Image Source: Everett Collection
At this point, it's pretty clear that Rogue One is a stellar addition to the Star Wars universe. Between all those classic character appearances and the incredible way it sets up the beginning of A New Hope, you'd be hard-pressed to find a Star Wars fan who doesn't agree. And yet, for all the admirable things the film accomplished, there is one obvious painful point. The movie really is a "rogue one" after all, and doesn't seem to connect to the third (and most recent) trilogy.
More specifically, the real bummer about Rogue One is that it seems to have demolished all of those theories we came up with in the past year after watching Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. Based on the way the final sequence plays out, Jyn Erso just can't be Rey's mother, nor could she turn into Captain Phasma. The Rogue One rebels likely do not become the Knights of Ren. Upon closer inspection, though, we may have to rethink. There's one small detail that may have hinted at the last of our major speculations: the identity of Supreme Leader Snoke. After seeing the film, we couldn't help but search for connections to the terrifying villain, and we weren't alone. Many fans on Reddit are also connecting the dots, and one user in particular, called HoodWest, has honed in on a pretty suspicious character.
Image Source: Disney
You may recognize the moment above: this sequence marks Darth Vader's entry into the film. In the scene in question, the supervillain is submerged in what is known as a bacta tank. This hardware first appears in Episode V, and according to the official Star Wars website, the tanks are "cylindrical vessels filled with a liquid healing agent and used to treat seriously injured patients." It would make sense that Vader is healing in a bacta tank. In Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, he loses both of his legs and an arm during a lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi. The rest of his injuries come from severe lava burns.
It's not the bacta tank that has piqued our interests, though. It's the figure that bows before Vader as he exits the tank. It's highly unlikely this individual is Krennic, who meets with Vader in the next scene. After all, the person in question is hooded and clearly not dressed in imperial garb. What's more, he refers to Vader as "my lord." The most obvious explanation is that this figure is Emperor Palpatine, who becomes Darth Sidious in Episode III. The big problem there, though, is that Vader has pledged himself to Palpatine as a Sith apprentice, so it seems strange that Palpatine would kneel before him.
That's where this notion of Snoke comes in. Could this character be someone we haven't really met in the Star Wars universe? It's clear he's a servant of some kind to Darth Vader, which could explain how Snoke is so deeply embedded in the dark side. When you think even deeper, there's an even more compelling explanation. What if Darth Vader had his own Sith apprentice, one that he kept a secret? What if he had been training his successor ever since his rise to power? You have to admit, it's a pretty simple theory, and it's hard to find any major flaws. Looks like we'll have to wait until Episode VIII and hope we get some serious backstory.