With Lucasfilm being even more stingy than expected on the details of Star Wars: Episode IX, a lot of hopes are being pinned right now on this April’s Star Wars Celebration, which is widely predicted to see the premiere of the first proper trailer for J.J. Abrams’ upcoming trilogy-closer. But if the annual event wasn’t cause for enough hype already, some fans are taking the attendance of Ian McDiarmid as a sign that a certain Sheev Palpatine could be making a cameo in this December’s release.
McDiarmid’s inclusion was announced on the official Star Wars website, which issued the following statement:
“Ian McDiarmid, the actor who unforgettably played the galactic mastermind behind the rise of the Empire, transforming from the manipulative, scheming senator from Naboo into the ghastly cloaked figure of Darth Sidious, will join fans at Star Wars Celebration Chicago this spring.”
While many fans will find this to be exciting enough news in itself, some have gone one further to suggest that McDiarmid’s attendance might be heralding the return of Emperor Palpatine in Episode IX, if only in a brief callback.
To the theory’s credit, a Palpatine cameo certainly sounds like something the famously nostalgic Abrams might try if he found a reasonable enough excuse for it, though we wouldn’t read too much into McDiarmid’s return to Star Wars Celebration. After all, the actor also attended the 2017 version, but the Emperor was still nowhere to be seen in The Last Jedi later that year.
In any case, the site has also announced that McDiarmid will be joined at the event by Brian Herring, who plays half of the puppeteering team that operates BB-8, as well as other creatures and characters in the Sequel Trilogy. You’ll be able to catch this pair and a whole lot more if you attend this year’s Star Wars Celebration, which runs from April 11th to the 15th. After that, we’ll still have a good few months to wait before Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters on December 20th, 2019.