'Star Wars 9' Theory: Snoke Comic Reveals How Palpatine May Have Survived

As George Lucas once said: it rhymes.

It’s one of the greatest mysteries until we see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: How is Palpatine alive? Darth Vader throwing his former mentor like he was Eli Manning is one of the most memorable moments in Star Wars history. But the Emperor has some role in the next movie, and a new comic book is making fans believe they know just how it happened.

On Wednesday, Marvel published Star Wars: Age of Resistance — Supreme Leader Snoke #1 written by Tom Taylor and illustrations by Leonard Kirk and Cory Hamscher. The one-shot comic takes place before 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and details the beginnings of Ben Solo’s/Kylo Ren’s training under Supreme Leader Snoke, whose origins still remain a mystery.

Early in the comic, Snoke tests his new protege by Force suspending him high above a cliff. (It’s a similar demonstration of the powers he used against Rey in The Last Jedi.) When Snoke lets go, Ben plunges down hundreds of feet below before he stops, hoving just a few inches off the ground. Ben/Kylo Ren learned to use his own Force abilities to keep himself from dying, a lesson Snoke wanted his protege to learn.

Kylo Ren survives an ordeal in 'Star Wars: Age of Resistance -- Supreme Leader Snoke' #1, which looks a little too familiar.

Marvel Comics

Fans, especially on Reddit’s r/starwarsspeculation, suspect this is how Palpatine — who famously cackled his way back to life at the end of the first trailer for The Rise of Skywalker — survived the end of Return of the Jedi. Palpatine, like Ben, also plunged to what we thought was his death. But the Emperor might have used his own fear to keep himself alive. After all, now that we’ve seen this power from a student, there’s no way Sith master like Pals couldn’t do the same.

As George Lucas once said, it rhymes.

The little we’ve seen of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has only raised more questions than answers. In both trailers, we hear the Emperor (through disembodied voice-over) ominously laugh and, in a new line of dialogue, tell Rey, “Your journey nears its end.” Cue bits of Vader’s labored breathing and Rey in full-blown Sith mode wielding a red double-sided lightsaber.

"Your journey nears its end." Just what is Palpatine's relationship with Rey? And how is he even alive?


Presumed dead at the end of 1983’s Return of the Jedi, Ian McDiarmid’s return to the franchise (after the 2005 entry to the prequel trilogy Revenge of the Sith) lit the Star Wars fandom with both excitement and bewilderment. Just how is the Emperor here? Well, as Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker said in the other Rise of Skywalker trailer, no one’s ever really gone.

Unlike the stoic Jedi, the Sith use emotions — rage, fear, avarice, lust — to their own advantage. In this case, Ben used his own fear to keep himself from dying. And remember: The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.

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

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