Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker didn’t just reference a bunch of past Star Wars canon in its final installment, it also mentioned some things that were previously canon, but have gone into limbo since the Disney acquisition. Commonly referred to as the “Legends” canon (or the Expanded Universe, if you prefer), these stories have yet to be officially confirmed as part of the official narrative, and may not be by the time their characters or events are re-introduced.
Shows like Star Wars Rebels have done this in the past with popular Legends characters like Grand Admiral Thrawn, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker did this in ways that were both glaring and subtle. For those that may have missed it, here are a handful of nods to Legends canon that were referenced in some way during Episode IX.
The Return Of Emperor Palpatine
One of the biggest recurring themes in Legends canon following Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was that the Emperor was never really dead. Much like in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the Emperor returned following the Death Star’s destruction, and continued to operate in the shadows while others waged war. In Legends, Moffs fought to gain rule over their own respective parts of the galaxy, which could be what Moff Gideon is doing in The Mandalorian.
We still don’t know exactly how Emperor Palpatine survived the events of Return of the Jedi in the official canon, but we can say that, in Legends, he actually didn’t. Palpatine’s physical body was destroyed, but his extreme dark connection to the Force allowed his spirit to travel to his contingency plan, which we’ll get into in a bit. It looked like Palpatine still had his original body in The Rise of Skywalker, so it will be interesting to see how that happened should the story ever be told.
Emperor Palpatine’s Use Of Clones
The death of Supreme Leader Snoke was a surprising twist in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, though many questioned how Kylo Ren was able to dupe such a seemingly powerful Force user. Not long into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the answer is revealed. Kylo Ren spots a tank full of Snoke clones, and is told by Palpatine that they were mere fabrications that Palpatine himself controlled to keep a low profile.
Remember how I said in Legends canon that Palpatine’s body didn’t survive Return of the Jedi? That wasn’t a huge setback for the Emperor, as he had closely guarded clones stashed away that he could use provided his spirit could reach them. We’re still not entirely sure on how Palpatine used the Snoke clones, though Snoke’s extensive scarring could call back to the immense physical toll it took on a host Palpatine possessed. I mean, we can hope anyway, since who would willingly clone themselves to look like that?
Leia Organa’s Jedi Training
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker confirmed something fans had been speculating since Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Leia had Jedi training. Even if someone is Force sensitive, they don’t just innately know how to pull themselves across the cold vacuum of space without sharpening that ability just a bit with a trained user in the Force! Leia trained under Luke, but stopped her training when she sensed the potential darkness in her unborn child, Ben Solo.
In the Legends canon, Leia became a full-fledged Jedi Knight, but Luke only helped her with a part of her training. Leia then went on to study under the Barabel Saba Sebatyne, who was a Jedi Master in Legends continuity. Leia’s three children did not get in the way of her training in Legends, though she did have fears about having children thinking her father’s dark legacy was hereditary.
Palpatine Having Children
One of the biggest “wtf” moments of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was that Rey was actually the granddaughter of Sheev Palpatine. That was shocking alone, though arguably less shocking than the revelation that Sheev himself had a son. It was quite a surprise, and we’re still not entirely sure how exactly the timeline on it works out. When exactly did Palpatine have this child? Did he court and date during his reign as Emperor?
Perhaps the answer lies in Legends, in which Palpatine allegedly had a son by the name of Triclops. Triclops was a human mutant slave with three eyes, and the ability to overcome Palpatine’s immense power. There was always a question of whether Triclops was a son of Palpatine through traditional means, or through Midi-chlorians. The short answer is it doesn’t really matter now considering he’s seemingly retconned, though the details behind his lineage could answer the questions we have behind Palpatine’s canon son.
Former Sith Lords Referenced In The Rise Of Skywalker
Just when it seems like Star Wars has run out of Jedi or Sith Lords, a couple more end up surfacing or being re-introduced in canon. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker didn’t bring back or create any new Sith Lords, but it did seemingly work in a few who were considered part of the Legends canon back into the official Star Wars canon.
The reveal comes from the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker visual novel, which shows different legions of Sith Troopers are named after former Sith Lords. Among those referenced is Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic‘s Darth Revan, as well as Darth Phobos and Desolous from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. In fairness, we have no idea how connected these names are to the past characters. The names might be the only things that have been retained, or maybe the groundwork’s been laid for an introduction that distances the characters from their past stories.
Related: How Much Of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Came From Colin Trevorrow’s Original Script
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