As the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke was incredibly powerful. He took charge of the reborn Empire engineered by Emperor Darth Sidious.
Snoke demonstrated his power through his mastery of the Dark Side of the Force. In Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, for example, Snoke effortlessly defeats Rey and controls Kylo Ren.
So, how powerful is Snoke? Snoke held power over the First Order and was second only to the resurrected Emperor.
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The Origins of Snoke
Snoke was a Force-sensitive genetically created humanoid who first arose on the planet Exegol–the Sith homeworld. Darth Sidious arranged for Snoke’s construction during the reign of the Empire.
Once Darth Sidious assumed a cloned body, the Emperor sought to use Snoke to carry out the Contingency, a plan to preserve the future of the Empire even with Sidious’s death.
Snoke was entrusted with leading the First Order, which originated from remnants of the Empire in the Unknown Regions. Snoke was appointed by Darth Sidious to gather the remaining leaders of the Empire, assume the role of a dictator, and expand the First Order.
Yet, Snoke directed his apprentice Kylo Ren to hunt down the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker, and order a preemptive attack with Starkiller Base against the New Republic.
This attack destroyed the Galactic Senate and started the First Order-Resistance War. Snoke and the First Order had arisen and were powers to be reckoned with.
Snoke rose to Sith power without being a part of the Sith Order. That is one of his biggest strengths.
Snoke came from the Unknown Regions of space and rose from the ashes of the Empire. He was not trained in the Dark Side but took on its powers to guide the remnants of the Empire and form the First Order.
Through these actions, Snoke displayed resourcefulness and strength to lead. Snoke was also able to seduce Kylo Ren into abandoning the Jedi and joining him as his apprentice on the Dark Side of the Force.
With Kylo Ren and Snoke at the helm, the First Order eventually destroyed the planets of the New Republic, allowing them to take control of the galaxy.
Snoke also commanded General Hux and presided over the First Order’s war-making abilities. Snoke’s leadership is his central strength.
Although Snoke was killed by his apprentice Kylo Ren, this can still be seen as an indication of strength too. By dying in this manner, Snoke fulfilled his main purpose: he allowed Ren to seize power over the First Order according to the Rule of Two.
The Rule of Two was a Sith law that specified that only two Sith Lords could exist at one time. Snoke was selected to train Kylo Ren as the next rightful heir to the Sith’s power over the galaxy.
In the end, Snoke’s death allowed Darth Sidious to be the Sith who prevailed (for a time) above Ren as the center of the Dark Side of the Force.
Darth Sidious created Snoke and continued to manipulate him to carry out the Emperor’s designs. Snoke was not aware of the Emperor’s influence and appeared to operate independently. But the Emperor directed him through the Force.
Snoke was first created to be the host body for the Emperor’s spirit. But this body did not work, so Snoke ultimately became Darth Sidious’s puppet. This lack of control is one weakness.
A second weakness may derive from military command. Although Snoke was the Supreme Leader with absolute power, he delegated power over the military to General Armitage Hux.
Since Hux was the one in charge of the First Order’s attacks on the New Republic, we may see Snoke’s lack of leadership here as a weakness.
Snoke ruled the First Order from a Mega-class Star Dreadnought and focused on the spiritual Dark Side of the Force. He could be viewed as orchestrating plans from behind the scenes, or he could be seen as not leading in the way that Darth Vader did–front and center.
Further, as Snoke attempted to destroy the Resistance and Rey, he may have become blinded to Kylo Ren’s ambitions. Ren was able to assassinate Snoke, and we may see Snoke’s death as his ultimate weakness.
How Powerful Is Snoke?
Despite these weaknesses, Snoke is a powerful figure in the Star Wars universe. Fans tend to emphasize Snoke’s mastery of the Dark Side of the Force, including his ability to Force Choke, use telepathy, and cast lightning from his fingers.
Up until his death, Snoke proved that his powers were greater than Kylo Ren or Rey’s. Snoke threw Rey around the room and forced her to back down. He had also manipulated Ren.
Snoke proved that he was a master Sith without actually being one.
Yet, Snoke’s powers were not as advanced as the Emperor’s. Even though Snoke initially represented a threat to the Emperor, the latter prevailed.
Snoke was able to use his powers from great distances and even conceal the source of this power. The Emperor sensed a potential danger in the Unknown Regions but did not initially know who it was.
However, the Emperor was able to use Snoke for his larger purposes. And, we may view his death as part of Darth Sidious’s plan.
The Emperor also used a lightsaber better than Snoke did. For example, Palpatine showed his skills when fighting Yoda in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
We do not know how skilled Snoke was with a lightsaber, only that he met his end with one.
Further, the Emperor returned after his death. Although Darth Vader threw him down a reactor chamber in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Darth Sidious came back in the sequel movies.
Snoke is Powerful, But Not the Top Villain
Snoke is powerful. He may have been more powerful than Kylo Ren. Ren only killed Snoke through subterfuge, not a direct attack.
Snoke was certainly powerful with the Dark Side of the Force. Yet, the Emperor proved to be even stronger. Darth Sidious returned from death and used Snoke to carry out his designs against the Resistance and the Jedi. Fortunately for us, he did not succeed.
Todd Wahlstrom is a creative and analytical freelance writer and life-long Star Wars fan. He has covered such topics as Darth Vader, the Jedi, Boba Fett, and AT-AT Walkers. Todd has published a non-fiction book, holds a Ph.D. in history, and enjoys hiking, running, and reading about science.