While Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker began to answer and definitely closed off certain aspects of The Skywalker Saga story, it also introduced a lot of elements from Legends and Lore, and left certain things seemingly ambiguous.

With that said, the marketing for this film was not shy about about the return of the series' biggest villain: the former Emperor, Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, and super manipulative Sith Lord, Darth Sidious.

But there are things mentioned or shown in the film that are curious:

1. While Sidious reveals he's Rey's grandfather, he also mentions that all of the Sith are with him (or that he is all of the Sith).

2. He is not fully formed and, at first, hangs on an apparatus.

3. He is found on the alleged Sith homeworld of Exegol (and there may have been statues of Darth Nilhilus present).

4. He mentions that he has "died before", and we may presume that a combination of dark side Force power and genetic manipulation have been involved, as there are containers full of Snokes!

5. There are not Sidious loyalists present, but rather "Sith" loyalists and a Sith fleet with Sith Troopers.

6. The opening crawl's first words are: "The Dead Speak!"

In addition, episode I’s title, The Phantom Menace, is meant to more specifically pertain to Darth Sidious, besides being able to also apply to the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker.

Also in the prequels, the Jedi comment that The Sith have returned. And although it's most likely that they are just referencing Darth Maul and Darth Sidious, it does suggest a possible awakening to the Sith generally, as opposed to just dealing with a master and his apprentice(s).

Thus, it almost seems that Sidious (or the Sidious in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) is a byproduct of something beyond the previous Sidious, or that perhaps Sidious himself was always answering to someone else? It feels like there is a door behind a door with the way the character was so elusively presented in this film.

Is there any evidence from other upcoming projects or the executive producers that suggests that perhaps this Sidious isn’t exactly the same Darth Sidious as before?

  • I assumed it was actually him brought back from the dead and that his malformed fingers were a remnant of his injuries when he was killed by Vader. – sanpaco Dec 21 '19 at 23:48
  • right, but what happens when one is brought back from the dead by "unnatural" means? Are they the same or do they come back altered? – Darth Locke Dec 21 '19 at 23:49
  • Seems logical to assume Darth Sidious is not the same as all the Sith, and that though the Sith may be defeated and return in cycles, it’s not always been Sidious. It just so happens it’s Sidious who literally returned this time. – m-smith Jan 5 '20 at 23:41
  • @oliver-clare My Q is not about him being like other Sith. My question is about if he's still really "the same exact" Darth Sidious, because it seems like he may of returned as something "beyond" Sidious, since he claims that he is "All of the Sith". It's the idea that one was brought back from the dead (by certain means) if they really would be the same (ie: Kahl Drogo in GOT came back as a zombie-nearly lifeless version of himself). – Darth Locke Jan 6 '20 at 13:31
  • @DarthLocke indeed. In my comment I said I think it's unlikely Sidious is literally all the Sith. In the same way Rey was not all the Jedi. Rey embodied the Jedi and, in the moment when it mattered most, they helped her defeat Sidious. The final stand-off between Rey & Ben and Sidious was chock-full of metaphors. I very-much doubt Sidious meant he was literally all of the Sith. I would answer your question: "Yes, it was the same Sidious, altered only by his experience of death." But I don't have any evidence, just my opinion :D – m-smith Jan 6 '20 at 15:51

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