Many moviegoers were left baffled when they saw Emperor Palpatine, who was most decidedly dead by the end of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, alive and well in the franchise’s ninth and final episode. There was no explanation given, with everyone in the movie readily accepting Palpatine’s return.
Now, with Rae Carson’s upcoming novelisation, fans are finally given an answer as to Palpatine’s sudden return. Copies of Carson’s novel Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Extended Edition) were available during the C2E2 convention in Chicago and in it, there is a passage explaining Palpatine’s return (via ScreenRant).
It seems when Kylo Ren first paid a visit to Palpatine on Exegol, he noticed the device hooked up to Palpatine keeping him alive and makes the connection that the Palpatine in front of him is a clone.
“All the vials were empty of liquid save one, which was nearly depleted. Kylo peered closer. He’d seen this apparatus before, too, when he’d studied the Clone Wars as a boy. The liquid flowing into the living nightmare before him was fighting a losing battle to sustain the Emperor’s putrid flesh.
“What could you give me?” Kylo asked. Emperor Palpatine lived, after a fashion, and Kylo could feel in his very bones that this clone body sheltered the Emperor’s actual spirit. It was an imperfect vessel, though, unable to contain his immense power. It couldn’t last much longer.”
Nowhere in the film was it talked about or even hinted at that Palpatine may have been a clone save for a line from Dominic Monaghan’s character, “Dark science. Cloning. Secrets only the Sith knew.” Well, at least Carson’s novel does help to finally shed some much-needed light on a question that has been plaguing everyone’s mind since the film’s premiere. Though it is kind of disappointing that such an important detail had to be revealed in a novel instead of the actual film.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Extended Edition) is set to hit shelves on 17 March 2020.