The how of Emperor Palpatine’s return was something that the last Star Wars movie in the Skywalker Saga didn’t bother explaining. Though luckily for diehard enthusiasts, other media has since tackled the mystery of his resurrection, the hidden stronghold of Exegol, and the Sith loyalists who helped him achieve all of these menacing feats.
In fact, as the official novelization for The Rise of Skywalker explained, Palpatine’s body didn’t actually survive the explosion of the second Death Star. Instead, the big bad had a contingency plan that came into fruition after his failure to turn Luke to the dark side. Darth Sidious used the Force to transfer his subconsciousness to Exegol, where he embodied a clone that the Sith Eternal had created. Unfortunately, the Emperor was weak and the new body became a limitation, so he resorted to the First Order and Snoke as a puppet to prepare the galaxy for his eventual return.
Star Wars has further explored the idea of the fortress in the Unknown Regions by revealing that even Palpatine didn’t know about its existence until setting up Sith Observatories all over the galaxy. And even then, one would need Wayfinders to pinpoint the location and survive the space debris surrounding it.
But now, we’ve learned that Darth Vader also knew about Exegol. The recently published ninth issue of Star Wars: Darth Vader has revealed that the fallen Chosen One found a Sith Wayfinder in his adventures, as you can see below.
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Of course, Vader isn’t exactly in Palpatine’s good graces here. The last we saw of them together, the Emperor almost killed and left him for dead on Mustafar. And now, he’s sent Ochi of Bestoon, one of his best assassins, after the apprentice. Though as you can see above, at one point in the story, he manages to get hold of a Wayfinder, uncovering more of his master’s secrets.
The ongoing Star Wars comic has been full of twists for the evil dark lord, so it’ll be interesting to see how writer Grek Pak will conclude the 10-issue series when the last one arrives on February 10th, promising to all but set up Vader’s redemption in Return of the Jedi.