'Star Wars 9' theory unpacks Emperor Palpatine’s "chess game"

Oscar Isaac recently made some intriguing observations about the Sith and Jedi.


Emperor Palpatine’s return to the Star Wars franchise has been a long time coming. In the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine never appears, but his voice-over tells us he’s waited a long time and “now, you’re coming together.” Initially, fans speculated that he was referring to Kylo Ren and Rey. However, an interesting new theory argues Palpatine was actually referencing the “coming together” of his 30-year plan. Let’s dissect.

Warning! Speculation and possible spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

In a recent interview with Total Film, Poe Dameron actor Oscar Isaac made some intriguing observations about the Sith and Jedi. Judging from his description, the two factions of Force users have been playing a game of chess this whole time and the results will finally become clear in The Rise of Skywalker. “All these pieces have been played. And now we get to see who gets checkmate,” Isaac said.

A widely circulated Making Star Wars leak from a few months back revealed that Palpatine’s plan was to ultimately bring Kylo and Rey together to form a “dyad”, which he’d then use to siphon off Force energy and rejuvenate himself.

A new theory from Reddit user Nantoone builds upon this leak and Isaac’s comments to argue that Palpatine was somehow transported to the Unknown Regions following his deadly fall in Return of the Jedi, where he’s been plotting his return to power ever since.

Palpatine wants way more than for Kylo and Rey to come together.


In the years since Return of the Jedi, the Redditor speculates Palpatine spent time manipulating Supreme Leader Snoke to train Kylo Ren in the Dark side. You see, Palps knew well and good that Kylo would betray Snoke and let the First Order’s leader do most of the leg work. Now, this theory also involves the elusive “wayfinder” device, which hasn’t appeared onscreen yet, but can hypothetically be used to track and find Palpatine.

The gist of it is this: with Snoke busy training Kylo, Palpatine sent out Sith agents to place wayfinders where no one will find them. Then, the villain “sends out an assassin to kill Rey’s parents that just happens to have the Wayfinder’s location inscribed on it.” This is in line with a previous theory that suggested that Palpatine allegedly hired an assassin named Ochee to murder Rey’s parents with the Dagger of Mortis.

Long story short, Palps has been planting clues for years, throwing out breadcrumbs to lure Kylo and Rey right to his doorstep instead of the other way around. They’re the key for Palps to return from the Unknown Regions, and his chance to regain his youth, and perhaps immortality.

On the surface, this plan connects all of the speculative threads together with the evidence that Episode IX is the culmination of a decades-long chess game. And anyone who’s played chess knows strategic planning and patience are key.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20.

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