Palps vs the Pit

Rise of Skywalker book solves the movie's most baffling Palpatine mystery

The official novelization goes a long way to expand upon Palpatine's backstory in Episode IX.

Months after the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, fans are still getting morsels of information to make sense of the film's more confusing story moments. Thanks to the official Episode IX novelization by Rae Carson, we now have confirmation that Emperor Sheev Palpatine was actually a clone and that Kylo Ren knew about it. Now, another book leak explains one of Episode IX's most baffling mysteries: how Palpatine survived his fall in Return of the Jedi.

Warning! Spoilers ahead for The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition.

While The Rise of Skywalker novelization won’t be out until March 17, fans were able to get their hands on advance copies of the book during the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo recently. Reddit user Flashparodox posted excerpts from the novel, which revealed how Rey was able to connect with Palpatine’s mind in the throne room at Exegol.

Palpatine had a whole cult behind him.Lucasfilm

While tapped into his psyche, Rey witnesses how Palpatine survived and learns the Sith Eternal saved him from his fall on the Death Star. Yup, the very same group of Sith who were eerily chanting behind Palpatine on Exegol, much like enthusiastic fans at a football game, cheering their fearless leader on as he faced off with Rey.

What’s more, the novel also confirms that Palps did indeed steal Darth Plagueis’ secret to immortality, as fans had speculated. Unlike Plagueis, however, Palpatine was prepared for his death. Here’s the excerpt explaining his survival:

“So the falling, dying Emperor called on all the dark power of the Force to thrust his consciousness far, far away, to a secret place he had been preparing. His body was dead, an empty vessel, long before it hit the bottom of the shaft, and his mind jolted to new awareness in a new body—a painful one, a temporary one.”

Essentially, the dark power of the Force that Palpatine called upon is none other than the Sith Eternal, the Sith loyalists and secret cult whose mission has long been to resurrect the Galactic Empire and the Sith Order. Palpatine was the first step toward complete domination. The novel expands upon how the shadowy group spliced genes and tinkered with dark and unnatural forces to create a body for Palpatine’s consciousness.

Kylo Ren in The Rise of Skywalker.Lucasfilm

The reveal expands upon the continued efforts of the Sith Eternal to reclaim their power over the galaxy. They’ve all been hiding out in the Unknown Regions, secretly toiling away until they were ready to reveal themselves following Palps' return.

While the information adds another dimension to the film's Exegol scenes and Palpatine’s backstory, it’s all rather underwhelming. Perhaps the film could have spared an additional minute to add in this information to clear up any lingering confusion. At least Episode IX’s novelization finally gives an answer to these unexplained mysteries. That might be enough for now.

The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition will be available on March 17.

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