'Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker': Could Palpatine Be Redeemed Like Vader?

Kylo gets redeemed, Palpatine gets redeemed. Everybody gets redeemed.

With all the discussion surrounding Kylo Ren’s possible redemption arc in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, there’s definitely one we might not have seen coming at all: the redemption of Emperor Palpatine.

The last time we Palpatine was was in Return of the Jedi, and his return doesn’t bode well for anyone in the galaxy. As the franchise’s big bad, is it even possible for Palpatine to achieve redemption? Well, Kelly Marie Tran might think so.

On the red carpet at the D23 Expo this past weekend, IGN spoke with the actress who famously portrayed Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. When asked about Palpatine’s return and what that means for Episode IX, Tran began discussing the overall theme of… redemption. Wait, what?

Interesting!

“I think there are so many themes in the Star Wars films, my favorite being redemption … the idea of redemption,” says Tran. When asked a follow-up question about whether that means Emperor Palpatine might, in fact, become a good guy, the actress immediately responds by saying she doesn’t know. Spoilers!

Though it seems improbable that someone with a dastardly history like Palpatine would even want to be redeemed, there could be a twist to the story. What if Tran was actually referring to Matt Smith’s character? Hear us out: One rumor proposed the idea that Palpatine would inhabit the body of a “young Dark Acolyte of Kylo Ren’s” and that would somehow force Kylo and Rey to fight together to take Palps down.

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Could Palpatine ever be redeemed? Is it at all possible?

Therefore, the person who might get that redemption arc is whoever Smith is revealed to be playing. And why not? After all, Palpatine doing evil things while in possession of the acolyte’s body (even if he volunteered it) could lead to Smith’s character regretting his actions. And if he’s one of the Knights of Ren and Kylo changes sides at some point, then the former Ben Solo might be interested in helping him see the light.

In the very same interview, Daisy Ridley claims Palpatine is “instrumental” to The Rise of Skywalker story. And the Matt Smith theory might just prove to be a clever workaround the redemption arc that Tran teased. Of course, Tran could have been hinting at Kylo’s redemption story all along. Still, she did look a little flustered afterward, as though she may have revealed too much regarding Palpatine. (Only time will tell!)

While the idea of Palpatine’s redemption sounds ridiculous and far fetched (and it is), it’s also not completely impossible. After all, Darth Vader was redeemed. And there’s a high possibility that Kylo will also find his way back to the Light side of the Force by Episode IX’s end. We don’t even know how Palpatine is meant to come back into play, so everything is possible until the movie proves us otherwise.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019.

Media via IGN, Lucasfilm, Star Wars