Everyone and her mother are working on fan theories about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker this Christmas season. But in this frenzy for information, avid fans have inadvertently provoked the exposure of a much, much older fan theory that was thought to be canonical.
It all has to do with a single scene in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and two panels from Darth Vader # 25, the finale of Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s appearance on the Marvel comic book title.
However, to fully explain this, we need to talk about the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise.
(Ed. Note: This post contains some spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.)
Charles Soule, Giuseppe Camuncoli / Marvel Comics
Darth Plagueis appears once in the Star Wars films and only once – in a scene in which Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and the then top Chancellor Sheev Palpatine participate in the opera together. Palpatine asks Anakin if he heard about Darth Plagueis, a Sith Lord who was said to have used power over life and death. According to Palpatine, Plagueis was able to create life and bring the dead back to life.
This little anecdote came to mind of Star Wars fans for one important reason: Anakin Skywalker’s virgin birth. The theory was that Palpatine knew Plagueis’ secrets and used them to understand Anakin as a child of power himself in the context of his galactic machinations.
This brings us to Darth Vader # 25 of 2018, where Darth Vader takes a kind of spiritual journey to try to bring Padme’s spirit back to the realm of the living. On the way, he looks at many real scenes from his life as Anakin Skywalker – and also sees things that never happened when he was confronted with a dozen Jedi masters at once (see the post spoiler warning image in this post) and butcher them all.
In one scene of this issue, he presents a picture of his pregnant mother, behind whom the dressed Emperor Palpatine hovers with outstretched hands. “There was no father,” says the page, a Shmi quote from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. “Unnatural,” is another word from a single line in the scene, “Revenge of the Siths Darth Plagueis,” in which Palpatine says, “The dark side of the Force is a path to many abilities that some consider unnatural.”
“The chosen one,” says the last panel, which is a close-up of Schmi’s stomach. Many Star Wars fans believed this to be canonical evidence that Palpatine used the Force to impregnate Shmi Skywalker and created his own fake child to match the Jedi belief in the prophecy of a chosen one who would balance the Force would bring.
This is a phrase with enormous potential implications, especially for The Rise of Skywalker, that shows that Palpatine had his own son, who in turn became the father of a power-sensitive child, Rey. If Palpatine created both the Skywalker line and Reys, he would be responsible for both halves of the “Force Dyad” formed by Ben and Rey.
After using Darth Vader # 25 as irrefutable evidence for two years, Matt Martin wrote on the page that the creative team had never intended to imply that Palpatine had received Anakin with the force. The boards should be read deeply in Darth Vader’s thoughts as suspicions.
It is my job to ensure that the stories are consistent with the overall vision of Star Wars. If the intent was to make a direct link between Palps and Anakin’s birth, I would have had it removed.
– Matt Martin (@missingwords) December 23, 2019
The same idea made it an early draft of Sith’s revenge, he confirmed, “but George removed it because he didn’t want Anakin’s story to feel predetermined.”
Is it possible that Palpatine has fueled the Skywalker Jedi legacy? Possibly. But it is by no means confirmed in the canon.