‘Star Wars’ Finally Reveals What Was Behind Its Biggest Mistake

in Disney, Star Wars

Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine in 'Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker'

Credit: Lucasfilm

Star Wars has finally gotten around to explaining what was behind arguably its most fan-hated plot hole: that “somehow” Emperor Palpatine returned from death itself in The Rise of Skywalker (2019). And, as explanations go, it actually is not half-bad.

Emperor Palpatine's terrifying smile
Credit: Lucasfilm


The Bad Batch season 3 premiered on Disney+ earlier today, bringing with it one last hurrah for the fugitive clone troopers who managed to avoid mass-slaughtering their Jedi friends. It also brought up Project Necromancer, a mysterious Imperial Remnant scientific mission that was introduced in The Mandalorian season 3. While it was initially thought that Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) was part of a project to extract midi-chlorians from the child Grogu in order to resurrect Palpatine (it’s not a very subtle codename), that ultimately turned out not to be the case.

giancarlo esposito as moff gideon star wars
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Instead, Gideon was trying to make Force-sensitive clones of himself in an independent project, more out of narcissism than any true loyalty to the Empire. But it does turn out that Project Necromancer was trying to create clone bodies for Palpatine to return to life, just not in the way people thought.

The first three episodes of the final season of The Bad Batch confirmed that Project Necromancer had actually been activated decades before Palpatine was killed by Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi (1983) because the Emperor never had any intention of allowing his apprentice to supersede him. Instead, he planned to use clone trooper bodies as experimental vessels for extracted mid-chlorian.

Grogu shocked in 'The Mandalorian'
Credit: Lucasfilm

It turns out that Project Necromancer did not actually work all that well and that most of the midi-chlorians were rejected by host bodies, although there were some outlier minor successes like the being who would come to be known as Snoke.

During Palpatine’s lifetime, Project Necromancer was operated in secret out of Mount Tantiss on Wayland by Doctor Hemlock and later taken up by Brendol Hux of the Imperial Remnant, who was eventually seen in The Mandalorian season 3. This also reveals that the entire plot of Ahsoka, in which Grand Admiral Thrawn is attempting to return to the galaxy, is just take give Hux more time to perfect the cloning process.

Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) in 'Ahsoka' 1.06
Credit: Lucasfilm

As loyalist Captain Pellaeon said, “Grand Admiral Thrawn’s return will herald in the reemergence of our military, and provide Commandant Hux enough time to deliver on Project Necromancer.”

Related: Everything You Need To Know Before ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ Season 3 Hits Disney+

With this last season of The Bad Batch, it becomes apparent that the most ridiculed aspect of the Star Wars sequel trilogy actually had some sound logic to it, even if was most likely deployed retroactively during the planning out of the Mandoverse.

Kylo Ren and Rey fighting in Rise of Skywalker
Credit: Lucasfilm

Why did Palpatine not emerge for decades? He had initially died before Project Necromancer could be perfected. Why did Palpatine look like a barely living ghoul on Exegol? His clone bodies were rapidly decaying because of the ultimate failure of Project Necromancer. Why was he so desperate to get a hold of Rey? Because she was a secondary result (via an outlier clone) of Project Necromancer whose body had not rejected midi-chlorians, but was born with them.

It may not make every Star Wars fan happy, but at least now we know.

Do you think Project Necromancer explains what happened with Palpatine? Tell us your own theories below!

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