With Emperor Palpatine’s return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it’s honestly a wonder the movie wasn’t called “The Rise of Palpatine”. Though his ascent to power is already common knowledge among franchise fans, a new theory claiming Palpatine manipulated Anakin Skywalker to bring down the Jedi hints at some intriguing possibilities for the villain’s role in the final installment of the Skywalker saga.
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones centered around the development of a clone army modeled after the bounty hunter Jango Fett. Enter The Clone Wars (the animated film and series of the same name), which explored the war years in greater detail. The theory proposes that Palpatine essentially used the war as leverage to wipe out the Jedi Order — and Anakin Skywalker.
Star Wars Shadow Council is back with a lengthy theory about Palpatine’s involvement with the Clone Wars. The post, submitted by blogger Robotical712, offers expanded insight about Palpatine’s role in the Clone Wars, speculating about connections between the war, the elimination of the Jedi and Palpatine’s plot to turn Anakin to the dark side.
The theory explores how [Palpatine’s plan] to seize power (https://www.inverse.com/article/59422-star-wars-9-leaks-theory-order-66-emperor-palpatine-return) hinged upon Anakin embracing the dark side of the force. The Clone Wars weakened the Jedi in every way — Palps could, after all, control the clones from anywhere and thus attack the Jedi from anywhere in the galaxy. We know Anakin was also at the center of the Clone Wars and prior to the war’s end, he had yet to be turned by Palpatine. Assuming Anakin would have been a tremendous asset to the defense of the Jedi temple, so began Palpatine’s real plan: to pit Skywalker against the Jedi Order, weakening it by taking away their Chosen One.
Here’s what Robotical712 had to say about this:
For the most part, Palpatine only had to wait and allow the war to chip away at the young Jedi’s heroism and faith in the Order. Though, Palpatine did take some direct steps to break the Anakin’s trust. Arranging for his own assassination, Palps managed to manuever the Jedi Council into faking Obi-Wan’s death without Anakin’s knowledge, severely straining his relationship with both.
Palpatine is nothing if not a long-term planner. If he saw an opportunity to turn Anakin to the dark side and destroy the Jedi in the process, it makes sense that he would have seized upon it. War is the most straightforward way to weaken a regime and build a new one in its place. Palpatine simply saw Anakin as an obstacle on his path to power and knocked him out of the fight alongside the good guys.
So how does this all tie in with The Rise of Skywalker? We already know Palpatine will return in some form, and some fans speculate he will command the rumored Sith Fleet, possibly leading a new clone army of red-armored Sith Troopers to weaken the embattled Resistance.
This would be on-brand for Palpatine, given his established affinity for clones and followers lacking minds of their own. He could wield the Sith Fleet in Episode 9 to eliminate those who stand in his way, just as he used the clones before. This would likely put both the Resistance and those allied to the light side of the Force (like Rey) squarely in the former emperor’s crosshairs. Will the past repeat itself? Somehow we suspect that Kylo Ren, who reveres his grandfather Anakin and takes after him in so many ways, will play a critical role in shaping the outcome of Palpatine’s latest attempt to seize power. Will Kylo Ren finish what Darth Vader started? Or will Ben Solo resist temptation where his grandfather failed?
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019.