After much speculation about the ins and outs of his return, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker didn’t actually provide many answers on how exactly Emperor Palpatine is alive again come the beginning of Episode IX. Darth Sidious is simply established to have come back somehow in the opening crawl, with the villain’s only tease at the method of his resurrection coming when he quotes himself from Revenge of the Sith.
So, why was Palpatine’s return left so ambiguous? This is what Huffington Post asked the movie’s editor Maryann Brandon and she explained that there was originally much more clarity on the matter before the exposition was continually cut down in order to avoid overloading the audience. In fact, Brandon admitted that Palpatine’s introductory scenes were “tricky” to crack, adding:
“It was kind of a delicate balance and went back and forth a lot about how much we wanted to reveal. Some scenes changed quite a bit, the way that we wanted to present it to the audience. In the end, we ended up showing a lot less of it than we started with.”
Brandon went on to make clear that there was “a little more information about it, what was keeping [Palpatine] alive,” in earlier cuts, but “it seemed to go off topic.” She continued to defend the decision to leave this information out by pointing out that there were so many other characters to elaborate on in the film.
“There was so much information in the film and so many characters that we wanted to have an audience concentrate on. I think we felt we didn’t want to clutter the film up with things you didn’t need to know.”
The RotS quote mentioned above was a callback to the tragedy of Darth Plagueis, which hints that Palps copied that other Sith Lord’s mastery of death. What’s more, the Snoke clones in his possession suggest the villain had perhaps cloned his own body. Putting these two facts together with comments made by co-writer Chris Terrio, it seems the Emperor’s spirit survived his death in Return of the Jedi and he was inhabiting a cloned form in TROS.
It’d be good to have some deleted scenes or material to confirm this theory, though, so hopefully the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release casts a bit of light on the mystery.
Source: Huffington Post