Yesterday was a huge day for fans of Star Wars. Not only was the first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker released at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, but that trailer had a stunning reveal by way of a distinctive, haunting cackle at the trailer's end. Emperor Palpatine is back, something confirmed by director J.J. Abrams himself.
The reveal that Emperor Palpatine is still alive -- or somehow otherwise around in a meaningful way -- has prompted fans to figure out exactly how that's possible. After all, Darth Vader chucks the Emperor into the Death Star's reactor and killing him in Return of the Jedi after the Emperor tortured Luke with Force lightning. Death by Death Star reactor is one of those things that seemed kind of final (at least in the movies -- in the Dark Empire comic book series it's revealed that Palpatine was able to come back to life thanks to a clone body. As with all things "expanded universe", mileage here may vary.) Turns out, it's not.
With Palpatine being back, fans clearly have questions about the how and the why, but there's another question worth asking: will The Return of Skywalker reveal the connection between Emperor Palpatine and Supreme Leader Snoke?
On the surface, we already know the connection between Snoke and Palpatine: the circumstances of their deaths. While Palpatine was skilled by his protege Vader, Snoke is also killed by the very person he had been grooming as well. In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren literally cuts Snoke in half, ending him even though he later blames the slaying on Rey so that he can take power as Supreme Leader. However, there's a very real possibility that Palpatine and Snoke have far more in common than just being killed by their students. Fans have long speculated that Snoke had a much larger significance than what ultimately came to pass in The Last Jedi. With Palpatine confirmed to be returning, some fans have already begun to speculate that it will turn out that Snoke was Palpatine.
How would that work? Well, it could tie back to the concept of clone resurrection from the Expanded Universe, with a twist. In the Expanded Universe, Palpatine's clones were never a long-term solution. His clones really were only viable for short periods of time -- roughly a year or so -- meaning that Palpatine constantly had to keep transferring himself into new bodies. It's possible that, in the movies, instead of transferring himself into an unstable clone body, Palpatine instead transferred himself into Snoke. It's an idea that could explain why Snoke rose to power so quickly as well as why his body was so twisted and ravaged. If the Snoke/Palpatine connection ends up being that Palpatine used Snoke to extend his own lifespan, then that has sobering implications for the Snoke/Kylo Ren relationship as well. Palpatine could have been grooming Kylo not to lead someday, but, instead, to be his next host.
Of course, Snoke-as-vessel-for-Palpatine does end up being the connection, Snoke's death in The Last Jedi does kind of make things more complicated.
Whatever the situation with Palpatine, fans have a bit of time to wait until they find out what, if any, connection exists between Snoke and Palpatine. The Rise of Skywalker won't hit theaters until December 20.
What do you think? Will The Rise of Skywalker reveal the connection between Snoke and Palpatine? Is there a connection? How is Palpatine back? Hit us with all your big Star Was questions and theories in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter @lifeinpolaroid for all things Star Wars!
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