The question of Snoke returning in Star Wars episode IX is something that people need to quit harping about. I can remember when the prequels came out that the buzz surrounding them wasn’t this crazed. Back then the internet wasn’t what it is now and social media was still a thing that was waiting to happen, but the movie buzz and word of mouth was still quite strong. Still, when the prequels were making their way to theaters people didn’t react like this, they didn’t theorize over and over about what might happen and who might return. There was buzz without a doubt but it wasn’t this kind crazy theorizing that folks do now. They just let it happen and waited to see what would come of their theories.
Now everyone’s theory about Snoke has been cut in half, literally, and seemingly forgotten as the First Order is now under the command of Kylo Ren. It seemed kind of a shock to think that such a powerful Force user as Snoke would be taken out so easily by his pupil, but in truth I agree with a lot of articles. He was just a figurehead. He was the guy that was supposedly behind Kylo Ren and the First Order, and nothing more. He’d been through a lot as was made apparent by his image, but his days of fighting the good fight were over, otherwise he would have been able to sense what Kylo was about to do and at least alert his guards. So either Kylo is more powerful than we know, which would mean that Rey is even more so, or Snoke was really just an old, decrepit man that had a lot of power in the Force but not enough stamina or overall wisdom to use it properly. Think about it, Yoda was over 900 years old when he went, and he was almost never surprised like this. He could feel the Force in so many different directions that few things ever surprised him.
You might say that’s because he was a Jedi Master, but the Sith, and even just Dark Jedi in general, have been seen to be just as powerful. Now for any that still want to hold onto the theory that Snoke is really Darth Plageius, you could at least satisfy the argument that in the comics and the books cloning is still considered to be a little known thing that happens in the Star Wars universe. The former Emperor did in fact clone himself in what is now no longer considered canon, so there’s always that angle that J.J. Abrams could bring back around. Snoke could have been a clone of the Emperor or he could have been the original, it doesn’t matter. What would matter with this theory is that Snoke could still be out there somewhere, either woken by a contingency or waiting to be raised when the time comes.
That could mean that he’d be back for episode IX, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.