Emperor Palpatine Actor Discusses That Moment In The Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Trailer

Palpatine Star Wars

The recently unveiled trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker gave fans a lot to process, from the title reveal, to Rey’s showdown with a TIE fighter. But the biggest bombshell dropped by the teaser was almost certainly the return of Sheev Palpatine.

The amount of chatter sparked by Ian McDiarmid’s comeback is all the more impressive seeing how the actor didn’t even appear on camera. Instead, his involvement is announced by the distinctive sound of the Emperor’s sinister laugh, which is heard right after Luke Skywalker’s half-ominous, half-comforting claim that “no one’s ever really gone.”

McDiarmid reflected on the trailer moment at this year’s Star Wars Celebration, telling The Star Wars Show that it was actually an old recording:

“That particular laugh was not specially recorded. They found it somewhere, probably from one of the old movies or in a digital vault, or maybe George’s iPhone, I don’t know.”

In the new teaser, the laugh is heard right before the official title is unveiled, and if you ask McDiarmid, putting these two reveals together makes for a compelling contrast:

“What I liked about it, though, that’s why I think it is a real tease. I mean, the new title The Rise of Skywalker is wonderful, and then from the past, maybe from Hell a laughter comes, which sort of implies ‘yeah right.’ So in other words, Skywalker’s rising? I don’t think so.”

In case the trailer and McDiarmid’s Celebration attendance left any room for doubt, director J.J. Abrams himself reportedly confirmed that the actor was on set for The Rise of Skywalker, though the filmmaker was apparently surprised that his involvement didn’t leak beforehand. All the same, we still have much to learn about the Emperor’s role in the Sequel Trilogy finale, and even McDiarmid himself admits that the whole Episode IX panel was just one big tease:

“The headline of that whole panel and the trailer is the word ‘tease.’ So don’t take it too seriously – in fact, have a laugh about it.”

As it stands, the fans have almost eight months left to speculate on the significance of that one trailer laugh, but all will be revealed when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th, 2019.