[Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158)' most mysterious characters is Supreme Leader Snoke, the enigmatic Dark Side being. Towering above Kylo Ren and General Hux, Andy Serkis' Snoke is certainly imposing. But who is he, really?
Many fans have theorized that Snoke is actually one of the Sith lords, although all the evidence we have suggests Snoke is a totally new character. Both JJ Abrams and Andy Serkis discussed the character of Snoke before Star Wars 7 was released, implying that while Snoke is ancient, he's someone new to this story. And now, The Force Awakens novel has shed some more light on the issue...
Spoilers ahead. Read on at your own risk!
The Episode 7 official novelisation has been quite revelatory. We've learned, among other things, that Kylo Ren was corrupted by Snoke as a child. It also proved that Kylo Ren is very aware that Darth Vader eventually redeemed himself by saving Luke, during a very illuminating scene between Ren and Snoke...
Snoke Doesn't Think Much Of Vader
In an extended version of the discussion between Snoke and Kylo Ren, the enigmatic leader shares his opinion on the reason the Empire fell. According to Snoke, it was because of Darth Vader's love for his son (and daughter). Although being deleted from the movie, the scene appears in the novel...
"Kylo Ren, I watched the Empire rise, and then fall. The gullible prattle on about the triumph of truth and justice, of individualism and free will. As if such things were solid and real. It was neither poor strategy nor arrogance that brought down the Empire. Lord Vader not succumbed to emotion at the crucial moment—had the father killed the son—the Empire would have prevailed."
But aside from the fact that this adds an interesting element to Kylo Ren's characterisation (he probably killed Han in an effort to prove to Snoke he wouldn't fail like Vader did), there's also a few hints about Snoke's role in the Empire. Or rather, the lack thereof.
Snoke talks about distantly watching the Empire rise and fall, as though he was separate from it. Had he been involved in the regime, he definitely wouldn't talk about it in this way. The crucial term is "watched" - this clearly suggests Snoke was observing from afar, waiting for the perfect moment to take advantage of the Empire's fall. And this confirms what Andy Serkis told us months ago.
He's Playing The Long Game
Back in November, Andy Serkis revealed to Entertainment Weekly that Snoke is not a character we've already encountered in the Star Wars films.
"He’s a new character in this universe: very much a newly-introduced character. He’s aware of what’s gone on, in the respect that he has been around and is aware of prior events. I think it’d be fair to say that he is aware of the past to a great degree."
This definitely lines up with Snoke's statement in the novel. But more than that: it seems as though Snoke has some vendetta against the Jedi, which was obvious from his desire to kill Luke Skywalker in Star Wars 7.
Serkis also mentioned that Snoke is "damaged" and has a "huge agenda", which suggest something happened in his past to make him want to seek revenge. It's clear that Snoke's plans, and the motivation behind them, will be a huge part of the new Star Wars trilogy's plot, but so far this is all the info we have to go on.
So Who Is Supreme Leader Snoke?
Well, we still don't know. But considering what we know as fact, my money's on Snoke being a new character. By creating a totally new villain the writers have an opportunity to tell an interesting story, one we haven't seen before.
Was Snoke a creature powerful in the Force, who was damaged by the Empire? Was he once a Jedi? By looking back into Snoke's past, we could discover a new backstory to replace the Expanded Universe. But right now only one thing's for certain: Snoke is a new character, and whatever his motivations are, they're pretty terrifying.