J.J. Abrams Discusses the Legacy of Emperor Palpatine and That Story Arc in THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

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It was never a secret that Emperor Palpatine was going to be in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The big secret that was being kept was the reveal that Rey is actually the granddaughter of Palpatine and he was trying to persuade her to join the dark side and restore the Sith under her rule as Empress Rey Palpatine. She obviously doesn’t do it, but it would have been a lot more interesting if she had!

This is one of those things that fans have been speculating and theorizing about online for some time, and it’s something that obviously Abrams thought would be a good idea to throw into the story. During a recent Q&A panel, Abrams talked about this twist in the legacy of Palpatine saying:

“I think one of the ideas, one of the themes of the movie, is that anyone can be anything, regardless of where you’re from. I don’t know if it resonates for everyone, but I think there are quite a few people who appreciate that idea of not coming from a place that you’re particularly excited about following or proud of. And though I completely understand ‘you’re nobody’ is a devastating thing, to me, the more painful, the more shocking thing is the idea that you’re from the worst possible place.”

Abrams went on to explain:

“And is your destiny, is that thing that you feel, that you know is part of you somehow, that you’re haunted by, is that your destiny? The idea that choices — that there are things more powerful than blood, as Luke (Mark Hamill) says — that feeling was important to convey, for us.”

I think they did a good job getting that point across in the film. Abrams contied to explain that this latest trilogy is “really sort of about the generation that follows the great generation” and the idea of bringing balance to the force:

“The idea of balance, bringing balance to the Force — which is the whole point of the Chosen One, Anakin, in the original trilogy — what I loved was the idea that balance brought to the Force doesn’t mean it’s forever, it’s not immediately everlasting. And I think the idea that if we are not careful, the evil — the ultimate evil — will rise again, that we have to be proactive and doing what we can to maintain the balance, and how does the generation that follows the great generation do that?”

He went on to explain that the answer lies with “the grandchildren of these crucially important characters, the Palpatines and the Skywalkers.” Abrams adds:

“The idea … [of] these two houses coming together in this next generation felt like there was inevitability to it. And if one were to watch I through IX 50, 100 years from now, hopefully you feel these stories were inevitably leading there.”

Well, I’d like to see what George Lucas has to say about that. It’s safe to say that this isn’t how his vision of the new trilogy would have played out.

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