Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set to conclude the story of the Skywalker family, and how can that story conclude without including Emperor Sheev Palpatine in some way? It's been confirmed the big bad of the saga will be involved in some way, though J.J. Abrams and others have been pretty cagey in regards to what he's doing or how we can expect to see him. Is the Emperor impacting this movie from beyond the grave, or is he appearing in the flesh?
We have reason to suspect Palpatine survived Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and, for reasons unknown, has come out of hiding for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Here are some scenes from the latest trailer that give credence to that theory, and some speculation that the former emperor is about as bad as he's ever been.
Perhaps the biggest evidence that Emperor Palpatine is among the living in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is his dialogue in the trailer. The dialogue, read by actor Ian McDiarmid, definitely sounds tied to the events of the movie. This would, at the very least, mean he has some level of consciousness and can respond to modern events. Of course, this is all spliced together trailer footage, so whomever edited can make things sound way different than they actually are.
With that said, there's something ominous about the Emperor being excited about a group coming together. Who is he referring to? Rey, Finn, Poe and Rose? Rey and Kylo? The Resistance and the First Order? It all seems tied to the events of Episode IX, and perhaps an event that will give Palpatine one more chance to get back on top.
The Giant Star Destroyer Rising From The Ground
There's a lot that looks new about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but a few people noticed a scene that looked like a callback to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Much like when Yoda lifted the X-Wing out of the water, we see a Star Destroyer rising up out of the ground in a very similar manner.
If this bad boy got Force pulled out from beneath the dirt, it'd have to be someone with an immense connection to the Force. Palpatine fits the bill and could probably chuck that thing at that giant Resistance squadron to do some major damage That said, there looks to be some lights on in the ship, which may indicate this thing is manned. There's no immense proof Palpatine is behind this feat, though it does seem such a big ship would need more than its own power to be upended from a position below ground.
Lightning plays a big part of that massive battle between the Resistance and First Order, and there's been plenty of theories on the web about who's responsible for it. C'mon, it doesn't take a lot of sleuthing to think that people think Palpatine is the person behind the lightning shooting around during this mega battle. Hey, if he's strong enough to lift a Star Destroyer with the Force (which happens during a lightning strike), I'd buy he could pull that off as well!
Now, just to point out the obvious, there's also a rainstorm happening on this planet. Those are just as capable of creating lightning, and may even do so much easier than a Sith Lord can. We've never seen Palpatine make lightning as massive as an actual bolt, though that would really only be just as impressive as his surviving the Death Star's destruction. If the Emperor's survived this long, who knows what he's capable of!
One of the biggest reveals of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's final trailer was the shot of Palpatine's throne, which is based on Ralph McQuarrie's early design back during Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Now, the Emperor sitting in the throne would've been a great show of evidence that he's alive in well in this movie, though the showing of the throne alone may prove he's lurking about.
Think about this: if Emperor Palpatine doesn't have a significant role in the story, then what is the point in showing his throne? Furthermore, what's the point in holding a throne for someone who is no longer living? I don't think Kylo would be interested in it; he's more of a Vader guy. My thought is this seat is intentionally dormant because there are those in the galaxy who know Palpatine may one day reclaim his spot.
The Cloak And Chair?
We wrote on this bit extensively already, but just to give the short version, the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer appears to show a cloaked figure descend upon Rey in a giant machine. There are only a few characters in the Skywalker Saga who don a cloak with a hood in general, and not many more who have a black hood. We don't know for sure, but that could be Palpatine attached to some form of life-sustaining machinery.
There has to be something that's kept old Sheev alive all this time, and Star Wars tech has worked some miracles. It brought Anakin Skywalker back from the brink of death and gave Darth Maul his legs back. Sith may be incapable of becoming Force Ghosts (as far as we know), but man, they are really good at staying alive if they need to!
Now, the question is, why would Palpatine come out of hiding to confront Rey? Provided that's him, he'd need to have some master plan that requires her, or at least something about her. Otherwise, this might be the stupidest plan he's had since he decided to turn his back on Vader in Return of the Jedi! Then again, if he survived, that move may have ensured he's still around today, so perhaps Palpatine is grateful for the betrayal.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters Friday, December 20. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend for all the latest and greatest news happening in movies and television.