Going back to IX, I had some other thoughts regarding Snoke’s function in the ST.
All of the speculation surrounding the Palpatine has made people wonder if Snoke was a servant, vessel, or rival to him.
Looking back at some early concept art from the TFA book, you can see three antagonists appear pretty early in the book: Jedi Killer, Uber, and another character that appears to be Darth Talon.
George was a big fan of Talon when she appeared in the Legacy comic series, and he wanted LucasArts to somehow shoehorn her into a Darth Maul that was subsequently cancelled during the Disney acquisition. In the Art of book, there are four storyboard panels titled “The Seduction”. The first panel shows a young Jedi saving a female twilek from cantina thugs, the second shows them walking together, the third they are sharing a bed after having slept together, and the fourth shows the twilek standing in the threshold of the bedroom while the Jedi appears to be under some kind of duress (possibly Force-induced).
I had assumed Talon was just an early version of the Jedi Killer, but I’ve also been wondering if that Jedi is actually the Son of Solo, and this is how he became evil. He was literally seduced by the dark side. Art of Talon appears a few times in the book.
There is another image of Darth Talon standing in front of a dark, ethereal creature who we can assume is Uber. The piece is titled “Darth Talon, Dark Side of the Force”. The description McCaig gives is, “The tattoos [of Talon] are a lot simpler. They follow a rhythm and they flow. And that’s the evil thing puppeteering her from behind.”
I’ve just always assumed this Talon was cut from the story and the Uber character ended up becoming Snoke, and I think that’s partly true. But, do you think if Palpatine returning was in fact intended from the beginning as Kennedy suggests, is it possible this ethereal Uber “puppetmaster” character was actually disembodied Palpatine, and Snoke served Darth Talon’s function as the “seducer”?
Snoke clearly played a big role in Ben’s fall to the dark side, but instead of literally seducing him, he became much more like a Palpatine type of manipulator. I believe I read somewhere that Snoke was at one point considered to be a female character, so maybe this is what they meant by that.
If Snoke was truly intended to never be the big bad, it would also explain why pulled imagery from the Wizard of Oz, a larger than life hologram in TFA, the Man Behind the Curtain symbolism with the red curtains burning down after Snoke’s death.
This is all wild speculation and obviously things change so much over the course of story development that trying to connect the dots is like playing pin the tail on the donkey, but it is fun to think about. If Sidious is back and not just a haunt or hologram, I’m still not sure if Snoke was knowingly serving him, or was a vessel for his spirit, or something else. I still believe it is the simplest answer: Snoke was his own guy, and if Palpatine is manipulating Kylo Ren, he merely positioned him to become his apprentice and eliminate this rival before he came back physically. (Snoke is just another rival, like Mother Talzin in the Clone Wars)
I’m still a little nervous about how they pull this off because resorting to another Big Evil Guy was not what I was originally hoping for. But it could work.