Emperor Palpatine’s involvement in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has created a lot of buzz ahead of the film’s release. With his return, however, comes a lot of confusion. How will he return to the franchise? Has he been working behind the scenes this whole time?
Speculative spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ahead.
No one knows for sure, but thanks to recent leaks and rumors, a lot of people seem convinced that good old Sheev could have been possessing Supreme Leader Snoke the entire time. Now, some Star Wars fans have dug up an old Episode IX leak that seemed sketchy when it first emerged, but is starting to look pretty legit — and it might reveal some exciting new details about the Emperor’s role in The Rise of Skywalker.
Back in February, a 4chan leak detailed Palpatine’s possession of Snoke’s body and how the former emperor’s “consciousness returned to the MacGuffin” after Kylo killed Snoke in The Last Jedi. The leak further suggested that Kylo would join forces with Rey to find and destroy the MacGuffin. Now, it’s worth mentioning that no one has any idea what the MacGuffin actually is. It sounds a lot like an object Palpatine uses while he’s between body transfers, and might even function a bit like one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes. After all, any almost-dead villain’s first order of business would be to find a safe place for their essence, right?
Redditor u/chrlttvrn expands on the old leak with new and substantial evidence that gives the original rumor a solid foundation. The usually reliable Making Star Wars revealed that Kylo would be in search of a device referenced only as a “Wayfinder.” The name itself implies that it’s a compass-like device that will be used to pinpoint exactly where Palpatine’s hiding.
This updated theory ties right back into Kylo’s potential mission. Perhaps the Knights of Ren had been looking for the MacGuffin this whole time. And if they’ve found it, then it makes sense to bring it to Kylo’s attention. Finding the MacGuffin could prove difficult, however, since no one actually knows exactly what it is they’re looking for.
After all, there’s no telling whether it could change its shape or any other physical attribute. Is it even an object? Still, even though the galaxy is huge, this wayfinder device might function as a Palps essence detector, which is why Kylo will have to join the Knights of Ren on their mission. The real challenge will be whether or not they’ll be able to destroy the MacGuffin before Palpatine finds a new host, but the evidence at least helps to lay out Episode IX’s potential plot.
While the combination of this theory and the old leak gives Kylo a mission, it does muddle his motivations and loyalties. Does the need to destroy Palpatine mean he’s not really loyal to the Dark Side? Of course, Kylo might want to kill the emperor simply because he stands in the way of his domination of the First Order and the galaxy.
However, if Palpatine had been possessing Snoke all along, then Kylo’s murder of the supreme leader makes sense as it stands to reason that Kylo saw the truth and decided to fight back. One theory even claims Kylo’s been a double agent all this time. Regardless of Kylo’s loyalties, though, Palpatine is a far bigger threat and it will take the combined power of the Resistance and First Order to defeat him once and for all.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019.