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!
I got to learn more about the Knights of Ren from Kylo Ren’s origin story comic book. Even though they did not get a prominent appearance in the movies, we did get more insight into this group of dark side practitioners in the comics.
Compared to the Sith, the Knights were weaker in the dark side, described to be clumsy, untrained, and using the dark side like a hammer. Their ideology was also more flexible and liberal than that of the Sith. The Knights of Ren believe in a lifestyle where they can do whatever they want, taking what the galaxy gave them, and consuming what the dark side sent them. Apparently, the Knights tend to find things to burn during their free time. They refer to the dark side as the “Shadow” and you need to be Force-sensitive and able to tap into the dark side to be a member. Like the Sith, joining the Knights of Ren requires sacrificing someone who is close to you. While the rest of the Knights wield primitive weapons, their leader is the only member of the group who wields a red lightsaber, which the Knights call the “Ren” and see it as a symbol of power and leadership. The Master of the Knights of Ren is the strongest of the group and traditionally holds the title “Ren” in their name.
Based on all these facts, the Knights of Ren are interesting and unique, but there is nothing special about what makes them. Unlike the Jedi or Sith, the Knights of Ren don’t have any kind of formal training in either combat or the Force. They are essentially untrained thugs with a natural affinity with the dark side. Due to this, it is very likely, and possibly inevitable, that a similar group of dark side practitioners will rise to replace them in the aftermath of Rise of Skywalker. Either that, or the Knights of Ren left behind some kind of scripture or record that will inspire others to follow in their footsteps and become the next version of the Knights of Ren. If the Knights of Ren continued to be active, I believe their mastery of the Force would grow the more they call on it, which would have eventually turned them into an even greater threat.
I had another idea for a potential story idea for after Rise of Skywalker. As Rey rebuilds the Jedi Order, the possibility exists that she will face the same situation that Luke Skywalker did with Ben Solo. One or more of her apprentices may turn to the dark side and attempt to cause chaos in the galaxy. Will she cope with it the same way Luke did or would she do it another way? Would her fledgling Jedi Order survive such an event or would Rey have to start all over again? Would these fallen students become Sith, Dark Jedi, or some other form of dark side practitioner? These questions are intriguing and will provide challenges for Rey’s new Jedi Order and the galaxy at large.
Some fans think Palpatine’s return in Rise of Skywalker negated Anakin Skywalker’s sacrifice in Return of the Jedi, but I completely disagree. Let us not forget that Palpatine returned in Legends and no one seemed to complain. Also, after Palpatine’s final death, the Sith returned three or four times in Legends ranging from Lumiya’s Sith, the Lost Tribe of Sith, and the One Sith. Who knows? The Sith might return again sometime after Rise of Skywalker in the new Canon. The Prophecy of the Chosen One did not say if the Sith would be destroyed permanently nor did it say how long the balance in the Force would last. As far as I’m concerned, Anakin fulfilled the prophecy even if it was for a brief time.