Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had plotholes big enough to swallow the Millennium Falcon whole. No doubt Disney and Lucasfilm are aware of this because they’ve been papering over some of them with canon novels such as Rae Carson’s official adaptation of the movie. This book attempted to explain how the Emperor was able to return from the dead by transferring his spirit to a cloned body on the planet Exogol through an ancient Sith power called Essence Transfer, yet this only gave rise to further unanswered questions.
Essence Transfer isn’t a new concept in Star Wars lore, of course, but never before in the history of the saga has a Sith used it to transport their essence to a planet in a completely different corner of the galaxy. There have been strict limits imposed on its use in the past, with Dark Side devotees only able to bind their spirit to an object or person in close proximity. What’s more, Exogol seems like a strange location to choose for clone experimentation, given that they’re known to deteriorate on planets where the Dark Side is strong.
Not content to leave these plotholes wide open, Disney and Lucasfilm have now released a new book that explains why Exogol was Palpatine’s planet of choice for resurrection. In George Mann’s Star Wars: Dark Legends, a collection of saga myths and legends, it’s stated that Exogol is a place where “the veil between life and death [is] thin.” This presumably means that it was the ideal place for the Emperor’s spirit to re-enter the realm of the living from the other side.
Although this might feel like an attempt to fill in a plothole with a throwaway line of text, this explanation does make sense in the context of the events of The Rise of Skywalker. With life and death being within touching distance of one another on Exogol, fallen Jedi from throughout the saga were able to converse with Rey during the final battle. Furthermore, the book’s claims also tie in neatly with Chuck Wendig’s canon novel Aftermath: Empire’s End, in which it’s revealed that the Emperor’s quest for immortality led him to the Unknown Regions, where Exogol is located, after sensing a disturbance in the Force there.
Admittedly, Star Wars: Dark Legends’ explanation about Exogol does fit into the equation like a missing puzzle piece, but quite frankly, it’s embarrassing that Disney and Lucasfilm have had to release yet another book in order for the Sequel Trilogy’s closing chapter to make sense. Seemingly, there was a metric tonne of information left out of The Rise of Skywalker that the audience needed to know, and fans shouldn’t have to read through a small library of books after the end credits have rolled to make full sense of what they’ve seen.
In any case, that’s one plothole resolved. Now maybe the studios can tell us how Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber was repaired, why Poe Dameron was able to perform a lightspeed skip in the Millennium Falcon, and why Palpatine was seemingly growing more Snokes after he’d served his purpose. Don’t be surprised to see future Star Wars books revisit matters from The Rise of Skywalker, because it’s still a long way from total coherence.