For fans angry at Star Wars: The Last Jedi, one of the main points of contention was the death of the new dark side master. A figure reminiscent of Emperor Palpatine ended up halved on the floor of his own throne room by his apprentice. Well, the new Supreme Leader Snoke comic, part of Marvel’s Star Wars: Age of Resistance one-shot series, tells a simple story that might reveal more than one might think.
With the revelation at the Star Wars Episode IX panel in April that Ian McDiarmid and Palpatine would return in Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, Snoke may be more important to the story, not less. Of course, as with any good Star Wars theory, this involves some speculation and imagery that just might be “cool” rather than significant. Luckily, the Tom Taylor story is one worth your time, especially if you have a fondness for the planet of Dagobah.
Spoilers below Kylo Ren’s tantrum
Luke Skywalker Dies at the Hands of Kylo Ren
Image via Marvel Entertainment
The major moment in the Supreme Leader Snoke comic happens when the mysterious master takes his apprentice Kylo Ren to Dagobah. They don’t just visit the swampy planet where Luke Skywalker famously trained with Yoda. No, they also go to the exact cave where Luke Skywalker (and Yoda, in another comic) tested their commitment to the light side of the Force. In the cave, where Supreme Leader Snoke tells Kylo he can’t “pretend to be Vader,” the former Ben Solo faces his master in a lightsaber duel. The stunning art from Leonard Kirk and Cory Hamscher delivers a visual as equally epic as the confrontation itself. This time, there is no Force projection trickery. Kylo Ren kills Luke Skywalker mercilessly. Then, Han and Leia appear to their son. They plead with him to come back to them.
Without spoiling what happens, we see a scene play out that directly mirrors the throne room scene when Snoke reads Kylo’s mind. Snoke may have incredible power with the Force, but Kylo Ren knows how to trick him, if only slightly. Then, to hide whatever evidence of his choice remained, he destroyed the cave. That’s right, this iconic piece of Star Wars history, still teeming with the Force energy of Luke Skywalker and Yoda, is gone. A scene that seems designed to mock some angry fans’ complaints that the sequel trilogy “destroying” the original trilogy. That cave is the site of one of the coolest moments in all of Star Wars, and Kylo Ren just destroyed it to cover his failure.
Ben Solo is powerful, and he’s touched by the dark side. Yet, Kylo Ren is not as far gone as he seemed. This also underscores how his actions in Star Wars: The Force Awakens advanced his journey to villainy.
What the Supreme Leader Snoke Comic Says About His Past
Image via Marvel Entertainment
Here’s what fans canonically know about Supreme Leader Snoke, that comes from the films and not the comic. He seduced Ben Solo to the dark side, convincing him to turn away from his family. He’s somehow created and funded the First Order, a military force on par with the Empire of old. He has a black ring and a gold robe. And…that’s about it. Again, angry fans feel that when he died in the previous movie, the storytellers squandered a chance to tell a great story. Yet, other fans pointing out the flaws in the sequel trilogy, will say that he is just a weak clone of the Emperor. Well, with the Emperor returning in Rise of Skywalker, maybe that’s true?
Cloning is canonically possible in the Star Wars universe, but outside of the clones of Jango Fett, we’ve not seen many of them. The Star Wars Legends series Dark Empire actually told a version of this story in which both the Emperor and Luke were cloned. Given the strange look of Snoke, it’s possible that his origins stem from some plan to clone the Emperor. As proven in the films and in The Clone Wars series, clones are not identical copies of each other. They vary in personality and self-expression. Just because one Palpatine became a Sith Lord, the next one need not follow that same path. That Snoke has a connection to Palpatine seems hinted at on the approach to the cave. When Kylo asks Snoke why he speaks of Luke with respect, Snoke says were Luke by his side the galaxy would already be his. Perhaps he means this literally.
The Theory of Snoke’s Ring Got a Huge Boost from the Comic
Image via Marvel Entertainment
The first few pages of the Supreme Leader Snoke comic feature his black khyber crystal ring prominently. The art focuses on it in an obvious way. These are scenes when Snoke flexes his Force muscles. Similarly, when Kylo Ren tricks Snoke, we do not see the ring in a position of prominence. The Snoke Ring Theory suggests that this ring connects him to his dark side power and, perhaps, Palpatine himself. Remember the horcruxes in Harry Potter? It’s possible that the ring is something like that. In the Darth Vader comic series, an ancient Sith imbued his mask with his power and personality. Whenever someone wore the mask, it was as if the Sith lived. Perhaps this ring works the same way. How often it appears in the panels of the Star Wars: Age of Resistance comic seems too deliberate to be accidental.
Supreme Leader Snoke may loom larger over the Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker than previously thought. Perhaps in death, we are able to learn the most interesting thing about him. His power wasn’t really his power at all. In the film someone, Hux or, more likely, one of the Knights of Ren, dons the ring. That person becomes Palpatine reborn in a way worse than before. This sets up Ben Solo for a redemption arc. This comic provides some canonical context for Kylo being not all-the-way evil. This story choice also seems a bit “cleaner” than pulling the old clone gag. Also Ben’s attachment to his mother (and father) will likely play a large role in pushing him back on the path to light.
What do you think of the Supreme Leader Snoke comic? I want to hear your best theories in the comments below or on social media.
Featured image via Marvel Entertainment
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.