***Hey, nerdss! Major SPOILERS for The Rise of Skywalker follows. Oh, and Sith mating habits. Viewer discretion is advised.***
One of the biggest, and perhaps strangest, reveals in The Rise of Skywalker is the fact that Rey’s parents weren’t necessarily nobodies. Despite Kylo Ren’s best efforts to play Maury Povich in revealing Rey’s parentage in The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker definitively reveals that her father was, in fact, Emperor Palpatine’s son, thus making Rey the granddaughter of Darth Sidious. It’s a jarring revelation on a couple of levels.
First and foremost, the idea of Palpatine plying his reproductive trade with anyone is a little…disturbing. Try not to dwell on it too much, fanfic writers. True, wealth, power, and prestige are the greatest aphrodisiacs in the galaxy, and it’s not hard to picture someone in Palpatine’s position would not be immune to the desires of the flesh. However, thinking about Palpatine in the midst of the ol’ hustle and bustle with a lady friend is probably a bit much for the human mind to ponder.
It’s also a revelation that isn’t necessarily well earned. Palpatine’s return was something that was dialed in, whereas Rey’s parentage has been an essential mystery that deserved something more than the “ideas thrown on the wall” treatment that was much of The Rise of Skywalker‘s handling of its voluminous amount of revelations.
If this had been established from the beginning, it would have given the story a chance to grow over the space of three films rather than a fly by night cursory glacé in the latest film.
However, The Rise of Skywalker wasn’t the first time Palpatine has been revealed to be a fairly awful baby daddy…nor the first time it was revealed that he was a grandfather, either. Most fans today probably don’t remember or never knew that Palpatine was a father in the halcyon days of the Expanded Universe, now known as the Legends continuity.
But it’s true. All of it. Just, you know, not canon anymore. Like The Rise of Skywalker, I am asking that you accept this, and pretty much everything else written in this article, without asking too many questions.
Palpatine’s Expanded Universe Progeny
A few years before it was suggested that Palpatine had been finagling with midichlorians in Shmi Skywalker’s uterus (creepy, right?), everybody’s favorite despot in a galaxy far, far away was the father of another awful child. May I (re)introduce Triclops to a candid internet. And his son Ken.
That’s right. Triclops and Ken. In a canon full of truly awful Star Wars names, somehow there was a character named Triclops that also had a son named Ken. One might expect the offspring of the epitome of evil, Darth Vader’s boss, to be named something cooler than Triclops or even Ken, but there it is.
Palpatine’s pride and joy’s name derived from the fact that he had three eyes. Like a terrible ocular mullet, Triclops had two in the front and one in the back.
Ken got his name because…his mother’s name was Kendalina. Yes. Kendalina, a Jedi Princess. To honor his mother, he was named Ken. Deal with it. To his credit, growing up in isolation on Yavin 4 surrounded by his tutor droids, Ken assumes he was named after Obi-Wan Kenobi.
It must have been thoroughly crushing to him when he realized his moniker came from someone named Kendalina. Ancestry.com has to disappoint many people in the Star Wars universe.
Triclops and Ken made their sole appearances in three juvenile fiction novels in the Jedi Prince series. The titles of this immaculate trilogy share the originality given to naming both Triclops and Ken: Mission from Mount Yoda, Queen of the Empire, and Prophets of the Dark Side. Classics these are not. Props to Ken, though, because he gets to be the protagonist of the books and hang out with Luke Skywalker.
Palpatine’s bouncing baby boy Triclops wasn’t a normal child. I know, shocking for the progeny of someone like Palpatine. He was considered to be an insane mutant. What does being a “mutant” mean in Star Wars? I’m not entirely sure, but apparently it’s code for “this little s*** is weird.” Charles Xavier weeps.
Triclops may or may not be the strict biological son of P-Daddy, but some EU sources did suggest that he was indeed the product of the happy union between the Emperor and his advisor Sly Moore. Other sources have suggested that Triclops was a failed attempt at using the force to produce a kid.
Either way, by the time the EU was shuttered by Disney, it was generally accepted that Triclops was the legit son of Palpatine. If you need further evidence that the EU needed to go away, look no further than the convoluted story of Triclops and Ken.
Triclops did have extraordinary abilities and deformities, somewhat connected to the force. Augmented by cybernetic implants, Triclops had vivid dreams about terrible machines that the Empire would harvest for their own destructive means. This drove Triclops insane.
He spent much of his life in slavery to (I swear I’m not making this up) another three-eyed mutant named Trioculus, who was also the product of Palpatine’s experiments, who was not a child of Palpatine’s. Though he claimed he was. Got it? I’m not sure I do. I need a stiff drink in order to go further.
Many within the Imperial hierarchy were unaware of Triclops existence. That was probably for the best given Palpatine’s protectiveness towards secrets. Poor Triclops was stuffed away in an Imperial Asylum (no doubt a wonderful facility) until his rescue by Luke and Ken, The greatest duo in the galaxy!
But all would not end well for Triclops and Ken. Despite joining the Alliance, a dark side prophet named Kadann (a cooler name than Triclops or Ken, FYI) was using Triclops’s visions for ill purposes. Triclops escaped into the woods of Yavin upon learning this, only to return to the temple on Yavin to use his psychic powers to disrupt Han and Leia’s wedding. Rude, right? He was never seen or heard from again. Disney’s closure of the EU leaves all seven of us who remembered poor Triclops wondering about his fate.
Triclops did leave Ken a heartfelt letter, though. It was sweet of him, really. He informed his son not listen to the haters and to forge his own path. Sage-like advice, Triclops. Father of the year Ken presumably joined the Alliance, but was also never see again after the big wedding faux pas.
Will Triclops Make The Canon Cut?
The Triclops saga stands out as an oddity in an Expanded Universe oeuvres of weird stories. The mishmash that was the EU produced many odd stories that writers had to wrestle with over the years. Largely ignored by nearly every EU writer, Palpatine’s family remained buried until the new canon decided to repurpose the idea for The Rise of Skywalker.
However, with the reveal of Rey’s true parentage now public knowledge, maybe we will see more about the new son of Palpatine. Frustratingly enough, The Rise of Skywalker gave us little information about him. The sequel trilogy has for better or worse left the telling of relevant story details up to ancillary media such as novels, comics, and video games.
Who is he? When did he learn of his own lineage? Does he have a cooler name than Triclops? Fans will have to wait for a longer period of time to learn more about Palpatine’s real son.
Until then, may the force be with both Triclops and Ken.