The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: Hidden Empire #1, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
One of the most controversial aspects of the Star wars sequel movies was how Emperor Palpatine was brought back to life. It was thought that he had been destroyed in return of the jediblown to pieces in the Death Star’s reactor when Darth Vader threw it. But the rise of skywalker Confirmed, for years the Emperor was running cloning projects and inhabiting new bodies in test experiments.
It subverted Expanded Universe lore where Palpatine used soul transfer to jump hosts, searching for the correct vessel. This goal became Rey on the big screen, but luckily, she and Ben Solo would put a stop to this iteration of the villain. Curiously, however, Star Wars: Hidden Empire #1 (by Charles Soule, Steven Cummings, Victor Olazaba, and Guru e-FX) may have revealed exactly what the science behind Palpatine’s rebirth was.
Star Wars Never Explained Emperor Palpatine’s Mind Transfer
Now, if clones were being made, it would stand to reason that some would be different. That is why one of these ‘sons’, that is, Rey’s father, fled and ended up starting a family. He simply didn’t want to carry on Palpatine’s legacy, which is why some wondered how the frail, decrepit shell of old Palpatine in the black robes finally emerged.
Sure, it was intimidating to see him on the throne, but there’s no explaining how he had the pure spirit of the Emperor inside, versus a Supreme Leader Snoke who felt like an aberration. Again, there’s no soul transfer in this movie, with Palpatine and his cult being, well, a hidden empire all this time, eager to turn the First Order into the Final Order. However, Palpatine may have found the key before ROTJ.
hidden empireThe key could be Fermata’s cage
In particular, there is a Sith relic introduced into Hidden Empire called the Fermata cage. After Darth Maul’s death, Qi’ra continued to use the Crimson Dawn to destabilize Palpatine’s Imperial forces, stealing Fermata’s cage in the process. This hourglass-shaped device is connected to the Knights of Ren, using their Dark Side abilities to try to free a Sith Lord trapped inside. Qi’ra reveals that he can freeze individual moments, using the Dark Side to suspend people and places in time forever, nodding to the Phantom Zone. His plan, like Maul’s, is for this man to go after Palpatine, kill him, and become a Master. Since fans know this doesn’t come to fruition, there’s a chance Palpatine could defeat Qi’ra, steal this device, and use his cult to copy his essence.
Therefore, all you would need is to make the perfect body to place your soul backup in when the time comes. Seeing that his ‘son of him’ and Snoke’s fiasco didn’t work out, Palpatine might have grown impatient and changed the plan: put himself in an ancient form after discovering the anomaly in Rey. This way, he could go on to micromanage the First Order in a practical way and then, possess Rey. Seeing that Sith Lord Momin stored his spirit in a mask, Palpatine would already have an idea of how to transfer spirits since he had possessed this item for a while. Ultimately, something like this would illustrate just how savvy Palpatine’s disciples were in terms of science, understanding how spirit rather than a physical body could be the key to immortality, aka the Sith goal of all life.