The first teaser for the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was a cause for much conversation when it dropped earlier this year, and the moment that inspired the most speculation was undoubtedly the three seconds of familiar laughter heard at the end of the preview.
Since then, we’ve received further confirmation that Ian McDiarmid is indeed reprising his role as Emperor Palpatine, but so far, we’ve yet to see any actual footage of Sheev in the Sequel Trilogy finale. Even the laugh from the preview was later revealed to be an old recording that was taken from one of McDiarmid’s previous outings in the Star Wars franchise. But while we’re still waiting to catch a glimpse of one of the Emperor’s Rise of Skywalker scenes, this new poster at least gives us an idea of how the villain will look in this year’s release.
Decades on from his apparent demise in Return of the Jedi, it seems that old Palpatine is still rocking the usual hood, and based on his sinister expression, we can probably assume that he hasn’t spent his years in isolation rethinking his wicked ways. Of course, the question still remains of how exactly Sheev is back in the picture once more. Naturally, the fans have their theories, and many have speculated that he’s been the true puppet master behind the First Order all this time.
It would certainly be a fitting way to bring the entire Skywalker Saga full circle, while also giving Kylo Ren a chance to redeem himself, but we’ll find out what director J.J. Abrams really has in mind when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th.