Ever since Andy Serkis’ rasping Supreme Leader uttered the words, “there has been an awakening, have you felt it?” in the very first teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Snoke has become a point of fixation for Star Wars fans clamoring to know more about one of the most powerful forces in the entire galaxy.
Perched on his hologram throne, Serkis’ scarred villain spent most of The Force Awakens barking orders at General Hux and Kylo Ren, as he sought to whip the First Order into shape from some unknown (and presumably safe) location on the other side of the cosmos. Even by Star Wars standards, there are precious few details out there regarding Snoke’s origin – no backstory, no history, not even a full name – but could it be that Timothy Zahn’s canonical novel Thrawn offers some much-needed context?
First introduced via Legends – a corner of the Expanded Universe that is now deemed to be its own standalone entity – Grand Admiral Thrawn quickly became a fan-favorite among the Star Wars faithful, leading to an appearance in the animated Star Wars Rebels series. Hailing from the ambiguous “Unknown Regions” of the galaxy, it turns out Emperor Palpatine recruited Thrawn “because of what he knew of traversing those deadly interstices” of said regions, and as Zahn’s novel suggests, the all-powerful Sith Lord was seemingly contacted by someone – or something – from some far-flung corner or space.
“The Emperor was convinced that something waited for him out there–some origin of the Force, some dark presence formed of malevolent substance. He said he could feel the waves of it radiating out now that the way was clear. The Emperor called it a signal – conveniently one that only he could hear… He believed that something lay beyond, and so that became a singular obsession.”
What does this have to do with Snoke, specifically? Well, Thrawn – the novel, not the Grand Admiral – indicates that one of the planets within this area was reengineered into the gargantuan weapons facility known as Starkiller Base, and that a threat “more evil than the Empire” resides in the “Unknown Regions.” Could it be the same unspeakable evil referenced in Aftermath: Empire’s End? We’re inclined to believe so.
Until such a time as when we have confirmation – or clarification, should this trail of clues lead to naught – the official Star Wars Instagram has posted a series of concept art depicting an early version of Jakku, when Rey’s sun-scorched home was rendered as a junk planet.
Disney’s rejuvenated universe will continue unabated with the launch of Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 15th.