Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker introduced a new development in the timeline to make sense of Rey's origins and her relationship with Palpatine. Unfortunately, it made absolutely no sense in the film, and the expanded explanation of these events in the movie's visual dictionary only added to the confusion. There are many holes in the plot, leaving a mess that can't entirely be cleaned.
At the center of this narrative are Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian, who attempt to locate Exegol after hearing murmurings of the Emperor's return. Episode IX reveals that the two pursued the galaxy's dumbest assassin, Ochi of Bestoon, to the desert planet Pasaana, where his ship and remains were later found by Rey. The visual dictionary details his death, mentioning that Palpatine's servant got drunk and fell into the cave beneath quicksand, leading to his death. Yeah, that really happened.
For their part, Luke and Lando seemingly ended their quest, as the last living tie to Palpatine's plot on Exegol was seemingly destroyed. However, a new novel titled Shadow of the Sith promises to detail everything that transpired in full, and the book's synopsis strongly suggests the two heroes come to help Rey and her parents. What follows promises to be a unique adventure as they evade Palpatine's Sith loyalists.
Since the announcement of the book, there's been almost no word on the project to come. Fortunately for the galaxy's readers, that's all changed, as the designs for Luke, Lando, and a new foe have been revealed - as well as a description of a shocking meeting.
Shadow of the Sith Cover & Excerpt Revealed
The official Star Wars website has shared the first look at the cover for Shadow of the Sith. Gracing the front of the book are Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, and an unknown enemy brandishing a red lightsaber:
Additionally, the first excerpt from the book was released. During meditation on Tython's Seeing Stone, Luke is transported by the Force into the Sith citadel on Exegol. After getting a brief glimpse at a mysterious figure, Luke is attacked by a group of nine warriors wielding lightsabers, and he's powerless to stop them. Things seem bleak in his realistic vision, but the emergence of the familiar ghost of Anakin Skywalker saves the day:
Nine blades against one. Luke didn’t like the odds, but he braced himself nonetheless.
The wraiths attacked, nine shadow-blades held by shadow-arms cutting down at speed —
And that was when a new light appeared. Not the white flash of lightning, or the wraith blades as they were lit by the unholy light. Not the green glow of Luke’s lightsaber, illuminating the ashy ground like a green flashlight.
No, this light was pale blue. It shimmered in the air, streaking a little it swept down, throwing the attackers off in one smooth movement.
It was a lightsaber, the blade blue and strong, the hilt —
The hilt was transparent, nothing but a blue glow, held in a transparent blue hand.
Luke fell backward, onto his elbows, and gasped at the pain in his joints and also in sheer surprise at the sight before him.
Standing between himself and the wraiths was another figure—a man in flowing pale robes, his back to Luke, his head hidden under a voluminous hood. The entire figure glowed like soft electricity, bright in this world of endless night. When the lightning flashed, Luke could see the nine solid wraiths through the form of the man who stood between them and their quarry.
Luke’s mind raced as he tried to identify the spirit of the Force who had arrived to protect him.
No, it wasn’t Ben… the robe, the man’s form, was —
The spectral being lifted his lightsaber, holding it high above his head, the blade parallel to the ground.
For the first time, the wraiths seemed to take note of their enemy. They backed away, nine forms huddling together, blades lowered. They were screaming from their blank bandaged faces, although Luke wasn’t sure whether it was a real sound or just an echo inside his head. It was hard to concentrate on what he was seeing, the way the Force reverberated around the figure in blue. His entire vision seemed to buckle around him.
The wraiths continued to back away, and then they vanished, their shadow-shapes evaporating into dust that spun away on the last eddy of the dying wind.
For a moment, all was still.
Then the blue figure turned around, his lightsaber extinguished.
Luke pushed himself up onto his elbows. He blinked.
It couldn’t be.
It couldn’t be.
The blue figure lifted his hood back to reveal the strong, sharp face of a young man, his gaze intense beneath a furrowed brow that was bisected by straight, vertical scar. His thick hair was shoulder-length and had a slight wave to it.
Anakin Skywalker reached out his hand.
Luke took it, and everything went white.
Father and Son
At long last, Star Wars fans are about to see the first canonical meeting between Luke and the ghost of his father, Anakin Skywalker. The character's description perfectly matches his appearance in Revenge of the Sith and the final scene of Return of the Jedi, once more coming to aid his son in a time of need.
With Shadow of the Sith taking place over a decade before the events of The Force Awakens, this is hardly the first time Luke has interacted with Anakin. He first laid eyes on the good man his father truly was at the end of Episode VI but was guided by him during the years to follow. A reference book titled The Secrets of the Jedi, written from Luke's perspective, notes that he was in contact with Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda frequently before his exile.
It seems like the excerpt is actually setting up the real meeting to follow between father and son. What Luke is experiencing is a vision, something akin to his test in the dark side cave on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back. After Luke accepts his father's hand and things go white, he'll be back on Tython, where his physical form has been the entire time. At that point, the ghost of Anakin can speak with Luke about what he saw on Exegol.
Which is problematic. The suggestion in The Rise of Skywalker that Luke knew of Palpatine's survival and the existence of Exegol made his depressive seclusion in the sequel trilogy more damning. With the knowledge that the ultimate threat still remains in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy, Luke's nihilistic outlook and refusal to do anything in The Last Jedi further condemn everyone else to certain doom.
The only thing that could have softened the blow was Anakin being unaware of Exegol, but the Darth Vader (2020) comic line has already blown that. Vader was not only aware but had been to Darth Sidious' lair on Exegol and witnessed the Death Star Destroyer fleet under construction, making it astonishing that Anakin wouldn't mention this to Luke immediately after Return of the Jedi.
As messy as everything is, fans will just have to take the stories in stride at this point and try to overlook glaring inconsistencies. Shadow of the Sith has the makings of a great read, despite the irritating story that's required to be told. Luke-centric stories have been lacking in canon, and further interactions with Anakin Skywalker can start to scratch the itch that many have had for years.
Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith will hit shelves on June 28, 2022.