Everybody and their mom is pouring over fan theories about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker this holiday season. But in that frenzy for information, eager fans have accidentally provoked the debunking of a much, much older fan theory thought to have been canon.
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 run on the Marvel comics title.
But in order to explain fully, we have to talk about the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise.
[Ed. note: This post contains some spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.]
Darth Plagueis comes up once in the Star Wars movies, and only once — in a scene in which Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and then-supreme chancellor Sheev Palpatine attend the opera together. In perhaps the worst attempt at seeming like Not-the-Secret-Sith-Villain-Everyone-is-Looking-For ever, Palpatine asks Anakin if he’s heard of Darth Plagueis, a Sith lord who was said to have been able to use the Force to hold power over life and death itself. Plagueis, according to Palpatine, was capable of both creating life and returning the dead to life.
This little anecdote stuck in the minds of Star Wars fans for one major reason: Anakin Skywalker’s virgin birth. The theory ran that Palpatine knew Plagueis’ secrets, and used them to conceive Anakin as a child of the Force itself, as part of his galactic machinations.
Which brings us to 2018’s Darth Vader #25, in which Darth Vader goes on a sort of spiritual journey to try and bring Padme’s spirit back to the realm of the living. On the way, he views many real scenes from his life as Anakin Skywalker — and also sees some stuff that never happened, as when he faces off against a dozen Jedi masters at once (seen in the post-spoiler-warning image in this post) and slaughters all of them.
In one scene in this issue, he passes an image of his pregnant mother, with the robed Emperor Palpatine hovering behind her, his hands outstretched to her belly. “There was no father,” reads the page, a quote from Shmi in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. “Unnatural,” reads another, a single word from a single line in Revenge of the Sith’s Darth Plagueis scene, in which Palpatine says “The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.”
“The chosen one,” it reads in a final panel, which forms a closeup of Shmi’s belly. Many Star Wars fans felt this was canon evidence that Palpatine used the Force to impregnate Shmi Skywalker, creating his own counterfeit child to fit the Jedi belief in the prophecy of a Chosen One who would bring balance to the Force.
It’s a twist with huge potential implications, especially for The Rise of Skywalker, which reveals that Palpatine had his own son, who in turn became the father of a Force-sensitive child, Rey. If Palpatine created both the Skywalker lineage and Rey’s — he’d be responsible for both halves of the “Force dyad” formed by Ben and Rey.
But, after two years of fand using Darth Vader #25 as irrefutable evidence, Matt Martin — one of three members of the Lucasfilm Story Group credited on the issue — weighed in on the page, saying that it was never the intention of the creative team to imply that Palpatine conceived Anakin with the Force. The panels were meant to be read as a suspicion deep in Darth Vader’s mind.
It’s part of my job to ensure the stories are aligned with the overall vision of Star Wars. If the intention was to make a direct connection between Palps and Anakin’s birth, I would have had it removed.
— Matt Martin (@missingwords) December 23, 2019
The same idea made it into an early draft of Revenge of the Sith, he confirmed, “but George removed it because he didn’t want Anakin’s story to feel predestined.”
Is it possible that Palpatine kickstarted the Skywalker Jedi legacy? Potentially. But it’s by no means confirmed in canon.
The post Lucasfilm story group chops arms off a 20-year-old Star Wars fan theory appeared first on Polygon.