First Look At Emperor Palpatine In Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Leaks Online

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“Long have I waited…”

Like it or not, the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will bring with it the long-rumored and highly anticipated return of Emperor Palpatine, the undisputed supervillain of Lucasfilm’s prized sci-fi saga.

He’s the master puppeteer who bent Anakin Skywalker (read: Darth Vader) to his will, until his plans backfired and Palpatine was sent spiraling into the depths of Death Star 2.0. But somehow, Ian McDiarmid’s fan favorite villain survived and is now getting ready to stage his second coming.

The details surrounding his return are still unclear, but make no mistake about it, he’ll be back in full force and today, we have our first proper look at him in The Rise of Skywalker. While the recent trailer gave us a brief glimpse of the big bad from the side/behind, a leaked photo has surfaced this week which reveals the Emperor from the front, using his Force Lightning and looking pretty formidable.

See for yourself below:

Of course, a lot of people will say this is fake – and that’s perfectly understandable – but the reliable Jason Ward of Making Star Wars has already confirmed its authenticity over on Twitter. And that, coupled with the fact that Disney has already removed numerous posts across various social media sites containing the photos, leaves little doubt in our minds that this is indeed our first genuine look at Emperor Palpatine in the film, and it’s sure to get people talking.

Unfortunately, we’ll probably have to wait until Episode IX arrives in theaters to see more of the iconic villain, but thankfully, there’s not long to go now, as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker blasts into cinemas on December 20th.

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to rewatch Monday night’s trailer one more time…if only just to hear that incredible score by John Williams.

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