The Last Jedi presented some very unexpected story beats that have left fans scratching their heads at the significance of Snoke. At the same time, the content related to the film has revealed some new clues on where Snoke comes from. Let’s take a what it all means–spoilers and speculation below!
Snoke’s connections to the Empire are the basis for why he became the leader of the First Order. We’ve written a lot of speculative articles in the past and a lot of this turns out to be true, a lot of it remain to be seen. However, one idea about Snoke’s connections to Celestials may have some new traction. While Snoke’s mortality (assuming he’s really dead) suggests that he isn’t a Celestial, he could be related to them or have access knowledge derived from them.
The Celestials are believed by some Star Wars characters to be the architects of hyperspace, including a hyperspace barrier around the galaxy and other anomalies. I should note that this isn’t technically canon (hat-tip to redditor bmtrocks for pointing this out), but are in Jason Fry’s “author’s cut” of The Essential Guide to Warfare, so these are the writings of a well-versed Star Wars author at least:
I believe they engineered the hyperspace barrier that surrounds our galaxy, either to protect themselves against invasion or to prevent the return of beings they had exiled from this galaxy. Perhaps both. And I believe they engineered the chain of hyperspace anomalies that have long frustrated exploration west of the Deep Core. –Insmot Bowen, Pre-Republic specialist at the Obroan Institute
While not 100% canon, these writings were at one point under consideration as canon during the writing/editing phase. It’s hard to imagine a being that is capable of manipulating hyperspace, and what ancient knowledge would be required for such a feat. Nevertheless, these Celestials were also capable of “moving planets” using these techniques.
I don’t know, Master. But I think I understand – in broad outline, mind you — how the Celestials did what they did. I think their Turbines were tractor-repulsors built to move planets and stars through hyperspace. -Insmot Bowen
This certainly sounds like the kind of technology that the First Order would need to move the Starkiller base. To me, this suggests that Snoke or someone close to him had connections to some ancient Celestial technology or magic capable of manipulating hyperspace. What I didn’t anticipate was the reveal of the “Attendants“, which are super-smart and intriguing navigators that Snoke uses as his guides.
According to The Last Jedi Visual Dictionary, these beings served as a critical factor in the Empire surviving in the Unknown Regions.
Snoke’s retinue includes mute alien navigators who originated in the Unknown Regions. Were it not for the ancient hyperspace trails blazed by these towering servants, the Imperial survivors that fled to this uncharted realm would certainly have perished.
While it isn’t clear how exactly the Attendants helped the Empire, this goes back to past speculation about Palpatine exploring the unknown regions. After the fall of the Empire, those Imperial scientists and brigades that Palpatine sent out must have regrouped in the unknown regions and formed the First Order. It certainly sounds like hyperspace routes or the knowledge of them provided by the Attendants may have been the key.
A quick point about space travel in Star Wars. George Lucas once said that what determines the speed of a ship is the ship’s computer–the navicomputer. “Fast” ships have the ability to calculate the most direct route through star systems to avoid collisions with various stellar objects in a shorter total distance traveled. A more direct route is a shorter distance than going around some obstacle like a star field. Side point is this is why Han Solo wasn’t wrong to say that the Falcon made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs, a unit of distance. What’s amazing is that somehow the Attendants do these calculations in their heads. According to the Visual Dictionary, these beings can do these “multidimensional calculations”, and this is likely how they are able to navigate the Unknown Regions. Clearly, the intelligence of the Attendants boggles the mind.
Interestingly, these beings have weak eyes that require fancy eyewear to see with according to the Visual Dictionary. This necessity to build high-tech optical lenses for eyewear could be part of why these guys are experts at optical technology. In particular, they seem to be the ones that created the “occulus”, a special lens seen in The Last Jedi that is used to help them navigate. Who knows, it’s also possible that the knowledge of the bending of light by lenses is somehow related to traveling through hyperspace at light speed.
The missing piece of the puzzle of course is how these Attendants acquired this information, or did they just figure it out on their own? To me a likely scenario is that these beings are related to the Celestials, who are also depicted as tall beings. While these guys probably aren’t Celestials, they could be descendants from them, or somehow privy to ancient secrets of the Celestials. How exactly this information was passed down remains to be seen because this is all the information we have for now. As the veil gets pulled back more, and more connections to mysterious ancient beings gets revealed, we’ll be back to bring you more!