As I was reading / listening through the Star Wars: Dark Empire storyline, I came across a feat that has been overlooked for all these years, and which can actually significantly upgrade some Star Wars characters.

So, let's get into it:

The Quotes

So, for those who are unaware, the premise of Dark Empire is that Emperor Palpatine did not die at the end of Return of the Jedi, but instead lived on as an incorporeal spirit, and went on to inhabit the body of one of his many clone bodies on Byss, from where he led the still-lingering Empire from the shadows.

There are some... Very big implications that this brings, and I am honestly shocked that this has apparently never been brought up before.

In either case, I shall let the excerpts speak for themselves:

LUKE: How did you survive?
EMPEROR: Survive your foolishness over the moon of Endor? Survive the base treachery of your poor, weak father? (cackles) That was not the first time I "died." Nor will it be the last. Such are the mysteries of the Dark Side of the Force. Mysteries you will soon learn well. You see, my young apprentice, flesh does not easily support this great power. After all, I live primarily as energy, formless and powerful. For many years, I have been under a dire necessity. My body has decayed again and again. And each time, I have needed to take another, transferring my essence into a humble clone of the man I once was.
LUKE: Clones?
EMPEROR: Yes, young Skywalker. The dying is painful--the transition is terrible to endure. But the suffering is a small price to pay for eternal life. (pause) Well, my young apprentice, your father is dead. Have you come to join me? Will you take the place that rightfully belongs to you?
LUKE: (grunting with effort) I......can't.....think.......
EMPEROR: You hesitate. Let me offer you an incentive. Screen on.
Sound: Viewscreen comes on, and we hear the sounds of destruction again.
EMPEROR: Behold the battle raging across the planet Calamari. Those pathetic Rebels flee before the might of my World Devastators. You have only to kneel before me, and they are yours to command.
LUKE: No.....
EMPEROR: The Rebels had their chance! They had years to reclaim the galaxy, while my discorporate mind drifted across the empty reaches of space, to return to this cloning chamber. I spent five years in hiding, while your friends tried to fufill their dream. But without the Jedi Knights, they failed miserably. And now, I have outflanked them! Working in secret, I have created weapons such as the galaxy has never seen! These World Devastators are utterly invincible. They are invunerable to attack. Even if every member of the crew were destroyed, the ships themselves would continue in their destructive purpose, directed by a special master control program which I maintain.
Source: Dark Empire Audio Drama Script
His death he had planned for, just as he had planned for every other contingency. Still, this last time had been quite different from all the others. Previously, the clones had been only meters away and the passing voluntary, in the comfort of his chambers. Nothing like the time of betrayal by his Dark servant. This time was so abrupt and unexpected... so unpleasant that it felt as if, perhaps, a part of his being had been left in space over Endor.
He had spent over a year disembodied, formless, drifting through the maddening void of the Dark Side.
He had never foreseen having to transport his spirit so far across space. He had nearly dispersed forever, but he had survived, and now need never fear death again.
As soon as consciousness flickered back to a new clone body on Byss, he opened his eyes. All was as he had planned. He laughed out loud. He had won! The Rebellion had defeated his fleet, but he would return to rule the galaxy again.
Source: Dark Empire Sourcebook
When Darth Vader hurled Emperor Palpatine to his doom, it seemed to Luke and the Alliance that the rule of Darkness had come to an end. But in that moment, when flashing blue energy rushed from exploded flesh, the Emperor entered a bodiless transitional state. As conscious Dark Force he was translated across the Galaxy...
In the clone labs on Byss, a young Emperor opened his eyes... And laughed. He had won. The Empire would survive.
Source: Dark Empire Endnotes

So what have we learned here? Well:

  • When Vader killed Palpatine inside the second Death Star, Palpatine's physical form exploded and he survived as pure Dark Side energy, the Sith equivalent of a Force Ghost, essentially.
  • He then wandered through the void of space, traversing the Galaxy until reaching his cloning laboratories on Byss, where he inhabited one of his many bodies and lived again
  • Palpatine's traversing of the Galaxy lasted around one year. He then spend six years improving his Dark Side powers and commanding the Empire from the shadows.

Essentially, Palpatine traveled from the moon of Endor all the way to Byss over a period of one year.


Galaxy = 2663 Pixels

Distance from Endor to Byss = 761 Pixels

2663px = 120,000 Light-years, so 761px = 34,292 Light-years

34,292 Light-years / 1 year = 1.0280483e13 m / s or 34,292c

Final Tally:

Palpatine's Spirit Travels Through Space: 34,292c

MFTL+ Dark Lord of the Sith.