The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novel continues to doll out surprises. The book became available in early release at the C2E2 convention in Chicago last weekend, and reports of all sorts of additional information are hitting the Internet. One that was not so surprising was the confirmation that Palapatine was, in fact, a clone. The bigger shock, however, comes with respect to Rey and her Palpatine heritage.

Palpatine; Star Wars The Rise of skwalker novel
Rey prepares to face Palpatine in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

In the film we learned that Rey is neither nobody nor born of Skywalker blood. Kylo Ren reveals, and Palpatine himself confirms that Rey is the Emperor’s granddaughter. Except…. She’s not. Not in the literal sense, anyway. Though Palpatine blood does course through her veins, the Rise of Skywalker novel confirms that Rey is not the biological granddaughter of Sheev Palpatine.

Rise of Skywalker novel – Palpatine not actually Rey’s grandfather

Rey; rise of skywalker novel; palpatine clone
Rey seeking to discover who she is in The Last Jedi. Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Shockingly for Star Wars fans, and rather disappointingly, we learn in the book that Sheev Palaptine did not have a “birds and the bees” traditional relationship to produce a son. Rather, the man who would go on sire the “granddaughter” of Palpatine was, you guessed it, another clone. The Rise of Skywalker novel confirms that Palpatine’s life force was thrust into another clone vessel, but that clone was not strong enough to serve the evil Emperor’s consciousness.  “Useless” and “powerless,” the clone shell was discarded…. Yet it survived to eventually become Rey’s father.

Thus, Rey is not Palpatine’s granddaughter at all. She’s the offspring of a failed Palpatine clone. In that vein, she’s no more the descendant of Sheev Palpatine than Boba Fett was the “son” of Jango. The difference here though is that some of the Emperor’s life force clearly lived in the failed clone’s body. It certainly survived enough to transfer to Rey, giving her the extraordinary powers we see in the films.

Jango Fett; Boba Fett
Jango Fett’s “son” Boba mourns Jango’s death in Attack of the Clones. Image: Lucasfilm

How the clone survived and made its way of Exegol remains a mystery, one the answer to which we’ll likely never receive. Another question lingers, though. Did the Rise of Skywalker novel go too far with this one? I’m all for adding exposition in novels and other works that the two-plus hour Episode IX film wasn’t able to show. But…. This feels a little, pardon the pun, forced.

The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novel is available for preorder and arrives March 17.