As it turns out, yes, yes I do. I was ruminating about Star Wars today, as I so very often do, and found that my mind kept circling back to wondering “just who is Supreme Leader Snoke”…and I don’t mean trying to pinpoint who he is out of a set of known characters (OMG IT’S PLAGUEIS!) like some kind of far, far away police lineup, I’m thinking on a more philosophical level…what kind of person is he? What drives him; what does he really want? Is he a second iteration of Palpatine, just another Sith lusting after power? Is he an idealist, a sort of bizarro Palpatine that, instead of doing things for personal gain under the guise of working toward peace, actually believes he can usher in a new era of prosperity? Is he a ruthless dictator who takes matters into his own hands rather than working behind the scenes, pulling the strings and manipulating the galactic clay to create his masterpiece? Regardless of what other identity Snoke may have (Darth Maul maybe…?), I did a little more internet investigating to see if I could find some hypothetical answers to my hypothetical questions…
What’s in a name?
So, I already discussed the snake-like fish-man quality that “snoke” has, but what other secrets might be hiding in plain sight regarding the Supreme Leader’s name? Well, since an old-fashioned google search turned up some interesting possible clues, I decided to give google translate a shot…especially considering the importance many people give to “vader” meaning “father” in German and the obvious implications there…
“Snoop”…well…that isn’t very fun (though I’ve seen a few people have some “haha” fun with it, like calling him Darth Snoopy or saying he’s Lord Dogg)…however, having it be detected as Norwegian was a good jumping off point to get into a few varied translations that did lead to some fun speculation.
First, if you go to the bab.la dictionary site, you get the verb “to rout” rather than “snoop”…okay, what’s that, exactly, you ask? Well, according to www.merriam-webster.com, the most interesting and applicable definition is:
a : to force out as if by digging —usually used with out
b : to cause to emerge especially from bed
Digest that for a moment…we know that Darth Vader’s old lightsaber seems to be a pivotal plot point, and that his charred helmet from the funeral pyre on the forest moon ends up in the hands of someone in The Force Awakens…the general consensus seems to be that it’s Kylo Ren going around collecting various Sith artifacts to try to find new ways to emulate the Lords of the past, but what if they’re not for him…what if he’s just an errand boy being sent out to scour the galaxy for the relics that Snoke has used the Force to dig up? (Right?) That is thought-provoking material, ladies and gentlemen…and now consider, on top of that notion, that Snoke may be the catalyst that causes the Force to “awaken,” or “to emerge especially from bed”…even further down the rabbit hole on that point, what if he is the thing that has emerged from slumber…the would-be eternal slumber of death (that’s right, Plagueis fans, I’m throwing you a bone)…I really feel like I’m at least scratching at the surface of something here with the routing out of Sith relics, though, or maybe even Darth Vader-specific relics as, so far, the only things we’re sure of are his lightsaber and his mask…
Second, I came across a Norwegian dictionary site that doesn’t have on-site translations, but I copied the text from there and pasted it into google translate and came up with two curious definitions:
snoke v1, v2 (akin to snake) sneak (II), sniff
snoke v1 (context with snake)
1 transaminase (II), snake, creep (I), sniff
go and pry and dig / pry into
2 stealth (II), parasitism
Yep, that’s right, it’s circled around to being snake-like again, and these definitions paint a much better picture of the kind of “snoop” that one who “snokes” really is…it’s not that nosy guy at the office that goes through the loose papers on your desk and reads whatever you have scheduled on your calendar, it’s a more devious, sneaky, stealthy, snake-like creeping. A “snoke” is going to know what you’re doing without you knowing he knows…it’s akin to the Palpatine puppet-master archetype that I mentioned at the start of the post. And who better to carry on the tradition than the man who actually started it to begin with, right? (I can’t believe I’m starting to talk myself into thinking it’s Plagueis…) There’s also another reference to digging, lending more credence to the earlier line of thought that he’s “digging” up Sith artifacts…perhaps quite literally as I seriously doubt Luke just left Vader’s burnt out armor haphazardly lying on the ground wherever it happened to be when the fire died. Then, finally, there’s the idea of “parasitism” thrown in at the very end, and if “2 : an intimate association between organisms of two or more kinds; especially : one in which a parasite obtains benefits from a host which it usually injures” doesn’t sound like the quintessential Sith relationship with all things, then I’m not sure how else to define it…Palpatine was basically a parasite feeding off the galaxy at large, while, in a more general sense, Sith apprentices are always looking to be parasitic of their master…gaining knowledge and power from them until they have the means to not only injure the master, but kill them and begin a new parasitic relationship with another person or group.
So who is Supreme Leader Snoke?
He’s a parasitic, snake-like villain, always working to stealthily gain knowledge and power, always searching, always digging for the next big clue or breakthrough that will allow him to create or control whatever an awakening of the Force might mean and harness it in whatever way possible to further his personal agenda…yeah, I think that pretty well sums it up…I’m going to keep thinking about him, however….wondering what aspects I’ve hit head-on, what I’ve missed completely…wondering if I’ll be formally introduced to him via novels or comic books before I see Mr. Serkis in all his mo-cap glory on the big screen in December…I certainly hope so. Getting a few juicey tidbits to gnaw on from Aftermath or Shattered Empire would be just what the doctor ordered this fall…but, not to worry, there will be plenty more to talk about before then, I’m quite sure…until next time, may the Force be with you…
Hey, wait, didn’t you mention Snoke could be Darth Maul?!?!
Yeah…I guess I did…I didn’t mean it, though…as much as I’d like to see Maul make a second comeback, I just don’t think the characters line up. Maul is a weapon, pure hatred and vitriol…sure, he hashed out a few plans in Clone Wars, but I just don’t see him as the snake-like, more removed character I’m pinning Snoke to be. Even at an advanced age and having had several decades to develop and set in motion whatever plans he could concoct, it just wouldn’t feel in-character to me…plus, I think Palpatine said a mouthful at the end of Sons of Dathomir when he said “Maul’s future has been erased…” That said, though, I do believe there has to be a reason that they not only kept him alive, but brought a would-be-legends story from Darkhouse into canon to make sure his survival is “official”…I’ll say with confidence that we haven’t seen the last of Darth Maul, but also that I don’t think he’ll return in the form of Supreme Leader Snoke.