Genius 'Rise of Skywalker' Theory Explains Palpatine, Rey, Zorri, and More

Wrapping up every loose plot into one comprehensive 'Episode IX' explanation.

The most comprehensive Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker fan theory in recent memory hit Reddit on Tuesday, and it’s got everything you could possibly want out of theoretical spoilers. Who was Snoke? How does Palpatine return? What are Rey’s true origins? Will Kylo Ren ever be redeemed? What’s the deal with Matt Smith?

Somehow, this comprehensive theory answers all of these questions, and then some, in a way that just might make everyone happy — if it turns out to be true.

Warning! Speculative spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker below.

The theory points out some of the rumors and supposed leaks that came out of a Making Star Wars podcast episode released August 5 — they refer to it as “the MSW” — and how they’ve led to all sorts of speculation about Palpatine’s terrifying new ship, Rey’s memories being tampered a la Knights of the Old Republic, and what could be a connection between Luke Skywalker and Keri Russell’s Zorri Bliss.

Redditor u/YahYahY references Palpatine’s official Contingency plan for after his death, which included “Operation: Cinder” as depicted in the Star Wars: Battlefront II campaign and other canon Star Wars stories from the comics. The idea was to destabilize the galaxy, eradicate the Rebels, and destroy the Empire so it could be reborn again the outer rim of the galaxy. Canonically, this is what led to the creation of the First Order.

But there could be a more personal angle for Palpatine.

star wars palpatine operation cinder
Palpatine put recorded messages in a bunch of creepy droids to give orders posthumously.

“Palpatine told Anakin that they’d find the secret to stopping people from dying,” they write, referencing a conversation from Revenge of the Sith. “I believe Palpatine secretly meant by this that he was planning on possessing Anakin to continue living after his body died.” For Revenge of the Sith to seed this detail and never really follow through on it would feel weird once the saga closes, so it seems reasonable to think it will factor into Episode IX.

In this theory, Palpatine always intended to use Anakin Skywalker as a host he could possess to live on after death. After that obviously failed, he resorted to taking control of Snoke, a Dark side enthusiast we know virtually nothing about — because Snoke was a pawn all along? But Palpatine always considered this a temporary solution. That’s where Rey comes in.

“Palpatine/Snoke feels a strong presence in the Force in a very young Rey,” they write. “He realizes she would be a perfect vessel to possess and return to full strength. He hires a bounty hunter, Zorri Bliss to find Rey and steal her from her family to bring to the First Order.” Similar to other recent rumors and theories, Zorri Bliss’ ship looks like the same one from Rey’s memory of being abandoned on Jakku, leading some to assume that Bliss is either Rey’s alcoholic junk trader mother or that she was involved in some greater mystery that happened during Rey’s youth that could explain what makes her so special.

Zorri could be the Yondu to Rey’s Star-Lord (from the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy series) in that she was hired to deliver Rey somewhere but decided to protect the child instead. (This part of the theory would also work if Rey turns out to be a Palpatine clone created in a remote lab.) Maybe Zorri is the “junk trader” that Rey remembers?

Star Wars 9 Rey
Rey in 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'.

What if The Rise of Skywalker unfolds with all of the characters gradually discovering all of this information only to find that Palpatine’s spirit exists somewhere in the outer rim. He’s now desperate to possess Kylo Ren and wants to destroy Rey, but eventually has to settle for Matt Smith’s secret character, presumably some B-list Sith wannabe

In u/YahYahY’s theory, this leads to the final confrontation:

“Kylo, now in control of a [First Order] army that he knows nothing of the backstory of, meanwhile discovers Palpatine in the Unknown Regions with the help of his Knights of Ren and a “wayfinder” as described in the MSW. Palpatine’s spirit is there, disembodied, and it becomes clear throughout the movie that Palpatine’s plan is to possess Kylo and use him as a new host, just as he planned to do for Anakin and Rey. This, with Palpatine’s orders to destroy Rey, becomes Kylo’s breaking point to turn against the First Order and Palpatine. In an epic climax, Palpatine then possesses Matt Smith’s character, a “Dark Side acolyte” (as per the MSW leaks), and fights Rey and Kylo. As the MSW leaks indicate, Palpatine jumps into Kylo’s body, and Kylo tells Rey to kill him, to destroy Palpatine once and for all.”

This would ultimately lead to a (presumably) happy ending for Ben Solo and Rey who together are finally able to bring the much-talked-about balance to the Force.

The one plot hole that wouldn’t make sense is why the film is called “The Rise of Skywalker.” But there’s any number of dialogue options or other plot twists that could still fit into this theory to make it work.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released in theaters December 20, 2019.

Here’s the theory from Reddit in full:

This epic theory could wind up being true when it comes down to it.
Media via Lucasfilm, YahYahY