A YouTube video published in December 2017, days before the release of Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, predicted a major twist concerning Rey (Daisy Ridley) in J.J. Abrams' sequel, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Spoilers. In Skywalker, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) reveals to Rey her true lineage after telling her she's a "nobody" one year earlier: she's descended from the once-dead but returned Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), a Sith Lord and the former Emperor, who later puts into motion a plan on Exegol to have his granddaughter inherit the throne as Empress Palpatine, the ultimate Sith.
The video, titled "Rey Palpatine Theory" and published by user Nerd Soup, has been viewed nearly 2.4 million times on YouTube since being uploaded on Dec. 10, 2017. A key point of evidence cited in the video is Rey's lightsaber technique: when dueling Ren in The Force Awakens, also directed by Abrams, Rey wields the lightsaber hilt with both hands and jabs at Ren in horizontal stabbing motions, displaying a similarity to Palpatine's attack style in George Lucas' Revenge of the Sith.
Rey is also prone to anger and attacks, the video notes, hinting at her Dark Side lineage, and the video points out similarities in series composer John Williams' themes for Palpatine and Rey — the latter being lighter and more whimsical when compared to the ominous tone associated with Palpatine.
The video goes on to add Rey could have been born through natural means — Skywalker ultimately reveals her father (Billy Howle) was the son of the Emperor, and Rey was left behind on Jakku when the unnamed son and his wife (Jodie Comer) were killed by Sith loyalist Ochi after refusing to surrender their daughter — or, conversely, through unnatural means: "biological replication," or cloning. Referencing Legends comic book saga Dark Empire, the video theorizes Palpatine survived his death at the hands of a returned Anakin Skywalker (Sebastian Shaw) in Return of the Jedi by transferring his consciousness into cloned bodies as he did in comic books since scrubbed from canon.
The Rise of Skywalker largely ignores how Palpatine returns and Abrams, touching on the mystery in a recent interview, said he wanted to avoid answering too many questions in the ninth and final episode of the saga.0comments
"That’s not to say, however, in this movie we didn’t adhere to the eight films that preceded us and tell an ending that embraces all of it. I didn’t go against that stuff because I didn’t like it as much," Abrams said on Popcorn with Peter Travers. "But my point is that there’s something about answers, you need answers, but I don’t think demystifying everything is necessarily the key to a successful story."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters.