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Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker goes 16-bit; IX novel sheds light on Palpatine; more

By Josh Weiss
Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker 16 bit

The home release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker won't be available for a few more weeks, but that isn't a problem for our good pal John Stratman.

The dude known for turning iconic blockbuster set pieces into nostalgic bits of 16- and 8-bit animations has done it again with the epic climax of Episode IX. And yes, it does come complete with the ReyLo kiss. Rey's (Daisy Ridley) final stand against her estranged grandfather, Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), becomes a spot-on throwback to the early '90s when Star Wars video games were being produced for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

In a nice little deviation from the film, Stratman actually includes the Force ghosts of the various Jedi who encourage Rey to get back up and destroy the Sith once and for all.

Watch below and make sure to stay through the end as John breaks down his latest project:

"There were a few changes made, like the location of the fight and the appearance of the ghosts, but I didn’t want to change too much out of respect for the original scene," Stratman exclusively tells SYFY WIRE. "All the things added were made because I just asked, 'What else would people like to see?'"

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits digital platforms Tuesday, March 17. The film arrives on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, March 31. For more info on the home release, click here.

Speaking of ol' Sheev, the mystery of how the Emperor survived the explosion of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi has been answered by the official Rise of Skywalker novelization. This news comes via ScreenRant, which was able to pick up an advance copy of the book at C2E2 in Chicago this weekend ahead of Del Rey's wide publication on March 17.

Per Rae Carson's prose, the Palpatine we see in Episode IX is a clone. DUN! DUN! DUN! It makes a lot of sense, though, especially after seeing those tubes containing copies of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) when Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) first visits Exegol at the start of the movie. Moreover, the clone explanation provides reasoning for why Sheev looks so decrepit.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker novel

Read the revealing snippet extracted by ScreenRant below:

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.

To celebrate Lupita Nyong'o's 37th birthday today, the U.K. Star Wars Twitter account posted a photo of all the motion-capture tech the Oscar-winning actress had to wear in order to bring the character of Maz Kanata to life.

"Happy birthday @Lupita_Nyongo! Make sure you send Maz Kanata a message – just don’t ask her how old she’s turning… it might surprise you," reads the tweet.

According to the Star Wars website, Maz (the owner of a castle-based cantina on Takodana and a good friend of the Resistance) is over 1,000 years old. With that in mind, it would be pretty cool if her species turned out to be related to the same mysterious species that birthed Jedi Master Yoda and Baby "That's Not His Actual Name" Yoda.

Perhaps we'll see some convergence between Maz and Yoda in future seasons of The Mandalorian on Disney+? You're welcome, Jon Favreau!