The first Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker teaser trailer ended with the surprise return of an old foe: Sheev himself, Emperor Palpatine, who was last seen falling into a chasm at the end of Return of the Jedi. (Revenge of the Sith? Never heard of it.) To be fair, we never actually see the Emperor die, but: chasm. That blue electricity cloud didn’t do him any favors, either. So, how is it possible for him to be in The Rise of Skywalker?
For one thing, that iconic laugh might not be what it seems. Also, the way director and co-writer J.J. Abrams sees it, he couldn’t wrap up the nine-film Star Wars saga without acknowledging our good buddy Palpatine. “Some people feel like we shouldn’t revisit the idea of Palpatine, and I completely understand that. But if you’re looking at these nine films as one story, I don’t know many books where the last few chapters have nothing to do with those that have come before,” he told Empire. “If you look at the first eight films, all the set-ups of what we’re doing in IX are there in plain view.”
If The Force Awakens was a soft reboot of A New Hope (it was) and The Last Jedi was the subversive sequel, not unlike The Empire Strikes Back, then The Rise of Skywalker needs to end the same way as Return of the Jedi: with the rebel porgs playing the helmets of the First Order troopers like they’re drums. Hey, it worked for the ewoks…
If they want to break into “Yub Nub,” that’s cool, too.