Since the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, countless fan theories have sprouted up, most of them trying to explain Rey's mysterious parentage or Snoke's true identity. Though some of these have been plausible, like Rey being the child of Luke or Snoke being the ancient Sith Darth Plagueis, there have been some that were a bit more off the charts in terms of being believable.
For some reason, many people are convinced that Snoke is not actually Snoke and is some other character, such as Darth Vader, Darth Plagueis, the Emperor, etc. Actor Andy Serkis, however, disproved these theories by stating that Snoke is "just Snoke." Nevertheless, theorists continue to go on, trying to pin point who the Supreme Leader secretly may be.
But what if we are looking at it all wrong?
Everyone is trying to pin point who Snoke is, when really we should be looking to what he is. If Snoke really is "just Snoke" as his actor himself confirmed, then we must acknowledge the fact that he is an original character. This actually means Snoke could be almost everything.
Based on what we know, Snoke leads the Knights of Ren, a devious group who follows the Dark Side of the Force. Outside of the Knights, Snoke is also the Supreme Leader of the First Order, the neo-Empire of the galaxy. We do not know what species Snoke is, nor do we know his height. Though it is safe to assume he is not actually the height we witnessed through the hologram during The Force Awakens, there are some who argue that he really is that tall.
Regardless of his height, we must take into consideration that Snoke leads the Knights of Ren and the First Order at the same time. After watching The Force Awakens for the umpteenth time, I noticed some things about Snoke I had not caught onto before. Whenever the Resistance would discuss the Supreme Leader, they would mention the fact that he would manipulate Kylo Ren.
Notice that choice of wording: "manipulate." It wasn't that he took Kylo Ren under his wing - he completely manipulated the boy into believing he could be a true successor to Darth Vader. Not only that, but Han even mentioned that Snoke was using Kylo Ren. But my question is, if Snoke was really such a powerful force wielder, why would he need to manipulate and use Kylo Ren to do something he could easily do himself?
It's because Snoke can't actually use the Force
Though Snoke poses as a powerful force wielder, leading the frightening band of Dark Side wielders, there has been no evidence that he himself uses the Force. Though he teaches the young Sith how to wield the Dark Side, Snoke appears to distance himself from the group.
In order to teach something, you have to know about it - you don't typically have to be able to do it. As the old saying goes, "those who can't do, teach." Perhaps Snoke knows almost everything there is to know about the Dark Side, yet can't wield it himself as he is not force sensitive.
How then does he appear so knowledgeable?
One of the factors that made Snoke appear so omnipotent was his knowledge of things occurring as they happened. Though it was meant to be witnessed as his strong connection to the Force, it really was simply because he had eyes and ears everywhere in the Galaxy.
Re-watch the movie and you will catch that he has spies everywhere, including Maz's castle and even among the Galactic pirates Han runs into.
When Snoke 'felt' the Awakening, perhaps it was not him who felt it, but rather Maz Kanata. As we witnessed during the movie, there was a spy located in Maz's castle. As we can assume, Maz felt the Awakening just as Kylo Ren did, and Snoke's spy caught it and informed the Supreme Leader as it happened.
How does this fit in with the rest of the Star Wars saga?
One of the important things about Star Wars is that most of the sequels, especially the most recent, tend to fit in with the canon of the rest of the films. Not only does this theory fit in with the canon, but it would actually fit better into canon than believing that Snoke does wield the Force.
Anakin Skywalker's destiny was to bring balance to the Force. This meant he either needed to completely eliminate the Dark Side, or completely eliminate the Light Side. During Return of the Jedi, he completed his destiny by killing the Emperor, wiping out the last Dark Side wielder besides himself.
As we can assume from the movie, Snoke existed during the events of Return of the Jedi. So if Snoke was a living wielder of the Force during Jedi, how would Anakin have been able to bring balance to the Force? With Snoke being able to still wield the Dark Side, the Force would not have been balanced, thus the canon would be broken.
But if Snoke was not a Force wielder but still knew how the Force worked, it would technically fulfill Anakin's destiny, and fit perfectly into the canon of the rest of the series.
This all makes sense, but why would Snoke do this?
So if Snoke is not a force wielder, why then would he need to assemble an army of force wielders for the Dark Side? The answer is simple: he saw the return of the Jedi (no pun intended) and realized that they would pose a threat to his evil plans, and to him personally. Thus, he needed to find a way to balance the Force onto his side by wiping out the Jedi.
The only way to truly wipe out the Jedi would be to bring back the Dark Side and exterminate those on the Light Side. Using the knowledge he had of the Dark Side, Snoke found all the force wielders he could and trained them in the ways of the Dark Side of the Force, including the Jedi trainee known as Ben Solo.
But do the Knights of Ren realize their mentor is not really a Force-wielder?
When it comes down to it, the Knights of Ren probably do not know this hypothesized truth about Snoke. This is how he manipulated him, as implied by both Han and Leia. Snoke posed himself as a Force wielder, manipulating and using the Knights to do his bidding under his false facade. This would explain why he distances himself from the Knights - so that they don't catch that his facade is really just a facade.
As we witnessed in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, you do not have to use the Force to train someone under the Force. During the training of Luke, neither Obi Wan nor Yoda used the Force to guide him - they simply watched as Luke used the Force himself. If simply talking and watching is all you need to do to train someone, Snoke easily could have pulled this off.
I'm not saying this theory is definitely true, but it is undoubtedly possible within the Star Wars canon and actually makes a lot of sense given the dialogue in the film. Both Han and Leia confirmed that Snoke was "manipulating" and "using" Kylo Ren, but if Snoke could really use the Force he would have no reason to do this.
Not only that, but it fits in with Anakin's destiny and is easily explainable given that he has spies scattered around the Galaxy. Snoke wanted to build a new Empire, and the original trilogy proved that you can't do that without the help of the Dark Side. Although Snoke couldn't use the Force himself, he still played his cards right like the devious, manipulating villain he was and found himself a new team of Dark Side wielders who would follow him to the edge of the Galaxy and back.