If you’re reading this article and you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, now is your chance to save yourself from spoilers and an honest discussion about the romantic life of the Darkest Lord of the Sith. Ready? Let’s talk about who Emperor Sheev Palpatine could have been married to/dated, perhaps before, or during his time as a Dark Lord. Get into your cozy evil bathrobe because this is about to get weird.
Again, spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker are coming at you at lightspeed, right now.
Okay, so right away, the film establishes that Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter. This isn’t a trick, this is the plot of the movie. In a flashback, we meet Rey’s parents, who seem like okay people, and we’re told Rey’s dad was Palpatine’s son. So, first of all, that had to suck. Imagine growing up with a dad who was way more obsessed with Hayden Christensen than you! Anyway, the pumpkin spice questions to ask here are: Well, who was Palpatine’s son? And who was his wife? What were they like? Why did they leave Rey on that desert planet, like, for real?
But those aren’t the fun questions. There’s only one fun question: Who is the person that Palpatine um..started a family with? Who is Rey’s grandmother!???
Bizarrely, there might be an answer to this question. Back in roughly 2006-2010, George Lucas was developing a TV series called Star Wars: Underworld, which would have specifically explored the criminal side of the planet Courscant. A ton of cool screenwriters were brought in on this project, including Ronald D. Moore, who currently runs Outlander, but also is famous for Battlestar Galactica. Back in 2016, writer Cory Barlog claimed he read some of these scripts and one of those scripts specifically depicted a plotline in which Palpatine got his heartbroken by a woman described as a “hardcore gangster.” Apparently, the idea with this show was to show that hey, the Emperor has needs, too, and not all of those needs are connected to him wanting to shoot lightning out of his fingertips.
So, the mean gangster lady is one candidate for Rey’s grandma, though, because she comes from a TV show that never happened, that might seem a tiny bit thin. Which means we’ve got to look for Rey’s grandma, Palpatine’s wife/girlfriend, in the actual films. And guess, what? It looks like Palpatine had a girlfriend. She was right there the whole time.
In Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine is friends with a confident, spooky bald woman who hangs out with him all the time. Star Wars websites will tell you this person’s name is Sly Moore and that her special Star Wars thing is that she was evil and had mind powers. Granted, this is a background character, but doesn’t she just exude the perfect energy to have been Rey’s grandmother? I mean look at this woman!
Sly Moore was played by actress Sandi Finlay, and if you do a cursory googling, you could totally convince yourself that this person was related to Daisy Ridley. Like, I know these are all fictional characters, and it’s sort of weird to be thinking this much about the Emperor maybe hooking up with Sly Moore (or mean gangster lady!) but the fact is Rise of Skywalker writer/director J.J. Abrams has made us think about this. We are not creeps for speculating about the romances of Palpatine. This is a natural question we are now all asking. When we found out Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s dad, we all had questions about Luke Skywalker’s mom. Now, we had to wait from 1983 to 1999 to get that answer, but, it turns out, Luke Skywalker’s mom was Natalie Portman, which is pretty cool when you just say it in a sentence and don’t think about the prequel movies too hard.
So, if Luke Skywalker’s mom can turn out to be Natalie Portman, then it’s not crazy to think that someday — maybe not now, and maybe not in ten years — we might find out who Rey’s grandmother really was, and what she saw in Palpatine. Other than the obvious stuff.
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