One of the best and worst parts of fandom is speculation: talking with your friends over a campfire or drinks about what story arc will go where, or what the secret identity of a given character is. Then you run into the dark side of speculation that spawns outlandish theories that often cause the rest of us to roll our eyes.
So what's the biggest topic of fan speculation right now? The identity of Supreme Leader Snoke. And even Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson thinks we're all way off-base:
Few of these theories have merit, but some are especially ridiculous. Let's look at some of the top theories just to see where we as a Star Wars community:
Snoke Is Mace Windu
That, my friends, is a real theory that actually gained some traction on the inter-webs. This theory is best compiled by YouTube user Vincent Vendetta:
While I find the theory to be hot garbage, he does make some compelling arguments. For example, Snoke is severely scarred and Mace Windu was electrocuted, and Samuel L Jackson wants to return to the franchise. But I think lost in the shuffle is that Windu was thrown from a skyscraper and is not immune from the laws of physics. Also, why wouldn't the filmmakers just use Jackson's voice?
Snoke Is Boba Fett
The amount of fan speculation videos on this theory blow the Mace Windu one out of the water. Proponents claim Boba seeks revenge on the Solo family because of his and Han's last encounter. What better way to achieve vengeance on your foe than by seducing his child to the dark side and having him murder his own father?
To even consider this theory, we have to accept the fact that Boba trained in the dark side of the Force for the better part of 30 years while keeping his identity secret from Luke and Co., stretching the theory pretty thin. If Boba wanted revenge on Han Solo, wouldn't he have just hunted him down and shot him in the back? He's a bounty hunter, not some Force-sensitive mastermind.
If Boba Fett is alive, that's fine, but let's not settle for him being Snoke out of desperation for a connection to the original trilogy. Fun theory, but I would honestly believe the Windu theory before this.
Snoke Is Jar Jar Binks
Yes, we all know the viral "Darth Jar Jar" theory, which made the case that Jar Jar Binks was actually a Sith lord all along, not just an awful attempt at comedy for children.
Theorists say Jar Jar wields the Force, proven by surviving in the battle of Naboo and manipulating Qui-Gon to rescue Anakin with a wave of his hand. Firstly, he is a bumbling buffoon who survived the battle of Naboo because he was the beneficiary of blind luck that was intended to be a knee-slapper. As for the convincing Qui-Gon, please do not insult Liam Neeson like that. When the director of The Force Awakens comes out and jokes about the character's bones being in background on Jakku, I think that it's a pretty clear-cut answer as to Jar Jar's whereabouts.
Snoke Is Ezra Bridger
Of all the fan theories regarding the identity of Snoke, one of the few with limited merit is Ezra Bridger. He is the young boy in Star Wars: Rebels who is training to become a Jedi, and part of the growing rebellion pre-original trilogy.
In the show we often see Ezra tiptoe the line between dark and light side of the Force. Making a complete turn to the dark wouldn't be a crazy assumption. We're uncertain of Ezra's fate because the show is still going, so it wouldn't be crazy to suggest Ezra was in hiding during the events of the original trilogy (assuming he survives the events of Rebels). He could have waited in the background for his time to strike and assume control of the group formerly known as the Empire.
But I can't see Lucasfilm going down this road, if for no other reason than taking a character from a cartoon and turning him into the main protagonist of the cinematic world would be a risky move. Rebels is amazing, and while it's earned praise from the Star Wars community, connecting the two mediums in this way seems a bit risky because not everyone who watches the movies also watches the cartoon. You'd be excluding millions of people and leaving the big reveal for only the fans of the cartoon to appreciate.
Snoke Is Plagueis
Plagueis is noted by the Emperor in Revenge of the Sith to have been the only Sith who learned how to cheat death. The Emperor claimed that Plagueis was killed in his sleep, but that's not a guarantee for a guy who can cheat death, right? It would be one of the best ways to explain Snokes' stitched-together appearance and his knowledge of the Force. His sudden appearance after the death of the Emperor would still be a mystery, but it would open the door for further exploration into Sith lore. It would connect the prequels with the new films — but unfortunately, J.J. Abrams already debunked the theory.
I personally hope Lucasfilm won't go down any of these crazy routes. I don't subscribe to the theories of Rey's lineage for the same reasons; I want new characters with new backgrounds. Not everything has to connect to something that came before. All such connections would do is shrink the Star Wars universe down to a few family lines.
Give me new characters with new storylines. Expand the universe, allowing for more stories and adventures. While speculation is fun, I hope for one theory above all to prove true: Supreme Leader Snoke is just Supreme Leader Snoke.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres December 15, 2017.
Do you think Snoke is a new character or someone we've seen before? Sound off in the comments below!