I finally found out how Palpatine survived his first death in Return of the Jedi. It turns out he didn’t survive. His original body was disintegrated when he fell down the reactor shaft. The method he used to cheat death gives me a powerful sense of nostalgia because it is a reference to how Palpatine returned in Legends in the Dark Empire storyline. Like the Dark Empire, Palpatine transferred his essence into a clone body. Also, like the Dark Empire, Palpatine’s power in the dark side of the Force was so great that his new clone body could not withstand it. As a result, his clone body was decomposing under the weight of his dark side power. Unlike the Dark Empire, Palpatine clearly did not go through one clone body after another. Instead, Palpatine hooked himself up to a medical apparatus that constantly pumps him with fluids that slow down the decomposition of his body. Also, the apparatus aides in his movements like a puppet on strings. One could argue that using a clone body to return may seem outrageous, but it is far from improbable. The reason for this is because Palpatine had dealings with the cloners of Kamino since before the Clone Wars. When the Clone Wars ended, the production of clone troopers was terminated. Apparently, Palpatine turned Kamino’s resources to creating a clone body for him in case he died prematurely. The Kaminoans have expressed interest in experimenting with the DNA of a powerful Force user. This would be a mutually beneficial arrangement for Palpatine and the Kaminoans: he gives them DNA to tinker with and they give him a way to cheat death. Overall, I am glad that Disney did this reimagined homage to the Dark Empire storyline and I got to see it on the big screen.