Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker raised many questions that fans didn’t get the answers to. One of the questions was- why did Emperor Palpatine let his clone son (who fathered Rey) live even though he was a faulty version of him?
In the beginning, viewers were told that Rey was a nobody. But Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker revealed that it wasn’t true. The movie revealed that Rey was Palpatine’s granddaughter. Also, the film showed her parents- portrayed by Jodie Comer and Billy Howle. They left her behind on Jakku, trying to keep her out of the evil clutches of the Emperor. Now, that wasn’t the entire story as well.
Multiple Star Wars comics and books have expanded the story of the movie since its release. They have also explained the plot holes, tried to deepen the story, and also answered questions. As such, they have elaborated on Rey’s parentage as well. In the novelization of The Rise of Skywalker, penned by Rae Carson, it’s revealed that Rey’s dad is a failed Palpatine clone.
He was created as just a vessel for the Sith Lord but incapable of fulfilling his purpose. Now, Palpatine had multiple failed clones. It was largely because it was tough for any container to contain his impressive dark side’s power. Yet Rey’s father is unique. After all, he was allowed to live. But why is that?
The novel describes Rey’s father as “a useless, powerless failure,” and “not-quite-identical clone” that lived on. After some time, he fathered Rey. Now, Palpatine is known for his planning and foresight. And it looks like this case wasn’t any different.
He allowed his failed clone to live in the hopes that he would do exactly what he eventually ended up doing- fathering someone like Rey down the line. Palpatine explained this in the book Secrets of the Sith. The book is from the perspective of Palpatine, and here’s what he says:
“The lone subject that survived the cloning process lacked any connection to the Force. I rejected this useless creature, but I chose to let it live. Even if this “son” was undeserving of my legacy, I surmised that the Palpatine blood rushing through its veins might somebody become useful. As always, my theory would soon prove correct…”
This explanation does make sense. After all, without it, Palpatine not tying up such a loose end and simply letting a failed clone wander around seems careless and oddly devoid of the cruelty he is known for. And so, him allowing his failed son to live in the hopes that someone way more powerful than him would come along fits with the scheming we are used to seeing from him.
It also makes sense that the Emperor let his son live because he saw him as harmless and potentially beneficial. But he didn’t plan for his offspring to be his downfall. There have been multiple instances of underdog victories in the galaxy far, far away. Siths especially have a long history of overlooking people who are not powerful on the surface.
In this instance, it did give Palpatine the heir he wanted. But it also brought about his as well as the entire Sith’s end. Now, overall, we still don’t know much about Rey’s parents. But there’s a massive chunk of the timeline unknown before what was shown in The Rise of Skywalker. And that’s something that future Star Wars tie-ins could explore.
There’s already one book coming out in 2022 that will follow Lando Calrissian and Luke Skywalker on the hunt for Ochi of Bestoon, the assassin who murdered Rey’s parents. As such, we could know more about them then. But if not, then maybe some other project will. However, for now, we can rest easy knowing that the mystery behind Palpatine’s failed clone son and just how he was allowed to become Rey’s dad has been cleared up.
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