Though yesterday’s D23 panel yielded a fair amount of promotional material for the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, fans were still left with plenty of unanswered questions about J.J. Abrams’ much hyped trilogy-closer, many of them concerning the long-awaited return of Emperor Palpatine.
So far, the only glimpse we’ve got of the classic villain’s comeback was in the poster released yesterday, which shows Ian McDiarmid’s character looming in the background with a sinister stare. But while we currently have much to learn about old Sheev’s role in the Sequel Trilogy finale, actress Daisy Ridley has insisted in an interview with IGN that his presence is integral to the film’s plot:
“He’s the biggest baddie in Star Wars history. Now that we’ve done the story, I’m like, it couldn’t have happened any other way. It had to be that. But he’s very instrumental to the plot of the film. It’s not just like he appears again; it’s all explained.”
If Ridley’s comments are anything to go by, then the Emperor’s return should hopefully come across as a well thought out stakes-raiser, rather than a cheap ploy for nostalgia points. In any case, John Boyega was also on hand to share some thoughts on Palpatine’s reemergence, observing how the villain casts a long shadow over the entire Skywalker saga:
“I think the Emperor and his doctrine has trickled down to so many of the characters in the Star Wars universe. The Dark Side, it is what it is because of a lot of his actions and plans. To have him come back, he’s like the greatest foe, the greatest enemy. I mean, we might as well take him down properly.”
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Actress Kelly Marie Tran, meanwhile, teased that the Emperor’s storyline will somehow tie into the saga’s theme of redemption, though going by the character’s evil laugh in The Rise of Skywalker’s first teaser, we can probably assume that Sheev isn’t about to mend his wicked ways.
On the other hand, Palpatine’s return does potentially allow for an eleventh-hour redemption from Kylo Ren, since his comeback provides a greater evil for Adam Driver’s character to confront. That’s just one of many theories making the rounds at the moment, but we’ll find out what Abrams really has in mind for Palpatine, Kylo and the Resistance when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th.