How Luke's Force Ghost Can Help Rey Defeat Palpatine in 'Rise of Skywalker'

Is Luke about to tap into a wild new Force power?

Figuring out how to defeat Palpatine when he returns in Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker is going to be a tough task for the Resistance. Their numbers are dwindling, their weapons cache likely doing the same. The only hope right now in defeating the newly-returned Palpatine seems to be Rey, who made her evolving Jedi powers known when she helped them escape from the secret base on Crait at the end of Last Jedi.

The only problem? Rey’s still in the final stages of her evolution into a Jedi warrior. She’s probably much stronger than she was in The Last Jedi but we have to assume that without Luke Skywalker there to guide and help her, she’s not going to get the skills she needs for the coming battle. She’s going to need another Jedi to help.

Enter: Luke’s Force ghost. Luke’s return in Rise of Skywalker is already confirmed, but the exact circumstances remain unclear. Luke could come through in Rey’s hour of need to imbue her with the power necessary to kill the resurrected Sith Lord and his right-hand man, Kylo Ren.

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in 'The Last Jedi'
Luke appears to try and talk Kylo Ren out of his attack plans

In The Last Jedi, Luke mastered a new skill, the ability to Force project himself across the galaxy. In the final moments of the film, he was able to project a realistic vision of himself onto Crait, where he said goodbye to his sister, General Leia Organa, warned Kylo that the Jedi would rise up, and held off the First Order long enough for the Resistance to escape. Up until the moment Kylo tried to kill him, Luke seemed like a solid mass. His hair blew in the wind. He kissed Leia on the forehead.

How did Luke learn how to Force project? Either he was trained by someone else or he got the knowledge from those Jedi texts. If Luke became one with the Force at the end of The Last Jedi, then he could still be acutely entwined with it in The Rise of Skywalker, able to feel when he is needed or return when the time is right.

Ian McDiarmid in 'Return of the Jedi'
This Sith Lord is due for a comeback... but how will he return?

Unlike Jedis, Sith Lords cannot return as Force ghosts (Anakin Skywalker being a notable exception only because he returned to the light side of the Force at the end of Return of the Jedi). It’s possible Palpatine’s soul has been transferred to an object that is now in Kylo’s possession, allowing the Sith Lord to influence his new protege throughout Episode VII and VIII*.

But no matter how Palpatine comes back, he’s likely to have enough strength and/or influence to really pose a threat to Rey. Not only will she and the Resistance have to work to subdue the Knights of Ren and Kylo (and well as an entire army of Stormtroopers), but taking out a Sith Lord will be no easy feat. Rey could probably use some sort of external being to help her or even work through her, like, say, a Force ghost.

Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill in 'The Last Jedi'
Rey goes to see Luke on Ahch-To.

There has been one recent, notable instance of a Force ghost unleashing real power which could serve as the foundation from which to leap to the conclusion Luke can manipulate Rey. That instance: Yoda’s Force ghost burning the Jedi temple on Ahch-To. Yoda not only materialized into a Force ghost that had a real solid-ness to him but he summoned up enough of the Force to start a fire. This is major.

Daisy Ridley as Rey in 'Rise of Skywalker'
Rey will ascend to her true Jedi status in 'Rise of Skywalker.'

So while Force ghosts are unable to hold objects, they are able to channel the Force. It would be unprecedented for Luke to inhabit Rey’s actual body, turning her into a host for his Force ghost, but Luke could allow his powers to flow through her, giving Rey the strength she needs to be when she inevitably faces Palpatine. She’s capable, yes, but she needs to be prepared for anything. Having Luke’s powers combine with her own could be the boost Rey needs in The Rise of Skywalker.

The final installment of the Skywalker saga is bound to deliver surprises galore. In the fight against Emperor Palpatine, Luke shoring up enough power to become a Force ghost so he can help Rey become as powerful —if not more powerful — than Palpatine would certainly be one hell of a surprise.


Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker arrives December 22, 2019.

Media via Lucasfilm, YouTube