Ever since the announcement that Emperor Palpatine would return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, fans have speculated about how he would come back from the dead. Multiple theories have borrowed from Harry Potter villain Voldemort’s strategy: splitting a soul into pieces to achieve immortality. Though many have looked outside the Star Wars galaxy for inspiration to explain Palpatine’s return, it seems the justification for his resurrection may have actually been hidden within the backstory of a Star Wars: The Clone Wars character.
Warning! Speculative spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
As one of the most powerful Sith lords in the galaxy, Sheev Palpatine’s return seems inevitable in retrospect. While some theories have offered a number of ways he could return and a Making Star Wars leak revealed he might come back with a few mechanical body parts, the logistics of his return remain a mystery. Over on Reddit, u/ImpecableBunny dug up some information about a forgotten Clone Wars villain named Mother Talzin, which might be the missing link Sheev sleuths have been looking for.
Even Palpatine was scared of Mother Talzin in Clone Wars. Unable to infiltrate her home world, Palps wasn’t confident an entire army of droids was enough to kill her. So long as she remained on her home planet of Dathomir, Mother Talzin was unstoppable.
Talzin was a “master of the dark magicks,” with the ability to draw upon the spirits of Dathomir to do her bidding. Though she claimed otherwise, Talzin was able to draw upon the power of the Force to predict the future and to do other traditionally witchy things. She also had the ability to appear as an apparition while her physical body remained in a separate location. (Which reminds us a bit of Luke’s swan song in The Last Jedi.) So, it’s understandable that Palpatine saw her as a threat.
Talzin was such a badass, she was able to make new body parts and use other people as vessels. She only died after giving up her life force for her son. But even after death, Talzin was able to resurrect herself and reside in a host body, draining its energy to restore her original form. (If you’ve ever seen Hocus Pocus, it’s a lot like when the Sanderson sisters used the youth of the children to make themselves young again. Without that source of energy, they would’ve simply shriveled up and died.)
It’s possible Darth Sidious learned how to resurrect himself from Talzin. This ties in neatly with another Star Wars fan theory, which claims Palpatine has been in the World Between Worlds, introduced in Star Wars Rebels. Essentially, it’s a plane of existence separating the physical world from the spiritual. If Palpatine is indeed chilling there, he could easily bring himself back to the physical world, much like Talzin did.
If Palpatine follows the witch’s lead, he’ll need a host body. We can rule out Supreme Leader Snoke as a potential candidate. Talzin was only able to be resurrected once before dying for good. If Snoke had been harboring Palpatine the whole time, the former emperor would have died for good when he got chopped in half in The Last Jedi.
This theory also links to some of the speculation surrounding “Dark Rey” and leaks from Making Star Wars claiming Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter? Talzin was only able to return from the dead by possessing the body of her son. If the leaks about Palps being Rey’s grandfather prove true, it’s possible she would be a temporary host for his spirit.
Palpatine’s story likely won’t play out exactly the way Mother Talzin’s did. But her resurrection sets a major precedent for Palps’ return in The Rise of Skywalker and puts an interesting new spin on all those resurrection theories.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019.