The Star Wars Skywalker saga has come to an end. After the release of The Rise of Skywalker, many fans still had questions about the creative development of the sequel trilogy’s plot heading into those films.

After Rey was revealed to be a Palpatine, some questioned whether that was the plan all along. Let’s dive into the story of Palpatine, Rey, and determine if Disney planned her as the Emperor’s granddaughter from the outset or if they improvised. 

Emperor Palpatine’s role in the original and prequel trilogies

In the original trilogy, Palpatine doesn’t serve a major role until Return of the Jedi. He’s mentioned by name in A New Hope and appears as a hologram in The Empire Strikes Back. In Return of the Jedi, he serves as the primary antagonist along with Darth Vader.

Much of the film takes place in his throne room as he tries to lure Luke Skywalker to the Dark Side of the Force. Ultimately, he’s unsuccessful, as Luke shuns the Palpatine’s advances and proclaims himself “a Jedi, like my father before me.” When Palpatine attempts to kill Luke, Vader steps in to destroy his mentor and save his son’s life. 

In the prequels, Palpatine has a dual role as Chancellor of the Republic and a Sith Lord behind the scenes. He engineers the Clone Wars and Anakin Skywalker’s turn to the Dark Side, gaining unlimited power and control of the galaxy with the fearsome Vader by his side. 

The evolution of Rey in the sequel trilogy

Rey begins the prequels as a simple scavenger on a remote desert planet called Jakku. After finding the droid BB-8, she’s eventually swept up into an intergalactic conflict between the First Order and the Resistance. After witnessing Kylo Ren kill his father Han Solo, she has a confrontation with him that she ultimately wins.

She then travels to find Luke on a secluded planet in an attempt to rally him to the side of the Resistance. 

Luke trains Rey and sacrifices himself to help her and her friends escape the First Order. Rey continues her Jedi training under Princess Leia Organa as Palpatine returns from the dead. It’s Kylo who then informs her that she’s the daughter of a Palpatine clone and therefore, the granddaughter of Palpatine.

Eventually, she confronts her descendant, and with the help of a reformed Ben Solo, defeats him once and for all. She adopts the name Rey Skywalker, forswearing her lineage in the name of something nobler. 

Rey’s ancestry isn’t revealed until the third film in the prequel trilogy. So the question remains: when exactly did the creative teams behind the Star Wars prequels make the decision that Rey was a Palpatine? 

‘Star Wars’: Was Rey Palpatine the plan all along? 

Star Wars fans took to Reddit to debate whether Rey was planned as a Palpatine all along. One fan posted a YouTube video in which Daisy Ridley claimed that Rey’s parentage changed throughout the production of the sequels.

Fans speculated from the second the character was announced to who she may be related. Some claimed Luke, others claimed Han and Leia, while others thought she may be a long-lost Kenobi. 

One poster on Reddit answered the question best, however, by stating: 

“In regards to the meta question, it should also be remembered that Vader wasn’t always Luke’s father, or Leia his sister. It’s always a mess behind the curtain”

Much like the older Star Wars films, Rey as a Palpatine wasn’t likely the plan until the very end. But what really matters is the end result. Whether fans enjoyed that result is a different question altogether. 

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