Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is one of the messiest entries in the decades-spanning Skywalker Saga, delivering practically a whole trilogy’s worth of plot points in the span of less than two-and-a-half hours while providing little context to some of the story’s biggest developments.
With so much left unexplained, fans are currently having to rely on the movie’s tie-in material to understand everything that unfolds. In the film’s upcoming novelization, for example, we get some vague hints as to how Sheev Palpatine managed to make a last-minute comeback in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy.
Though the book doesn’t give us all the details, it does provide us with some information that seemingly feeds into the popular theory that cloning technology played a role in the Emperor’s return. ComicBook.com quotes the following passage:
“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.”
The reference to the Clone Wars arguably supports the notion that the Emperor has not returned in his original form, but is instead using a clone body, having transferred his essence from one vessel to another.
For those in need of a little more backstory, another recent Rise of Skywalker tie-in book has suggested that Palptatine’s body was brought by his subjects to Exegol following the events of Return of the Jedi, and it was there that his fanatics were able to revive him through “technology and occult” methods.
Nonetheless, all this spinoff material still leaves quite a bit to the imagination, though given Lucasfilm’s busy plans for the future of the franchise, it’s not unthinkable that we’ll get the full story of Palpatine’s revival somewhere down the line. In the meantime, the novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is available from March 17th.