Ian McDiarmid recalls a conversation he had about Emperor Palpatine with George Lucas. Before the sequel trilogy hit theaters, the Scottish actor wanted to know if Palpatine was officially dead. According to Lucas, the iconic villain was indeed dead after getting thrown down into the Death Star’s reactor by Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi. This is what Star Wars fans have believed to be true for over 30 years now. However, The Rise of Skywalker has somehow resurrected the character.
Back in 2013, Ian McDiarmid had a chat with George Lucas about Emperor Palpatine. This was before the sequel trilogy hit theaters, but after it had been announced. McDiarmid states, “I remember saying, ‘Is he dead, George?’ at the time, and he said, ‘Yes, he is. Absolutely dead.” That seems to be about as official as you can get right there. But, in the Star Wars universe, nobody is ever really gone, which is how The Rise of Skywalker has been marketed. Palpatine is back and there are some serious questions as to how.
In a recently released interview from The Rise of Skywalker set, Ian McDiarmid reveals he was shocked and very excited over the fact that J.J. Abrams contacted him about bringing Emperor Palpatine back. McDiarmid did not expect it, nor did Star Wars fans. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Abrams was excited that McDiarmid wanted to return. In turn, the actor has nothing but nice things to say about his young co-stars, noting that he, at that point in the production, had only really worked with Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver.
The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters next week and while there have been some unconfirmed leaks, it appears that most of the story has yet to be revealed. We still have no idea how Emperor Palpatine is back after being blown to pieces with the rest of the Death Star, though Star Wars canon has told us that he and Darth Plagueis were exploring eternal life and using the Force in unnatural ways. This is the main theory that fans have been using to justify the iconic villain’s return to the franchise after all this time.
Regardless of how Emperor Palpatine is back, Star Wars fans seem to be pretty excited to see Ian McDiarmid back with the franchise. We have yet to see what he looks like in his physical form, but we do know he was on the set interacting with Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley. From here on out, it would be wise to avoid certain website and social media platforms since The Rise of Skywalker premieres next week. Monday is the World Premiere, while press screenings will occur throughout the week, which means actual leaks will be online real soon. You can check out the interview with Ian McDiarmid below, thanks to the official Star Wars site.
Writer for Movieweb since 2017. Enjoys playing Catan when not writing about superheroes and Star Wars.