Could Emperor Palpatine have attached himself to an incredibly strong Force-sensitive relic? According to a new and bizarre The Rise of Skywalker fan theory, he did just that. When the first trailer for the highly anticipated sequel dropped back in April, Star Wars fans were stunned to hear the familiar cackle of Palpatine. Now, it's been a huge guessing game as to how he survived the events of Return of the Jedi when he was thrown down a reactor shaft on the Death Star II by Darth Vader and then later blown up by the Rebels.

Official Star Wars canon has introduced many ways for Emperor Palpatine to return, but it's unclear how J.J. Abrams has decided to approach the subject. According to a new fan theory, Palpatine hitched a ride in Darth Vader's charred helmet, which is now in Kylo Ren's possession. The theory states that the iconic helmet is "possessed by the spirit of Sidious and is used as a... bridge to communicate" with Ren. From there, it is believed he will then go on to manipulate Ren and take over his body, giving the young villain even more power.

This Rise of Skywalker theory does fit in with some previous ideas that have been thrown around about the return of Palpatine. However, none of them have been officially confirmed at this time. As far as attaching himself to Darth Vader's helmet, it might not be as far-fetched as it seems. Last year's official Darth Vader comics introduced the idea of artifacts containing the Force. In one of the comics, he is given the helmet of Lord Momin by Emperor Palpatine. The helmet later starts speaking to Vader, which could go on to prove this theory, as bizarre as it sounds.

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Over the years, we have learned a great deal about Emperor Palpatine and his quest for Force-sensitive objects. Palpatine was always studying the Dark Side to learn about its power and gain as much as he could from it. The Battlefront II video game shows one of his collections, which was also brought up in the Aftermath trilogy of novels. Palpatine had dozens of collections of relics strong in the Force placed mysterious Observatories spread across the galaxy. Maybe Darth Vader's helmet is one of the most Force-sensitive items in the galaxy.

There's a lot of mystery surrounding The Rise of Skywalker and the return of Palpatine. How is J.J. Abrams going to tie it all together in order to close out the Skywalker saga? It's way too early to tell, but the director has a lot of pressure to execute everything in a satisfying way for Star Wars fans around the world. You can check out the fan theory, which is far from official over at Express UK and decide for yourself if you think Palpatine hitched a ride on Vader's helmet.

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Kevin Burwick