Ian McDiarmid Says George Lucas Wouldn’t Have Brought Palpatine Back In Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker


The return of Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has brought with it a great deal of publicity, as well as a great deal of patchwork investigative work. Original director Colin Trevorrow’s made the surprising revelation that he had no intention to bring the Emperor back, and that the decision was entirely that of J.J. Abrams. The incumbent Abrams then made an allusive dig at his predecessor, describing any possibility that Palpatine wouldn’t return as “very weird.”

But I digress – the tale of this supervillain’s third coming now has its third act, courtesy of the baddie himself, Ian McDiarmid. Speaking to Digital Spy, McDiarmid offered a fresh insight into the journey the character has taken, including a marked creative difference between original Star Wars head honcho George Lucas and the current production team, saying:

“I thought [Palpatine] was dead! I thought he was dead. Because when we did Return of the Jedi, and I was thrown down that chute to Galactic Hell, he was dead. And I said, ‘Oh, does he come back?’ And [George] said, ‘No, he’s dead.’ So I just accepted that. But then, of course, I didn’t know I was going to be doing the prequels, so in a sense he wasn’t dead, because we went back to revisit him when he was a young man. But I was totally surprised by this.”

Which isn’t a shocking (zinger) disclosure when you think about Palpatine’s demise at the end of Jedi. Oh, er, spoiler alert (you knew that already though, right?). The arc of that movie, and indeed that of the Original Trilogy, was clearly not designed with a revisitation for the character in mind.

No, I’m not saying I think George Lucas would’ve done a better job with the sequels than Disney – George already damn near killed the franchise for a generation by Phantom Menacing it up. But it is worth noting the disparity between what he’d written and where Abrams, Rian Johnson and Trevorrow (somewhat) took the saga.

In any case, you can see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker for yourself and make up your own mind. It’s doing just fine at the box office, too, so it’s not going anywhere. And after that, there are no more sequels to sit through – now there’s a relief to end the decade on.