A lot happened in The Rise of Skywalker. Many might say too much happened, but there was one thing that made me internally go “I KNEW IT!”
Earlier this fall, my mom and I sat down to watch the remaining episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars — also known as “The Lost Missions.” We kept checking off arc after arc, podcasting about them along the way. Then, we got to “The Disappeared: Parts 1 and 2.”
In this 2-episode arc, Mace Windu and Jar Jar Binks traveled to Bardotta at the request of Queen Julia. Several of the Dayogan Masters, spiritual leaders in the Bardottan civilization with a connection to the Force, mysteriously vanished. She believed Jar Jar could help solve the mystery. Turns out, the missing Bardottans were sacrificed by members of the Frangawl Cult in the name of the “Great Mother,” later revealed to be Mother Talzin. It wasn’t a blood sacrifice, however. It was a sacrifice that involved extracting the Living Force from their bodies. Sounds familiar, right?
The cult’s intentions were to transfer the Living Force they collected to Talzin. In combining this Force energy with her own dark magic, she would gain even more power than the Jedi and Sith combined and revitalize her waning physical form. When her plans were foiled by Jar Jar and Windu, she disintegrated into a fading mist.
At some point during that arc, I had an epiphany. It was like a lightbulb went off above my head. I looked over at my mom and said, “What if this is something Palpatine did and that’s why he’s in The Rise of Skywalker?”
While extracting another person’s life force may not have been the method he used all these years to sustain himself, he definitely used that power against Rey and Ben, rejuvenating himself in the process.
My theories rarely pan out, so you can imagine the surprised look on my face when it happened.
I like to think Palpatine learned this ability from Talzin, since he visited Dathomir decades ago to meet with Talzin and fuse her Dathomiri magicks with his own knowledge of the Dark Side of the Force. Sidious even had the intention of making Talzin as his Sith apprentice, as a result of the relationship they built. We know that didn’t happen, since he took Maul instead, another Dark Side Force user whose anger and hatred sustained him for years after we presumed him dead.
It’s fascinating to see something that transpired in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (and funny enough, in an arc most people overlook) play a part in the final chapter of the saga. Was it intentional? I don’t know, but the similarities are there, from the cult followers to the visual of the life force being sucked out of Rey and Ben.
While I have many questions regarding Palpatine’s sudden return, I left the theater feeling incredibly happy about the movie overall and even happier about this particular connection to an animated show that helped me become an even bigger Star Wars fan over a decade ago.