“The dead speak!” The first three words of the opening crawl of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Three words that wonderfully set the tone for a baffling, messy and disappointing finale. Why, I wonder, was Palpatine’s inclusion in the film shrouded in so much mystery and intrigue when his presence in the film itself is void of those elements? The opening crawl casually tells us — as if informing that it’s snowing in the Artic or that water is wet — that Emperor Palpatine is back and up to no good.
If we’re going to fight a battle that’s already been fought against a villain already once defeated, why not reintroduce said villain in a manner that’s poetic or prophetic akin to Voldemort in Goblet of Fire? Here, Palpatine’s integration into the narrative feels forced and — to use his terminology — unnatural. Worst of all, he’s generic. A one-dimensional villain whom we barely learn anything new about, not even how he came back of the most final of deaths that also rounded out Luke Skywalker’s character wonderfully in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
But we live in an age of Star Wars where we learn more about the characters in the extended canon than within the films themselves. ‘The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary’ has dropped and whatdoyouknow, we finally have got some answers pertaining to Emperor Palpatine’s resurrection.
In the book, we learn:
- That Palpatine’s hooded minions are called Sith Eternal.
- The Sith Eternal used a mixture of tech and Sith magic to keep the Emperor alive in the many many years in between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
- The Star Destroyers that Palpatine raised from the ground aren’t the old ones from the Empire. The Sith Eternal spent years constructing new ships (I guess they just really dug the design of the Empire’s Star Destroyers) and provided them with planet-killing upgrades.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is currently playing in Malaysian cinemas.