Emperor Palpatine’s role in Star Wars: The Last Skywalker means that his infamous tower could also make an appearance in Episode IX. Oh, and it could also turn the Millennium Falcon into a submarine. It sounds ridiculous, right? But a fascinating look at resurfaced concept art from Star Wars: The Force Awakens may spoil the Millennium Falcon’s search for the destroyed Emperor’s Tower.
Palpatine was notorious for leading the Galactic Empire, and, while the galaxy may have survived his evil ways, we now know that he was never really gone and will return in The Rise of Skywalker. Fans have speculated over what that could mean, and how Snoke may have played a role in the Emperor’s return.
Palp’s return also raises some interesting questions about the rest of the Rise of Skywalker cast. Will Rey, Finn, and Poe be on a mission to find Palpatine? Do they even know of his existence? It’s possible that The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a book conceptualizing the designs showcased in that film, might contain a big clue.
Redditor u/DarthTenebrous666 posted a picture from the book teasing the Millennium Falcon’s unrealized underwater adventures. Yes, it does sound absurd that the beloved ship would go anywhere near the water, much less have the capabilities to function below its surface.
Still, the concept art definitely hints at just that, depicting the Millennium Falcon under the ocean, hovering over the Emperor’s Tower, along with the remains of the second Death Star, where the tower was based. If you recall, the tower was destroyed during the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi. With the Millennium Falcon playing a major role in that fight, it would be fitting for the ship to find the remains of Palpatine’s evil lair beneath Endor’s waters.
“The Falcon is watertight, because it’s airtight, so it can go underwater, right?” reads the caption underneath. So it seems the ship has untapped capabilities that we might finally get to see on-screen in The Rise of Skywalker.
It’s striking because this particular scene never makes it into either The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi. Palpatine also never appeared in either film, so it’s safe to assume this concept art teases Rey’s mission in The Rise of Skywalker instead. Then again, maybe this is the unused Carrie Fisher footage that director J.J. Abrams will repurpose for Episode IX.
Concept art has a tendency to be changed or remain unused during a film’s production. After all, ideas change all the time, and the concept art is created to visualize what certain things might look like. However, it’s also rare that production designers would include such an image if the filmmakers hadn’t thought to use it at some point during the movie. Since Palpatine will actually be in Episode IX, it’s possible J.J. Abrams might reuse this idea for the final chapter in the Skywalker saga.
Additionally, if it’s Rey taking the Millennium Falcon on this journey, she may know Palpatine is back and be actively looking for a way to defeat him. What better way to do that than to explore his old headquarters? Or perhaps there’s something there that could prove useful in their fight against the First Order.
This also allows Rey to take matters into her own hands, much like she did when she decided to track Luke down for training in The Last Jedi. And knowing Lando Calrissian will also be back in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker might just mean that the Millennium Falcon will be seeing its fair share of action, underwater or otherwise.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019.