In Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005), Supreme Chancellor Palpatine shares a Sith legend with Anakin Skywalker. He tells him about his former master, Darth Plagueis, a Dark Lord of the Sith who was so powerful "he could use the Force to influence the midichlorians to create life" and "could even keep the ones he cared about from dying." He was murdered by his apprentice, Darth Sidious (Palpatine), after he had passed along all of his knowledge of the dark side.
Palpatine ended his conversation with Anakin by saying, "It's ironic that he could save others from death, but not himself." But what if... he could? And that's been the foundation of an intriguing fan theory that speculates Supreme Leader Snoke (played by Andy Serkis) will turn out to be Darth Plagueis. Musical cues that are strikingly similar between that scene and "Snoke's Theme" in Star Wars: The Force Awakens also support the popular theory.
However, EW spoke with Serkis back in November (they repurposed those quotes in this piece), and during the course of the interview they say they were told by him that there is no connection between the two. They report: "Although there was much speculation about who Snoke might turn out to be (one popular theory was that he'd turn out to be a Sith Lord known from the prequels as Darth Plagueis) he actually turns out to be … just Snoke." Please note, those quotation marks are to note what the EW writer wrote. It was not a direct quote from Serkis, so this is still a bit up in the air.
"Supreme Leader Snoke is quite an enigmatic character, and strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful," Serkis shared in November, about a month before the film premiered. "Obviously he has a huge agenda. He has suffered a lot of damage. As I said, there is a strange vulnerability to him, which belies his true agenda, I suppose."
Disney and Lucasfilm have not yet responded to requests for comment on Snoke's identity.
Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII - probably with a definitive answer - will arrive in theaters May 26, 2017.