Aside from the fact that he’s a high-ranking official of the First Order, we know very little about the role Allegiant General Pryde will play in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Richard E. Grant recently told io9 that Pryde is a “completely humorless, evil incarnate” kind of villain in Episode IX. As a member of the First Order, that’s to be expected. However, another one of Grant’s quotes from the interview may hint to how Palpatine takes over the First Order.
Speculative spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
In an interview with io9, Richard E. Grant described Allegiant General Pryde as having “drunk the Kool-Aid of what Siths are.” While io9 notes that Grant likely meant to say “First Order” instead, it’s clear the actor sees the Sith as synonymous with evil in the world of Star Wars. (He’s not wrong, really.)
While we already know Pryde was working with the First Order, Grant’s quote suggests a deeper connection between the First Order and Emperor Palpatine. There are several scenarios that might support the idea that Palps could gain control of the First Order through an alliance with Pryde.
It’s possible Allegiant General Pryde is the first clue that Palpatine has already infiltrated the First Order. Grant’s wording might imply that Pryde himself is a Sith or that he’s the admiral of the elusive Sith Fleet. If you recall, the Sith Fleet is speculated to be carrying thousands of Sith Troopers.
Star Wars Insider described these new soldiers as “an elite force of stormtroopers that draw inspiration and power from a dark and ancient legacy.” If Pryde is actually a Sith, then it makes sense for him to head a fleet that presumably has Force powers. If the Sith Fleet’s been hiding out this whole time, Pryde may hand them over to Palpatine immediately following his return.
With that in mind, it’s also possible that Pryde wasn’t always working for Palpatine at all. After all, the guy could’ve started off as your average First Order official, one loyal to Supreme Leader Snoke before his demise in The Last Jedi. Though it’s doubtful Rise of Skywalker will offer much in the way of Pryde’s backstory, the film might reveal that he eventually dropped Snoke to become a Palpatine devotee. Or, Pryde knew all along that Snoke was actually Palpatine and that’s why he’s so loyal. Of course, the latter only works if the recent Making Star Wars leak about Palpatine’s true identity proves correct.
Conversely, Palpatine may have indoctrinated Pryde long before his time with the First Order and planted him in the ranks to assure he could take over upon his return. After all, Pryde’s current title is “Allegiant” General and there’s no reason to have that as a moniker if he wasn’t allegiant to someone, namely Palpatine.
Perhaps Pryde was Palpatine’s Sith apprentice from long ago, and has been working with the Sith lord ever since. It would certainly explain why Pryde is only now being introduced in Episode IX. This is all speculation, of course, but we don’t have to wait much longer to find out what Pryde’s deal really is.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20.