Snoke vs. Adam: A Lesson In Storytelling

The title of this article most likely has you thinking, “I know who Snoke is, but who’s Adam? Is it Adam from the book of Genesis? What would those two have to do with each other?”

The answer is no, it’s not Adam from Genesis I’ll be talking about. It’s actually Adam from my novel Remnant, because this is my blog, and I talk about my own characters from time to time. Now, for those of you who have not read my novel, get to it, and come back to this article when you’re done.

Because spoilers.

In The Last Jedi, Snoke is killed by Kylo Ren. I’ll refrain from venting my opinion on how Snoke was killed, though. In my novel Remnant, the character of Adam, who many people have said they enjoyed and looked forward to seeing where his story goes, is also killed unexpectedly. I simply want to explain to Disney the proper way to shock audiences with an unexpected death. And it simply boils down to this:

Make them an actual character first.

Judging from how quickly Snoke was killed, before we learned a damn thing about him, it seems obvious that he was only put in the story to mirror Darth Vader turning on his master, or maybe it was to show how evil Kylo Ren can be. I don’t know. Point is, we didn’t know who Snoke was before he died, and that’s a serious problem.

Disney made it abundantly clear (not in the movies) that Snoke was not a Sith Lord. It was also established (not in the movies) that Snoke saw the Empire rise and fall, which would make him at least moderately old by the time The Force Awakens begins. He was immensely powerful, proving himself capable of making short work of both Kylo Ren and Rey. Rey, by the way, is overpowered enough as it is, so for any character to easily overwhelm her is, well, saying a lot.

But do the movies tell us how Snoke came to be so powerful? Why he wasn’t a Sith Lord? Why his body was so damaged? How he formed and empowered the First Order? Or did the movies simply explain what his motivation was? If the guy just wanted to rule the galaxy, like a typical, unoriginal villain, then the least you can do is tell us that much.

This is where Adam, a character I created and killed off quickly, comes in. Here’s how you do this right, Disney.

I established Adam’s backstory before he died. He came from a dysfunctional family that ended up turning on each other after society collapsed, and he escaped them because he didn’t want to be dragged down by them. But then, he accidentally got caught up with a crime syndicate that ruled the city since decades before the big Collapse. He wanted to remain a good person, but he just couldn’t escape bad people. He questioned himself, wondering if it’s even worth it to be a good person since nobody else is.

Adam gets the opportunity to free a few kids who are being held captive by this crime syndicate. And he does so, at the risk of his own life. Fortunately, he does free the kids without any one of them getting killed in the process, but still, he gets shot and killed. He didn’t get a chance to forgive himself for his own crimes, and he didn’t even have a chance to take care of the kids he helped free.

Adam was shy. He was polite. He had a fidget of constantly buttoning and unbuttoning his shirt. He had regrets, and he had hopes. He doubted himself. And most importantly, he had a beginning.

All of these things were explained in the book before he suddenly died. We’ve all seen Game of Thrones, and we all know how most of the Starks got killed in the Red Wedding before any of their tasks and hopes were complete. But we still got to know who they were first.

Perhaps Snoke was just a means of developing Kylo Ren’s character, and that’s it. Maybe he was never meant to be anything special in the first place. Still, Disney, you could have tried. I’m going to admit here and now that the only (literally only) reason I created the character of Adam was to establish the character of Ethan without giving Ethan his own perspective chapters. Once I was able to depict Ethan through another character’s eyes, Adam died. But I still took the time to make the character a …. you know …. character.

Yet another reason I despised The Last Jedi. I really liked Snoke. He was practically the only thing in the new Star Wars trilogy that I did like. I don’t mind that he was killed unexpectedly. That actually makes interesting, engaging entertainment, but there is a way to do it wrong, and Disney, you did it wrong.

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