Heading into the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in 2019, fans had a lot of theories on how Emperor Palpatine would come back to life. But when the movie finally hit theaters, it didn’t actually explain how the iconic villain return from the dead after getting killed by Darth Vader in 1983’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
To shed some light on Palpatine’s head-scratching resurrection, Lucasfilm Story Group member Emily Shkoukani detailed the evil emperor’s comeback in the latest edition of Star Wars Inside Intel. In the article published on StarWars.com earlier this month, Shkoukani explained that Palpatine’s return hinges on something called the Contingency.
Mentioned in books like Star Wars: Lost Stars and Star Wars: Aftermath, the Contingency was a plan carried out by Palpatine to outlive his mortality. It was a chain reaction of different events that would take place if he were killed.
Palpatine’s actual resurrection happened on the Sith planet of Exegol, where he and his Sith Eternal cult experimented with cloning and assembled the Final Order fleet years before his death. When Darth Vader killed Palpatine on the second Death Star, the latter’s consciousness was transferred to a clone of his own body on Exegol. But since the clone’s body was too weak for him to use, he created strand-casts of himself. All these experiments were done to find the perfect vessel for Palpatine to once again conquer the galaxy.
Palpatine was Rey’s grandfather because one of his clones went on to have a daughter. So when Palpatine found out about Rey, he used his clones and resources to try and draw her to him because he knew that she would be the most powerful vessel for him to take possession of.
To summarize, Palpatine always knew he would die, so he allotted the latter years of his life creating failed clones of himself in hopes of ruling the galaxy once again.