Emperor Palpatine was defeated once and for all in Star Wars: Episode 9 – The Rise of Skywalker. Or not? The film's novel opens a small back door for a possible return of the Sith Lord.
With Star Wars: Episode 9 – The Rise of Skywalker the space saga finally ended. However, the film's novel opens up a scenario in which evil could possibly return.
Caution! Spoilers follow here!
With the help of all the Jedi in front of her, Rey finally manages to reflect Emperor Palpatine's flash on him, causing the Sith Lord to explode. However, this does not have to mean the end of evil, as the film's novel implies. In the end Finn and Poe talk, with Poe wondering if Palpatine could not return. After all, he did it before and at that time Luke and Leia also believed that he would be destroyed forever. However, both then think that it may take a very long time before the evil – in the form of palpatine or something else – may really come back.
Anything is possible in the Star Wars universe. We have seen Palpatine return before, so why not again? Perhaps he was transferring his mind back across the galaxy to another secret location and there in a clone body. Maybe Rey also plays a role here as his granddaughter. We still don't know how Star Wars will continue in film form. Disney has yet to comment on this.
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