The first proper poster for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was unveiled at D23 today, and it promises the return of the greatest evil in the SW universe. We initially learned Ian McDiarmid was making a comeback as Emperor Palpatine at the Star Wars Celebration earlier this year when the trailer was released, featuring Darth Sidious’ sinister laugh. But this poster offers our first visual confirmation that the big bad is ideed back.
The epic poster features Rey and Kylo locked in lightsaber battle on top of a precarious piece of debris. Meanwhile, watching over them, is the face of Palpatine, who’s looking directly at us.
Check it out in the gallery below and see what you make of it:
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Ever since Palpatine’s return was confirmed in the trailer, fans have debated at length just how major the Emperor’s role will be in Episode IX. As all we got was a brief cackle, this could’ve meant that he’ll only have a small cameo in proceedings. However, maybe we can infer from his prominent placement on the poster that he’ll play a significant part.
In fact, it looks a lot like the poster is telling us that Palpatine will be the puppet-master of the movie, manipulating Rey and Kylo into fighting against each other. This could mean that all those fan theories about the Emperor being the one who’s been pulling the strings of the First Order behind the scenes for all this time are true.
Also, it seems that we don’t have to worry about the villain appearing through possession or proxy, either, as has been rumored. This poster tells us that it’ll be the proper Palpatine in the disfigured flesh who shows up when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th.