Plenty of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker fan theories look to the non-canon Expanded Universe of books, comics, and games as inspiration, but one new theory posted to the r/StarWarsSpeculation subreddit Monday looks to a more recent and fully canon Star Wars comic to explain how “Papa Palps” will return to thwart our heroes in the next film.
Speculative spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker below.
Similar to how Qui Gon-Jinn achieved a certain kind of immortality and passed that on to other Jedi by learning the Force spirit ability from some weird priestesses, Palpatine may have learned a special skill that set him apart from your typical Sith Lord via an artifact once owned by an ancient and very powerful Sith called Lord Momin.
“One of the major arcs of one of the most well received comics of the NEU [that’s the new Expanded Universe] to date involved Momin,” the theory reads, “a Dark Side worshiper … who was into the deep underlying feelings and flows and mechanism of the Dark side that guided his ‘art.’” Ever the romantic type, Momin sought to create magnificent works of art that would honor the Dark side of the Force. He was about to destroy an entire city with a superweapon when the Jedi killed him — yet his essence survived in his helmet, eventually leading to a bodily resurrection and duel against Darth Vader.
“What appears to have actually happened was in that nexus of Dark side energy and powerful force users and death and destruction, Momin’s being was ingrained into his helmet, which became a dark and powerful Sith artifact,” the theorist explains, working on the assumption that devastating events like mass genocide or other kinds of destruction could conceivably rip a kind of hole in the Force, establishing specific places as Force sensitive.
We still don’t technically know which Death Star is featured in The Rise of Skywalker, but this fan assumes, as many of us do, that it’ll be Endor. “It all combines for some sort of action by the Force (which we’ve been being told can act on its own) to preserve Palpatine’s ‘soul’ in an artifact on the Death Star,” they write.
Years after Momin died, Palpatine recovered his helmet from the Jedi Archives. He communed with the mask in some fashion, learned Momin’s story, and gifted it to Vader during the Marvel Comics Darth Vader series. Post-prequel trilogy, Vader was still figuring out what kind of evil warlord he wanted to be and decided to claim Mustafar as his home planet, where he could build a stronghold (the same structure we see in Rogue One). Momin’s mask, however, possesses one of the locals and builds a fortress that could tune with the Dark side nexus on the planet and open a door to the Dark side.
In this way, Momin is able to resurrect his full body and fight Vader, who only narrowly wins the battle. In theory, doing such a thing could resurrect anybody. What if Momin imparted some or all of this knowledge to Palpatine? Does that mean Palpatine died having already attached his essence to some kind of artifact, or to the Death Star itself? And does that mean his consciousness would retain the knowledge of using such a device to resurrect himself?
What if Rise of Skywalker returns to Mustafar and that fortress for this very purpose? It would be a great way to tie in canonical events from the wider Star Wars universe while also expanding upon what the Force can do. All in all, this theory checks all the right boxes: Palpatine possessing someone and leading to a full resurrection. Is there anything scarier than that?
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released December 20, 2019.
Here’s the theory in full: