The Sith Eternal seemingly appeared out of nowhere in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as a new race of hooded followers to do Emperor Palpatine's bidding. But these Exegol henchmen must have come from somewhere, right?
An intriguing new theory argues that the Sith Eternal could have been pulling the strings since as far back as the twilight of the Galactic Republic, and one low-level villain in the Star Wars prequel movies might just be the original Sith Eternal.
In a post on the Star Wars Speculation subreddit, u/ergister asked a simple question: Is it "safe to assume Mas Amedda was a Sith Eternal cultist?"
On the surface, this might seem ridiculous. After all, the Sith Eternal we see in Rise of Skywalker are short, hooded, and anonymous. Mas Amedda was a powerful (and power-hungry) politician who helped Palpatine transition the democracy into an Empire. That's where this theory comes in, because what if Mas Amedda wasn't just a Sith Eternal, he was the original Sith Eternal?
u/ergister speculates that Sith loyalists could have been running rampant throughout the Galactic Republic, and we know from supplemental Star Wars material that Palpatine did embed some of his followers in major ship-manufacturers like Sienar-Jaemus Fleet Systems and Kuat-Entralla Engineering to help build up his fleet. However, the idea of an army of hooded followers clearly doesn't emerge until much later.
Rather, it seems possible that, as he began his rise to power, Palpatine transformed those around him into his very first Sith Eternal followers.
"If Mas Amedda was ever a Sith Cultist, it happened after Sheev recruited him," u/marmoset3 wrote in a comment.
This actually makes a lot of sense. Throughout the prequels, Mas Amedda proves to be a pretty cunning (if evil) politician, wielding power and obstructing democracy. He served as Vice Chair of the Galactic Senate under Sheev Palpatine's predecessor and manages to hold onto power during the vote of no confidence that put Sheev in control of the Senate. He even became aware that Palps was a Sith before everyone else and just sort of rolled with it.
After Emperor Palpatine moved his seat of power away from Coruscant, Amedda stayed behind as Grand Vizier, acting as a liaison between the Emperor and government leaders. That leaves plenty of time for Palps to corrupt Amedda and transform him into the willing servants we see on Exegol.
Throughout the rule of the Empire, Amedda remained a high-ranking leader, and following Palpatine's death, he briefly served as a powerless Emperor. Eventually, he was captured and forced to officially recognize the Rebellion's victory. After that, he actually remained on Coruscant as Grand Vizier, but as a figurehead with no actual power.
Or so we think.
Considering that Palpatine never really died, it seems likely Amedda was summoned by his old master at some point between the end of Return of the Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. Most likely, it happened after the New Republic was destroyed in The Force Awakens, freeing Mas up to come running to his Emperor.
In the meantime, Mas Amedda might have appeared to be a powerless figurehead and a relic of the Empire, but what if he was actually plotting with Palpatine all along? From Coruscant, he could have helped grow and organize the Sith Eternal before eventually returning to his Sith master on Exegol.