The biggest shock of the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker reveal at Star Wars Celebration was the reveal that Emperor Palpatine would be returning to the saga. Ian’s cackle and subsequent mic drop as he called for the trailer to be played again will forever be a priceless Star Wars fandom moment.

Now that the dust has settled on the film’s first teaser and title reveal, I wanted to take a deeper dive into how Sheev may return in The Rise of Skywalker. First and foremost, I researched other theories, most notably one from some dude named Din Skysinger on Facebook, and one from Reddit. While both share similar theories, I think Din’s is the most realistic, so I ran with parts of it, while folding in some new ideas.

Please check out the video above! I’ve also highlighted the key points below.

Emperor Palpatine in Episode IX theory:

  • Palpatine, like other Sith (Think Old EU or Lord Momin), passed his essence into an object (Vader’s mask?), multiple objects, or even the Death Star Throne Room itself before he died in ROTJ. We know he was collecting and storing Force sensitive objects and artifacts via the Aftermath book, so he may have been storing his essence in these locations too, a la, Voldemort.
  • Snoke, who we know came from the Unknown Regions, which is a location we also know Palpatine was looking into, somehow gets possessed by Palp’s essence. This is why he’s so strong with the Dark Side, and why he went after Ben Solo from a young age. This is also why the First Order is basically just an upgraded version of the Empire, at least in terms of looks and weaponry, as well as why he was so obsessed with snuffing out Skywalker and the Resistance before a new crop of Jedi could arise.
  • From here, Palp, via Snoke, works his master plan on Kylo to groom him to be his next vessel, a much stronger one, and one more tuned to the Force. Now this is where things could get funky, because some are thinking Snoke/Palp let himself be killed so his essence could be transferred to Kylo via his helmet. Who knows, but I’m not opposed to the idea of Kylo being possessed by Palp in Episode IX, because it would explain his chaotic look, and why everyone is rushing to stop whatever he’s doing. I could also see Kylo getting possessed via Vader’s helmet, which Palp could have transferred to in ROTJ and has been fucking with Ben ever since he got his hands on it.
  • This would setup Episode IX and Kylo’s redemption through Rey. He will need her to free him of Palpatine’s control, and possibly she will be successful so that he lives and the two vanquish the greatest evil in the galaxy once and for all.

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Matt is literally from a galaxy that is far, far away. Star Wars has consumed his life, and made him the geek that he is. He's no fan of the Prequels, but still loves the Maker. When he's not recording his unstable takes for the Star Wars Time podcast, he's either working on, taking pictures of Star Wars toys, or trying to legitimately wield the Force.