Disney and Lucasfilm officially retconned Emperor Palpatine following Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s box office disappointment.
In the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker official novelization, Palpatine’s spirit lives inside of a clone body.
An image from the official novelization was shared to the Star Wars Leaks subreddit.
It reads in part, “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.”
You can see the excerpt below:
Not only does the official novelization refer to Emperor Palpatine as a clone, but an excerpt from Cinefex magazine also refers to Palpatine as a clone.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Visual Effects Supervisor tells Cinefex, “J.J. wanted to bring him back to reveal that Palpatine wasn’t completely destroyed in Episode VII. He created a clone of himself and, with the help of Sith loyalists, rebuilt himself to a fragmented and unstable state. When Kylo meets him, Palpatine is not fully formed, and he relies on tubes and mechanics, moving around this Sith laboratory on a mechanism that Kevin Jenkins designed. He has the spirit of the Sith., but he’s trapped inside a body that’s incomplete.”
Here’s the excerpt:
Lucasfilm, Disney, and Marvel Comics did introduce a decoy for Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars Annual #1. The issue follows Rebel spy and assassin Eneb Ray attempt to kill Emperor Palpatine.
He believes he succeeded in killing Palpatine, only to discover the Palpatine he killed was a decoy.
The idea of Sidious being able to transfer his spirit as seemingly detailed in the novelization was actually decanonized when Disney took over Star Wars. In the Extended Universe, Sidious survived the Battle of Endor. He would use an ancient Force technique to transfer his spirit into a clone body, one of many, stored in the Deep Core world of Byss. However, the bodies would rapidly age due to being ravaged by the Dark Side.
This technique would also be shown in Empire’s End #2 when Palpatine attempts to posses the child of Han Solo, Anakin Solo. However, he is stopped by the King of Ganath Empatojayos Brand, who holds the Emperor’s spirit prisoner within his own body.
The Emperor is completely defeated when Brand dies.
So not only is Disney retconning Emperor Palpatine following The Rise of Skywalker’s box office disappointment they are also ripping the idea from the Extended Universe. The Extended Universe that Disney decanonized when they purchased Star Wars.
Not only would they decanonize the Extended Universe, but Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy even recently admitted the Extended Universe doesn’t even exist. Kennedy stated back in November:
“Every one of these movies is a particularly hard nut to crack. There’s no source material. We don’t have comic books. We don’t have 800-page novels. We don’t have anything other than passionate storytellers who get together and talk about what the next iteration might be.”
What do you make of this retcon to Emperor Palpatine? What do you make of the retcon being a complete ripoff of the Extended Universe?