How Did Palpatine Return In The Rise Of Skywalker? | Games Rants
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How Did Palpatine Return In The Rise Of Skywalker? | Games Rants

There are a lot of good questions for fans to ask in regard to the events of the Star Wars series. One good question that became a bit of a meme after the release of The Rise Of Skywalker is the question of how exactly Palpatine returned. It’s mostly glossed over and dismissed as quickly as possible, but believe it or not, there actually is a fairly reasonable explanation for how one of the greatest evils to ever face the galaxy managed to return.

How good that explanation is will be up to each individual, but Palpatine didn’t just simply decide he wanted to return and willed it to be so in the Force. Every Star Wars fan will know that Palpatine is one of the most nefarious and brilliant Sith to ever exist. In a way, it would be a shock if he didn’t have a plan in place to somehow return after he had been killed for the first time. Here’s how he pulled it off.

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What Happens Between The Last Jedi & The Rise Of Skywalker?

kylo ren fighting rey

There’s actually quite a lot that happens between The Last Jedi and The Rise Of Skywalker. When it comes to the core characters, Rey is set on improving her Jedi abilities and becoming a true Jedi that Luke Skywalker would be proud of. She is aided in that mission to some degree by Poe Dameron, Finn, and R2-D2, though they don’t get up to too much personally. It’s hard for much to happen to the main characters outside the films without confusing a lot of people.

Outside of Rey, most of the furthering of the universe in the in-between period falls to the expansion of the resistance movement and the First Order. Leia Organa plays a massive role during this time, driving the resistance movement further, and leading to its growth throughout the galaxy. Additionally, Chewbacca plays a role in battling the First Order, though once again, these tales have little impact on the wider narrative. Not much occurred with Palpatine during this era. All that is known is that he was still biding his time and being the true culprit behind the First Order’s villainy, whether even they knew it or not.

During this time, Palpatine would have already become dangerously close to having his clone body fail completely. He was already utilizing every piece of technology at his disposal to keep the body going while he determined his next steps after the death of Snoke. It was likely the combination of Snoke’s death and his failing body that led to Palpatine ensuring the galaxy knew he was still alive. He needed Rey to seek him out, and that was exactly what would end up happening.

How Did Palpatine Return?


The explanation of how Palpatine returned is a bit lackluster to some. All he did was use his immense power to transfer his spirit from his dead body to a clone body that he had hidden away. Having clones was one thing, but the plan never would have been successful if it weren’t for Palpatine’s horrific power in the Dark Side of the Force. His power was so great that his clone body was unable to handle it, eventually leading to it decaying to the point of appearing zombie-like in The Rise Of Skywalker.

The evil emperor had a full cult of Sith worshippers that aided in his care, as when he returned, his failing body limited him in a variety of ways. Rather than being able to enact vengeance, Palpatine found himself trapped on Exegol, withering away and destined to eventually have his clone body fail. This was why Palpatine needed to lure Kylo Ren and Rey to himself, as he needed to either rejuvenate himself through their power, or take control of Rey’s body to become the ultimate evil once more.

The fact that Palpatine just happened to wield an ability that hadn’t been demonstrated before in the main Star Wars films might be a bit of a cop-out, but it does make sense. The Sith Lord was capable of things that few before him could dream of. There are plenty of other shocking fan theories regarding Palpatine, so being able to keep his spirit alive in the Force isn’t completely unbelievable. The thing that may shock people is that this development isn’t original to The Rise Of Skywalker. In fact, Palpatine has a history of this sort of thing.

Has Palpatine Returned Before?

Young Palpatine dark empire comics

While Palpatine hasn’t really returned before in the current canon, he did return in a big way in a shocking Legends canon story. The surprising part is that the plot of The Rise Of Skywalker might have actually taken inspiration from his original return, albeit in a less exciting way. Since Palpatine planned to rule the galaxy for an eternity, he began working on ways to achieve that goal, eventually landing on the simple method of clones. Being powerful enough to transfer his being into the body of a clone, Palpatine could essentially live forever, so long as he had clone bodies to control.

Much like in The Rise Of Skywalker, this plan might seem a bit silly, but Palpatine had much more success with it in the Legends canon. In this story, he enacted his plan only a short time after his initial death. He was so successful that even Luke Skywalker ended up serving the returned master of evil. However, Luke wasn’t exactly serving the side of evil, and the two would end up locked in a duel eventually, though Palpatine would manage to defeat and dominate his new apprentice with ease.

Luke would later fight back and defeat the Palpatine clone with some help from his friends, but even that wouldn’t be the true defeat of the Sith Lord. With his life wasting away in a new tampered-with clone, Palpatine turned to putting his spirit in Leia’s child’s body instead. Rather than being finally defeated by Luke Skywalker, Palpatine would be killed for the last time by Han Solo before Palpatine’s essence was forever trapped within the Force.

Star Wars is available to stream on Disney+.

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