With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker now in theaters, the Skywalker saga has officially come to an end. That means certain burning questions that fans have had for some time have now been answered. To some degree, at least. One such question many have had since The Force Awakens has to do with Snoke. Who is Snoke? Where did he come from? How did he rise to power? This is all given a very simple explanation by director J.J. Abrams in Episode IX. Warning: major Rise of Skywalker spoilers ahead!
At the very beginning of The Rise of Skywalker, we see Kylo Ren on a quest to seek out the resurrected Palpatine and kill him, since the Sith represents a major threat to his power and position as Supreme Leader of the First Order. Upon finding Palpatine at a Sith temple, Kylo states that he's going to kill him, explaining that he killed Snoke. He's already killed one powerful Sith, why not another?
At this point, Palpatine explains that he "made" Snoke. That every voice Kylo Ren has ever heard has been through Palpatine. We then hear Snoke's voice and Vader's voice, which help drive this point home. We even see a mysterious vat that has partial bodies in it that look identical to Snoke. Palpatine was being very literal here. Palpatine has been pulling the strings behind-the-scenes for years and, ultimately, did what he needed to do to corrupt Ben Solo in the hopes of crafting a worthy leader for his Final Order, one that can bring back the rule of the Sith across the galaxy. Snoke was just a pawn in those grand plans.
The degree to which this explanation is satisfying will range wildly from fan to fan, but we do at least have some degree of understanding about where Snoke comes from now. One major sticking point for many in The Last Jedi was that Snoke was killed without exploring any of his backstory. He was dead on the floor without learning a shred of how he rose to power, or how he managed to corrupt Ben Solo. At the very least, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker does provide some insight on that front.
The recently published first issue of The Rise of Kylo Ren #1 in the pages of Marvel Comics also features some of Snoke and Ren's early days together, and it seems highly likely that we'll see that explored more as the comic pushes through its run. So maybe we'll learn even more in the weeks to come. Was Snoke a clone of another powerful Force user? How did he befriend and corrupt Kylo in the first place? J.J. Abrams didn't have the time to go over all of this information, but the expanded universe is great for that sort of thing. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now from Disney and Lucasfilm.