Emperor Palpatine Message in Fortnite

The opening crawls of Star Wars movies have traditionally caught audiences up on the passage of time between films. That proved to be rather unnecessary between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi since we pick up pretty much immediately after the end of the first installment of the new trilogy. But since roughly a year has passed in-universe between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, we have some catching up to do, and the opening crawl has to do some heavy lifting before it throws us into the fast-paced conclusion of the Skywalker saga.

In a sea of truly perplexing decisions made in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, one of the strangest is relegating the reveal of Emperor Palpatine’s return from the dead to a mere mention in the opening crawl. At one point, it was intended for us to hear this message, but director J.J. Abrams couldn’t figure out where to make it fit without interrupting the pacing of the story. So what happened to it? The message debuted in the special Star Wars event within the video game Fortnite last week and you can hear it now.

The opening crawl of The Rise of Skywalker begins with “The dead speak!” and then teases a mysterious broadcast from the Emperor that threatens revenge. It’s a point that is later reiterated by Poe Dameron while talking to the Resistance. And yet, we never hear the message. But it was recorded by Ian McDiarmid, and it ended up being played as a sort of teaser within the Fortnite video game, where a clip from the movie was revealed before release. Here’s the Emperor Palpatine message in Fortnite:

So an important revelation that should have some significance in the narrative of this movie was not only relegated to the opening crawl, but tossed into a video game event. That feels pretty lazy since that kind of reveal should have been a huge deal onscreen. That just goes to show you how messy this movie’s narrative can be – it doesn’t even have time to set up something like that and give it any real weight. It’s established with a line of text, followed by a mention later in the movie. Even when it’s mentioned in the movie, there’s only one quick line of dialogue that even addresses how this is possible, and by a character we don’t even know (Dominic Monaghan as Beaumont Kin).

Honestly, when you look at The Rise of Skywalker as a whole, the opening sequence with Kylo Ren feels like it should have taken place at the end of a previous Star Wars movie we never got to see. Hell, even if you were to tack it on to The Last Jedi, it would have been far more satisfying. Imagine it. Kylo Ren is in Snoke’s throne room and hears something rattling inside the dead Supreme Leader’s throne. It’s the Sith wayfinder. Upon touching it, he hears something, and immediately rushes off to his ship. The entire sequence plays out as it does in The Rise of Skywalker, and the cliffhanger ending is the Emperor telling Kylo Ren that Rey is not who he thinks she is. That would have been immensely satisfying, and it would have made the mystery of Rey’s story even more exciting in the time that we waited for the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.

But that’s not what happened, and we have to accept Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker for what it is, for better or worse. It’s playing in theaters everywhere now, and will be for the next few months. We’ll probably be talking about it for much longer than that too. We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: