In the latest Rise of Skywalker trailer, Kylo Ren grapples with the fact that it may have been Emperor Palpatine in his head all along, luring him to the Dark side. The new footage shows the former Ben Solo making his way through a seriously sinister location, and some easy-to-miss background details of our glimpse at Palpatine’s hiding place may have ties to important figures from Sith lore.
Discussion of leaks and likely spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Ever since Lucasfilm confirmed Emperor Palpatine’s return in Episode IX, fans have speculated how he survived the destruction of the second Death Star over Endor. However, where he’s been hiding all these years is just as much a mystery as his resurrection. Was Palps hiding in the Unknown Regions? Was he simply hanging out in the Force afterlife until he was brought back by some Sith disciple? While Palpatine’s whereabouts remain a mystery, this latest trailer gives us some intriguing glimpses at his secret hideaway and a surprising connection to his old office in the Galactic Senate.
The footage begins with Kylo Ren’s arrival on a forbidding planet we assume to be Exegol, based on leaks. With his lightsaber at the ready, Kylo descends into the dank underground of a mysterious cave. As he makes his way downward, lightning flashes to reveal several statues in the background. The cave itself is dark and ominous, but another flash offers a closer look at the space, including several tall and imposing figures statues lining a long pathway into what could be Palpatine’s throne room.
A screenshot courtesy of redditor u/BrokeRichGuy offers a closer look at the eerie statues behind Kylo. The reason they look so familiar is because we’ve actually seen them before.
In the animated series Star Wars Rebels, Darth Maul explains to Ezra about the Sith holocron, which are used to hold information. However, it’s where they find the holocron that’s most important: it’s inside the Sith Temple, which also houses these statues.
In Sith lore, the Four Sages of Dwartii were ancient philosophers and lawmakers, whose teachings formed the foundation of the Galactic Republic. However, at least of these sages preached an approach to the Force that sounds a lot like the Sith. In the non-canonical Extended Universe, multiple statues of the Four Sages of Dwartii during a period of Sith rule in the galaxy.
The Dwartii statues were housed inside Palpatine’s office when he was a senator. In fact, the statues’ first appearance was in Attack of the Clones. In the animated series The Clone Wars, Palpatine moved locations and took one of the statues with him for personal reasons.
There are more subtle connections in the sequel trilogy to this arcane Sith lore. Supreme Leader Snoke’s gold ring was inscribed with Dwartii glyphs, further connecting him and Palpatine together. One of the Knights of Ren also has Dwartii symbols on his helmet.
It’s possible that this is the same language on the mysterious dagger Rey wields in the scene where she destroys Vader’s helmet. There’s also reason to suspect that the Dwartii language is the same ancient, evil text we’ve heard about in earlier leaks and rumors, which requires a memory-wiped C3PO to translate.
Based on the clip and screenshot alone, it’s a safe bet that Kylo has indeed found the long-hidden Sith temple and Palpatine’s beloved Sith statues of the Dwartii along with it. It seems likely that we’re about to learn a lot more about the Sith’s sinister role in the galaxy in Episode IX.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20.