What exactly was at the bottom of the shaft that Vader threw Palpatine down in ROTJ? It couldn't possibly have been the Death Star's reactor core. The core would have been miles below the surface, and Palpatine fell for only a few seconds. We also have to remember that the emperor's throne room was at the top of a tower. I don't think he even had time to fall to the bottom of that. And why did he explode? Did he strike some type of energy field on the way down, or did he purposely combust to free his sith essence?