When Darth Vader threw Emperor Palpatine down a deep pit in Return of the Jedi that led to the second Death Star’s hypermatter reactor, there was a big surge of energy that told us he must have died. However, three decades later, The Rise of Skywalker resurrected Palpatine without ever properly explaining how. It seems like we’ll have to wait for the official Rise of Skywalker novelization to find out why.
Originally scheduled for release on March 3, the release of The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition was pushed back to March 17 earlier this week, and some folks on Reddit are speculating that it should further explain precisely how Palpatine was able to return all these years later.
If the novelization for The Rise of Skywalker is anything like The Last Jedi’s, then it may further contextualize the story’s more glaring mysteries. The Last Jedi novelization explained the mysterious connection between Snoke and Palpatine in interesting ways, but all that was completely undone by The Rise of Skywalker’s twists. The new novelization, however, is basically the last chance for clarification in the Skywalker Saga.
How could Palpatine possibly have survived diving right into a live reactor minutes before the entire space station exploded, especially given how large the explosion looked from the Endor moon? You’d think his body was vaporized, but the Episode IX visual dictionary already says that’s not the case.
The official Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary released on December 30 clarifies several of the film’s bigger plot holes, like the fact that “shipwrights, engineers, and slaves” held on Exogol created the ridiculous, expansive Sith fleet over the course of “decades.” More importantly, the visual dictionary also reveals that the “Sith Eternal” people living on Exogol somehow found Palpatine’s dead body and revived him using “technology and the occult.” But that’s all we get.
Palpatine once saved Anakin Skywalker’s life using a fusion of technology and the occult, so that isn’t anything new. But, for now, we don’t have any answers to the more specific questions about what happened to Palp’s body or what the Sith Eternal did in order to resurrect him. (What I really want to know is how large the seemingly endless crane was that supported his body up until the moment he figured out he could drain the dyad energy from Rey and Ben Solo to rejuvenate himself.)
Rae Carson, author of The Rise of Skywalker’s novelization, claimed in early January that “if the #TheRiseOfSkywalker film included everything in the novelization, it would definitely be at least 3 hours long.” Does that mean an extended cut would include enough coherent information to fill in some of the story’s bigger plot holes like this one? We sure hope so.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters, and the Expanded Edition novelization will be released by Del Rey Publishing on March 17, 2020.