At the end of The Rise of Skywalker,

Darth Sidious reveals to Rey that he wants her to kill him so that his spirit can fuse with hers and she becomes the Empress of the Sith.

However, if it is true that this plan would work as stated, then why did he bother grooming an apprentice in the form of Kylo Ren? Even if he didn't know Rey had powers early on when she was only a child, at some point he becomes aware of it

through Snoke since Snoke was simply his puppet. Yet, instead of focusing on getting Rey to Exagol, he orders for her to be killed. Why would he do this when she is his best hope for himself (and the Sith) to live on? Or alternatively, why not have Kylo Ren kill him, inherit the Sith's powers, and become the new Emperor?

  • 53
    One thing I always find confusing is how people take the words of known manipulators and liars as gospel. It's entirely possible that Palpatine had plans for Kylo killing Rey, Rey killing Kylo, Rey killing him, Rey never arriving, Leia arriving instead, and Chewie showing up instead of any Jedi. We know through the first six movies that Palpatine lies as easily as breathing and has plans within plans. Why would anyone believe anything he said, especially to minions/enemies/targets?
    – Jeff
    Dec 30, 2019 at 19:37
  • 1
    @Jeff you make a good point, but I do think Palpatine fully intended to let Rey kill him if she gave in and went through with it.
    – mai
    Dec 30, 2019 at 19:44
  • 5
    Sure, I can buy that. But I'd also buy that he had some secret defensive measure that would protect him so he could taunt her for giving in to her anger. I'd also buy that he might have a set of nearly effective defenses Rey would have to battle through. There's no reason a manipulator and plotter can have only one plan in motion. Also it is a necessary skill for a liar to convince people he fully intends to follow through with what he says.
    – Jeff
    Dec 30, 2019 at 19:48
  • Fair enough, you make good points.
    – mai
    Dec 30, 2019 at 19:57
  • 2
    @Luaan: He lied to the Trade Federation about how essential they were to his plans in Phantom Menace. He lied to Dooku about his plan for Anakin during the 'Chancellor Rescue' in Revenge of the Sith. Granted that most of his dialogue on-screen is at worst half-truths or 'certain point of view' lies, but yes, he lies a lot.
    – Jeff
    Dec 31, 2019 at 15:45

3 Answers 3


2 Reasons

1) Death isn't his primary goal.

Palpatine is a master manipulator and we shouldn't take every word he speaks as gospel. It may seem that he's eager for Rey to kill him but I don't think he really is and it certainly isn't his primary goal. His preferred course of action is the one he's executing when Rey shows up: raising his fleet and reassuming direct control of the galaxy.

When Kylo Ren fails to kill Rey and she shows up on Exegol unannounced, Palpatine moves to a "Plan B" - his best option given his weakened state - where he solidifies Rey's turn to the dark side by convincing her to strike him down in anger/hatred/revenge.

Having died once before, he's not afraid of doing it again as long as the Sith lives on, his name lives on, and his spirit lives on.

Also, it's hard to even say for certain he'd let Rey kill him if she tried. He gave a similar pitch to Luke in ROTJ in an attempt to turn him to the dark side knowing full well that Vader would step in and protect him. The point was getting Luke angry enough to strike him down and it could be his goal here too. While my gut tells me he was willing to die, it's entirely plausible he had a contingency plan if Rey had actually swung her saber.

vader blocks luke

His idea of a best case scenario is further hammered home when - once he realizes

Rey and Ren are a Dyad in the Force -

he sees an opportunity to fully restore his power and takes it. That way, he can resume his original plan of raising his fleet. His attempt to kill her here and his earlier attempt to send Kylo Ren to kill her are both incompatible with the idea that Rey's turn is his ultimate goal.

I think it's pretty clear that she was nothing more than a "Plan B".

2) Snoke and Ren are means to an end.

If his ultimate plan is his own return to power, it makes sense to involve others. While his body is being regenerated, Palpatine is vulnerable and he knows it. Using other powerful force users like Snoke and Kylo Ren to execute his will is a lot better than exposing himself directly. By operating in the shadows while his body is reconstructed, he's able to keep the attention off of him and on disposable pawns that can be replaced if defeated without affecting the assembly of his Final Order fleet.

  • 2
    I like this answer. Sidious' original goal was to eliminate Rey (and potentially take Kylo as a successor), but once Rey shows up with Kylo nowhere in sight, he sees his own vulnerable position and goes with a backup plan. Then when Kylo shows up and betrays him, he decides to get rid of both of them.
    – mai
    Dec 30, 2019 at 20:27
  • 3
    Keep in mind also that Palpatine is still a student/product of the Rule of Two (despite potentially attempting to subvert it); in sending Kylo to kill Rey, he's confident that one of two situations will occur: a) Kylo will kill Rey, proving that he is more powerful and more worth his time, or b) vice versa. It either did not occur to him or he was hoping that what actually happened...wouldn't. Palpatine's real genius seems to be that he's the master of contingency plans (I would tell you to go watch something else, but it's a bit of a spoiler; just go watch all the Star Wars stuff on Disney+).
    – John Doe
    Dec 31, 2019 at 15:26
  • Haven't seen the last two movies but isn't it 'First Order'?
    – jcm
    Jan 1, 2020 at 3:48
  • 3
    @jcm - It’s correct as is. The Final Order is a plot point in the movie. Jan 1, 2020 at 23:08
  • @TheIronCheek ah, thanks.
    – jcm
    Jan 2, 2020 at 2:05

I have no evidence for this but it seems simply that Kylo Ren was the insurance, the backup plan. There are two incredibly strong bloodlines in the Star Wars universe, Skywalker and Palpatine. Kylo Ren, aka Ben Solo, was a Skywalker thanks to Leia. Should he not be able to find Rey again he would be a good option to carry on the Sith line.

However, once Rey surfaces and is on the Jedi/light side, he has two choices to make:

  1. Corrupt her to turn to the Dark Side/Sith
  2. Kill her and let Kylo assume control because he's already well on his way to taking that goal

Kylo has shown himself to be a leader of the Dark side and is easy pickings for Sheev to use to continue the Sith. However, Rey has continually thought for the light and refused to corrupt and join the Dark. The best option in this case is to use Kylo to kill Rey and then let Kylo continue the Dark side.

He couldn't let just one of them live on because that would jeopardise the mission with the other fighting them to potentially destroy the Sith. He has worked hard to ensure its survival so passing the mantel when both are still around isn't an option.

Of course the plan changes later on when he realises they have a Force bond and he can use that to reinstate himself to power but that's a last minute change.

  • But Sidious doesn't need Rey to join the Dark side, he just needs her to kill him. Or he could have Kylo kill him too, but it doesn't seem like Sidious ever considered this (maybe the "soul transfer" only works with a blood bond...?)
    – mai
    Dec 30, 2019 at 16:42
  • @mai having her have the Sith flow though her seems pointless if she’s not on the Dark side. And I’ve seen arguments that it wouldn’t work had she not turned to the Dark side.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Dec 30, 2019 at 16:44
  • 2
    @mai - I think Palpatine knew that killing him would have solidified her turn to the dark side given that she was already struggling and his murder would've been committed out of rage, hate, and revenge - key dark side motivators. Dec 30, 2019 at 17:15
  • I can see the strong bloodline argument for the Skywalker family, but is there any evidence for a strong Palpatine bloodline before episode 9?
    – desertnaut
    Dec 30, 2019 at 23:59
  • 1
    @desertnaut no but only because we know nothing of his family afaia. The only two we know anything about have been incredibly strong even rivalling the Skywalkers.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Dec 31, 2019 at 0:22

He's not necessarily wanting to fuse with Kylo Ren. In fact, based on the fact that

he tries to kill Kylo Ren in the same way his grandfather, Darth Vader, did to him

you could argue he's just wanting to get Kylo to do the work nobody else has been able to do (get Rey to Exegol), only to betray him once he had what he wanted.

The other argument against Kylo Ren being the true Sith successor was that Kylo had been somewhat wishy-washy on the Sith thing. Remember, he struggles in TFA with the "light side" (transcript)

KYLO REN: Forgive me. I feel it again. The pull to the light. Supreme Leader senses it. Show me again, the power of the darkness, and I will let nothing stand in our way. Show me, Grandfather, and I will finish what you started.

Palpatine would have known that Ben was somewhere still in there, just as Anakin was still somewhere in Darth Vader. We've kinda been down that path before in ROTJ, and it ended at the bottom of a reactor shaft.

Why would Snoke try to have Rey killed then?

Probably to further his own ambition. I mean, we're talking about the Sith/Dark Side here, which wasn't known for its loyalty

The Rule of Two ensured the relationship between a Sith Master and their apprentice was not one of trust; indeed, both the master and the apprentice constantly searched for any sign of weakness in the other, for a weak master deserved to be overthrown by their pupil, just as a weak pupil deserved to be replaced by a worthier, more powerful recruit. This philosophy was embraced by the Sith, who adopted it as a way to purify the weak and become stronger over time, since only an apprentice who had surpassed all previous Sith could take their master's place through honorable combat.

  • 1
    "Honourable"?!? Was the way Palpatine took his master's place honourable?
    – user21820
    Dec 31, 2019 at 11:27
  • @user21820 Honestly, the philosophy of the Sith seems contradictory. Survival of the fittest doesn't allow for loyalty at all
    – Machavity
    Dec 31, 2019 at 13:16
  • Haha well some parts of Legends made sense (the only-two sect died out). I was just appalled that the honourable word "honourable" had been sullied. =P
    – user21820
    Dec 31, 2019 at 13:28
  • 1
    @user21820, by Sith logic it was. As devout Sith, Plagueis knew Sidious would be out to destroy him. That is what a Sith apprentice is for. That he was unable to stop Sidious proves that Sidious is the more powerful Sith, and by Sith doctrine, it is right and "good" that Sidious should take his place.
    – Seth R
    Dec 31, 2019 at 16:31
  • @SethR: According to this, Plagueis told Sidious that if they worked together, they might be able to rule immortal for 10000 years. I don't think he was lying about his goal, so perhaps Plagueis really did not think Sidious was going to destroy him so soon.
    – user21820
    Dec 31, 2019 at 16:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.