Old Star Wars Book Might Explain Palpatine’s Goals In The Rise Of Skywalker

Emperor Palpatine

Like most people, I was pretty damn disappointed with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The film had a barely intelligible story, rolled back a whole bunch of character development and was riddled with unexplained plot elements. The most brazen was bringing back Emperor Palpatine without explaining how.

We all saw Darth Vader hurl him into the second Death Star’s reactor in Return of the Jedi, shortly followed by the entire station blowing up. The closest thing we got to an explanation of how he returned was the cryptic line: “the Dark Side of the force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.” But really, that doesn’t clear up anything.

Frustrated by this lack of explanation, Star Wars fans have now turned to the vast universe of media outside the films for answers. One source that looks very promising is The Book of the Sith: Secrets of the Dark Side. Written by Daniel Wallace and released in 2012, the book claims to contain the secret writings and philosophy handed down by Sith Lords over the years (it also has a crazy cool case). It features writings by Palpatine on his political manipulations that allowed him to rise to power, giving us a rare insight into his tactics from the man himself.

Fans on Reddit have been analyzing the writings over the last few weeks and they think the Emperor could be what the book describes as a ‘Sith’ari.’ This is essentially a ‘perfect Sith,’ one who will both lead and destroy the Sith. That might seem like a bit of a contradiction, but bear in mind that the Sith are all about strength through destruction.

Here’s the Sith’ari prophecy from the book:

The Sith’ari will be free of limits.
The Sith’ari will lead the Sith and destroy them.
The Sith’ari will raise the Sith from death and make them stronger than before.

Palpatine has actually proclaimed himself to be the Sith’ari in the Legends novel Darth Plagueis, saying that the murder of his master made him the ultimate Sith. In The Rise of Skywalker, we see him preparing for his own death, secretly planning to reincarnate his spirit in his granddaughter Rey. This would complete the ‘raising from death’ part of the prophecy and may cement him as the ultimate and final incarnation of the Dark Side.

Of course, the Book of the Sith is not canon, having been released just before the franchise was sold to Disney. Regardless, we know that Rian Johnson took inspiration from its Light Side counterpart, The Jedi Path, so perhaps Abrams read this when constructing the script.

But interesting as all this is, it still doesn’t explain how Palpatine survived being blown up. I guess we’ll have to wait for a Star Wars comic or novel to set us straight.