Now, the title is confusing, but let us explain. Luke Skywalker’s exile was at least partially responsible for Emperor Palpatine’s comeback in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Palpatine and Luke were subjects of some very controversial elements of the Sequel Trilogy when it began.
In the beginning, it was revealed that Luke Skywalker, who was once the greatest hero the galaxy had ever seen, had retreated to a hidden planet so that no one could find him. And when the Sequel Trilogy was going to end, Lucasfilm brought back the overarching villain of the franchise even though he had died 3 decades earlier.
These changes proved to be quite unpopular with the audience. But now, Star Wars is inextricably linking them. Know that canon has already teased that there’s, in fact, a link between Luke’s retreat before the Sequel Trilogy and Palpatine’s return in Rising of Skywalker. How? Read on.
Before the Sequel’s Trilogy began, Luke sensed a dark side presence. He even suspected that Palpatine might have been involved. This influenced Lando Calrissian and his search for Ochi. It has since been rumored that Palpatine revealed himself to Luke during his encounter with Ben Solo. And that this was the darkness that Luke sensed.
So it’s clear now that the stories of these two characters are intertwined, even if neither of them has fully realized just how much. Luke was the biggest threat to the Emperor’s plans.
This was due to his mastery over the Force as well as the fact that he was training a new Jedi Order to inspire hope in the galaxy. Fans have suspected for long that Luke’s exile, as well as eventual death, was a major factor in when and how Palpatine made his move. And this is something that the Emperor indeed confirms in the tie-in book titled The Secrets Of The Sith.
Here’s what he says:
“A self-appointed Jedi Master, the great Luke Skywalker wasted his life attempting to rebuild the fallen Jedi Order. That pathetic dream was shattered when Skywalker’s prize pupil – his nephew, Ben Solo – turned against the Order’s teachings and cut down his fellow students. Skywalker wallowed in self-pity, fleeing into seclusion and abandoning the ways of the Force. His exile allowed me to set in motion the plans for my return.”
It makes sense that it is Luke’s exile that leads to Palpatine’s return. If Luke hadn’t left, then the power and status of Supreme Leader Snoke and Kylo Ren would have been in much greater doubt. It would also have helped play on Kylo’s conflict more. Also, Luke’s powers surpassed both of them. This means that the First Order would have had a huge obstacle to face. But this was missing.
As such, Luke would have further harmed Emperor Palpatine’s chances of return in The Rise of Skywalker. After all, Snoke’s death in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Kylo finding Palpatine, and the entire setup for a Sith heir were all necessary to ensure Palpatine’s return. These would have been made much harder if Luke was there. Palpatine was always biding his time and waiting for the right opportunity to strike. The Sequel Trilogy’s events gave him that opportunity.
Thus, ending the conflict with Kylo and completely wiping out hope from the galaxy while crushing the resistance. At least, Palpatine surely had hoped for the latter two. So if Luke had been around, the Sequel Trilogy would look different. It would mean that if Palpatine wanted to come back, then he would have to face Luke.
And since Luke Skywalker was the one being Palpatine feared. So he might have hidden longer. Also, Luke might have ended his plans before they were ever in motion. Overall, The Rise of Skywalker would have looked very different.
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