One of the biggest questions surrounding Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has to do with how Emperor Palpatine returns in the new movie after plummeting to his death at the end of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. The big bad of the Skywalker Saga emerges from the depths, and ever since his iconic cackle was heard in the first trailer released at Star Wars Celebration in April. But the questions have only become more and more confusing with every new piece of information we've learned in the lead up to the film.
But now Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is here and so are the answers... even if they aren't exactly clear.
Warning: Major spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker below.
If you thought we'd have to wait a bit into the movie to find out the nature of the Emperor's return, you're wrong! From the opening crawl to Episode IX, Palpatine looms large with the beginning line of "The dead speak!" This explains that the Emperor has sent out a mysterious broadcast throughout the galaxy, causing waves of panic throughout the system. But this especially resonates with Kylo Ren who has since consolidated his power as the Supreme Leader of the First Order.
The Emperor's return presents a challenge to Kylo Ren and he is eager to put down the threat before his rule crumbles. He then discovers the Emperor's location and quickly travels to the planet Exogol (Or is it Exegal? Who knows!) where he finds a Sith temple, which is the very scene that was released last week.
We see the Emperor is hooked up to a massive machine that hangs overhead, with multiple tubes pumping mysterious liquids and materials into his back. His body looks rotted and decrepit, even more so than his deformed appearance in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
But the movie never explicitly explains just where or how the Emperor returns, as it could be hinted that his Sith cult found his body and revived him from the ruins of the destroyed Death Star.
Or, as he points out a vat filled with cloned body parts of Snoke, perhaps this is another clone of the Emperor and his mind and essence have been transferred to the body. It's not exactly clear just HOW the Emperor is back, but only that he has actually returned.1comments
Perhaps we'll actually get the true answer in a future story, but don't expect to see this resolved in Episode X.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now playing in theaters.
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.