Warning: spoilers for The Last Jedi ahead.
Although it seems acknowledged that the odds of this theory coming to fruition are slim, it still all adds up.
User archo76 on Reddit suggested that Plagueis did cheat death by using the bodies of Palpatine and Snoke – and the death of Snoke was part of his plan to move on to Kylo Ren.
“What if his method of avoiding death was to possess the body of his pupil?” they wrote.
“So hear me out, prior to the events of the prequels, Darth Plagueis takes in a pupil, Palpatine. Plaguies grooms Palaptine to be a powerful Sith, making him a powerful vessel. Or maybe he can’t take over a body unless that person is already consumed by the Dark Side.
“Eventually, as Plaguies’ body breaks down, he possesses Palpatine’s body, basically replacing him. When Plagueis/Palpatine meets Anakin, he sees his future vessel.
“To manipulate Anakin, he tells him of Plaguies’ ability to cheat death. But he doesn’t tell him that he’s Plagueis or that Force possession is possible because why would he warn Anakin of his plans? Instead he allows Anakin and the viewer to believe that Palpatine killed Plagueis.
“When Anakin is maimed and burned, he becomes an unusable vessel. Plagueis/Palpatine doesn’t want to jump into such a damaged body. So he waits.”
The theory continues: “Finally, when he finds Luke Skywalker, he knows he’s found his new vessel. But first, he needs Luke to turn to the Dark Side.
“He tries to manipulate Luke into embracing his hate and killing his father. Not only does this plan fail, but the Palpatine body is destroyed in the process.
“Sometime between Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens, Plagueis ends up [in] the Snoke body. As Snoke, his body is rapidly breaking down. He needs Kylo to fully turn to the Dark Side. But Kylo is too conflicted with the pull of the Light.
“Plagueis knows the only way to fulfill Kylo’s turn and end his conflict is to have him kill his master. Snoke knew Kylo would turn on him. That was the plan all along.
“Now with Plagueis free of the Snoke body and Kylo fully on the Dark Side, Plagueis can take over his body. Perhaps he has already.”
They pointed out: “This would tie all three trilogies together. I think everyone wants to see Snoke back for Episode 9.”
Whether or not LucasFilm would approach something that complex in the main saga is admittedly unlikely – but it certainly makes for a tantalising possibility.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out now.