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Star Wars 9 Theory: Palpatine Never Existed, It Was Always Darth Plagueis

Palpatine is back in the new trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but how did he survive? Could he have been Darth Plagueis all along?

Sheeve Palpatine, AKA Darth Sidious is back as the main villain of Star Wars after a shocking reveal at the end of the first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Darth Plagueis may hold the key to why he's still alive. As the ninth and final episode of a three trilogy arc, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker sets to bring a definitive conclusion to the Skywalker saga, so it only makes sense for Palpatine, the Skywalkers' chief nemesis, to be the ultimate evil they need to defeat.

The only problem is the last time audiences saw Palpatine, he was falling down the reactor shaft of the second Death Star, where he burst into blue electric energy. However, as he eluded to Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, he learned mastery over life and death from Darth Plagueis before killing him.

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RELATED: How Can Emperor Palpatine Be Back In Star Wars 9? We Have Some Ideas

This story is relayed to Anakin in the now oft-memed Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise. But something never quite lined up about that story, especially coming from the mouth of Sheev Palpatine. If Plagueis had power over life and death, wouldn't it make more sense for him to live on? Maybe that's exactly what happened and he took his apprentice Palpatine's identity. Not only does this explain why Palpatine is back in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but also his obsession with the Skywalkers and the Sith Rule of Two.

What We ACTUALLY Know About Plagueis

Darth Plagueis was a big part of Expanded Universe canon before it was designated as "Legends" after Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars and cleaned up canon. The novel Darth Plagueis gave a much more detailed backstory to the Dark Lord of the Sith and Palpatine, threading him into the events of the Star Wars saga as we knew them.

While Plagueis has been referenced a few times in newer canon, he's received much less development, and we might finally know why. If Palpatine is actually a resurrected Plagueis, then it's all part of a twist Lucasfilm has been preserving since before The Force Awakens.

Coincidentally, most of the information we know about Plagueis comes from the mouth of Palpatine, meaning it's all suspect due to the dishonest narrator.

"Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?... I thought not. It's not a story the Jedi would tell you. It's a Sith legend. Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith, so powerful and so wise he could use the Force to influence the midichlorians to create life... He had such a knowledge of the dark side that he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying. The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural. He became so powerful... the only thing he was afraid of was losing his power, which eventually, of course, he did. Unfortunately, he taught his apprentice everything he knew, then his apprentice killed him in his sleep. It's ironic he could save others from death, but not himself."

The implication here is that Palpatine, Darth Sidious, was Plagueis' apprentice, learned how to defeat death and create life from his master, then killed him in his sleep. This means Palpatine would now know how to do what Plagueis did and was using it to tempt Anakin to seek out that power, with plans to reveal himself to Anakin as a Sith Lord later.

The only other references in canon are in the novel Tarkin, where the same lore we already know is restated, but we also learn that Palpatine inherited Plagueis' protocol droid. In the Expanded Universe, Plagueis was part of a species known as the Muun, but modern canon has avoided confirming his species. The most we know about his origins is revealed in the comics by Ferren Barr, a Jedi who survived Order 66 who discovers some information on Plaguis' existence when seeking answers to how the Jedi fell. Interesting enough, that information is located alongside other files for Padme Amidala and Jar Jar Binks, both natives of Naboo like Palpatine.

Clearly, Plagueis is a major part of Star Wars canon, despite the vague information about him. There's a reason fans are obsessed with the scene and why it's widely regarded as one of the best scenes in the prequels. As it turns out, it's probably the most important scene in the whole franchise.

Page 2 of 2: Everything Palatine Told Anakin Was a Half-Truth

Key Release Dates
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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