A puppet being operated by the real villain?
But why have a dime store Palpatine if the plan all along was to use the real thing?
Because that’s how Palpatine operates. Masks, deceptions and lies. Snoke was just a more sophisticated version of wearing a hood and keeping his face in a strategically placed shadow.
That’s a nice in-universe explanation, but in reality it’s almost certain, that JJ intended for Snoke to be the big bad, and when RJ dispatched him, they had to bring back Palpatine in some form to up the ante. Had it been their intention to bring back Palpatine, they would logically have introduced him as the puppet master in a cameo at the end of TLJ. Additionally RJ clearly made TLJ with the intention to break free from what came before, whilst TROS seems to do the opposite promising a whole host of connections to the past.
Unless JJ or RJ bare their souls in an interview, we’ll never know for sure.
No, but we can make an educated guess based on what was stated in interviews, and the trajectory of the story thusfar. What is clear, is that Palpatine’s return in whatever form has played an important part in the marketing thusfar. If this story thread is so important, why introduce it in the wake of the storm surrounding TLJ, rather than as a cliffhanger in the story, where such a reveal would make much more sense?