As I post this, Star Wars Episode IX is a mere two weeks away — and I couldn’t be more excited to see the final installment in the Skywalker Saga.
Back before The Last Jedi came out — back when “Your Snoke Theory Sucks” was a popular T-shirt — an idea of Snoke’s origins hit me that wasn’t quite what I had heard from anyone else. It’s an idea I always wanted to get it out there, but never quite did. And in the time since — after watching the movie that didn’t even touch on Snoke’s origins, and after seeing dark Rey pop up — this idea has deepened to include the Resistance’s new hope.
And of course the next thing I’m going to say is totally predictable — the whole idea was inspired by Spider-Man comics. A rather infamous era for the wall-crawler, to be precise, but one not without some good ideas — you may know it as the Clone Saga.
But at the same time, clones have absolutely nothing to do with my thoughts on Snoke and Rey — despite Star Wars having an arguably even more bloated Clone Saga of its own.
Let’s take a step back…
…to reflect upon one particular statement from Revenge of the Sith. During the beautiful opera scene, Palpatine tells Anakin, “Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise, he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life.”
Some people interpret this as Palpatine telling Anakin that Darth Plagueis was responsible for his immaculate conception. But to me — and a lot of you out there — it’s more like this one thing Anakin himself will say in 20ish years…
Fine if you disagree with my take that that Sheev was saying “dude, I’m your dad” in front of what appears to be a giant sperm-riddled ovary. But going with that supposition is key to the rest of the fun to be had in this piece — so just keep that in mind.
The key takeaway is that Palpatine learned everything Plagueis knew — most importantly “how to create life.”
Now, back to Spidey.
I’m not kidding when I say his ‘90s comics inspired my whole line of thinking here.
To completely trivialize a stupidly long comic story, there was this scientist dude called the Jackal who succeeded at cloning Spider-Man. The most well known clone was so well done, for a while not even Marvel knew for sure which one was Peter Parker and which was the character known as Ben Reilly — also known as the Scarlet Spider.
But there was a not-so-perfect clone created first — a guy named Kaine. He had the powers of Peter, but being the first, he also had some serious imperfections — mostly involving the badly scarred face and overall bodily deterioration he always hid. As a result, he had a real chip on his shoulder toward Ben, whom some might see as his “brother” and the preferred “son” of the Jackal.
You may already see what I’m getting at in potential Skywalker family parallels, but…
Let’s lay it out nice and simply…
First, the very concept of cloning in Spider-Man lines up with the concept of creating life from the Force.
So instead of our cloner the Jackal, we have the Sith Lord Sidious.
There’s no actual character-based Spidey equivalent, but seeing as how he’s the source of the cloning, his Star Wars version is basically the idea of the perfect Force user.
So from there, we have the perfect clone, Ben Reilly — of course, that’s Anakin.
Which leads us to the imperfect, pissy, disfigured — yet also very powerful — Kaine, mirrored pretty perfectly in Star Wars by Snoke.
More specifically, here’s what I’m thinking…
Creating life from the Force is no trivial task. As Plagueis and Palpatine knew — and only those two — one must tap into different pieces of the Force throughout the galaxy and bring them together into the womb of an unsuspecting mother to be.
But here’s the thing. Since all of this occurs through meditation and being one with the Force, the actual physical location of the created life is not something they know. This explains why Palpatine had suspicions about young Anakin, yet was still surprised to learn of him in The Phantom Menace.
In other words… “Hey! It worked!”
Like Ben Reilly as a Jackal clone, Anakin was actually Sheev’s second attempt at creating life through the Force. The first — Snoke — he never did find. Or maybe he did and purely rejected him as a failed experiment. Doesn’t really matter.
Those scars didn’t come from battle or any other type of physical trauma — they came from Palaptine’s own imperfections as a first-time life creator (just like Jackal and Kaine!). Imperfections he would rectify through Anakin’s conception.
For Snoke — hailing from the Unknown Regions — he spent much of his life rejected and despised due to his physical ailments. Like Luke, it wasn’t until he fully matured that he discovered his Force abilities, and it would take a galaxy-wide journey of self-discovery to fully harness them, as well as to comprehend his origins.
He also had no one to teach him, which is one reason he seems particularly obsessed with, in his own words, “RAW, UNTAMED POWER!”
Somewhere along the way, Snoke learned of what you could perceive as his more perfect brother in the Force — Anakin. And, much like Kaine to Ben Reilly, he despised him for this perfection. This acceptance.
You ever catch Snoke’s apparent grudge against Vader and Kylo Ren’s Vader-esque tendencies? Specifically regarding his mask?
Well, now you know why.
You might wonder why he speaks of Vader himself with a degree of reverence.
In addition to being an excellent manipulation tactic when speaking to his apprentice, there’s something even more insidious at work here. Snoke loves the idea of the “new Vader” being subservient to him. Another way of asserting his dominance.
But now let’s talk about Rey…
There’s another certain Force user out there who’s of great interest to Snoke— he minces no words in what must become of her…
And let’s just put it bluntly — Snoke wants Rey dead because he’s super afraid of her…his way younger sister in the Force. He’s not even going to try to dominate her as he does Kylo — that would only lead to…well, what dominating Kylo Ren led to, actually.
I guess if we’re still sticking with Spidey Clone Saga comparisons, Rey is Spider-Woman in the Ultimate Comics version of the story. (Not as perfect as the others, but still viable.)
So, this is where Rey comes from in my pre-Episode IX head canon (everything before this is important)…
It’s well known that Palpatine was thrown for a loop once the more human-looking Darth Vader lost nearly half his organic material — and therefore, nearly half of his potential to use the Force. (That’s where bunches of midi-chlorians lived.)
So why wouldn’t he have put some effort toward creating a more suitable replacement for his failure? He totally would! And that’s why he put even more research into the process, eventually discovering a way for a Force child to simply materialize without an actual mother necessary to give birth. All coming with certain other new advantages — and disadvantages.
And hey, just for fun, why not make her look like someone who could pass as the daughter of Shmi Skywalker? In his own narcissistic way, Sheev Palpatine always liked the similarity in first names he shared with Anakin’s mother as well.
Some notable inconveniences with Palpy’s new approach here, though. He’s still got that annoying “no idea where she’ll be born” thing going for her. And with no actual mother involved, it is no certainty she’ll even find a family as a baby — basically in a Kal-El landing in Smallville kind of a way.
Also, because this new approach will create an even more powerful Force user, it’s going to take a very long time for the Force to gestate these perfect beings. Yes, I said perfect beings — plural. Because it’s such a crapshoot as to where they’ll end up, Palpatine essentially mass-produced them. Kind of like Jackal’s Spidey assembly line, just a little less precise.
Some of these Reys will die as babies. Some with grow up in happy households and never realize their power. Some will know there’s something there and maybe grab the occasional broom with it and nothing more. Out of every created being, only one (okay, possibly two) would rise to outshine them all.
We all remember who raised her, too (whether we’re fans of it or not)…
But here’s the thing… Kylo didn’t lie to Rey. Nor did her own memories betray her. Junkers found her, raised her, probably got freaked by a random broom-grabbing, and left her on Jakku with Unkar Plutt.
Remember all those Reys we see in the dark side cave in The Last Jedi? That wasn’t some random vision designed purely to confuse everyone — it was way more literal than that (choice of wardrobe that day excluded).
When Rey touched that wall, she had no idea what she was doing — but it was at that precise moment when she asserted her dominance. Every other Force baby that Palpatine fathered was essentially summoned to stand up and echo the movements of a twin sister they had no idea existed.
As Rey herself points out…
In other words, they were finite. To most of the Rey-sisters, this “somewhere” was simply a confusing moment in their lives they always remembered but never really acted on.
Except for one — the first in the line. Again, this is no reflection. This is a whole other being.
Whoever she is — wherever she was — that moment lit a spark. A dark spark. A spark that found its way to communicating with the spirit of Palpatine in the same way Luke did with Obi-Wan and Yoda. A spark that led to this…
Oh. Sorry. This…
The Dark Rey image we’ve seen everywhere by now is often theorized to be a clone of Rey, a vision of her dark potential, or maybe even Rey herself gone dark. Nope.
It’s her sister (in the Force). Rey has a twin sister. If Rey will not join the dark side, then perhaps her sister will.
You might recognize that wording echoed from Vader taunting Luke as he hid on the second Death Star. As George was wont to say…
We get a second view of Dark Rey here, below — the figure on the left almost everyone assumes to be Palpatine…
Palpatine’s not taking a flesh form in The Rise of Skywalker. Unless he has a way to possess his darkest creation, which…sure — let’s just say he can do that.
Palpatine is essentially the father to all Rey-sisters, with the Force itself birthing them all. This explains this realization Rey expresses at the home of the Jedi Order…
If Rey fills in her mother’s maiden name on a credit card application, she’s going to have to go with The Force. More than anyone in the galaxy, she is the Force in human form. And she awakened in Episode VII.
So, let’s recap — from Rey’s perspective.
Snoke is her much older half-brother from a mystery mother. Anakin had a different mom, but is a slightly younger half-brother as well. Kinda weird, but Luke and Leia — they’re her nephew and niece, respectively. And she’s got a whole mess of twin sisters…plus a grandnephew named Ben. (So, uh…no Reylo, please.)
Except for Snoke, everyone named there is a Skywalker. And every one of them is a Palpatine as well.
I’m just trying to figure out how Baby Yoda fits into all this. He was totally cloned by the Jackal. There we go.
This wasn’t a theory. This wasn’t what I think will happen. It’s just what I’d do.
NOTE: This piece was originally scripted to be a video for my YouTube channel, Superhero.VG. But with only two weeks left till The Rise of Skywalker, that’s just wasn’t happening. I hope you enjoyed the written version. — Chris Baker