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Who Snoke was and what his backstory is... was already explained in The Force Awakens.

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After The Force Awakens came out, people kept wondering as to who Snoke was, and when The Last Jedi came out people complained that there was no backstory for Snoke.

Those of you who like this new trilogy kept responding that Palpatine was not given a backstory when the original trilogy first came out, supposed to be an attempt at exposing their supposed hypocrisy — detractors of the film kept saying this criticism, something along the lines of…

The existence of Supreme Leader Snoke contradicts the original saga, we are supposed to believe at this point that he had existed the entire time due to how old he appears to be and acts, and yet he chose not to interfere for no reason at all.

Whereas Palpatine was part of the original trilogy, it was a new universe, there were no movies or prequels for it to contradict, the existence of Palpatine does not contradict anything that was before A New Hope and therefore does not need a backstory in order to patch up these plot holes and explain why he makes perfect sense.

I do see where these guys are coming from, and I do agree with what they are saying about Palpatine… but I disagree regarding Snoke.

You see, J.J. Abrams already left out an explanation for who Snoke was and what his backstory is in The Force Awakens (albeit unintentionally), and this relies on inference.

For those unaware of what “inference” is, look at this scene from Infinity War. Here, Thanos is communicating with a younger Gamora after activating the Infinity Stones with that snap of his fingers. Given that Thanos had sacrificed Gamora for the Soul Stone earlier in the film, and that the location the both of them are residing in at that point is of the color orange, the same color of the Soul Stone, it is inferable that Thanos is literally inside of the Soul Stone.

Anyway, Snoke was an old Force-sensitive being who was in hiding during the original trilogy because, at that point, Palpatine was already ruling the galaxy and had not only a Sith apprentice but also an Empire to back him up. If Snoke went out to interfere during the original trilogy, Palpatine would have sent in his forces to annihilate Snoke, he is just one guy against the organization that is ruling the galaxy.

So, Snoke chose to go into hiding, waiting for Palpatine to die and for the Empire to collapse — only after Return of the Jedi, after Palpatine died and the Empire became crippled, did Snoke get the chance to interfere and fill in the power vacuum without anyone annihilating him.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking…

These are just mental gymnastics, there is nothing from which we can infer this backstory for Snoke.

This is incorrect, as we do get information from which we can infer his backstory in The Force Awakens.

In the original trilogy, it is established Palpatine is ruling the galaxy and has a Sith apprentice as well as an Empire to back him up.

Snoke clearly did not interfere during the original trilogy, and he clearly chose not to, say, assassinate Palpatine. This implies Palpatine is stronger than Snoke, and that Snoke is a coward who hid from the Galactic Empire for his safety, waiting for them to perish — that Snoke is just one dude (who has nothing) against a man who runs the organization that is ruling the galaxy and has who is essentially a hitman.

This is an inference.

I’ve seen people point out that Snoke is so powerful he can corrupt other Force-sensitives from faraway distances without meeting them in person whereas Palpatine repeatedly met Anakin in person and it took a decade until his corruption of Anakin was complete, which is incorrect. There was no indication he can do this from faraway distances, and even then it is clear Leia and Han had met him in person, how else do they know about them. Thus, it is inferable he groomed Ben in person without Leia and Han realizing.

I’ve also seen people point out that Snoke seemingly has infinite resources, enough to build the First Order — basically saying that he should have built some sort of army to, say, deal with the Galactic Empire during the original trilogy —, which is incorrect. Notice how there is a trench in Starkiller Base — this implies the First Order strip-mined the planets for its resources to build its ships, machinery and all that, hence the trench clearly visible from space.

And yeah, I do acknowledge that it was revealed in The Rise of Skywalker that Palpatine created Snoke himself, but this post is focusing more on specifically The Force Awakens, which was released four years before The Rise of Skywalker.

In other words, these people cannot seem to grasp the concept of inference, hence most of the criticisms for this trilogy.

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 (Edited)

I do generally agree with you somewhat, but I don’t really agree with your tone as people who feel the other way are objectively incorrect on their opinion. It definitely isn’t an explanation. Like you said, maybe audiences can infer it, but there was no attempt to really explain it. It is intentionally a mystery. We’re talking about JJ Abrams after all.

I actually prefer the idea that TFA presents that you laid out, of Snoke being another Force-sensitive being just biding his time, sort of like how Mother Talzin is presented in the Clone Wars. Another Force-sensitive being waiting to fill the vacuum of power.

I think one reason people had issue with Snoke because he just appears to be a copy of the Emperor. Essentially, they’re both just old, pale men in bath robes. At least TLJ gave him golden robes, implying that he has a taste for opulence, which kind of sets him apart from Palpatine. I guess you could argue he was intentionally emulating the Emperor in order to fit that role people would expect of a Supreme Leader. But again, a lot of this is implication, and there is little effort to really explore it at all.

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Yeah, I may have gone a bit too far, but I just wanted to end this series of misinterpretations regarding Snoke in TFA.

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I’ve been here long enough to know these conversations will never end regardless how much you explain your perspective. I still think these convos are worth having, and I can tell you’ve thought about the series a lot, and I agree with a lot of your opinions. That’s basically all we do here. Share our opinions.