Though George Lucas hasn’t always been the biggest fan of Disney’s Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, Emperor Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid is hopeful that the filmmaker was happy with the recent Skywalker Saga finale.
The Disney camp has been pretty open about the fact that Lucas voiced objections to the Mouse House’s approach to the property. In his book The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, for instance, Bob Iger recalled how the writer-director felt there “weren’t enough visual or technical leaps forward” in 2015’s The Force Awakens.
More recently, Lucas was notably absent from the premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but during an interview with Red Carpet News TV, McDiarmid argued that the movie was true to the spirit of the series he once created:
“I’m sure he’s happy that the story continues to go. He has, in a sense, relinquished it, but he hasn’t relinquished it in his head. I’m sure we’ll have a chat about it one day, but I really hope he likes it, because I think it’s absolutely true to what he started.”
That being said, one development in The Rise of Skywalker that Lucas seemingly didn’t have in mind was the return of McDiarmid himself, who apparently considered his character long dead before he got that call from director J.J. Abrams:
“I was assured by George all those years ago — 37, 38 years in Return of the Jedi — that once my traitorous once-apprentice shoved me down that shoot, that was it. That I was absolutely, categorically, categorically dead. Then J.J. called me in November 2017 and said, ‘I have the responsibility of sort of tying up the nine films as well as making, I hope, an entertaining movie. Do you want to be part of it?’ So I didn’t wait to say yes.”
Indeed, Palpatine’s return was a divisive twist in a trilogy that didn’t lack for moments to get the fans arguing. Specifically, many viewers have contended that the villain’s comeback comes across as a rushed, last-minute attempt at fan-pandering, though co-writer Chris Terrio continues to defend the decision, telling Awards Daily last month that bringing back the Emperor was necessary to Kylo Ren’s redemption arc.
But whatever you may think of the results, it seems the Sequel Trilogy has finally come to a close, giving the internet plenty of time to argue over the merits and flaws of The Rise of Skywalker before the next Star Wars film hits theaters in December, 2022.