[This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, including its upcoming novelization, and also for whether or not Emperor Palpatine ever had sex.]
The plot revelation that stands at the crux of J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker—i.e., the reveal that Daisy Ridley’s heroic orphan Rey is the biological grandchild of Galactic Emperor Sheev Palpatine—raised far more questions than it answered. Questions like: Did Rian Johnson know about this when he put that whole “nobody” section into The Last Jedi? Was Leia in the know about Rey’s ominous parentage? And, perhaps most importantly: Who, precisely, did the Emperor bone down with in order for this act of bad granddaditude to occur?
It’s a pertinent question, especially since—going off of the age of actor Billy Howle, who briefly plays Palpatine’s son in a flashback in the film—said boning almost certainly occurred after Revenge Of The Sith, when Palpatine transformed from arguable silver fox Ian McDiarmid into a loogie-voiced frog cloaca with legs. (This is back-of-envelope math, but roughly 53 years pass between Sith and the start of The Force Awakens, where Rey is 19. Howle was 30 or so when his scenes were filmed, so…)
As has become distressingly common for this particular entry in the cinematic canon, TROS’s ancillary materials are here to fill in the gaps the movie so casually left open. (In hindsight, we’re mostly just grateful that Palpatine’s Fortnite appearance didn’t feature him idly musing about past “conquests.”) For the last week or so, fans have been pouring over leaked copies of the film’s novelization, teasing out details like the fact that Rey and Ben Solo’s kiss at the movie’s end was about “gratitude,” not horniness, or the fact that the body we see the Emperor piloting around in the movie was also a clone. (That one’s less surprising, on account of the whole “thrown into the heart of an exploding battle station” thing.) But now, per ScreenRant, intrepid readers have also answered the question of who Palpatine did the deed with in order to have his apparently white-sheep-of-the-family kid: Nobody!
Yup, it’s Oops All Clones again, with Rey apparently getting a series of flashbacks near the book’s end, showing not just Palpatine taking over his sickly clone-on-a-hook body, but also the creation of “a useless, powerless failure” who was “a not-quite-identical clone.” Said clone eventually grew up to be Rey’s dad, presumably after an exciting and fulfilling childhood spent hanging out in his “dad’s” lightning pyramid on Exegol. While kind of boring, the answer comes as something of a relief. We don’t want to get into a lot of heavy moral judgments here, but we’re pretty sure Sith make for shitty boyfriends; that whole “Rule Of Two” things sounds like it’d play hell on an active social life.
Sadly, not even the Rise Of Skywalker book can answer for us whether the Emperor ever fucked; the old extended universe contained a number of references to him keeping concubines, and even explicit mentions of a lover or two—as well as noting that Imperial law dictated that anyone who married an Emperor “would forfeit her rights and become the groom’s property,” which, see above—but Disney blessedly purged most of that material when it bought the franchise. In any case, the confirmed evidence for Palpatine orgasms has now dropped from 1 back down to 0, for which we can only offer up our most sincere and wholehearted thanks.