Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker felt afraid of giving us a good look at the cloned Emperor Palpatine. He spent much of the film shrouded in darkness and without direct lighting. If you’re feeling charitable, you could argue that letting our imaginations fill in the blanks is more effective than just showing us him. If you’re a bit more skeptical though, you could say that they had to rush his scenes due to their original plans with Matt Smith not working out.
In any case, a new still released by Topps Authentic gives us our clearest look at the Emperor in The Rise of Skywalker yet. Seen down below, the photo shows him looking pretty much like he did in the Original Trilogy. Then again, I guess a shambling re-animated Force corpse might have been a little too much for Disney, eh?
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However he looked in the finished product though, bringing back the Emperor was just a terrible decision. Whatever your opinions of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi are, they were at least forging their own path forward with Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, Poe and the rest of the gang. Resurrecting the big bad of the previous movies – especially one that clearly died on screen and is brought back without explanation – is just bad storytelling. There’s no arguing with that.
If they wanted to go through with bringing the Emperor back, they should have laid the ground for it in the last two films. But then that would have required some forethought and planning about how they wanted the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy to look, and those qualities seem to be in short supply at Lucasfilm these days.