Over the past few years, Star Wars has been reviving villains who previously died in pits or shafts, beginning with Darth Maul in Clone Wars.
Over the past several years, the Star Wars franchise has revived multiple villains who had previously died inside pits. Villains in the Skywalker saga tend to find themselves being killed off when their stories end, instead of being relegated into the background by being arrested or given a different story – this is because those villains have always been aligned with the dark side of the Force, and so, by killing them, good wholly overcomes evil.
Fans saw this play out in all three Star Wars trilogies. In the original trilogy, Darth Vader died despite coming back to the light side of the Force, and he did that by killing Emperor Palpatine in the throne room on the second Death Star. Then in the prequel trilogy, every one of Palpatine’s apprentices and minions were killed off quite quickly: Darth Maul died on Naboo, Count Dooku died aboard the Invisible Hand, and General Grievous died while on Utapau. Even in the sequel trilogy, Palpatine was killed again along with the rest of his Final Order. And Kylo Ren repeated Darth Vader’s reclamation by fighting against the Emperor, only to die moments later.
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In the end, every Star Wars villain died, and many of them did so by either falling into pits or falling down one after being killed. After Obi-Wan cut Maul in half in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Maul fell down a shaft, only to suddenly reemerge in the Clone Wars animated series. Then Vader tossed Palpatine/Darth Sidious down the Death Star’s reactor shaft in Return of the Jedi – but somehow Palpatine managed to clone himself and return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. And now, Boba Fett has returned in The Mandalorian after previously falling into a sarlacc pit in Return of the Jedi.
Continuing beyond them, though: While the aforementioned three villains came back in the flesh, there’s another one who was temporarily brought back in the comics: the Grand Inquisitor. As the leader of Vader’s Inquisitorious – dark side users who hunted down surviving Jedi after Order 66 – the Grand Inquisitor was tasked with capturing or killing Kanan Jarrus and his apprentice, Ezra Bridger. Kanan ultimately defeated the Grand Inquisitor in the Star Wars Rebels season 1 finale, but rather than being struck down by the Jedi, the Grand Inquisitor killed himself by letting go and falling into a pit of fire. Years later, he returned in spirit form inside a Jedi outpost on Tempes, where he dueled Luke Skywalker.
It’s unlikely that falling into a pit was a prerequisite for a Star Wars villain to come back to life, but there’s a bit of leeway for Lucasfilm to revive those characters because no one knew what happened to them after they fell. In Maul’s case, he put himself back together using the Force and various metals; and for Palpatine, with the help of his Sith Eternal cultists, he transferred his consciousness into a clone body. There have been several hints over the years regarding how Boba Fett survived the sarlacc pit, but in all three cases, not showing the villain’s final death meant it was possible to bring them back.
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