Many Star Wars fans were upset when they discovered that the main villain of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker would be a presumed dead Palpatine, revived thanks to the powers of cloning and evil Sith magic. While on some level it was fitting that Palpatine remained the big villain throughout the entire saga, how Palpatine was brought back and what role he played in the narrative left something to be desired.
However, Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly’s leaked script for Episode IX, Duel of the Fates, offered a very different evil Sith lord lurking in the background of Star Wars: Tor Valum. But who was this enigmatic villain?
Tor Valum is a 7,000-year-old Sith who trains other Dark Side users — including Palpatine. In Duel of the Fates, Kylo Ren discovers him after uncovering a hologram message of Palpatine, instructing that, in the event of his death, Vader is to take Luke Skywalker to Tor Valum, who resides on the Remnicore System. While it was true that Darth Plagueis trained Palpatine, Valum trained both Plagueis and Palpatine in the various methods of the Dark side. He exists outside the Rule of Two, working more like a tutor in darkness. Kylo Ren ends up likewise training under him, though he fails Valum’s test, one that involved a surprise confrontation between a Force illusion of Darth Vader. When Valum dismisses Kylo without giving him the information he seeks, Kylo drains Valum of his vitality, leaving him a withered husk under his feet.
Valum himself is an eldritch entity, existing for as long as the Old Republic did, dating back to the ancient years of the Sith Empire. His appearance is decidedly Lovecraftian, making him grotesque to look at. In the context of the Sith, Valum functions somewhat as a dark shadow to Yoda — being an ancient Dark Side user who engages in the mystical greater beyond of the Force.
The movie would reveal that Valum seemed mostly dismissive of his former pupils, with him being unable to remember Plagueis at all and continuously being dismissive of Kylo Ren. In some respects, Valum’s presence makes Palpatine feel smaller in the grand story of Star Wars since Valum is the person who helped make Palpatine the power-house that he was. Still, unlike Palpatine or even Yoda, Valum takes a very passive role in the entire narrative, allowing Kylo Ren to remain the primary antagonist of the film.
Star Wars filmmakers have commented on recycling material cut from the Star Wars franchise. One such element is the Eye of Webbish Bog, an eldritch entity living on Mustafar. Neal Scanlan, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker‘s creature and make-up effects artist, commented that it’s possible the Eye of Webbish Bog, whose model had been fully constructed, might be repurposed to appear in The Mandalorian. With that said, it remains possible that Tor Valum could be another element recycled at some point in Star Wars continuity.
With the High Republic era being further explored in future Star Wars expanded universe content, it’s possible Tor Valum might find a new home as a trainer of Dark Side users, such as the Sith. However, it’s just as likely that elements of Valum’s character, such as his role as an evil iteration of Yoda, might be coalesced into a new original character that might improve upon Valum in canon.
Of course, all this depends on a variety of concepts. It’s also vital not to force this character into a script that doesn’t allow for him, thus removing focus from the elements of the script that work. Overall, it’s vital that, if Valum does play a role in the future of Star Wars, that his role as a Dark Side master is retained without breaking the laws established by the Rule of Two.
Star Wars almost revealed a Sith Lord scarier than the latest version of Palpatine. But what is this eldritch horror?