“Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.” – Palatine
Since the trailer release for Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, fans have been begging the question, how is it possible that Palpatine has returned for the last installment of the Skywalker Saga? During the final moments of the trailer, we hear Luke Skywalker say “No one is ever really gone,” followed by an evil laugh just before the title drops. From this moment, one thing was for certain, Emperor Palpatine has returned.
The Teaching of Darth Plagueis
One very strong theory is that Palpatine replicated the teachings of his former master, Darth Plagueis. The Sith master that “perfected” the dark rituals for immortality. In the last prequel film, Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine told Anakin that Darth Plagueis had understood the Force in such a way that he could create life and prevent death by simply touching those he cared about.
That manipulation is what pushed Anakin towards the dark side more than anything else. Anakin had a great fear that he would soon lose Padme and wanted to save her from death, which he couldn’t do for his mother. Palpatine, who was also fearful of death, had spent decades studying, practicing, and perfecting these teachings to an unknown degree.
The main working idea here isn’t that of Palpatine using the Force to keep himself alive, but him utilizing cloning technology. With this theory, the voice we hear laughing in the trailer is not the original Emperor Palpatine, but a clone. Strong evidence for this direction with Palpatine and his return can be found in the “Expanded Universe” novels which were made non-canon upon Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm. Looking back at The Dark Empire story arc, we saw a new Empire (similar to The First Order) emerge after The Return of the Jedi. A new leader appear and this leader was later revealed to be a NEW Palpatine! He had artificially aged these clones to his preferred age and using the dark side of the Force, took spiritual possession of these clones at will.
The Star Wars Expanded Universe explained that clones, to say the least, had a weird effect on the Force. Clones are unnatural copies of the same person which defies natural order with the living force. Palpatine at this point in the universe was so powerful that it caused his clone bodies to age and die faster than expected. The longer he continued to defy death, The faster these clones would die. Palpatine’s mind would warp even further each time he attempted to clone and transfer process.
Palpatine Escaped & Has Been Hiding
Most people would also claim that he couldn’t or shouldn’t have survived the massive explosion of the Death Star (II). However, as we all know, we didn’t see a corpse so we cannot rule out the possibility of his survival. There’s a good chance that he might have used the Force to break his fall which is the least wackiest thing Force users have done. From there, it would be a simple matter of him reaching a ship and escaping before the Death Star (II) was destroyed.
Due to his Sith philosophy, Palpatine was always unwilling to let anyone else succeed him in the Galactic Empire in the event of his death. Palpatine seemed to believe that the Empire’s sole purpose for existence was to protect his own life and well-being. It’s pretty clear at this point that Supreme Leader Snoke was nothing more than a pawn, caught in a tangled, cosmic web of galactic domination. This has been a theory for some time, with the physical deformities on Snoke rumored to be a sign of an imperfect cloning process or side-effects of Palpatine possessing bodies.
What do you think of Palpatine’s return in Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker? Leave your comments down below and feel free to follow me at @QuantumxParadox on Twitter!