#StarWars builds stories around mysteries. Who is Darth Vader? Where is Luke? Who are Rey's parents? Did Jar-Jar Binks ever find happiness?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens revealed a mysterious character known only as Supreme Leader Snoke, and ever since, fans have been debating his true nature. In his limited role in the film, he showed up only as a hologram. This allows for discrepancies between the character's true form and what we see in the movie.
But with the release of #TheLastJedi right around the corner, we're sure to get a better look at him. In fact, a promotional shot of the character has leaked, giving fans their first look at Snoke's true form.
Note: Potential spoilers ahead for The Last Jedi.
As you can see, the greys and blues of Snoke's hologram concealed only his true, very human form. His flesh (yes, flesh) is beige, his eyes are bright blue, and he has a damaged nose and mouth. He has some serious scarring all over his face, namely a long gash running from the top of his head to above his nose and a severely sunken cheek.
While the mystery of the Supreme Leader's appearance has been solved, we still have to figure out who he is. I like to think that for every scar on Snoke's face, there's a dozen theories connecting him to every original, prequel, and sequel trilogy character. That said, it's about time we started narrowing those theories down, especially now that we can compare their concept with Snoke's appearance.
With that in mind, let's go over the five most popular Snoke theories — and how likely they are now.
Snoke is Darth Plagueis.
Many believe that Darth Plagueis, Emperor Palpatine's former master, is Supreme Leader Snoke. First mentioned in Revenge of the Sith, he was described as being obsessed with finding the key to immortality. He is said to have influenced midi-chlorians to create and sustain life. At the time, this was obviously referencing Anakin's desire to keep protect Padmé, and his subsequent fall to the Dark Side. Now, however, the description takes on new meaning. If Darth Plagueis was able to control midi-chlorians, what's to say he didn't do the same to keep himself alive despite his seeming murder at the hands of Palpatine?
As much as I love this theory, the photo of Snoke contradicts almost all of Plagueis' physical characteristics. Snoke's bright blue eyes and flesh-toned skin color don't match up with Plageuis' yellow slits and sickly-green complexion. In addition to that, the Supreme Leader has a prominent nose and normal sized head, unlike his counterpart. You could argue that the Sith Lord's appearance has changed over time, but Snoke's scarring indicates a storied — and mortal — past.
The Verdict: Darth Plagueis and Supreme Leader Snoke aren't the same, unless Plagueis underwent major (and flawed) reconstructive surgery.
Snoke is Emperor Palpatine.
Emperor Palpatine was the original big bad of the Star Wars universe, and some think he still is. After all, it's going to be hard for audiences to believe that another deformed Sith Lord used a powerful Skywalker as a pawn to take over the galaxy. What better way to explain the coincidence than by making them the same character? Viewers are already invested in Palpatine, and his return could score some goodwill from nostalgic fans. (Aside from the fact that he's also dead.)
Darth Sidious shares physical similarities with Snoke, in complexion, the strange ridges and lines running along their faces (including a nearly identical one from their scalp to their forehead), and a proper nose and mouth. However, Palpatine's facial deformities are more symmetrical, whereas Snoke's look like assorted battle scars. And once again, the eye colors are completely different.
The Verdict: Emperor Palpatine and Snoke share some similar physical characteristics, but the circumstances under which they occurred seem very different.
Snoke is Anakin Skywalker reborn.
Anakin Skywalker, the former Chosen One, has had quite the journey so far. He went from being a slave to a Padawan, a Jedi to a corrupted Jedi, and finally a Sith Lord to a pile of ash on Endor. Given the fact that he's had six movies to cover his rise and fall, you would think Vader would take a backseat in the new trilogy, serving only a symbolic role. Well if some theories are to be believed, that's far from the truth. In fact, some say that the he was reborn as the Supreme Leader. The logistics of his revival vary, from being possessed by Palpatine to be recreated from midi-chlorians. Whatever the process, the end game remains the same.
Snoke and Anakin share some physical traits, but nothing that screams they're the same. The most compelling piece of evidence would be the scar they both have on their heads, though it's likely just a coincidence. After all, they don't follow the same pattern or even take up the same space. Anakin died with a properly formed nose, while the Supreme Leader has a deformed one. And that's not to mention the fact that Darth Vader's skin is chalky white. At least his eyes are blue!
The Verdict: Anakin Skywalker only shares two physical similarities with Snoke, and even those seem to be pure coincidences.
Snoke is the Grand Inquisitor.
The Grand Inquisitor is a former Jedi Knight turned Dark Side user in Star Wars Rebels, one of Lucasfilm's canonical animated series. In the show, Darth Vader tasks him with hunting down any Jedi that remain after the execution Order 66. After being defeated by one of the show's heroes, the Inquisitor threw himself into an exploding reactor core to avoid the wrath of Darth Vader. As the theory goes, he survived his fall (and subsequent combustion) and returned as Supreme Leader Snoke, the leader of the First Order.
At first glance, the Grand Inquisitor is the anti-Snoke. He has no deformities, many facial markings, yellow eyes, and is anything but frail. But that's all before the explosion. We've yet to see what became of his character after tossing himself in the reactor. It's possible that his face tattoos and nose were burned, along with his skin, leading to Snoke's many abnormalities. The scar can be just as easily explained ("He hit something on the way down!"). The pesky blue-eyed problem returns, though, as the Inquisitor clearly has yellow eyes.
The Verdict: In theory, the Grand Inquisitor can look exactly like Supreme Leader Snoke (save for the eyes). Unfortunately we haven't seen the Inquisitor's post-explosion look, and can't confirm their similarities.
Snoke Is an entirely new character.
Snoke's gender and appearance weren't decided until eight weeks before the release of The Force Awakens. Is it really that surprising that he's probably someone we don't already know? After failing to connect Snoke to our favourite bad guys, maybe it's time to call him what he is: A brand new character.
While it's the most boring theory for fans to accept, it could prove to be a very wise move in the future. Rather than weakly connecting dots between old characters and Snoke, we could get an intriguing backstory of the new villain's past (one that isn't something we've already seen). We can explore where Snoke had been during the time of the Galactic Empire, and how he weaseled his way to the head of the First Order. His backstory could offer audiences a whole new perspective of the Dark Side, and therefore a whole new look at the saga.