Resurrecting Palpatine could undermine Star Wars


Emperor Palpatine is set to have a big role in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. But if they bring him back to life, it could ruin Star Wars.

There has been a lot of excitement over the final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The trailer was filled with goosebump-inducing moments, like the image of the Death Star’s throne room, C-3P0’s “one last look” and John Williams’ brilliant score. But one part stuck out more than the rest — and for all of the wrong reasons.

At the 2-minute mark, we see Rey staring up at Emperor Palpatine, who is floating in his chair. If Palpatine is alive and well in that scene, and not appearing in a vision, it could ruin Star Wars.

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At its core, the story of a galaxy far, far away is one of redemption. It is about the rise, fall, and rise of Anakin Skywalker, a once powerful Jedi who falls to the Dark Side of the Force before returning to the Light in order to save his son. Star Wars has always been about Anakin, and always will be. It has never been about another character; not Luke, not Obi-Wan, and definitely not Rey or Kylo.

The first six movies tell a complete story of Anakin’s redemption. Every scene in the first two trilogies, from the podracing in The Phantom Menace to his admission of being Luke’s father in The Empire Strikes Back, contributes to this moving redemptive arc that culminates with Palpatine’s death in Return of the Jedi.

Bringing back Palpatine in the flesh would undermine that entire story.

What would be the purpose of killing Palpatine if he returns in The Rise of Skywalker like nothing happened?

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Sure, Anakin would have returned to the Light and saved Luke, but the betrayal of his master would no longer have any significance. Palpatine would essentially be the victim of an arbitrary decision.

The decision to kill Palpatine, and not any other character, would no longer hold any weight if he just returns in Episode IX.

Further, why would Palpatine need Darth Vader in the first place? If he can resurrect himself, he would have no purpose to meticulously groom Anakin to become Vader like he did in the prequel trilogy. Their master-apprentice relationship would be unnecessary. A being powerful enough to resurrect himself does not need an apprentice.

I should mention that the scene in question lasts for roughly one second. There are a lot of paths Episode IX could take to end at that scene that doesn’t include resurrecting Palpatine. But, given the questionable decisions made in the sequel trilogy, it’s hard to find the necessary optimism needed to trust director J.J. Abrams and co. to make the right decision regarding Palpatine.

But we will find out on Dec. 20 if Star Wars is irreparably damaged.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premieres December 20.