The Sith under Palpatine had a goal, destruction of the Jedi and to rule the Galaxy. The First Order under Snoke has a goal, destruction of the Jedi and to Rule the Galaxy. In the old EU the darkside seemed to have the same goal 1000 years before ANH and few hundred years after. The question is why do they want to rule the Galaxy? Why did the First Order decide to leave the Unknown regions and attempt to take over? Lets see what we know and if we can figure out the motivations that drive Snoke and the First Order.
This isn’t the first time we have hypothesized about the who what and whys of the First Order. We’ve speculated on where their name comes from and what their original plan to rule the galaxy was and I’m pretty sure the original plan article is dead on while the origin of their name is still up in the air. Let’s look at what do know for certain: The First Order came from the Unknown regions, They are or have in the very least incorporated the remnants of the Empire that went there after the battle of Jakku, they are lead by a darkside-wielder, and their goal is to rule the galaxy.
When it comes to the unknown regions we know that Thrawn and the Chiss Ascendancy were located/from the Unknown regions and that the reason Thrawn was involved in the Empire was to find a suitable ally against a threat in the Unknown regions. Palpatine could feel a source of the dark side of the Force emanating from the unknown regions and that with Thrawn’s help he had figured out a path to navigate into its depths. Thus the Unknown regions were part of the Emperor’s contingency plans. Knowing this, it is likely that the threat the Chiss were concerned about was the First Order or its precursor before it incorporated the remnants of the Imperial Fleet.
If the First Order is that original threat the Chiss were concerned with then the question is then why did they leave the Unknown regions?
Its seems likely that either by the time the remnants of the Empire met up with the First Order or shortly after they conquered the Chiss and the rest of the Unknown regions. With the new knowledge base and technology they gained by bringing the Imperials into their organization they could begin to plan for more. The Imperials wanted to regain what they had lost, and by joining with the First Order they would be able to take back what was lost even sooner. As we stated in the article above the original plan was not to go to war with the Republic but to “rescue it” and then become the de facto leaders of the Galaxy. Once the events of Bloodline happened and the Resistance was formed, the First Order had to change their tactics. This led to what we saw in The Force Awakens.
The First Order military wing is the continuation of the Empire and its goals, but I am not certain that Snoke is the continuation of the Emperor. While he might accept the position of Emperor I get the feeling that he has no desire for it and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up letting someone else take that mantel. Snoke wants power, according to Han its why he recruited Kylo Ren.
Han: Snoke is using you for your power. When he gets what he wants, he’ll crush you. You know it’s true.
Those Imperials that escaped to the Unknown regions were used like Kylo to further Snoke’s power. He needs Luke to be destroyed and any military force that could stop his to be eliminated. Snoke wants to control the Galaxy but not because he wants control over the people… I suspect he wants to control the Force and he can only do that through control of the Galaxy and the elimination of all other Force-users, including Kylo once he has fulfilled his purpose. That is what I suspect is Snoke’s ultimate goal and will be his downfall.