comScore

So This Is How Palpatine Really Came Back in The Rise of Skywalker, in Case You Cared

Somehow, Palpatine returned.

Poe Dameron's "somehow, Palpatine has returned" face.

(Disney/Lucasfilm)

One of the best parts of the recent Star Wars series has been the novelizations, which have done a lot of work to fill in the timelines and holes that the sequel trilogies cinematic efforts couldn’t get to, or just ignored. Among the many things that writer Rae Carson had to navigate in adapting The Rise of Skywalker was explaining how Emperor Palpatine managed to come back despite having been super killed off during the original trilogy. Clones!

According to Screen Rant, despite the official release date not being until March, it seems that Lucasfilm Publishing had been selling advance copies of the novelization during C2E2 in Chicago this past weekend, and passages have begun appearing online. The particular passage concerning Papa Palpatine explains that the Emperor’s soul leaped into a clone party somewhere between his screaming and falling to his “death” in Return of the Jedi.

In the narrative, Kylo Ren is able to figure this out due to his studying of the Clone Wars:

All the vials were empty of liquid save one, which was nearly depleted. Kylo peered closer. He’d seen this apparatus before, too, when he’d studied the Clone Wars as a boy. The liquid flowing into the living nightmare before him was fighting a losing battle to sustain the Emperor’s putrid flesh.

“What could you give me?” Kylo asked. Emperor Palpatine lived, after a fashion, and Kylo could feel in his very bones that this clone body sheltered the Emperor’s actual spirit. It was an imperfect vessel, though, unable to contain his immense power. It couldn’t last much longer.

Screen Rant also explains that this storyline is taken straight from Dark Empire, an expanded universe/Legends novel that was apparently a favorite of George Lucas—a major difference being that, in that book, the spirit could be held by the clone body, whereas in The Rise of Skywalker, it seems to be leading to the decay of the host. While this could be inferred in the movie, if you cared enough to do so, there is not anything explicitly explaining that Emperor Palpatine in the sequel series is a clone himself, just that he made some of Snoke for … reasons.

Carson does, however, think this explanation gives more weight as to why Grandpapa P needs to take over his granddaughter’s body. He needs a new host because his soul is too funky for any clone to handle. His dark side is too rank. Still, why couldn’t we have gotten this very simple, one-line explanation in the film? With all the money that was spent for this film, it seems ridiculous that Carson, who I’m sure was paid much less than director J.J. Abrams to do this novelization, had to find ways to fill in the holes as best she can, while still staying true to the dialogue and events that are canon in the film.

May the force be with her.

Giphy of Carrie Fisher giving a salute on the set of "The Last Jedi"

(via Screen Rant)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? tips@themarysue.com

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.