Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Novelization Details How Palpatine Survived the Death Star II, Thanks to Plagueis

Since fans first learned of Darth Plagueis during a pivotal scene in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, we've wondered if the character would ever return to play a bigger part of the franchise, with the novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker detailing how it was the character's discovery of the key to immortality being used by Palpatine as he fell to his doom on the Death Star II that allowed him to return for the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga. Given how much the film had to fit into its run time, there wasn't an opportunity to explicitly detail his resurrection, with the novelization's debut at last weekend's C2E2 shedding light on a number of unknown elements of the narrative.

The film itself confirmed that Rey was the granddaughter of Palpatine, which raises a number of questions in and of itself, with the moments in which she appeared to be defeated by him resulting in her experiencing his memories, including that fateful fall that fans saw in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

"Falling... falling... falling... down a massive shaft, the betrayal sharp and stinging, a figure high above, black clad and helmeted and shrinking fast," the book reads. "His very own apprentice had turned against him, the way he himself had turned against Plagueis...whose secret to immortality he had stolen."

The book continues, "Plagueis had not acted fast enough in his own moment of death. But Sidious, sensing the flickering light in his apprentice, had been ready for years. So the falling, dying Emperor called on all the dark power of the Force to thrust his consciousness far, far away, to a secret place he had been preparing. His body was dead, an empty vessel, long before it found the bottom of the shaft, and his mind jolted to new awareness in a new body ⁠— a painful one, a temporary one."

Audiences knew Palpatine would return in some capacity when the first teaser for The Rise of Skywalker emerged, though the film's theatrical release quickly glossed over how such a return was possible, only offering glimpses of cloning technology without detailing the entire process. This novel, however, confirms that Palpatine recruited Sith loyalists to begin crafting bodies for him in case such an event occurred, but his frail and disfigured appearance in the film was due to an appropriate clone body not being yet prepared.

When audiences saw what appeared to be an explosion in the Death Star II chasm, which many of us had assumed was an impact, it was potentially ablast of energy caused by such a transference.

"The heretics of the Sith Eternal toiled, splicing genes, bolstering tissue, creating unnatural abominations in the hope that one of these strandcasts would succeed and become a worthy receptacle," the novel notes. "The heretics would do anything, risk anything, sacrifice anything, to create a cradle for their god-consciousness."

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits Digital HD on March 17th and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 31st. The novelization officially hits shelves on March 17th. Pre-orders are live on Amazon now.

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