories suggest that Snoke is a disciple ofEmperor Palpatine, Darth Sidious. Others say he is a survivor of the Jedi Order after the extermination of Order 66. Also, some believe it to be an ancient creature, linked to mystical entities such as Force Storytellers.
What is certain is that he has acquired considerable power. In fact, he was able to take control of the First Order. To consolidate and maintain his power, Snoke has had several apprentices over the years. And Ben Solo is the best known of them all. The latter is the son of Leia Organa and Han Solo ( Lando Calrissian‘s sidekick). And so, he’s Darth Vader’s grandson and Luke Skywalker‘s nephew. Because of his origins, he had a delicate balance between the Dark and Light sides of the Force.
Snoke has corrupted Ben and entrusted him with a very special mission: to destroy Luke Skywalker’s New Jedi Order. Although Ben managed to kill all the Jedi apprentices, Luke Skywalker escaped into exile.
But before that, Ben trained with Snoke in the dark side of the Force. The two went to the planet Dagobah. On the spot, Ben destroyed the so-called “Grotto of Evil”. After long training and several missions, Ben Solo takes the name Kylo Ren. He then took control of the disciples known as the “Knights of Ren”.
Snoke in the confrontation between the First Order and the Resistance
When Luke Skywalker disappeared, Snoke asked Kylo to find him, wherever he was. In his search around the galaxy, Kylo Ren landed on the planet Jakku. He then discovers that BB-8, a droid similar to R2-D2 but smaller, held part of the map leading to Luke. In fact, Snoke ordered BB-8 to be captured or destroyed, but the droid managed to escape from Jakku aboard the Millennium Falcon.
Back at the Starkiller base, Snoke and Kylo Ren discussed the situation together. Next door, Hux proposes using the base’s superweapon to destroy the New Republic. This would support the First Order in its position of power. For his part, Snoke approved the proposal. He then spoke privately to Kylo Ren. He asked him if he felt an awakening of the Force, then ordered him to kill his father, Han Solo. The aim was to provide the ultimate proof of his membership of and commitment to the dark side of the force. With Snoke, that is.
So Kylo Ren attacked the planet Takodana in search of BB-8. Finally, he met Rey, a wreck raider who held the map he was looking for. Kylo Ren deemed BB-8 useless and captured Rey for interrogation. However, Rey, who was Force-sensitive, resisted his attempts. On the spot, Snoke was disappointed to learn that she had escaped his apprentice’s interrogation. When the Resistance was located on D’Qar, Snoke ordered Hux to destroy their headquarters. Then he asked Kylo Ren to bring Rey to him. The goal? Show him the power of the Dark Side. But Rey managed to free herself and escape.
Then the Starkiller base was infiltrated by Han Solo, Chewbacca and Finn. They managed to deactivate the planetary shields, allowing the Resistance to attack. On this occasion, Kylo Ren confronted Han Solo. Then, after an internal struggle, he killed him. Snoke ordered Hux to flee with Kylo Ren to complete his training.
After the base’s destruction, Snoke ordered Hux to pursue and eliminate the Resistance fleet. Meanwhile, he establishes a telepathic link between Kylo Ren and Rey. The goal? Convince her to join the Dark Side. Snoke congratulated Kylo Ren when Rey arrived on the Supremacy. However, he was betrayed by his apprentice, who killed him, with Rey‘s help.
Snoke’s death created a power vacuum. And since nature abhors a vacuum, Kylo Ren took control. Then he asked Rey to join him in the First Order. But Rey refused. The two went head-to-head in a lightsaber duel. Rey has escaped, leaving Kylo Ren to become the new Supreme Leader of the First Order.
Snoke’s downfall elicited mixed reactions from fans and critics alike. Some welcomed this unexpected development. They saw it as a way of subverting expectations and breathing new life into the story. On the other hand, others expressed their disappointment at the premature end of a character as intriguing as he was mysterious. In their view, its potential had not been fully exploited.
Snoke’s legacy in the saga
During the war, the Supremacy, Snoke’s ship, was damaged by a Resistance vessel. This led to its gradual destruction. Hux arrived in a hurry and discovered that the Supreme Leader was dead. He glanced accusingly at Kylo Ren, who blamed Rey for the murder. Hux, furious, says he no longer has a leader. But Kylo used the Force to strangle him! With this gesture, he makes it clear that he is now the new Supreme Leader. Under duress, Hux agreed and Kylo released him.
A year after these events, the new Supreme Leader, Kylo Ren, visited Exegol. At the time, he was looking for Darth Sidious. The latter had just revealed its existence to the galaxy. When he arrived on Exegol, he discovered vats containing Snoke clones. And that’s how Emperor Palpatine confirmed that he was behind Snoke’s creation. He admits to having manipulated Snoke from the start. Snoke had been conceived for a single purpose: to train Kylo Ren. Meanwhile, Sidious was hiding on Exegol, waiting to emerge at the right moment.
Snoke’s personality: between complexity and clarity
Snoke presented himself as a reserved, calculating military leader. He was also a powerful master of the dark side. Kylo Ren described him as “wise”. And Han Solo and Leia Organa saw him as a cold manipulator who sought to exploit Force-sensitive individuals. Snoke was very old, which gave him a vast knowledge of the past and of the Force. However, his overconfidence led him to underestimate his apprentice Kylo Ren. He had not foreseen his betrayal, which ultimately led to his death. That’s the lot of many Siths! They end up blinded by their trust in their apprentice. For example, Vader helped Luke finish off Sidious. But back to Snoke.
Physically, he was slim, even frail, with large hands. When he spoke with General Hux and Kylo Ren from the Starkiller base, he used a hologram that multiplied his size. It appeared to be 7 metres tall, but this was far from the case. This allowed him to symbolically dominate his interlocutors through his size. His face was elongated. His skin was bruised and pale, marked by a large scar on his skull and right cheek, distorting his mouth. He spoke slowly, articulating each word in a powerful voice that was actually quite frightening.
What often surprises is her “dress” of golden auropyl cloth, called a khalat, fastened with a white ribbon. He also wore a gold and obsidian ring and comfortable slippers. In short, he didn’t have the terrifying allure of a Sith Lord.
Behind the character: Snoke behind the scenes
Snoke was played by actor Andy Serkis. Its name was officially unveiled on May 28, 2015. According to him, Snoke’s mannerisms, in particular his golden bathrobe seen in The Last Jedi, were partly inspired by outfits worn by Hugh Hefner. Can’t you see who it is? He is the founder of the adult magazine Playboy. The source of inspiration is surprising, to say the least!
At the start of production, Snoke was nicknamed “Uber”, although no precise idea was clearly defined at that stage. Snoke’s appearance underwent numerous changes throughout the development of The Force Awakens. In the end, the character’s final appearance was not decided until October 2015, two months before the film’s release. J.J. Abrams and Neal Scanlan didn’t want the character to look old and outdated. Just the opposite of dark Sidious! They even considered making him female, which would have been a first for such an important Sith.
Ivan Manzella sculpted at least two busts to refine the character’s appearance. Snoke’s final appearance was partly inspired by horror films. The underlying idea is that Snoke was beautiful in his youth, but was consumed and distorted by the dark side as he became more powerful.
Manzella’s concepts for Snoke were specifically inspired by Peter Cushing, the star of Hammer Films. The latter played Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin in the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. He also designed Snoke with a breathing tube coming out of his nose. Snoke’s physical appearance was officially revealed with the teaser image at Force Friday, 2017. Andy Serkis wore a false beard for this film.