The first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker revealed that the Emperor would be returning in the upcoming Episode IX via a snippet of his unmistakeable cackle. It came as a huge surprise to fans as, for the longest time, it’s been a fact of the SW universe that Palpatine died after Vader’s change of heart at the end of Return of the Jedi. But what if George Lucas actually hid the method of Darth Sidious’ return in plain sight 20 years ago?
Unlike Anakin, you’ve no doubt heard of the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise. The tale of the Sith Lord who learned how to hold back death, as told to the young Vader by Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith, has long been a subject of fascination for fans and ScreenRant has suggested that we can now potentially read it as foreshadowing for the villain’s eventual resurrection.
To refresh your mind of the scene in question, watch it below:
It’s often been theorized that Sidious was the apprentice spoken of in the tale, who was taught all that Plagueis knew and then murdered his master for his trouble. But what if this wasn’t just something that fans have made up and was intended by Lucas to be the subtext of the story, thereby suggesting that Palpatine never actually died after Vader threw him down that shaft in the Death Star?
It’s an intriguing idea, certainly. After all, we know that Lucas was at least on board with the decision to bring the Emperor back, as J.J. Abrams has revealed that he consulted the franchise’s creator on his plans for Episode IX and Lucas had a real input. Plus, as SR says, Lucas was a big fan of an Expanded Universe comic from the 90s that saw Palpatine transplant his consciousness into a clone body following RotJ – apparently he used to give it out to his co-workers at Christmas.
So, perhaps George has been planning for Darth Sidious to survive all along? I guess we’ll find out for sure when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in cinemas on December 20th.