Ever since his return was revealed in the movie’s first trailer, fans have been theorizing about every single possible way that Emperor Palpatine could be back for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Will he be a Force ghost? Or a clone? Will he possess someone? Well, We Got This Covered can now reveal the real explanation, but before we continue, we’ll warn you that some minor spoilers may follow.
According to our sources, the same ones who told us Ewan McGregor was returning as Obi-Wan and that the leads in Ghostbusters 3 will be young teens, both of which have since been confirmed, all those ideas about Palpatine somehow being resurrected are wrong. Instead, the villain will actually be revealed to have survived his fall at Darth Vader’s hand in Return of the Jedi. He only just escaped death, however, as he’s apparently been in hiding ever since, healing and recovering. During his period in hiding, he’ll also have built up a new army of red Stormtroopers – the Sith troopers we’ve previously seen.
What’s more, we’ve also heard about what his big plan will be in Episode IX. As per his MO, once he’s back in the game, he’ll try to get Kylo Ren to bring Rey over to the Dark Side, just as he succeeded in doing with Kylo’s grandfather in the Prequel Trilogy. That shot of Rey looking pretty Sith-like in the second trailer heavily suggests he and Kylo will achieve their sinister goal, too.
Of course, the revelation that Palpatine didn’t die after all in Episode VI is a pretty hefty retcon, but it’s probably the simplest way to bring him back rather than getting too lost in alternate explanations involving cloning and whatnot. As long as Darth Sidious’ return is worth it and has a real impact, then most fans should be able to get on board with it when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker drops in theaters on December 20th.