Star Wars Symbology: The Visual and Psychological Proof That Luke Skywalker Is Snoke
“Myths are first and foremost psychic phenomena that reveal the nature of the soul.” -Carl Jung
I’ve explained how The Dark Portal as First Order Logo is the Skeleton Key to Star Wars.
Once you see it, and think about it, it’s visually and thematically pretty obvious. But that admission leads to a difficult question.
“Who is the Designer?”
It took me 7 months to say this but… it’s Luke Skywalker.
I wrestled with this thought because I didn’t want Luke to have succumbed to the Darkside. I also didn’t want to waste time presenting a theory with no basis.
But in the final analysis, Luke is the simplest, most elegant answer to this riddle.
Luke is Snoke.
And the visual and thematic proof is there, and I will present it.
Star Wars is the Great Myth of our Generation. Myths are the realm of archetypes, symbols and the universal lesson.
We know that Joseph Campbell’s work was heavily influenced by Carl Jung. Campbell stands on Jung’s shoulders. Jung went deeper and darker.
Finding out that the Great Myth of our Generation has a direct lineage to Jungian Psychology is kinda like finding out your Grandpa was the most Powerful Force-user in the Galaxy.
I’m not the first to say Jung is the Grandfather of Star Wars, and whether or not Lucas got down to reading Jung is beside the point — because it’s clear that JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson have.
And as good story-tellers, Abrams and Johnson weren’t going to smack us in the face with a itemized list of Wookiepedia Canon. They are making Art. They are making us work for it.
We will need to read between the lines and infer, like a Hemmingway novel, what isn’t said.
We will need to discern the visual clues hidden in plain sight. We will reference Jung as thematic source material. And we will reference the Star Wars canon for continuity.
The Dark Portal as First Order Logo is the Skeleton Key to unlocking Star Wars.
This is because while Snoke is the obvious choice for “Designer” of the First Order Logo, Luke is obviously the only one who knew the location and significance of Ahch-To.
The Luke that Rey finds on Ahch-To however, is not the one she’s heard about in legends.
Rey says, “But I didn’t see you. Nothing from you. You’ve closed yourself off from the Force. Of course you have.”
We take this as fact because we trust her character, but Rey was mistaken.
We know that Senator Palpatine (when he was also Darth Sidious amongst many Jedi), and Yoda and Obi-Wan (when hiding in exile) used what is called in Star Wars canon, “Force Stealth” to conceal and shield their Force powers from enemy detection.
Luke admits that Rey has a fear-invoking “raw strength” to match Ben Solo.
But we must remember that Rey is a total Force-novice who received her first lesson in the Force just a moment ago. It is not her fault, she just doesn’t know better.
Instead, when we read between the lines of Luke’s “First Lesson” we realize:
- We have no reason to believe Luke isn’t using The Force — at a much higher level throughout the film — than is overtly stated.
- Johnson is having Rey run interference on the audience, almost as a form of film-making Force Stealth, to conceal the true story of Luke on Ahch-To.
We must remember, there is only one Jedi Master in this film. And he is using The Force the whole time.
Luke’s understanding of The Force has had 35 years to deepen and mature. He’s spent the last 6 years on Ahch-To thinking about the complexities inherent in the mosaic of the Prime Jedi.
The Prime Jedi is depicted as equal parts light and dark. Like a yin and yang.
This surprised some Star Wars fans, myself included, considering that we’ve been told all along it’s a battle of Light VS. Dark — not an integrated Light AND Dark.
But the Star Wars Canon has a precedent for this non-binary situation called the Gray Jedi, which was a term “used by Jedi and Sith to describe Force-users who walked the line between the light and dark sides of the Force without surrendering to the dark side, and who operated outside the strictures of the Jedi Code.”
Luke is operating so far outside the strictures of Jedi Code he wishes to burn it all down.
Jungian Pyschology has a precedent for this too.
Jungian ideas about the archetypes, the persona, complexes, enantiodromia, the anima — all serve important roles in the personal quest for wholeness, and serve the story of Star Wars.
Perhaps the most obvious Jungian idea in Star Wars is “The Shadow”, the dark side of the psyche, consisting of the same things that Yoda warned Luke were the path to the Darkside.
“Yes, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.” -Yoda
By the way, there is a canonical precedent for this. Yoda battled his Shadow-Persona in The Clone Wars.
Master Yoda engaged in physical battle with his Darkside, personified and manifested as his shadow. This is quite the precedent for Luke’s shadow persona taking on a bigger role in The Last Jedi.
In contrast to the battle of Light VS. Dark, the war which Jung believed all must wage involves the “integration of the Shadow” into a “unified and actualized Self.”
In fact, Jung believed that avoidance of one’s Shadow leads to it growing stronger.
How long was Luke on Ahch-To before he was called, like Rey, to the Dark Portal and down into the Mirror Cave?
And in the wake of his catastrophic failure with Ben Solo and the Jedi Temple, what did Luke need to see?
Based on Luke’s condition upon arrival at Ahch-To and what he saw the last time he entered a dark nexus on Dagobah,
and what Rey saw,
We can safely assume that Luke saw his reflection when he visited Mirror Cave.
But unlike Rey who is at the first steps of her journey, Luke has a lifetime of success and failure to reflect on. A lifetime of repressed dark thoughts, desires, emotions, and instincts.
Unlike Rey, Luke knows who his father was.
Like Rey, Snoke’s Origins are a mystery.
- We know he comes from the Unkown Region.
- We know canonically that Snoke was a “powerful Darkside user, but not a Sith.” Why is that a relevant differentiation?
- We know Snoke “witnessed the fall of the Empire.”
- We know The First Order existed as a shell of the former Empire in the Unknown Region for years after the battle of Jakku.
- We know Snoke joined The First Order late, but rose quickly to Supreme Leader through manipulation and assassination.
- We don’t know how his face became deformed.
- We know Snoke “knew Ben Solo would be strong with the Force, that he was born with equal potential for good or evil.” (Leia)
- We know Luke nearly turned to the Darkside in Return of The Jedi.
“Anyone who thinks of Star Wars as a simplistic story of good and evil needs to look more closely at the young Skywalker, who always seems to be on the brink of turning dark, even when he’s saving the day.” -RS
Luke carries a lot of baggage. He has a Giant Persona. He has an enormous Shadow.
In Mirror Cave, the reflection that Luke needs to see is the part of himself he’s always been so scared to face. His Shadow-Persona.
“And so it happens that if anyone…undertakes for himself the perilous journey into the darkness by descending, either intentionally or unintentionally, into the crooked lanes of his own spiritual labyrinth, he soon finds himself in a landscape of symbolical figures (any one of which may swallow him).” -Joseph Campbell
And the reflection Luke saw was not his face, but Snoke’s.
This is because Snoke is the outward projection of Luke’s Shadow-Persona — a manifestation of Luke’s inner condition.
“Projections change the world into the replica of one’s own unknown face.” -Carl Jung
I began comparing Luke and Snoke’s faces because I thought it was interesting that they both had light blue eyes. Shakespeare’s quote, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” came to mind.
But it wasn’t until I placed the two canonical images above side-by-side that I realized Snoke’s features, almost inconceivably, mirror Luke’s features — specifically — from his Dark Cave confrontation on Dagobah.
- The bone structure of Snoke’s disfigured left cheekbone and jawline match the distinct angles and contour of Vader’s mask.
- Note how the deep triangular scar on Snoke’s left cheek, and the fainter scar on his right cheek, reflects the shape, features and location of Vader’s helmet.
- The swirl of Snoke’s scars resemble the smoke emanating from Luke’s left eye.
- Snoke’s disfigured nose is cocked at the same angle as Luke’s.
- The non-deformed section of Snoke’s chin matches the boot-like shape and slant of Luke’s exposed chin.
- The scar on Snoke’s forehead is in the same location as Luke’s lightsaber stroke that awkwardly knocked Vader’s head off in the Dark Cave.
The visual similarities are shocking. And the synchronicity of Luke’s Dagobah psyche reappearing as a darker being — that still bears the psychic scars of their first encounter — is amazing story-telling.
But you have to go to Jung to explain how this could be thematically coherent.
Jung used the term “Enantiodromia” to describe how one’s unconscious mind can act against the wishes of his conscious mind.
The Definition of Enantiodromia is, “a principle introduced by psychiatrist Carl Jung that the superabundance of any force inevitably produces its opposite. It is similar to the principle of equilibrium in the natural world, in that any extreme is opposed by the system in order to restore balance. However, in Jungian terms, a thing psychically transmogrifies into its Shadow opposite, in the repression of psychic forces that are thereby cathected into something powerful and threatening. This can be anticipated as well in the principles of traditional Chinese religion — as in Taoism and yin-yang.”
“Enantiodromia practically always occurs when an extreme, one-sided tendency dominates conscious life; in time an equally powerful counter-position is built up, which first inhibits the conscious performance and subsequently breaks through the conscious control.” -Carl Jung
In Chapter 7 of The Last Jedi canonical novelization, Leia provides insight into Luke’s faith in the Light, and his willingness to allow “Enantiodromia” to play out.
“The Order had forbidden emotional attachments, warning that they left a Jedi vulnerable to the lures of the dark side. And indeed, it was a love curdled into jealousy and possessiveness that had led their father, Anakin Skywalker, into darkness and despair.
But Luke had disagreed with Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi that Anakin was lost to the light. He had insisted that the very emotional entanglements that had led Anakin to become Darth Vader might also draw him back.
Luke had been right — and ignoring his teachers had saved him, the Alliance, and the galaxy.”
Anakin’s dark turn and ultimate redemption was precluded by Luke’s belief that he could draw his father back to the Light. This affirms the wisdom of Luke’s pattern of rejecting dogma for what he saw as a greater truth. It should remind us to trust Luke’s judgement.
But How did Luke, as Snoke, become Supreme Leader of the First Order?
Luke Force-Projected Snoke from Ahch-To.
Jung defined “projection”as, “An inevitable and necessary component in our psychological development as it is one of the primary means by which we can gain an awareness of elements residing in our unconscious.”
“The subject gets rid of painful, incompatible contents by projecting them.” -Carl Jung
- We know Luke could Force Project.
- We know Luke could change the appearance of his Force Projection, appearing much younger when he faced Kylo on Crait.
- We know Temple Island on Ahch-To was an incredibly strong nexus of Force energy, both dark and light.
- We know Luke could maintain the complexity of a second Force Projection — Han’s Dice — located elsewhere than his primary projection.
We know Luke changed his appearance to look younger on Crait while engaging in a lightsaber duel with Kylo Ren — but he also maintained a secondary Force projection of the dice the entire time back in the mine.
The high degree of complexity Luke managed on Crait indicates he could rather easily shuffle around a throne room as Snoke, give the visual impression that Snoke’s body was severed where the lightsaber slowly passes through it — and maintain a Force projection of Snoke’s inanimate body parts for as long as required.
- We know Star Wars: Legend has a precedent for the Force Projection of an appearance not your own called, Doppleganger.
- We know Rey and Kylo didn’t “Forcetime” until after Luke meets her on Ahch-To.
Why did Luke Force-Project Snoke?
- We know Luke lost Ben before Snoke took Kylo as his apprentice.
- We know losing Ben caused Luke great sorrow and shame.
Jung called “Dissociation” “The temporary drastic modifications of one’s personal identity or character to avoid emotional distress; separation or postponement of a feeling that normally would accompany a situation or thought.”
- We know the Sith traditional “Rule of Two”. Snoke wasn’t a Sith, but like Darth Sidious and Darth Vader before him, Kylo killed his Master.
- We know that killing Darth Sidious turned Anakin Skywalker back towards the light.
- It was chaotic how it came to pass, but Luke’s belief that Vader would turn back to the Light ultimately paid off.
- Like Vader, Luke’s path to the Light traveled through the Darkside. Perhaps Luke realized Kylo’s path would be no different.
- There is also a thematic synchronicity to the dual Suns found on both Tatooine and Ahch-To that suggest the “two faces” of Luke have always been his destiny.
Despite my initial trepidation to consider the possibility that Luke had a Mr. Hyde or Tyler Durden, Luke-as-Snoke was a bold and creative decision by Abrams and Johnson that nevertheless makes the Myth not only not less, but more meaningful to Star Wars Fans.
Perhaps this deeper understanding of Luke will give the Star Wars fans who hated The Last Jedi reason to reconsider their opinion.
For the record, I believe this arch as Snoke makes Luke incredibly more Heroic.
The visual proof that Luke is Snoke is pretty undeniable, and the decision to go there makes deep thematic sense to the story when viewed through the lens of Campbell’s Archetypes and Jungian Psychology.
But I kept asking myself, why does this matter?
“Myths are first and foremost psychic phenomena that reveal the nature of the soul.” -Jung
We know the world needs to become less binary, appreciate more nuance. Less black and white. Less ones and zeroes. Less us vs them, less fear of the other.
We know Life can be very hard, and we all need to take a courageous, compassionate, proactive approach to our mental health.
Integrating one’s Shadow is an important step in each individual life. But Jung lived through two World Wars and warned that failure to integrate the Shadow on an individual basis can manifest the dark side of the psyche in mass scale.
“Modern people are ignorant of what they really are. We have to discover our shadow. Otherwise we are driven into World War in order to see what beasts we are.” -Jung
To ignore the fact that Star Wars is also an allegory for the Jungian Archetypes is to skim along the surface and miss its deeper truths.
Luke as Snoke challenges the Star Wars fan to integrate his or her own Shadow, to undertake the difficult tasks that are nevertheless crucial to the battle of Life.
“The sad truth is that man’s real life consists of a complex of inexorable opposites — day and night, birth and death, happiness and misery, good and evil. We are not even sure that one will prevail over the other, that good will overcome evil, or joy defeat pain. Life is a battleground. It always has been, and always will be.” -Jung
Luke Skywalker is the archetypal blueprint for hope, who thus crosses over into our Galaxy. Luke sparks real hope in us, that we can and will win the internal battle and achieve wholeness.
In the final analysis, Star Wars, the Great Myth of our Generation, matters deeply because it reinforces the idea that the personal quest towards an integrated shadow and a unified-self, though difficult, is the most meaningful adventure and highest aim to which anyone, can and must aspire.
Thank you for reading, feel free to leave a clap if you’ve enjoyed!
Additional evidence that Luke is Snoke can be found in Star Wars Symbology: Where There’s Fire, There’s Snoke.
Metaphorical analysis of the Dark Portal symbol can be found in Star Wars Symbology: The Dark Portal as First Order Logo.