'Rise of Skywalker': Star Wars next offering may see the return of Emperor Palpatine
Emperor Palpatine’s story has defined the events of the galaxy for generations now, and is inextricably linked with the saga of the Skywalkers. Even after his death at the hands of his own apprentice, Darth Vader, his legacy lives on through the First Order - and if the implications of the trailer are to be believed, Palpatine’s death was not the end of the story.
With the ‘Rise of Skywalker’ bringing an end to the saga of the Skywalker family, it’s worth taking a look at the man who may just be their greatest foe.
A human male, Sheev Palpatine led a double life as a Sith Lord for most of his political career. Born on Naboo, his inherent connection to the Force drew the eye of Darth Plagueis, who began training him in the ways of the Force, and the Sith way. Unfortunately for Darth Plagueis, one of the Sith traditions is the “Rule of Two,” which dictates that a Sith Lord who takes on an apprentice must either be killed and replaced by the apprentice, or that the Sith Lord must kill and replace that apprentice himself. It was a battle that Darth Plagueis, for all his power, lost.
Palpatine’s rise to power wasn’t just as a Sith Lord - he was elected as a Senator to the Galactic Senate. Through a series of intricate political manipulations, he used a dispute between the Trade Federation and the Royal House of Naboo to eventually maneuver himself to the role of Supreme Chancellor. Sheev Palpatine managed to keep his dual lives completely separate - as far as the world was concerned, Palpatine was a political figure who had nothing but the interests of the people at heart. By the time he was brought into power by the Galactic Senate, it was too late for anyone to change their minds.
As a Sith Lord, Palpatine took on Darth Maul as an apprentice - followed by Darth Tyranus (Count Dooku) after Darth Maul’s apparent death. Palpatine was responsible for Dooku’s own death, as he convinces Anakin Skywalker to end Dooku’s life once Anakin had tracked down the Sith lord. Convincing Anakin Skywalker to give in to his inner hatred and end Dooku’s life is the inciting incident that led Palpatine to eventually taking on his third apprentice, Skywalker himself, whom Palpatine would rename Darth Vader when Skywalker turned completely towards the Dark Side.
Palpatine had plans within plans. Before the start of the clone war, Palpatine had Dooku implant the clone with organic chips in their brains which, once activated, would convert the entire clone army to his side, following his every order. When Palpatine was firmly in power, he initiated the infamous Order 66 - the command that wiped out nearly every Jedi in existence, as their clone troops turned on them when the Jedi were at their most vulnerable. At the same time, Palpatine convinced the Galactic Senate that the Jedi were actually the ones who had tried to kill him, and with his greatest foes, the Jedi, all but wiped out, Palpatine announced the reorganization of the Republic into the tyrannic Galactic Empire.
The Empire ruled for a generation, conquering the galaxy and crushing any rebellions seeking freedom. The Empire eventually constructed a moon-sized Death Star, a weapon powerful enough to destroy entire planets. Eventually, the son of Darth Vader, with the help of his father, overthrew Emperor Palpatine and the Empire with him.
That, it seems, would be the end of Emperor Palpatine’s story...if not for the Contingency.
While the Empire was in power, Palpatine sent a number of ships out to establish secret bases in the Unknown Regions of space. Palpatine planned for a day he might fall, declaring that the Empire should not go on without him - the plans he set in place would dismantle the Empire in the event of his death. However, the second part of the Contingency was to find a way to bring the Empire back to power - and the Emperor along with it.
With the rise of the First Order, it would seem the Empire’s replacement is fully established. Little is known about how the First Order rose in the first place, but with the Emperor’s Contingency plan, it would seem their rise was inevitable. The only part of the Contingency left to be fulfilled is the return of Emperor Palpatine himself - and if the implications of the trailer are to be believed, ‘Rise of Skywalker’ shall bring us that very thing.
‘Rise of Skywalker’ releases in theaters on December 20.