Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Originally Explained How Palpatine Returned


Today’s challenge, find something new to say about Emperor Palpatine’s return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Tough, very tough. How many angles are left? After all, I’ve already covered the endless tit-for-tat over exactly who decided to bring him back, who didn’t want him back and who wouldn’t have brought him back. Some say it was J.J., some say it was Kathleen, and most say it definitely wasn’t George Lucas. All rather exhaustive.

Let’s leave the why out for a second, though. What was never substantially explained in the movie was how Emperor Palpatine made his surprising and rather arch Star Wars comeback. But Rise of Skywalker editor Maryann Brandon has now elaborated on that point.

In a new interview with The Huffington Post, Brandon explained that the production team had originally intended to flesh out the reasons for Papa Palpatine’s return in much greater detail, giving the following answer with reference to the character’s opening scenes:

“It was kind of a delicate balance and went back and forth a lot about how much we wanted to reveal. Some scenes changed quite a bit, the way that we wanted to present it to the audience. In the end, we ended up showing a lot less of it than we started with.”

“There was so much information in the film and so many characters that we wanted to have an audience concentrate on. I think we felt we didn’t want to clutter the film up with things you didn’t need to know.”

Brandon confirms here that an already backwards-looking film could’ve sought to mine the past even more. Like the heavily revised voices scene, this similar attempt to load Skywalker with even more expositional nostalgia fell by the way side. Truth be told though, I think a little more backstory here wouldn’t have gone amiss, as opposed to Palpatine survives because ultimate evil always survives. That’s unlike the voices scene, in which the finished product did succeed as presented (physical cameos would’ve been jarring for me).

As it is, I wonder if some of Return of the Jedi’s emotional impact has been retconned, or if you enjoyed Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker enough that it’s merely been transported. The latter is in many ways a remake of the former, after all, just as The Force Awakens explicitly took its cues from the original film.