The first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker featured much for fans to sink their teeth into, but nothing got everyone quite as excited as the sound of the Emperor’s laugh, which promised Ian McDiarmid would return as Darth Sidious in the closer to the Sequel Trilogy. Ever since, theories about how he could reappear and what his role might be have been flooding the web.
A previous theory offered that perhaps the Emperor’s Force Ghost has been haunting Supreme Leader Snoke for years, getting him to continue his evil work by creating the First Order. Following along similar lines, ScreenRant has outlined a theory suggesting that perhaps Palpatine has been haunting Kylo Ren instead. Specifically, that the Emperor’s spirit has become attached to the Darth Vader mask that Ren has been seen talking to. If you’ll recall, Ren retrieved the mangled mask from the ruins of the Death Star on Endor, which was where Palpatine himself died.
The second part of the theory teases that the Emperor manipulates Kylo into building a new superweapon in Rise of Skywalker. Palpatine does love his big spheres of destruction, that’s for sure. And Ren himself also previously helped create Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens. Not only that, but Return of the Jedi featured a second Death Star as well, so a second Starkiller Base in this movie would mirror the Original Trilogy.
Whether you buy into this particular theory or not, it does share something in common with most theories about how Palpatine will return. The prevailing idea amongst fans seems to be that he’ll be revealed to have been manipulating the villains of the trilogy from the shadows. You can see why this is, too, as being the big bad and corrupting others is pretty much his MO. But will the Emperor’s role in Episode IX really prove to be that important?
Time we’ll tell, but we’ll find out for sure when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits cinemas later this year, on December 20th.