Ian McDiarmid Predicted The Emperor’s Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Return Years Ago

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The first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker finally premiered at this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration, and though the footage gave fans a lot to process, the moment that’s really got the internet talking is the tease of the Emperor’s return.

While there was a little speculation beforehand that Ian McDiarmid might soon reprise his role – mostly due to the actor’s presence at this year’s convention – it’s safe to say that most of us didn’t see it coming. Even director J.J. Abrams was reportedly surprised that Palpatine’s presence on set didn’t leak. However, in an interview with BBC Scotland back in September 2017, McDiarmid seemed to unknowingly hint at the possibility of his character’s comeback.

When asked if the Sith Lord might ever return to the saga, the actor seemed skeptical about the idea, but didn’t rule it out.

“I suppose there must be a chance but I think you’d find out about it more quickly than I would,” McDiarmid said. “As far as the new films are concerned, I’m dead. There is no question about that.”

After floating the idea of Palpatine appearing in one of the Star Wars anthology films, the actor suggested that Lucasfilm might be saving his return for later in the series.

“But there is what they call the anthology series and actually the most recent one, Rogue One, was about the time when I was in charge. I was referred to a few times, Darth Vader popped up, but you did not see me,” McDiarmid said. “Maybe they are keeping me as a surprise for later but I have no idea. Of course, I don’t want anyone else to play him.”

Though it’s possible that McDiarmid hadn’t been approached about reprising his role at the time of the interview, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy claimed at this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration that it was always the plan to bring back the Emperor in the Sequel Trilogy finale. We can therefore hope that Palpatine’s screen time will be properly integrated into the drama, rather than coming across as a last-minute bit of fan-pandering.

In any case, while details remain vague on McDiarmid’s role, fans still have eight more months to speculate before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th.

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