Star Wars is massive. It has a vast network of fans, an upcoming ninth movie, and several spin-offs in development. The possibilities for where the finale movie can go, and where the franchise can go as a whole, are endless. This includes pulling off one of the biggest reveals in the franchise: Palpatine lives. Thanks to the well-written series in this immense universe, there could already be an explanation to Palpatine’s whereabouts this whole time.
Season 4 of ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ introduced The World Between Worlds
As stated in our previous article, the World Between Worlds not only plays a significant part in Star Wars: Rebels, but implicates the entire universe in this galaxy far, far away. It establishes time travel as a possibility in this franchise, opening up particular opportunities for all characters, especially those Force-sensitive.
Ezra enters this world through a portal in the Jedi Temple on Lothal by figuring out a puzzle on a mural in Season 4. It looks like an expansive black abyss, with starry skies everywhere and a clear pathway through all the portals in the realm. This scene in Rebels, where Ezra drops in the World Between Worlds, is one of the most beautifully crafted scenes in the whole series.
As he’s walking through, and even before he gets there, you can hear voices from all of Star Wars playing. From Yoda in the original trilogy and the prequels to Rey and Kylo Ren to even Jyn Erso and both versions of Obi-Wan Kenobi, all essential figures make up the background noise for this realm.
The World Between Worlds already saved Ahsoka Tano from death
Ezra can walk through the planes of this world and hear these voices. This world allows him also to save Ahsoka Tano from death. Back in Season 2, the beloved former Jedi and Padawan to Anakin Skywalker was on a mission with Ezra and Kanan on Malachor to gain knowledge from a Sith temple. Maul duped them, and Darth Vader finally confronted them there.
Ahsoka and Darth Vader had an intense standoff, where they dueled as Kanan and Ezra escaped the temple as it was crumbling. Ahsoka sacrificed herself to save them, and Ezra happens upon that moment in the World Between Worlds, years later. He keeps Ahsoka from Vader’s lightsaber.
How does the World Between Worlds work?
Since this realm is only included in this episode, there isn’t a lot more information on the portal than what they show. Ahsoka and Ezra encounter Palpatine, who hasn’t quite figured out how to get through, into the world yet. He beckons to these two and almost uses Ezra to force his way into the World Between Worlds. He fails, but that doesn’t mean he never figures this out.
In a further explanation of what someone might encounter in the World Between Worlds, the show’s executive producer Henry Gilroy said at Dragon Con in 2018:
I always got the sense that if somebody else had gone into that World Between Worlds, they would have experienced something completely different. They would have heard different voices echoing, the portals would have been different, so it’s all about what you bring into it and what your experiences are and what your connections are.
It could be how Palpatine survived all this time
In short, Palpatine is one of, if not the most potent force wielder at that point in time. If he can manifest his presence at the outer rims of this world at the start of A New Hope, he probably finds a way into the realm by the end of Return of the Jedi. If he can get into this plane, he might be able to manifest his way through it, stopping at different points in time.
This might be how he survived Anakin’s throw in Episode VI and returns in The Rise of Skywalker. Odds are he wasn’t able to do it more than once, though, otherwise, he probably would have altered the course of history by now.