Star Wars has already addressed how Palpatine survived his fall on the finish of Return of the Jedi, however we nonetheless don’t know why Luke wasn’t in a position to really feel his presence by all these years.
Because the official novelization for The Rise of Skywalker revealed, Palpatine was engaged on a contingency plan in case the Empire fell. When Luke and Vader duelled one another on the second Demise Star, the Sith Everlasting was developing a brand new physique for Darth Sidious on Exegol. When the redeemed Anakin Skywalker threw his grasp down the reactor shaft, Palpatine used the rest of his energy to switch his unconscious to the brand new physique. Alas, the phantom Emperor was too weak to do something on the time, so he bided his time and slowly regained energy and affect throughout the galaxy.
However how did he elude Luke for thus a few years? Nicely, in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy, it’s revealed that Palpatine had established many secret bases throughout the galaxy referred to as “Observatories,” and every of them served a particular objective. Anakin as soon as stumbled upon considered one of them in The Clone Wars and even Luke discovered one shortly after the Battle of Endor. The latter was a facility devoted to the mass-production of Sentinel droids, programmed to convey the Emperor’s ultimate needs to his followers. Whereas Luke disrupted considered one of these amenities, many extra despatched out these Sentinels they usually started concealing Palpatine’s hidden community all through the galaxy.
The Sentinels commanded the remnants of Imperial forces to start Operation Cinder, a horrible scorched-earth scheme that had the Star Destroyers launch devastating and genocidal assaults on numerous planets. Although in response to Alexander Freed’s latest novel Shadow Fall, this operation served one other objective: to tactfully goal worlds that housed Palpatine’s secret Observatories.
After all, the plan wasn’t completely profitable. All of it culminated within the Battle of Jakku, the place the New Republic fought the Empire one final time. The positioning additionally held one other considered one of Palpatine’s secret bases, one which he had used to chart the Unknown Areas. Luke managed to interrupt into the lab, which might be why he additionally began trying to find the Sith Wayfinder to quench his suspicions.
Because the final Star Wars film defined, although, the younger Skywalker couldn’t end his mission. Sensing the hazard that Luke represented, Palpatine kidnapped Lando’s daughter and even turned Ben Solo onto the darkish aspect, ensuring that the Final Jedi would by no means discover out about his whereabouts on Exegol.