Empire’s End, the third book in Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy, may hint at Supreme Leader Snoke’s place of origin and his connection to Emperor Palpatine.
Who is Snoke? We don’t know.
Where is he from? That, we may have an answer to, thanks to Star Wars: Aftermath – Empire’s End.
Empire’s End, the final book in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy, promised to show how the Empire finally fell. Star Wars fans assumed it would also explain how the First Order formed in the Empire’s place. Empire’s End fulfilled both those goals. But it still didn’t tell us for certain who Snoke is or how he came to rule the First Order as Supreme Leader.
We discovered, however, that Palpatine may have been looking for Snoke while he was alive. And, based on where Palpatine was looking, we may also know where Snoke originates from.
Image Credit: Lucasfilm
During his reign, Empire’s End explains, Palpatine ordered the creation of several secrets “observatories” throughout the galaxies. These observatories were equipped with computers that sent signals out into the Unknown Regions – an uncharted, unexplored area of space – in the hopes of creating a hyperspace path.
After the book explains Palpatine’s purpose for the observatories, Gallius Rax, recalls what Palpatine hoped to find out there in the Unknown (from page 379):
"Before Palpatine’s demise at the hands of the rebels, the computers finished their calculations, finally finding a way through the unknown. The Emperor was convined that something waited for him out there – some origin of the force, some dark presence formed of malevolent substance. The Emperor called it a signal – conveniently one that only he could hear. Even his greatest enforcer, Vader, seemed oblivious to it…"
There is nothing in the passage explicitly stating that the “dark presence” is Snoke. For all we know, it isn’t a person at all. But it is an intriguing idea. Moreover, it makes sense. Snoke is, most likely, an entirely new character to Star Wars canon. As such, he can’t be a rehash of previous villains and their origin stories. It is more interesting, and frightening to think of Snoke as an enigma, coming from a place which has never been seen or heard of before.
Image Credit: Lucasfilm (screenshot via photo library Elaine Tveit)
The fact that dangerous forces lurk in the Unknown Regions is echoed in another, upcoming Star Wars book. In Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn, the titular character is from the Unknown Regions. Now that he is in Imperial territory, Thrawn wants to trade his knowledge and services for Palpatine’s protection of his people from an unnamed evil.
Read the following exchange between Palpatine and Thrawn, from USA Today’s exclusive Thrawn excerpt:
"“…What exactly do you offer, Chiss?”“As a start, I offer information,” Thrawn said. If he was offended, Eli couldn’t hear it in his voice. “There are threats lurking in the Unknown Regions, threats that will someday find your Empire. I am familiar with many of them.”"
A trend that pops up again and again in recent Star Wars canon is the interconnectedness of the story threads. Recent Star Wars canon mentions the Unknown Regions at least twice: Empire’s End and Thrawn. That can’t be a coincidence. Whether or not Snoke himself is from the Unknown Regions or is the “dark presence” Palpatine sensed, Lucasfilm clearly emphasized the Unknown Regions repeatedly for a reason. It is something to watch and listen for in future films.
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Do you think Snoke is from the Unknown Regions? Is he the source of dark side energy mentioned in Empire’s End? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.