The marketing for the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has so far yielded two teasers, both of which end with a last-second twist designed to get the fans speculating. First, there was the April trailer, which concluded with the familiar sound of Emperor Palpatine’s laughter. Then just last month, Disney released a second promo, which ended with the image of Rey dressed in black and wielding a red, double-bladed lightsaber.
Naturally, the internet has yielded a multitude of theories on each of the two teases, but in a new piece from ScreenRant, we get an interesting suggestion for how each of these moments might be secretly connected.
First, let’s start with the Emperor. Though the idea of dead characters coming back from the grave is nothing new for the Star Wars movies, it’s worth noting that franchise mythology makes it quite clear that only light side Force-users can return as Force Ghosts. We can therefore rule out that possibility for Palpatine, but in Charles Soule’s recent Darth Vader comic, we find a Sith equivalent of sorts.
To elaborate, the canonical spinoff tells us that Sith can live on in physical objects through the power of “Essence Transfer.” What’s more, the ScreenRant article notes that we’ve yet to see a single live-action image of the Emperor in The Rise of Skywalker. Even on the recently unveiled poster, for instance, he’s looking pretty cartoonish. You therefore have to wonder if Palpatine will even appear in his usual physical form in this year’s release.
Now, perhaps director J.J. Abrams is simply saving the full Emperor reveal for a future trailer, or even the film itself. However, there’s also reason to believe that the villain is ultimately going to find himself a new body. Going back to Soule’s Darth Vader comic, the spinoff suggests that a Sith spirit is capable of possessing people who come into contact with the relic they inhabit – which brings us to that famous tease of a very Sith-like Rey.
Could it be that the lead heroine of the Sequel Trilogy will become possessed by Palpatine? It seems possible, but we’ll know for sure once Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th.