While The Rise of Skywalker answered a number of the saga's lingering questions, it also presented a few of its own. We can't promise you'll understand every part of Episode IX after delving into our explanations, but we hope we can help you feel at least a little less confused.
The Rise of Skywalker wastes no time in telling us that Sheev Palpatine, the Emperor from the original trilogy that we all presumed was dead after the end of Return of the Jedi, is actually alive. In fact, Palpatine has been pulling the strings of the First Order this whole time.
While we never get a detailed explanation for Palpatine's survival, we should've known better than to assume a fall would kill a strong Force user like Palpatine, especially since both Darth Maul and Luke Skywalker survived pretty serious falls in past Star Wars canon. After Return of the Jedi, Palpatine slunk off to the Sith planet of Exegol, where Sith loyalists used machines to artificially prolong his life, similar to how Darth Vader was stabilized after his battle with Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith. Once on Exegol, Palpatine bided his time in the shadows, waiting until his fleet was strong enough to reveal itself.
Palpatine's return | 0:15
Who was Kylo Ren fighting? | 1:06
Palpatine's mysterious fleet | 2:04
Master Leia | 2:59
Why Pasaana? | 3:45
C-3PO's strange restriction | 4:31
How did Chewie survive? | 5:13
An unlikely spy | 6:06
Leia's death | 7:01
Kylo Ren's change of heart | 8:14
What was Palpatine's plan? | 9:13
Jedi voices | 10:12
What's a "dyad in the Force?" | 11:28