May the Fourth has come and gone, making The Rise of Skywalker was available on Disney+, bringing the entire Skywalker Saga together on the streaming service. With the complete story now readily available to watch, one Redditor has compiled all the clues to Palpatine's eventual return in Episode IX to look out for during your next rewatch.
Redditor understandably_so compiled a list of evidence to explain how Palpatine's return as a clone was logical, using only examples from the movies, not the novelizations, which explain cloning in detail. There's a whole slew of reasons, but here are just a handful of the most compelling evidence.
Palpatine's line "I am all the Sith" has become the basis for all sorts of theories, and this one takes it more figuratively. Just as Rey is the culmination of all the Jedi, as we saw when she heard their voices, Palpatine is the culmination of all the Sith before him. This comparison enriches the odd biological relationship between the two, given that we now know Rey is the daughter of a botched Palps clone.
Just after he saps the life out of Rey and Kylo, announces to his audience of Sith Eternal cultists, "look what you have made." This seemingly confirms the fact that the Sith Eternal quite literally made this version of him. As the redditor points out, this shadowy group clearly has easy access to cloning technology, as evidenced by all those pickled Snokes. That and the Sith Fleet suggests a vast abundance of resources at the Sith Eternal's disposal, far more than was shown on-screen. We know Sheev eventually planned on overtaking Rey's body, but this backup scheme shows another aspect of Palpatine that many forget about: he meticulously plans and has the charisma to command loyalty from immense numbers of followers.
One of the major fan theories surrounding Palpatine is that his body is actually a reanimated corpse, and his appearance in Rise of Skywalker supports this. His body is decrepit, his eyes glassy, and he's hooked up to what appears to be the Ommin harness, which belonged to a Sith lord who lived thousands of years before the events of the film, according to formerly canon Legends books and comics. This theory posits that while the body is a clone, the vast Dark side energy possessed by the Emperor causes even that new body to degrade and deform. In retrospect, the redditor argues, it's a testament to Vader's power that he was able to weaken the Emperor to the point where he needed to convalesce for three decades.
Speaking of Darth Vader, there's a line in Revenge of the Sith that's mentioned alongside the oft-repeated Darth Plagueis anecdote. Palpatine tells Anakin Skywalker "To cheat death is a power only one has achieved, but if we work together we can discover the secret." This statement is prescient not only because it's another foreshadowing of Palpatine's eventual return in Rise of Skywalker, but also alludes to the way Darth Vader cheats death through his breathing apparatus.
While fans continue to debate whether Palpatine's return was the logical choice for The Rise of Skywalker, Sheev could be plotting yet another return, so examining the clues may be worth it.
All nine Skywalker Saga films are streaming on Disney+.