We know that there are a lot of powerful antagonists in the Star Wars universe, and Emperor Palpatine, the man known as Darth Sidious, was always a looming presence in the Skywalker Saga. However, during the first two movies of the sequel trilogy, one name stood out as a fearsome antagonist due to his power and influence over the First Order. We are talking about Supreme Leader Snoke. So, in a fight between Palpatine and Snoke, who would win?
Emperor Palpatine would undoubtedly win in a fight against Snoke because his connection and knowledge of the Force have always been stronger. On top of that, Snoke has the lightsaber skills, experience, and intelligence that would easily allow him to trump the Supreme Leader of the First Order.
As powerful as Snoke may have been, he is no Sidious. Palpatine was always stronger than Snoke due to his status as a Sith Lord that trained in the ways of the Sith. So, while Snoke may be strong and knowledgeable in the Force, Darth Sidious is simply more powerful. Now, let’s look at this fight in greater detail.
Despite his advanced age during the time of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Darth Sidious was still incredibly fit and strong. He could duel with several Jedi Masters while making quick work of three of them due to his immense speed. In that regard, while he may have been more than two decades older in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Palpatine could have still had pretty good physical abilities for a man over 80.
Since we met Snoke, he was already an elderly entity that could no longer move well enough. As such, he was mostly sitting in his seat throughout the first two movies of the Star Wars sequel, as it was clear that he wasn’t as physically capable as any other Force user. It could have been due to a combination of his age and wounds, but it was clear that he was a physically deteriorated person that would have lost to other characters in a fight were it not for his immense power in the Force.
The fact that Sidious was still more than capable of putting up a fight against Jedi Masters during Episode III says a lot about his physical conditioning. Of course, he wasn’t the same in the original trilogy, but he was still pretty capable for a man his age compared to Snoke.
Palpatine 1, Snoke 0
One thing that has always been impressive about Darth Sidious is his ability to duel on par with some of the strongest Jedi we’ve seen. On top of the fact that he easily killed three extremely strong Jedi Masters, Palpatine fought Mace Windu on equal footing and could also fight Yoda on par. Both Windu and Yoda were the two strongest Jedi during the Galactic Republic. As such, the fact that Palpatine fought those two on par says a lot about how skilled he was before he deteriorated as an older man.
The thing about Snoke is that we had never seen him using a lightsaber in a duel because he was no longer physically capable of fighting before he died in Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. In that regard, he needed the Praetorian Guard’s protection to ensure that no one could come close enough to try to kill him in close-combat situations. He was said to be quite skilled during his younger years, but he had deteriorated to the point that he could no longer even protect himself in a duel were it not for his incredible Force powers.
This should be easy to judge because Palpatine matched the combat prowess of the two strongest Jedi during the time of the Jedi Order. Meanwhile, Snoke wasn’t even shown to be a capable duelist.
Palpatine 2, Snoke 0
Palpatine has always been one of the strongest regarding his connection to the dark side of the Force. That’s because he focused on increasing his knowledge of the Force while he was still hiding from the eyes of the Jedi, as he used that time to further his knowledge and powers in preparation for his eventual rise as Emperor Palpatine. It was during the time that he and Yoda dueled that the Jedi Grandmaster realized that Palpatine and the Sith had evolved to be much more powerful than the Jedi in the Force. And if we factor in Palpatine’s enhanced powers during the events of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, he would be the strongest Sith in canon history.
Even though he has a body that has deteriorated, Snoke is extremely powerful in the Force and can access his incredible knowledge of the dark side of the Force to perform things that we haven’t seen before, including creating a mental connection between Rey and Kylo Ren. He was also able to overwhelm both Rey and Kylo Ren using the Force as it was clear that he was stronger than both of them in terms of his Force powers. As such, his mastery over the dark side was something we hadn’t seen before since the time of Darth Sidious.
Even though Snoke was said to be very strong and knowledgeable in the dark side of the Force, it was always clear that he was just a stand-in for Palpatine, who was still stronger in the Force.
Palpatine 3, Snoke 0
Palpatine was the man that acted behind the curtain during the events of the Skywalker Saga, and that means that he is the most experienced Force user in the entire storyline, especially after the death of Yoda. He lived decades learning the secrets behind the dark side of the Force and was even able to defeat powerful Force users throughout his time. The list includes the likes of Darth Maul, Savage Opress, Kit Fisto, Yoda, and other Jedi Masters. As such, his experience speaks for itself, as no other Sith in the storyline has had the same kind of experience as Darth Sidious.
Snoke’s history is quite clouded, but he was around during the time of the Empire up to the rise of the First Order but lived in secret while mastering the ways of the Force. As such, he wasn’t the most experienced user of the dark side of the Force, but he was skilled enough to have been able to fight several powerful warriors and survive an encounter with Luke Skywalker. But the fact that he wasn’t as old as Palpatine and wasn’t trained in the ways of the Sith is what held him back in terms of his experience as a Force user.
Fighting the likes of Mace Windu, Yoda, and Kit Fisto already puts Palpatine at a level other Sith Lords couldn’t reach.
Palpatine 4, Snoke 0
If there’s one thing that makes Palpatine more dangerous, it is his intelligence. While he may not have been the same kind of strategic genius that Grand Admiral Thrawn is, Palpatine was always the greatest manipulator in the storyline of Star Wars. He found ways to manipulate different events to his favor, regardless of who won the wars and battles. While the greatest Star Wars generals and commanders are masters of knowing how to use their chess pieces, Palpatine manipulated all of the chess masters so that he would always come out on top.
Even though we didn’t know much about Snoke, he was always portrayed as a smart and wise being with extensive knowledge of the Force and the events surrounding the galaxy. He was a scholar that understood the dark side of the Force at a deep level and was very knowledgeable about the most important events that transpired in the history of the galaxy. As such, he was an intelligent being with a sharp mind and a strong connection to the Force.
Snoke may have been very knowledgeable about the galaxy and the Force. Still, Palpatine was on an entirely different level in terms of the secrets that he knew and when it came to how he developed plans that always allowed him to stay several steps ahead of his enemies.
Palpatine 5, Snoke 0
Palpatine vs. Snoke: Who Wins?
Emperor Palpatine once said:
“As part of their genetic experiments, my followers had attempted to create another being that came to be known as Snoke. Although his body proved unworthy of containing my dark essence, Snoke’s natural sensitivity to the Force would make him a powerful puppet nonetheless.”
In that regard, it is clear that he was always more powerful than Snoke. It might be true that Snoke was a worthy dark side user with gifts that exceeded certain Sith Lords’ powers. But Darth Sidious was always on an entirely different level compared to Snoke and the other Sith Lords that we’ve met in the canon storyline of Star Wars.