One of the biggest things the Star Wars sequel trilogy got really, really wrong was forgetting the age old adage in movie-making of:

“Show, don’t tell!”

Even if you can’t do that, then for God’s sake absolutely definitely do not:

“Not show, not tell, and bury the detail off somewhere in a comic book or novel.”

But they did this.  They genuinely left all the detail out of the movies and parked it all in a collection of comic books and novels.  The result?  You sit in the cinema saying:

“Who is that?  Why are they important?  Who are the First Order?  Where did they come from and get so powerful?  Who are the Republic?  How do the Resistance fit into this?  Which planets just got blown up?  Should I feel sad about this?  Was it important?”

Then, finally, horrifically you ask yourself:

“Why don’t I care about any of this?”

It was the fatal flaw that undermined anything and everything that came afterwards.  Amazingly this trick was repeated again when it came to Rise Of Skywalker.

Alongside the trick of keeping everything moving at such a pace that you don’t get a chance, as an audience member, to stop and think and ask questions it was noticeably lacking in some details

When did Palpatine have children? How did he build so many Star Destroyers? Who was that audience in Exegol?  Most importantly, how the hell did he survive the fall into the Death Star reactor in Return Of The Jedi?

A throwaway set of lines about Darth Plagueis The Wise and practices some people consider “un-natural” in Revenge of the Sith doesn’t really answer the question.

The very first Exegol sequence hints at cloning.  A cloning tank containing a deformed Snoke is seen.  Does this mean Snoke was a malformed clone of Palpatine?

Now it appears that the official novelisation will confirm that Palpatine was a clone.  Advanced copies were distributed at the C2E2 Chicago convention and some excerpts have already shown up in the usual places.

Screen Rant have included details from Kylo Ren’s first visit to Exegol:

“All the vials were empty of liquid save one, which was nearly depleted. Kylo peered closer. He’d seen this apparatus before, too, when he’d studied the Clone Wars as a boy. The liquid flowing into the living nightmare before him was fighting a losing battle to sustain the Emperor’s putrid flesh.

‘What could you give me?’ Kylo asked. Emperor Palpatine lived, after a fashion, and Kylo could feel in his very bones that this clone body sheltered the Emperor’s actual spirit. It was an imperfect vessel, though, unable to contain his immense power. It couldn’t last much longer.”

Hopefully the book can answer some other big questions, but they won’t solve the fact that you shouldn’t have to go to a book to decode one of the biggest movie releases of the year.