Many Star Wars fans were critical of how The Rise of Skywalker handled Emperor Palpatine, especially in regards to Rey and her lineage, which is revealed as a big twist in the film. As those who watched know, Rey is revealed to be a descendant of the Palpatine family line, but she ends up taking on the Skywalker name by film’s end after defeating Palpatine alongside Ben Solo. This whole scenario was thought by many to be a shoehorned twist to one make a bunch of other pieces fit and two retcon some things in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but it doesn’t appear that was the case. According to The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, there was a story group meeting in May of 2014 that outlined Rey’st taking of the Skywalker name, a meeting that took place around a year and a half before The Force Awakens hit theaters (via ScreenRant).
In the book Pablo Hidalgo says this about Rey’s becoming a Skywalker, though also says she’s not really a Skywalker, referencing the twist on the concept. “I like the idea that she’s going to be our Skywalker, but she’s not a Skywalker. Then, for our purposes, ‘the Skywalker’ is really a metaphor. It doesn’t have to be something that’s directly connected to blood.”
This also fits with what Abrams originally wanted to do with Palpatine, as he was originally going to be featured in The Force Awakens. That would have planted the seeds for what we saw in Rise, and overall things would’ve made a lot more sense regarding the character’s return. This is what visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett had to say about the original concept.
“Ian was such a major part of the original films. J.J. wanted to bring him back to reveal that Palpatine wasn’t completely destroyed in Episode VII,” Guyett said. “He created a clone of himself and, with the help of Sith loyalists, rebuilt himself to a fragmented and unstable state. When Kylo meets him, Palpatine is not fully formed, and he relies on tubes and mechanics, moving around this Sith laboratory on a mechanism that Kevin Jenkins designed. He has the spirit of the Sith, but he’s trapped inside a body that’s incomplete.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is directed by J.J. Abrams and stars Daisey Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Carrie Fisher, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Joonas Suotamo, Anthony Daniels, Jimmy Vee, Dave Chapman, Brian Herring, Mark Hamill, Billie Lourd, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Keri Russell, Dominic Monaghan, Richard E. Grant. and Greg Grunberg. The official synopsis for the film reads:
“Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is available on home video now.