The Outrage Over Palpatine In Rise of Skywalker
- Published: 04 October 2019
- Ever since we heard that unmistakable laughter at the end of the trailer for Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker...
… we've been stunned that Emperor Palpatine is returning for the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga. More than a few fans, however, are less stunned than peeved.
They want to know why on Earth director J.J. Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio would bring back a Big Bad who has supposedly been dead for more than 30 years. Could they simply not think of any other way to raise the stakes of the sequel's story? What kind of narrative gymnastics will Rise of Skywalker have to engage in to make this plot development make sense? How, exactly, can this even happen?
Palpatine is a central figure in both the original and prequel trilogies. He starts as a Sith Lord in disguise serving as a senator in the Galactic Republic, where he engineers the rise of the Empire. He successfully turns Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side of the Force and nearly achieves complete dominance over the galaxy.
It's ultimately his rage at his inability to turn Anakin's son Luke to the Dark Side that's his undoing. At the conclusion of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Palpatine attempts to manipulate Luke into killing his father, Anakin, a.k.a. Darth Vader. But the plan fails. When Luke refuses to fight, Palpatine attempts to simply kill the young Jedi, assaulting him with Force lightning as Vader watches.
But Vader turns away from the Dark Side and toward redemption. He seizes the Emperor and tosses him down a seemingly bottomless shaft, mortally wounding himself in the process. He seemingly kills Palpatine and brings balance to the Force.
The sequel trilogy picks up 30 years after these events, as the remnants of the Empire are reforming into the nefarious First Order under the guidance of the Supreme Leader Snoke and his protege, Kylo Ren. Ren is Ben Skywalker, son of Han Solo and General Leia, and a former apprentice of Luke's. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens clearly seems to set up Snoke as the Big Bad of the sequel trilogy, but midway through Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren kills Snoke, leaving the trilogy without a top bad guy.
Snoke's death was puzzling for many fans, and was a major factor in the backlash that The Last Jedi endured from some Star Wars fans. The tease of Palpatine's return to the franchise stoked the ire of these fans even further, as the move is easy to interpret as an attempt by Abrams and company to cash in on nostalgia for the original series. After all, Palpatine has not been featured in the sequel series up to this point, and resurrecting him could be seen as lazy writing. Keep watching the video to see the outrage over Palpatine in Rise of Skywalker.