“Corrupt the kyber crystal. Teach it your pain. Teach it your anger. Hear it sing a hymn of darkness. Make it bleed.“
Some people have wondered why the lightsabers of dark side practitioners were red. In Legends, it was because the crystals were synthetic. However, the new Canon provides a far more satisfying explanation. The minerals that power lightsabers, kyber crystals, are living things. In order to submit to the will of a dark side practitioner, the crystal must suffer and bleed. To achieve this, the Force wielder would imprint their own dark side rage and hatred into the crystal. When the crystal and the blade it generates becomes red, it effectively becomes a slave to the will of the dark side practitioner. So far, there are three prominent examples of this ritual.
After claiming the lightsaber of a Jedi he killed, Darth Vader returned to Mustafar to perform the ritual. Initially, Vader’s efforts backfired and the crystal rejected him because his dark side rage was no strong enough to make the kyber crystal submit. However, after renewing his resolve and commitment to the dark side, Vader was able to make his kyber crystal suffer and bleed. The power Vader summoned was so intense that it ravaged Mustafar with earthquakes and devastating storms.
While preparing his Final Order fleet of Star Destroyers on Exegol, Palpatine harvested a mountain of kyber crystals to power the planet-killing cannons of his fleet. He had his Sith Eternal cultists working around the clock to make the mountain of crystals submit to his will. The hellish pain that the crystals were enduring was so intense that you can hear the crystals scream like a damned soul. The dark side energy the bleeding crystals were producing was so powerful that it completely overwhelmed someone of Darth Vader’s caliber. Vader even screamed like he never screamed before as he was bombarded by the crystal’s power. It is possible that Palpatine was feeding off of the crystal’s pain since he was completely unaffected by its energy. According to Palpatine, the dark side energy his mountain of kyber crystals were producing was unlimited power that was strong enough to burn his target’s flesh and mind, ready to incinerate them in an instant.
After his fall to the dark side, Kylo Ren performed this ritual on the kyber crystal of his Jedi lightsaber. Kylo Ren imprinted his rage and hatred so intensely that the crystal cracked in his hand. In addition, the ritual produced a pulse of dark side power that rippled through the Knights of Ren’s ship. Because his crystal cracked, Kylo Ren’s lightsaber was unstable and crackled, which threatened to make the lightsaber explode. To counter this, Kylo Ren remodeled his lightsaber so it would have its cross guard. The cross guard acted as filters that vented the excess energy produced by the cracked kyber crystal.
Overall, I like this explanation for red lightsabers better than the one in Legends. It provided a much deeper look into the philosophy of the dark side. It also symbolizes the cementation of a dark side practitioner’s commitment to the dark side.
Darth Sidious and various clone trooper commanders
When we were first introduced to the clone trooper army, we thought they were mindless fighting machines that only followed orders and never asked questions. When Order 66 was issued and the clones started exterminating the Jedi, we initially hated the clones. However, when we watched The Clone Wars and saw things from the clones’ perspective, we started to like the clone troopers even knowing what they would ultimately do in the end. The clones were not carbon copies of Jango Fett. Instead, each one had their own unique personality and individuality. They were more than soldiers and products of science; they were men. Their identical genetic code and blood ties to Jango Fett gave the clones a sense of brotherhood amongst them. Later in the series, we discovered the truth behind Order 66. It turns out the clone troopers did not betray and murder the Jedi willingly. When the clones were fetuses growing in vats, a type of inhibitor chip was implanted in their brains. Publicly, these chips were said to make the clones tolerant to war-based psychological trauma and make them more able to follow orders. However, the true purpose of the inhibitor chips was to transform the clones into soulless killing drones for the Sith to use against the Jedi. Once Order 66 was given and the inhibitor chips were activated, all of the clones’ individuality, free will, and humanity was wiped clean. They became no different from the droids they had fought throughout the Clone Wars. While the chips in their heads forced them to mindlessly obey orders, the clones were likely screaming in anguish in the back of their minds. The only way to free the clones was to remove the chips from their brains. The lives of the clone troopers was a sad story. They were bred to be a loyal defense force for the Galactic Republic only to be forced to betray their Jedi friends and later used and discarded by the Galactic Empire.
“If an Empire cannot protect its Emperor then that Empire must be deemed a failure. It collapses not only because its central figure is gone, but because it must not be allowed to remain!“
After Rise of Skywalker, several fans were not happy that Emperor Palpatine returned. However, after analyzing all the clues and Palpatine’s meticulous mindset, I think I have a complete overview of Palpatine’s machinations that led to his return. The plan makes perfect sense and was utterly brilliant when you analyze all the clues that can be found in the extended Canon. Palpatine was a man who always had plans within plans so it would make sense that he would have a plan for his eventual death as well.
Shortly after the original Expanded Universe of Star Wars was scrapped, we were introduced to Emperor Palpatine’s Contingency program. The Contingency was an insurance policy that would destroy the Galactic Empire if Palpatine died prematurely. In Palpatine’s mind, if the Empire could not protect him then it must be destroyed. Also, Palpatine was so greedy that he did not want anyone to succeed him as Emperor.
Thanks to the information provided by Grand Admiral Thrawn, Palpatine was able to map out a route through the previously unexplored Unknown Regions. Throughout his reign, Palpatine established shipyards and training facilities in key locations in the Unknown Regions. If anything were to happen to the Empire, only he and a select few would know the way to safety.
Thanks to the efforts of Palpatine’s protege Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax, the Galactic Empire imploded. However, only the weakest Imperials and the resources that were deemed unnecessary were wiped away. Those that were deemed strong and useful were spared. After the Battle of Jakku, whatever Imperials remained escaped into the Unknown Regions. Those Imperials would become the founding members of what would become the First Order. However, it was clear in Rise of Skywalker that not all the surviving Imperials went in the same direction in the Unknown Regions. While some surviving Imperials formed the First Order on Starkiller Base, others and members of the Acolytes of the Beyond formed the Sith Eternal and Final Order on Exegol.
As revealed by The Mandalorian, some Imperials such as Moff Gideon, Grand Admiral Thrawn, and their followers did not escape into the Unknown Regions. However, it was hinted that Moff Gideon’s Imperial remnant had ties to the First Order. This was revealed by what looked like failed attempts to create Supreme Leader Snoke floating in tanks. It has also been implied that Moff Gideon may have been using Grogu/Baby Yoda to help create Snoke. This was due to the fact that Moff Gideon was after Grogu’s midichlorians since the Force was strong with him. For all we know, they could have been trying to give Snoke an artificial connection to the Force by transplanting Grogu’s midichlorians into him. Either that or Moff Gideon needs Grogu’s midichlorians to help stabilize Palpatine’s imperfect clone body.
Now, we come to the core of Palpatine’s real plan. In the novelization of Rise of Skywalker, it was revealed how Darth Plagueis discovered the secret to cheat death. Unlike his Legends counterpart, Plagueis intended to transfer his essence into a clone body. Plagueis was even in the process of preparing his clone bodies, but Palpatine killed Plagueis in his sleep before he was ready to perform the ritual. Before Palpatine killed Plagueis, he seized his Master’s secret to cheat death for himself, which he later used when Anakin Skywalker killed him in Return of the Jedi. Also, Plagueis was a master at manipulating midichlorians to create life and Palpatine could have used that technique while creating Snoke and later Rey’s father.
Since the Galactic Empire was deemed a failure in Palpatine’s eyes, he resolved to create a newer and stronger Empire to take its place. Thanks to the revelations in Rise of Skywalker, we got a better idea of how he planned to do that. With Snoke as his puppet, Palpatine used the First Order as the vanguard to destroy the New Republic while Palpatine himself was safely hidden and prepared the last touches to the Final Order in the shadows. Thanks to decades of planning, Palpatine’s followers were able to refine and improve technology that was created during the reign of the Empire such as Death Star technology, which resulted in the creation of the Final Order’s fleet of Star Destroyers. The existence of this fleet would have ensured the long term continuation of Palpatine’s reign. Taking out one of those planet-killing Star Destroyers accomplishes nothing since there were thousands more in reserve. After the First Order fulfilled its function to wipe out the New Republic and make the wider galaxy vulnerable to invasion, Palpatine was ready to reveal himself to the galaxy, which was when he released his broadcast.
Unfortunately, despite Palpatine’s extensive planning for his return, he still needed one final piece to complete his scheme: a new body. Even though Palpatine was able to cheat death, the clone body his essence inhabited was imperfect and its composition was worsening due to his immense power in the dark side. If Palpatine was truly going to continue his reign, he needed a stronger and fitter body that would last a lot longer. That’s when he turned his attention to Kylo Ren, the grandson of his final apprentice, Darth Vader.
Through his puppet Snoke, Palpatine was able to orchestrate Ben Solo’s fall to the dark side and his transformation into Kylo Ren. Due to his own experience of killing his Master before he was ready to transfer his essence as well as his own death by Anakin’s hands, Palpatine did not want to train Kylo Ren himself. If Kylo Ren killed Palpatine before he was ready to transfer his essence, all of Palpatine’s plans would be ruined. Therefore, Palpatine used Snoke as his proxy to train Kylo Ren in the dark side. Eventually, Kylo Ren betrayed and killed Snoke and seized the mantle of Supreme Leader for himself. However, this was exactly what Palpatine wanted. Palpatine wanted Kylo Ren to develop the bloodlust and cunning necessary to strike down his Master. As revealed in Rise of Skywalker, the essence transfer ritual required Palpatine to be struck down and his essence would possess his killer. Since Kylo Ren proved able to strike down Snoke, he had the necessary instincts to initiate the ritual even if he was doing it unwittingly. Even though Palpatine said he was making Kylo Ren the new Emperor, but he was actually grooming him to become his eventual vessel. That was one of the reasons Palpatine released his broadcast to the galaxy: partly to spread confusion and fear to the wider galaxy and partly to make Kylo Ren come for him.
After Kylo Ren turned away from the dark side, Palpatine no longer considered him a suitable vessel to possess. This caused Palpatine to turn his attention to his granddaughter, Rey. Rey was selected as a potential vessel for two reasons: for her obvious blood ties to Palpatine himself and possessing her would end the Jedi. When she arrived on Exegol, Rey could feel Palpatine trying to influence her mind and she could see his thoughts and memories. When Rey refused to participate in Palpatine’s essence transfer ritual and sided with the redeemed Ben Solo, Palpatine no longer saw her as a viable vessel.
Palpatine tried to use Force Drain on Rey and Ben Solo, but he discovered that they were a dyad in the Force. As a dyad, Rey and Ben were two beings who were one and made more powerful through their bond. Palpatine quickly discovered that this dyad had the power to restore his ailing body to its full strength and drained Rey and Ben’s dyad. With his body and full power restored, Palpatine had achieved the final piece to his planned return and no longer needed to transfer to another body.
However, Palpatine’s successful return was short-lived as he was permanently destroyed by Rey and the combined strength of all the Jedi of the past. It is unknown if Palpatine managed to transfer his essence to another body before he was destroyed. Considering the only clone body he could inhabit after his first death was an imperfect one and Palpatine had thirty years to try and replace it and failed, it seems unlikely that Palpatine will be able to return this time. Also, the powerful army and fleet he spent decades to build was defeated by the combined strength of the Resistance and the Free Worlds fleet. In the end, Palpatine’s attempt to create a better and stronger Empire failed miserably.
Overall, Palpatine’s plan to cheat death and create a more powerful Empire was indeed brilliant and carefully planned out. It reveals the full extent and true nature of the Contingency program. It almost succeeded, but it was thwarted at the very last minute. One can only imagine how the galaxy would have turned out if Palpatine’s plan did succeed.
As a devout Star Wars fanboy, I am looking forward to the books and graphic novels that will tell the story of the High Republic Era. Allow me to give you an overview of what I have learned about it so far. The High Republic Era takes place two hundred years before The Phantom Menace. At this time, quadrants of space such as the Outer Rim have not yet been fully explored or colonized. To aid travelers through hyperspace, a space station known as the Starlight Beacon is constructed. The Jedi are particularly active during this period in history and are expanding their influence across the galaxy. The story of the High Republic begins with an event known as the Great Disaster, which results in every ship in hyperspace being scattered across the galaxy. Presumably while this chaos is happening, the Nihil raiders emerge from the outskirts of space and start plundering the borders of the High Republic. It sounds like an interesting era in Star Wars lore that is worth exploring. I don’t care if some of the books are for younger readers, I will read them all the same. I look forward to when the come out this August.
After doing some digging around, I finally found out the identity of Rey’s father. It turns out his relationship to both Rey and Darth Sidious is a lot more complicated than we thought. It turns out Rey had no grandmother and Palpatine had no lover. After Palpatine died in Return of the Jedi, he transferred his essence into an imperfect clone body.
Because of his new body’s hopelessly flawed composition, Palpatine’s cultists in the Sith Eternal worked tirelessly to create a better body for his essence to inhabit. The cultists tinkered with genes and muscle tissue, resulting in the creation of many abominations. Supreme Leader Snoke was one such abomination, but even though Snoke had power and a mind of his own his body was just as frail as Palpatine’s new one. As a result, Snoke was deemed a failure as a replacement body, but he was still useful to Palpatine’s plans with running the First Order and training Kylo Ren.
There was another clone of Palpatine that was physically healthy and stable, but had no Force-sensitivity. Because of the clone’s lack of power in the Force, Palpatine deemed him a failure and discarded him. In Sidious’s eyes, this clone’s only use was to further Sidious’s bloodline naturally. Sometime later, the clone had a wife or girlfriend and together they had Rey. Rey’s youth and immense power in the Force made her the ideal vessel for Palpatine’s essence to inhabit.
One could argue that Rey’s father is Palpatine’s “son” in the same sense that Boba Fett is the “son” of Jango Fett. Rey’s father also looks nothing like Palpatine despite being genetically identical. This is similar to the clone trooper unit known as the “Bad Batch.” Despite being clones of Jango Fett, the Bad Batch looked nothing like him.
Due to her father being a clone of Palpatine, one could argue that Palpatine was Rey’s biological father and grandfather at the same time. Because her father and Snoke were creations of Palpatine, Rey’s story was closely intertwined with Darth Sidious’s return. Ironically, Palpatine’s attempts to create a suitable body for himself ultimately led to his final demise.
Since the sequel trilogy started, I sensed a special connection between Rey and Finn. It has been hinted several times that they have feelings for each other, which could open the possibility of these two becoming a couple sometime in the future. If Rey and Finn end up together, I think it would be very fitting because Finn is an ex-stormtrooper and Rey is the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine. These two represent the legacy of the Galactic Empire and the promise of a better future for a new generation. If they get together and have kids, I can imagine Rey training them to be Jedi.
I have been watching several clips that displayed the enormity of Darth Sidious’s power in both the Force and in lightsaber combat. Darth Sidious was easily one of the most powerful Sith Lords who ever lived and one of the most proficient masters of the Force the galaxy has ever known. His lightsaber skills were deadly enough to cut down three Jedi Council members in quick succession, versatile enough to defeat Darth Maul and Savage Opress, and powerful enough to fight Mace Windu as an equal. His mastery of the Force was complex enough to fight Yoda to a draw, mysterious enough to cheat death, and strong enough to demolish entire fleets.
What is even more fascinating is that all of this power and potential flows in Rey Skywalker’s veins. She has it in her to become a Jedi version of her grandfather. That would make her a real force to be reckoned with while fighting agents of the dark side. The only reason why she was able to defeat her grandfather is because her hereditary power was being augmented by the combined strength of all the Jedi who came before her. Even after defeating Palpatine, the exertion of fighting him briefly killed Rey. Due to this, she is nowhere near the height of her grandfather’s power and could not become his equal on her own. However, with enough time and training, she will become as powerful as her grandfather if not stronger. Who knows? Rey may become what Luke Skywalker became in Legends: the ultimate Jedi!
Due to her Sith heritage, Rey naturally has an affinity with Force Lightning. That power will always be a part of her, which means sooner or later she will need to learn how to control it. I think she could use Force Lightning in a similar fashion to how Mace Windu used his personal lightsaber style known as Vaapad. Vaapad allowed Mace Windu to convert his inner darkness into a weapon of the light. Using this method takes the wielder through the penumbra of the dark side. Due to its aggressive nature and tendency to lure its wielders dangerously close to the dark side, only a handful of Jedi were allowed to learn it. In the end, Mace Windu was the only Jedi who mastered Vaapad without turning to the dark side thanks to his strong willpower and extensive training. I think Rey will master Force Lightning in a way that is similar to how Mace Windu mastered Vaapad. In addition, Rey may forbid teaching Force Lightning to her students out fear that it could turn them to the dark side.
Overall, I am envisioning Rey Skywalker eventually becoming a female version of Starkiller from The Force Unleashed. Thanks to Rey Skywalker, the power of Darth Sidious, which has been an instrument of evil and a weapon of the Sith for decades, will finally be used for good and become a weapon of the Jedi.
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.
With the introduction of the High Republic Era in the Star Wars universe, we are introduced to a new cast of villains to the franchise: the Nihils! The Nihils are a band of raiders, marauders, pillagers, reavers, and plunderers who came from the outskirts of the known galaxy. The Lucasfilm Story Group refer to them as “space vikings.” I don’t know if they are Force-sensitive or if they are normal criminals, but from what I hear even the Jedi are afraid of the Nihils. The Sith may have been the Jedi’s oldest and most prominent enemy, but the Nihils are clearly the Jedi’s greatest fear. The Jedi are not allowed to feel fear because it can lead to the dark side. So, if the Nihils are able to make the Jedi tremble with fear, then we know that they are a group to be feared. I look forward to when these blood thirsty warriors reveal themselves later this year.
I have big news regarding the future of Star Wars! With the Skywalker Saga completed, we enter another era in the Star Wars timeline known as the High Republic Era. The High Republic Era takes place two centuries before The Phantom Menace. Apparently, this marks an age of peace and prosperity in the galaxy and the Jedi are particularly active. From what I hear, the Jedi in the High Republic Era are not like the Jedi we have seen in the past. They will be a combination between the Knights of the Round Table and cowboys. With this image, I can envision Jedi who have personalities like Han Solo. The main villains in this era are not the Sith, who are currently in hiding and will not reveal themselves until The Phantom Menace. Overall, I am pleased beyond words that we are finally expanding beyond the Skywalker Saga and we will be introduced to a new cast of characters as well as new storylines. The Force is strong with the future!