As we scrub through the teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalkerframe-by-frame, we have several questions. Where is Rey at the beginning? Who is Kylo slamming to the ground? Why is Lando wearing the yellow shirt? But one of the most interesting questions concerns the final shots. We see Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, and the droids walking on a cliff side. As the shot shifts, we see they’re looking at the massive remnants of a Death Star. We hear Luke’s voice say “no one’s ever really gone” before we hear Emperor Palpatine’s distinctive laugh.


If “no one’s ever really gone,” it stands to reason an evil Sith ghost would stick around as well, like a poltergeist. We already know Sith ghosts are canon from The Clone Wars, and Palpatine’s ghost showed up at the end of Rebels. He just doesn’t show himself all the time. He is a Phantom Menace after all.

Supreme Leader Snoke was not a Sith, so maybe it was Palpatine pulling the strings all along. Darth Vader was “reborn” as Anakin Skywalker following his death and was not an evil ghost. So maybe Ben Solo has been tempted to the dark side not by his grandfather but by the one who tempted him in the first place. Snoke was just a pawn.

“Always two there are. No more, no less. A master and an apprentice.” Palpatine has a history of trading in apprentices for newer models. And he does know the legend of Darth Plagueis the Wise.


That Death Star piece is most likely from the second Death Star, the one blown up by Lando, Wedge, and company. That was the place where Darth Vader threw Palpatine into the reactor, as you recall.

We’ve heard from various reports that Episode IX would revisit locations and characters from the entire saga, including the original trilogy and prequels. If that’s the case, it would make the most sense that the chunks of the Death Star we see crash landed on one of the moons of Endor, since that’s where it was built. Canonically, the giant planet of Endor has nine moons, not just the forest moon we see with ewoks on it. This comes from Star Wars: Complete Locations published by Dorling Kindersley on September 27, 2016. It’s possible the cliffs and waterfalls are on that same forest moon. However, it’s just as likely they landed on one of Endor’s other moons.


What if, after years of the Resistance fighting the First Order, Rey sees only one course of action to bring balance to the force? What if she has to track Anakin Skywalker’s path from slave to Jedi to Sith to redemption? Remember, to Rey, Luke Skywalker was just a myth initially. But perhaps the history and prophecy of the Skywalkers and the balance to the force were in the Jedi books she secreted away all along. She’ll need clues about the past to save the universe, and Ben Solo.

We see a brief moment in the teaser of a skiff chase in the desert. That looks for all the world like a podracing track. The podracing track where Anakin won the Boonta Eve race and got the whole saga started. And the Death Star is on Endor. The beginning and the end of Palpatine and Anakin’s shared journey.

If Rey and friends want to truly bring balance to the force, they’ll need to defeat Palpatine once and for all, and ultimately free Kylo from his control. If they track the path of the Skywalkers–Anakin, Luke, and Leia–they could see where that force (pun intended) for good comes from. Wouldn’t it make sense that Rey would have to visit the spot where Palpatine died in order to confront him for the ultimate showdown?

But Kylo seems dead set on letting the past die, so maybe to fully defeat Palpatine and free himself, Kylo and Rey will team up and “kill it, if they have to.”

Images: Lucasfilm

Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Twitter!