In a new blog post over on Star Wars‘ official website, Emily Shkoukani of the Lucasfilm Story Group finally explained in detail how Palpatine survived the events of Return of the Jedi when thrown into the depths of the second Death Star by Darth Vader. In fact, he didn’t so much “survive” as he did simply transfer his consciousness into a clone of himself.
According to Shkoukani, the entire plan for the Sith Emperor to return to power began long before his death, when he came up with a plan known as the Contingency which would help him regain control of the Empire if he were to be struck down. Aside from various strategic attacks to preserve his organization and create the First Order, the Contingency led to Palpatine and his Sith Eternal cultists to experiment in cloning on Exegol, as we see in The Rise of Skywalker.
While the Sith Lord managed to transfer his consciousness to a clone of his own body after his death, the vessel proved too weak to contain him, and so Palpatine continued creating more clones and strand-casts. These variants eventually led to both Snoke and the creation of Rey, the daughter of one of Palpatine’s strand-casts. Though Rey ultimately proved herself to be the perfect vessel, her connection with the Jedi turned her against her grandfather, defeating the Sith Emperor at the end of Episode IX, the final installment of The Skywalker Saga.
For those interested in reading the entire explanation of Palpatine and his Contingency, you can head over to StarWars.com.
Elsewhere in entertainment, Marvel has released the final trailer for Eternals.