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We finally learned how Palpatine survived and returned in ‘Rise of Skywalker’

StarWars.com dished the official details about how Palpatine returned after dying in ‘Return of the Jedi’

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Emperor Palpatine fills Anakin Skywalker with stories of the Sith.

Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) fills Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) with stories of power beyond belief.


“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” came out about two years ago. And since then, we’ve been wondering how Palpatine survived his dramatic death in “Return of the Jedi” only to return in “Rise of Skywalker.”

Now, thanks to a blog post on StarWars.com, we have an official explanation for how it happened.

How did Palpatine survive his death?

OK. So here’s what we learned from StarWars.com.

Palpatine was always worried about losing his power. He created “The Contingency,” a plan that would help him reclaim the Empire if he were ever killed.

“The Contingency” started with Operation: Cinder, which included sentinel droids destroying Imperial and New Republic locations that held sensitive information.

When Palpatine died, his consciousness was transferred to a clone on the planet Exegol, where he had been previously studying immortality. However, the body was too weak to hold his consciousness. So they built more clones that could be a strong vessel for him.

This led to Snoke’s creation. Snoke was made to lead the First Order, which would then work to bring Rey — Palpatine’s granddaughter — to Palpatine since she could act as a vessel to contain Palpatine’s consciousness.

This led to the climactic battle between Rey and Palpatine as seen in “The Rise of Skywalker.” Palpatine fought his granddaughter to make sure he could use her body as a vessel. Rey aligned with the Jedi, looking to stop Palpatine.

So, there you go. That’s it. That’s what happened with Palpatine.

It’s a little confusing and probably would have been hard to explain on screen. But at least we have an official explanation about the creation of Snoke and how Palpatine returned in “Rise of Skywalker.” There’s a lot more information and details on StarWars.com, so head over there to read more.

There has long been a debate about how Palpatine returned because “Rise of Skywalker” never really explained it. In fact, According to reports, the “Rise of Skywalker” novelization explained that Emperor Palpatine was actually a clone and not a resurrected body.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

All the vials were of empty 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.

“Star Wars” actor Ian McDiarmid, who played Palpatine, said at Comic Con Brussels that he wasn’t a clone, too.

“Well, of course, there were all sorts of explanations for why I might return. I think I can reveal something. At one point, the script had the line in that first scene with Adam (Driver) where he says ‘You’re a clone’ and I said in that original script, which is no longer with us, ‘More than a clone, less than a man,’ which seemed to me to sum it up because we knew that the camera has already snaked past the clone tank in which there are various versions of Snoke that you probably noticed.”

Palpatine’s return was always in the books for the final Skywalker Saga film. Director J.J. Abrams told Uproxx that there were always plans to bring back Emperor Palpatine during “The Rise of Skywalker.”

“Well, when you look at this as nine chapters of a story, perhaps the weirder thing would be if Palpatine didn’t return,” Abrams said. “You just look at what he talks about, who he is, how important he is, what the story is — strangely, his absence entirely from the third trilogy would be conspicuous.”