There seem to be some suggestions that Snoke is actually alive. Will we see him in Star Wars: Episode IX?
The last time we saw Snoke, he was unceremoniously split in half in Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Kylo Ren with Anakin Skywalker’s former blue lightsaber. Snoke’s upper half dramatically fell off his throne and Kylo Ren thereafter assumed the role of Supreme Leader after he and Rey dispatched of the Praetorian Guards in Snoke’s throne room.
Or so it appeared.
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What appeared to be a daring twist and betrayal, à la Darth Vader when he turned on Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi, was all part of Snoke’s plan to motivate Kylo Ren into falling further into the dark side and complete his training.
At the end of The Force Awakens, Snoke orders General Hux to retrieve a defeated Kylo Ren at the hands of Rey and Finn from Starkiller Base so that Ren may complete his training.
Throughout The Last Jedi, Snoke toys with Kylo Ren’s emotions, masterfully puppeteering Ren’s actions without Ren’s knowledge.
The first thing Snoke says upon greeting Ren is: “You wonder why I keep a rabid cur in such a place of power? Because weakness, properly manipulated, can be a sharp tool.” This foreshadows Snoke’s motivation for handling Ren the way he does for the rest of the film.
Snoke sensed that the act of killing his father, Han Solo, broke Ren’s spirit and left him “unbalanced” against Rey. Snoke taunts Ren for being “bested by a girl who had never held a lightsaber” and wrote him off as a monumental disappointment, considering Ren’s bloodline:
"“You’re no Vader. You’re just a child…in a mask.”"
An angered Kylo Ren then destroys his mask and hardens his resolve to destroy the Resistance and his mother, General Leia Organa, although he failed to pull the trigger to finish her off at the last moment.
Next, Snoke had the foresight and power to bridge Rey and Kylo Ren’s minds without their knowledge. Manipulating Ren’s weakness and seduction to the light side, Snoke was able to lure Rey and reveal the location of Luke Skywalker, which leads to the infamous “death” scene.
"“My worthy apprentice. Son of Darkness. Heir apparent to Lord Vader. Where there was conflict, I now sense resolve. Where there was weakness, strength. Complete your training and fulfill your destiny…I cannot be betrayed. I cannot be beaten. I see his mind. I see his every intent. (Snoke conspicuously closes his eyes) Yes, I see him turning the lightsaber to strike true. And now, foolish child, he ignites it and kills his true enemy!”"
Here, Kylo Ren’s true enemy is his past. Snoke understands that Kylo Ren cannot be the successor to Darth Vader without completely moving on from his past, which Ren acknowledges thereafter when he tells Rey:
"“It’s time to let old things die. Snoke. Skywalker. The Sith. The Jedi. The Rebels. Let it all die.”"
Ultimately, Snoke wanted Ren to “kill” him. Ren simply had too much light side in him and Snoke had no other way to snuff it out. Choosing to kill Snoke over Rey would have been Ren’s point of no return, much like when Anakin Skywalker chose to kill Mace Windu rather than Chancellor Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith.
The clues leading up to Snoke’s “death,” Snoke’s unambiguous choice of words before Ren ignites the lightsaber, and Snoke’s enormous dark side power do not logically suggest that Snoke was unaware of Ren’s intent to kill him. Doing so defies narrative logic.
We later see Kylo Ren think he is fighting Luke Skywalker only to find that he was merely fighting a force ghost.
What is to say Snoke did not pull the exact same trick on Kylo Ren?
I fully expect to see a proud Snoke return in Episode IX and continue to manipulate “Supreme Leader” Kylo Ren.
Star Wars Episode IX is scheduled to be released in December 2019.