The apparent return of Ian McDiarmid’s Emperor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) was a big shocker at the end of Star Wars Episode IX’s first trailer, capping the very first look at The Rise of Skywalker with the Sith Lord’s distinctive cackle.
Fans, understandably, were blown away by the big reveal – but according to LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy the character’s comeback has been on the cards for a long while, with Kennedy even hinting that he was blocked in when the team were working on 2015’s The Force Awakens.
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“This has been in the blueprint for a long time,” Kennedy told Yahoo! Entertainment.
“Yeah, we had not landed on exactly how we might do that, but yes, it’s always [been in the plan for Episode IX],” she said.
Just exactly how McDiarmid’s Emperor will return is a bit of a mystery – last time we saw him he was plunging down one of the Empire’s handy “fall to your death dramatically” shafts, force lightnings coming from his fingertips – but if Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker can return from the dead for Episode IX, who’s to say the most powerful Sith Lord in history couldn’t do the same?
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker will be released in December 2019