Everyone favorite shriveled old Sith is back in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and no, I’m not talking about Snoke. Emperor Sheev Palpatine will return in Episode IX, and if the leaks are correct, it could culminate in an epic showdown between Palps and the good guys.
So who will win? When it comes to Star Wars, betting on the good guys isn’t always a sure thing, but one fan may have cracked the code to predicting how Episode IX ends by identifying a pattern that holds true across the entire franchise — and it’s bad news for Palpatine.
Possible spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker below.
As redditor u/WarEagleAnchorDown explains, the story of Star Wars is actually a story of the “away team” always winning. Inspired by the recent World Series, in which each game was won by the team visiting from our of town, this theory explains how the same can be said for the climactic lightsaber battle of pretty much every movie in the core Skywalker saga.
For example, in Episode I, “Qui-Gon Jinn loses at home, Darth Maul placed on IR following cheap shot by Obi-Wan Kenobi” and in Episode II the entire Jedi Army wins a battle on enemy turf. In the original trilogy, the good guys always win when they’re on the Death Star, but when Vader pursues them in Empire Strikes back he ekes out a win. The same holds true in the current trilogy, where Rey scores a win in enemy territory in The Force Awakens and Snoke loses hard on his own home turf in The Last Jedi.
So why does this matter? Well, besides the fact that it’s just a fun way to think about the Star Wars saga, it could also reveal how The Rise of Skywalker will play out. After all, if this holds true, then whichever side is the “away team” in Episode IX will win, right?
Of course, we don’t know anything about that final confrontation right now, at least not officially. But multiple leaks (including some very real-looking images seem to confirm that Rey and Kylo Ren will team up to confront Emperor Palpatine in his new throneroom. One Rise of Skywalker trailer even showed the throne in question.
If that’s where this movie is headed, then it’s probably safe to assume that Kylo and Rey could be considered the “away team,” which means the Emperor is doomed. Of course, it’s possible Episode IX could subvert this pattern (or not even realize it was a thing in the first place), but we’d also be pretty shocked if the entire Skywalker saga ended with a Palpatine victory — even if we do think he might be the rising Skywalker the Episode IX title is referring to.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20.
Read the full theory below: