The Rise of Skywalker featured a short but massively significant revelation about Snoke: he was a creation of Palpatine!
When Kylo Ren arrives on Exegol at the beginning of the film, Palpatine tells him, “I made Snoke,” and Kylo then sees what looks like two other Snokes in a tank. The implication is clearly that Palpatine was the one behind Snoke’s creation and that there are others like him – whether other clones or tests or whatever.
Additionally, Palpatine says, “I have been every voice you have ever heard inside your head.” So all along, throughout Ben’s whole life, Palpatine has been the one manipulating him.
These are very big revelations, and The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary, written by Pablo Hidalgo, discloses a bit more clarity on all of this.
Here’s what we learn about Snoke:
- “Snoke gave no indication as to his origins, but possessed the knowledge and Force-ability that made him undisputed heir.” (13)
- “Some, like Pryde, came to peer behind the veil and realized that Snoke himself was subservient to an unseen force.” (13)
- “Snoke’s entire existence has been built for this moment: to be the final test of Kylo Ren. The Supreme Leader has tested Ren’s worthiness as a disciple and – unbeknownst to all – his capacity to inherit the Sith legacy. Snoke is no Sith, but his role has been designed by the Sith Eternal cultists to act as a final crucible, to groom and mold Ren into a master not only of attack, but also cunning.” (29)
- “Snoke gloats in his success of gathering Rey and Ren before him, for it proves without a doubt that they share a unique bond in the Force; something that features so prominently in the lore of the Sith Eternal cult.” (29)
- “During [Supreme Leader Kylo Ren’s] campaign of terror, visions in the Force as well as scraps of arcane lore uncovered in Snoke’s old bases lead him to an ancient mystery. It becomes clear Snoke was not the apex of the First Order’s dark side pyramid.” (44)
- “Throughout his life, Kylo has heard a dark voice. He long assumed it to be Snoke. With Snoke dead, it is evident he was wrong.” (44)
- “The Knights [of Ren] were gifted to Ben Solo by Snoke, who promised the fallen Jedi apprentice powerful followers if he proved worthy.” (56)
So basically a lot of that confirms and expands on what the film already told us: Snoke was not actually at the top but served a higher power. It still remains to be seen exactly how this happened, but we know it did. But most interesting to me is that Snoke was actually built to be a test for Kylo Ren! In other words, it sounds like Snoke was created by the Sith Eternal cultists on Exegol to be the test for the heir to the Sith legacy.
Snoke, therefore, was just a pawn in Palpatine’s plan; a creation by the Sith Eternal loyalists to train, mentor, and test Ben Solo, the potential heir to their darkness. This was something behind-the-scenes in the First Order that few realized, but it speaks to just how well Palpatine can play the long game. He waited… and waited… and waited… until the time was right.