Seriously people? Do we really need to discuss the fact that Supreme Leader Snoke is NOT Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker? I mean, really. This should be a no brainer, but it obviously isn't. So, let's refresh some old information, and try our best to remain to canon. Towards the end, we may venture into a little "Legends" (aka Extended Universe) content though.
|Yeah, pretty crispy there.|
Now, perhaps other portions of the suit, and robotics of what made up "Vader" may have remained, but that should be it. The fleshy bits should have been ashed. This also means that the right hand...is robotic. Remember that Anakin lost both of his legs (about the knees), and his right arm (about the elbow) when he fought Obi-Wan in Episode 3.
So, why am I bringing up all of these little details for? Well, have you looked at Snoke? I mean, have you really seen what the fellow looked like?
|Not a pretty face, but at least he has both of his hands!|
In the above image, take a good long look at the left and right hands of Snoke's there. Yeah. Neither of which are robotic in ANY form! Both hands are...well, hands. The fleshy type. Now, if you click the image, you get some great details of the hands, so there is no trickery here. Google for Snoke if you don't believe me. Now, in this image, his face is a bit burnt. However, Vader's face wasn't burnt like it is on Snoke.
Before anyone decides to jump to the comments about the scar on his head...I see it, and no it does NOT resemble the scar on Vader's noggin. Consider this little nugget of consideration. Do you really think Disney would make that BIG of a mistake on the difference between Snoke and Anakin's heads? I mean, common, they digitally slapped a young Jeff Bridges' face on a body doubles face in Tron Legacy, and the technology to do so has only gotten better since then. I am pretty sure they would have managed to do something to tie the two together better.
And to conclude this, Anakin was ultimately redeemed, and stood alongside Yoda, and Obi-Wan at the end of RotJ. Yes, in the altered "extended" release, AND the original release (of course, both versions have different Anakin's, but that is irrelevant to the case). The two prior trilogies played out as follows: Episode 1 through 3 was the fall of Anakin. Episode 4 through 6 was the redemption of Vader/Anakin. As for Episode 7 through 9, I don't quite know what to tell you. Why? Lucas's intended direction for the new trilogy was tossed out by J.J. Abrams and Disney (You can find Lucas's thoughts regarding Disney and The Force Awakens all over the interwebz). Anakin has no desire to be evil, turn to the darkside, or overthrow the universe. He is dead, and part of the force now.
So, the ultimate question remains; who the hell is Snoke then!? Well, we could play with the old Extended Universe content that Disney may, or may not, recycle into the new canonical universe. For example, The Emperor used the cloning technology from the Clone Wars to clone himself new bodies in the case of an untimely death, regardless of reason. The bodies were essentially just shells with no mind of their own. Upon Death, Palpatine would just "force ghost" himself into a new body, and be as good as new.
|Copyright Dark Horse Comics December 1991 and October 1992|
Marvel Comics "Legends" series
Now, if this is the case...why is this body all beat up and ugly? Well, perhaps some backstory content between RotJ and TFA could give us a good solid 30 year backstory about Palpatine/Snoke, and why he looks this way. Or, it is a degenerative issue with the clone body not accepting the force ghost of the emperor. Keep in mind that the Emperor stopped using clones in the military sometime between Episodes 3 and 4. Perhaps it was due to the fact that the clones, albeit coming from a good template, weren't designed to "last long". Now, I know that the Star Wars Rebels series is considered canon, and they have introduced clones from the Clone Wars series, which is also canon. We could view them as exceptions.
Most likely, though? Cloning is to expensive when you could just use a forced enlistment program throughout the galaxy to bring in new recruits. I mean, there are a lot of humans on a lot of backwater planets that probably just dream about "seeing the galaxy". Why create expensive clones when you can recruit cheap and expendable farm boys? We also know that the 1st Order conscripts new recruits at birth.
What is probably the case regarding "Who is Snoke" is that Snoke is most likely just...Snoke. The latest villain for the Star Wars franchise. No one related to the Skywalker line, but connected in the same way Palpatine was connected...happenstance and acquaintance.
So, can we all just stop speculating now?