Emperor Palpatine is back in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but we still have no idea how he’s alive. Did he somehow survive that fall down the reactor core in Return of the Jedi? Will he be resurrected by Kylo Ren? Did he use his unlimited power to cheat death? We’ll know for sure when Episode IX hits theaters, but an old Star Wars prophecy dug up by some fans on Reddit may have revealed exactly how old Palps pulled off his greatest deception yet.
Possible spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ahead.
The prophecy in question comes from Master and Apprentice, a canonical book that takes place eight years before Episode I: The Phantom Menace and follows the adventures of Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Count Dooku also shows up in a flashback. At that point he’s still a Jedi, but he’s become increasingly obsessed with an old Jedi prophecy that has Qui-Gon worried Dooku could be turning towards the dark side.
He who learns to conquer death will through his greatest student live again
As redditor u/Stallion712 points out, this old Jedi prophecy feels more relevant than ever in the context of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It also has some strong Sith overtones. Remember how Palpatine kept talking about immortality in the prequels? Maybe this is what he was referencing. Palpatine was working with Dooku, after all.
It also fits with the Emperor’s constant obsession with finding the best possible student. He sacrificed Dooku for Anakin Skywalker, and then turned around three movies later and tried to swap Anakin (then Darth Vader) for Luke. Maybe Palps was just looking for his “greatest student.”
In that case, it’s possible the Star Wars sequels could have been setting up Kylo Ren as that “greatest student,” culminating in The Last Jedi when he killed his own master, Snoke. At least, that’s what one commenter thinks.
“Well, I think the obvious answer is Kylo,” writes u/Smite920. “He did what Vader could not, which was kill his master.”
Taking things one step further, it’s possible the same Star Wars prophecy could be applied to Luke. After his character’s death in The Last Jedi, we assumed Mark Hamill’s role in The Rise of Skywalker would be confined to a Force ghost cameo, but set photos seem to suggest something bigger.
“Could the prophecy be true about more than one master and student?” u/Stallion712 replied. “Could Luke live through Rey, his greatest student? The Rise of Skywalker??”
It’s a fascinating theory, but it hinges on the idea that Rey really is Luke’s greatest student. Then again, considering that all his other students either died or turned to the dark side, that’s kind of a low bar.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20.