“Rey who?” “Rey Skywalker.”
These last words of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hit a wrong chord with many Star Wars fans. What had previously set Rey apart from other Star Wars protagonists was that she came from nowhere, but these words established she wasn’t just genetically a Palpatine through being the daughter of one of his rejected clones: she was a Skywalker too. She went from “no one” to being related to basically every major Star Wars character.
It was jarring, but a new Star Wars book may shed light on what Palpatine really thought of the Skywalkers — which could change how fans think about this final reveal.
The StarWars.com website recently released a sneak preview of the upcoming book Star Wars: The Secrets of the Sith, an oral history of the events of the Star Wars universe told by none other than Darth Sidious himself, Sheev Palpatine. While there isn’t much new content to the book, outside of some incredibly gorgeous art, it’s a fascinating look at what went on in Palpatine’s head throughout every step of the Star Wars chronology.
On a page concerning the Chosen One, Palpatine starts his story with a bold claim: “None in this galaxy has ever proved my equal in the power of the Dark Side.” Typical Sheev boasting.
However, he follows it up with a shockingly honest admission: “But in matters of the Force, there is one bloodline that cannot be ignored — the Skywalkers.”
Palpatine then recounts the entire life of Anakin Skywalker, from his birth on Tatooine to his turn back to assist Luke in overthrowing the Empire, all in his signature Palpatine voice: “Anakin Skywalker was reborn just in time to die.” Funnily enough, he skips over the part where he’s pushed into a pit and falls to his assumed death.
This book reveals plenty about Palpatine. Firstly, it explains what he was doing for all those years he was holed up on Exegol: writing a tell-all memoir for the generations of Sith to come, complete with photorealistic illustrations. But it also reveals how he saw the Skywalkers — as a tribe that existed to be his pawns, then as his sworn enemies when that maneuver failed.
It’s safe to assume the book was written before the events of Rise of Skywalker, so there’s no way Palpatine could have seen the true threat to his power coming: not a Skywalker by blood, but a Skywalker disguised as a Palpatine, the last thing he would ever expect. This establishes even more motivation for Rey’s claim to the name Skywalker, given that Palpatine said only a Skywalker could match his use of the Force.
With such hero-oriented works like Star Wars, peeks into the villain’s mind like this are rare yet invaluable when it comes to fully understanding every angle of the story. Palpatine is more than just the Senate, a dictator, and the embodiment of evil. He’s a man who understands he must face formidable enemies and threats. Maybe, ahead of The Rise of Skywalker, he even feels some fear of betrayal, since he’s still bitter from Anakin.
Sorry, Sheev, your next betrayal will hit closer to home.
Star Wars: Secrets of the Sith hits bookshelves October 5.