While it’s long been confirmed that Emperor Palpatine would make a grand return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the reasons behind his comeback remain murky. After all, Sheev died at the end of Return of the Jedi, presumably never to be seen again. So it seemed reasonable to expect that Episode IX would address the mystery surrounding Palpatine’s resurrection or survival. A new leak offers some clues in that regard, but it might not be what fans were hoping for.
Discussion of previous leaks and possible spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
It’s time to throw all those Palpatine resurrection theories out the window, because it sounds like The Rise of Skywalker is bypassing the explanation for his return altogether. A new leak from Making Star Wars claims Palpatine will reveal himself as the true power behind Snoke, at one point literally declaring, “I am Snoke!” Wait, what?
Here’s more of what MSW’s Jason Ward had to say about the surprising reveal:
“The film will likely not answer the question about how Darth Sidious survived according to my sources. It will imply he controlled Supreme Leader Snoke, but not that Snoke is actually an avatar of Palptine himself.”
Presumably, this will occur in the early part of the film after Kylo Ren crosses paths with Palpatine on Exogol. If you’ve been following the leaks, this is the same scene where Kylo allegedly agrees to do Palps’ bidding in exchange for galactic rule after stumbling upon a bunch of unused Snoke clones. The reveal is apparently meant to echo Palpatine’s meme-worthy proclamation, “I am the Senate!” in Revenge of the Sith.
While J.J. Abrams seemed to tease that Palpatine’s resurrection might involve the manipulation of midi-chlorians last month, fan speculation surrounding Palpatine’s return has tended to revolve around Supreme Leader Snoke. One theory posited that Snoke actually a clone of Palpatine, put in charge of the First Order until Darth Sidious’ magnificent return. Another suggested that Palpatine, using an Essence Transfer to move his consciousness to a host body, possessed Snoke until his death in The Last Jedi.
Another imaginative theory claimed that Snoke and Palpatine knew each other before the fall of the Empire, which was hinted at in the comic book Star Wars: Age of Resistance — Supreme Leader Snoke #1.
But now it seems like none of these in-the-weeds explanations were actually correct, and Abrams may not have been particularly interested in sorting out the complicated details of Palps’ return from the dead after all. It’s a bit underwhelming, considering how much has been said about the influence of past Star Wars films on The Rise of Skywalker, but whether or not this proves to be true, it won’t be long until we find out.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20.