As the last film in the Skywalker saga, there’s a lot riding on the final showdown in Star Wars: Episode IX. Given Emperor Palpatine’s return to the franchise, it’s likely that Rey, Finn, and the Resistance will be fighting for their lives. The details of that final showdown aren’t clear yet, but a detailed new theory predicts how Palpatine will return and die in the final act of The Rise of Skywalker.
Redditor u/plotdavis theorized that Sheev Palpatine will return by way of the Kyber crystal, which was used as a power source for the Death Star he presumably died in during Return of the Jedi. Yes, it’s another Episode IX theory that predicts Palpatine borrows the Horcrux idea from Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort. Here, Palps uses the Kyber crystal, rather than the mysterious “Wayfinder” device, to preserve a part of his essence. Split into two halves, it’s Kylo who puts the crystal back together and voila! Palpatine appears to enact his plan.
Here’s where the theory gets a little bit complicated. Now that Palpatine’s back, the theorist explains that he somehow uses the Knights of Ren to lure Rey and Kylo toward the Dark side. Long story short, they join Palps, he teaches them the ways of the Dark side, and they are somehow able to bring Luke and Anakin Skywalker back from the dead (no, not as Force ghosts). In the end, Kylo and Rey join forces and “come together” to destroy Palpatine.
There’s a lot that’s fascinating about this theory, but other aspects of it seem to veer into fan fiction territory. Sure, there’s a chance that Kylo and Rey will work together to take down Palpatine, but it doesn’t seem like there’s enough time in this film for them to undergo extensive training in the ways of the Dark side. And why would Palpatine want, let alone enable, the return of Anakin and Luke?
Perhaps Palpatine would want Anakin by his side in his second attempt to rule the galaxy. But Luke’s return makes little sense considering that he helped turn Darth Vader against Palpatine. The former emperor is likely happy he’s gone.
What’s more, the Dark side isn’t some sort of trance; it’s a conscious choice. Rey snapping out of the Dark side as though she’d been hypnotized makes for a pretty anticlimactic ending. She’s powerful enough on her own and wouldn’t be so easily persuaded to join Palpatine, especially since she has no stakes in the Knights of Ren. Whether or not Rey and Kylo work together to fight Palps remains to be seen, but we can rest assured that it’ll take the entire strength of the Resistance and more to defeat Palpatine so that he never returns again.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019.