Rey's father is actually a failed Palpatine clone in the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novelization. There has been much made of the revelation that Rey is actually a Palpatine in the latest Star Wars film. J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio had to answer a flurry of questions after audiences got their hands on The Rise of Skywalker and it really hasn't stopped. That probably will continue after this reveal and others make their way into the feeds of fans everywhere. One big source of controversy online after the release surrounded the identity of Rey's grandmother, but now we know that the cloning process buttons that all up. It feels like the questions will never cease with the film. Now, people want to know why this detail wasn't in the film instead.
In the novelization, Rey is trying to fake out the Emperor during the Sith Ritual on Exegol, she gets a vivid vision of her grandfather's past. Return of the Jedi led the powerful Force user to "thrust his consciousness" into a clone body. But, it would turn out that the "transfer was imperfect" and the Sith present for the transfer decided to get another host ready for Palpatine's "consciousness." A certain attempt was describes as a "useless, powerless failure," who also doubled as a bit of a cosmetic defect as well. That clone would end up being Rey's father in the story.
If that sounds confusing, that is after the editor of the film cut some of the Palpatine backstory to help The Rise of Skywalker's runtime. Maryann Brandon told the Huffington Post about what that process was like.
"It was kind of a delicate balance and went back and forth a lot about how much we wanted to reveal," she explained. "Some scenes changed quite a bit, the way that we wanted to present it to the audience. In the end, we ended up showing a lot less of it than we started with... There was so much information in the film and so many characters that we wanted to have an audience concentrate on. I think we felt we didn't want to clutter the film up with things you didn't need to know."
Actor Ian McDiarmid also talked about how Palpatine could be alive all this time. "The cloning thing? Yes. Well, of course, there were all sorts of explanations for why I might return," McDiarmid told the crowd at Comic Con Brussels [H/T Insert Coin]. "But it's interesting because, I think I can reveal something, at one point the script had the line in that first scene with [Kylo Ren actor] Adam [Driver], when he says, 'You're a clone,' and I said, in that original script, which is no longer with us, 'More than a clone. Less than a man.' Which seemed, to me, to sum him up, really. Because we know the camera has already snaked past the clone tank in which there are various versions of Snoke, that you probably noticed."