Ian McDiarmid Addresses The Emperor’s Return In Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

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The first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was filled with jaw-dropping moments for fans, but the most-discussed has to be that evil laugh heard before the title’s reveal. That callous cackle can only mean that Darth Sidious himself, Emperor Palpatine, is returning in the upcoming Episode IX.

In case the laugh wasn’t enough though, actor Ian McDiarmid was then revealed to be on stage at the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago when the lights came back on after the trailer’s world premiere. Resurrecting the villain’s voice, he ordered “Roll it again,” before the teaser was played once more.

Later in the weekend, McDiarmid returned again alongside Darth Maul actor Ray Park to discuss the 20th anniversary of The Phantom Menace. Obviously, the topic of his shock appearance at The Rise of Skywalker panel came up and the actor joked about how that came about. “I just happened to be in the area, so I thought I should just drop in for a laugh,” McDiarmid said.

Host Warwick Davis then chased the star on whether he ever expected to return as the Emperor once the Original Trilogy wrapped with 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Since then, he’s portrayed the role in the Prequel Trilogy and various animated and video game efforts as well, but McDiarmid admitted that he never thought this would happen.

“No, because as you know, Darth Vader chucked me and I thought that was the end,” the actor deadpanned. “I was under the assumption that we’d never see him again.” McDiarmid then decided to keep mum by adding: “I guess that’s how it will remain.”

Since the trailer’s reveal, fans have been furiously theorizing about how Palpatine could be back. The Sith Lord was always obsessed with immortality, so it’s possible that he could’ve followed in the footsteps of Darth Plagueis and survived his death. Alternatively, the teaser also featured the remains of the Death Star II, so it could be the Emperor’s Force spirit that returns.

In any case, there’s more than enough time to speculate on the matter before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalkers arrival in cinemas on December 20th.

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