It has been a few months now since the big release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but with the sheer amount of unanswered questions left by the movie, theories and rumors have continued to persist despite The Rise of Skywalker being heralded as the end of the saga. Well, the novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has now confirmed one of those theories...Palpatine was, in fact, a clone.
The Disney age of Star Wars has made a habit of using novelizations to tie loose ends, and it seems The Rise of Skywalker will be no different. The movie that audiences saw in theaters was littered with a surprising amount of plot holes that the upcoming novel looks to be filling.
The return of the cloak-wearing, lightning-loving villain came as little surprise, with the Marketing for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker having emphasized Emperor Palpatine's return. Nonetheless, fans were eager to learn how the seemingly dead Sith Lord had survived being thrown down an endless shaft at the end of Return of the Jedi. Quite incredibly, The Rise of Skywalker completely avoided giving audiences any answers, even revealing his return in the opening crawl rather than during the events of the movie.
Many attributed his mysterious resurrection to the Dark Side, and the powers he hints at during Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, but for many meer speculations would never be enough, with Star Wars fans still crying out for a solid, official explanation. Thanks to the upcoming novel, they may have just gotten their wish, as the following excerpt leaves little room for interpretation.
"All the vials were empty of liquid save one, which was nearly depleted. Kylo peered closer. He'd seen this apparatus before, too, when he'd studied the Clone Wars as a boy. The liquid flowing into the living nightmare before him was fighting a losing battle to sustain the Emperor's putrid flesh.
"What could you give me?" Kylo asked. Emperor Palpatine lived, after a fashion, and Kylo could feel in his very bones that this clone body sheltered the Emperor's actual spirit. It was an imperfect vessel, though, unable to contain his immense power. It couldn't last much longer."
The novelization is not officially on sale until March 17, 2020, but Lucasfilm Publishing decided to sell advance copies at this weekend's C2E2 in Chicago and passages have now begun appearing online. Judging from this excerpt above, it does indeed confirm what many fans already believed to be the case, that the Palpatine we meet in The Rise of Skywalker is a clone that the Emperor's spirit has been transferred into.
You just cannot keep a good Sith down. Kylo Ren works this out whilst examining the machinery that Palpatine is hooked up to, deducing that Palpatine's dark side spirit is too strong for the clone body, and is causing it to degenerate. This explains the deformed state of Palpatine in the movie, another unexplained element that many had speculated over.
Why this was not included in the movie remains a mystery, as it sounds like all it would have taken was one or two lines of dialogue to clear things up, Hell, if you're already re-introducing the character via the opening crawl, why not just use it to announce he's a clone at the same time? Sadly, this mystery will no doubt go unanswered. This comes to us from The official The Rise of Skywalker novelization.