We hope you’re near the Mos Eisley Cantina, because you’ll definitely need to unwind after hearing this head-spinning new Star Wars theory. Over at Screen Rant, writer Thomas Bacon has published a theory centered around Emperor Palpatine, the Sith Lord who rose through the ranks of the Galactic Republic to become its Emperor before Darth Vader took him out in Return of the Jedi by launching him into the Death Star’s reactor. Or, at least, that’s what we thought happened. The vicious villain is slated to make a jaw-dropping comeback in writer-director J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker.
Palpatine’s signature cackle was heard in the first trailer, and his presence could be felt in the final pre-release footage for the film, when Daisy Ridley’s Rey stood opposite a dark figure. Many have speculated as to what Emperor Palpatine’s role in The Rise of Skywalker will be, without accounting for how he would even be alive to return and wreak havoc in the first place. Now, Bacon has presented a theory apparently crafted by many other Star Wars fans as to how the character survived his apparent death-by-the-Death-Star. The idea goes that Emperor Palpatine didn’t really die when Darth Vader, overcome with emotion while watching Palpatine attack and torture his son Luke Skywalker with Force lightning, chucked him into the Death Star’s reactor. Rather, it’s believed that Palpatine transformed himself into Force energy to survive the fall into the reactor. And that energy blast may not have been a release of Dark Side energy as traditionally believed, but instead Palpatine himself in his new Force energy form. How exactly might have Emperor Palpatine rid himself of his mortal body and turned himself into intangible Force energy? The theory points to the in-universe legends collection Star Wars: Myths & Fables, which contains a story called “Gaze of Stone.” The story involves a Sith Lord apprentice performing a ritual that transforms flesh. His plan went sideways, however, when the ritual was turned against him, and he was turned into rock. According to this new theory, Emperor Palpatine used a Sith ritual similar to this one to escape death at the end of Return of the Jedi. Palpatine’s preoccupation with immortality is an important foundation of this theory, as the ensuing details claim that Palpatine built his Throne Rooms like the one within the Death Star in a way that would allow him to “amplify his power” and “transform into an energy state rather than die.” It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Emperor Palpatine, fearful of dying and losing power over the galaxy, would call upon a Sith enchantment to cheat death. However, there’s a big snag in this theory: it doesn’t explain how Palpatine would then return to his physical form pale skin, haunting eyes, and all to stir up trouble in The Rise of Skywalker. Keep watching the video to see that the new head-turning Palpatine Star Wars theory is a real doozy!