The “Somehow Palpatine has returned” dialogue spoken by Poe Dameron in the Sequel Star Wars trilogy has become a meme right now. It’s a meme because the movie didn’t explain just how a character who everyone thought had died in Return of the Jedi came back again.
However, Star Wars fans finally have a solid explanation for Emperor Palpatine’s survival in The Rise of Skywalker after the events of Star Wars Return of the Jedi. Here’s how:
Emily Shkoukani of the Lucasfilm Story Group finally fully explained how Palpatine survived after Return of the Jedi in a blog post created on the Star Wars‘ official website. Fans will remember that in Return of the Jedi, Palpatine was thrown into the second Death Star by Darth Vader.
Actually, he didn’t really survive. After all, his body didn’t survive. Just that he transferred his consciousness into his clone. As per Shkoukani, the whole plan for the Sith Emperor’s return began even before his death.
He had a plan called the Contingency that would have helped him get control back for the Empire in case of his death. Apart from the multiple strategic attacks to make the First Order and safeguard his organization, the Contingency resulted in Palpatine as well as his Sith Eternals heading to Exegol and experimenting on cloning.
We saw this in Rise of the Skywalker. Ultimately the Sith Lord was able to successfully transfer his consciousness to a clone after his death. That clone was of his own body as well. However, the clone wasn’t strong enough to contain him. As such, Palpatine made more clones and strand-casts.
These variants would ultimately lead to both Rey as well as Snoke. After all, Rey was the daughter of one of three Palpatine strand-casts. Ultimately, Rey was the perfect vessel for Palpatine, but her connection with the Jedis turned her against her own grandfather. In the end, Rey defeated Palpatine, and with that, the Skywalker saga has ended till now.
This is certainly a plausible explanation, and fans will surely be glad to finally get one. However, the end of the Rise of the Skywalker left unanswered questions.
In fact, for Rey, it seemed like an ending and not a beginning. We are hoping that it will be explored in one of the Mandoverse shows so that Rey’s story can be wrapped up effectively.