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Emperor Palpatine Star Wars

Ian McDiarmid addresses those ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ rumors about Emperor Palpatine

Will the Senate himself make an appearance in 'Obi-Wan Kenobi'?
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There’ve been a lot of rumors circulating online over the past few months about the Emperor making another surprise return through Ian McDiarmid in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi show on Disney Plus. Since most of this hearsay got traction thanks to McDiarmid himself — who had teased fans in a previous interview about the possibility of the big bad appearing alongside his Sith apprentice Darth Vader — many fans are now genuinely hoping that somehow, Palpatine returns.

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Now, during today’s Star Wars Celebration panel, McDiarmid, being the indulgent storyteller that he is, took a trip down memory lane and revealed a ton of trivia about the prequel trilogy. At one point during the Q&A, the issue of Palpatine’s return naturally came up, but the actor was quick to shut down the rumors. Here’s what he told the room full of Star Wars fans, per IGN.

“That is a disgraceful question,” He jokes, adding: “And one which I have no intention of answering. But you can’t win, can you? I will say this, you will remember the very first Star Wars film, subsequently christened A New Hope. The emperor was present. His presence was felt, but he never appeared. He was sort of interpreted by Moff, by the great Peter Cushing. Then more recently in Rogue One, his presence was felt, but he never appeared. So all I would say about future speculation is if you’re expecting the Emperor to appear soon, in flesh and blood, don’t get your hopes up.”

“Don’t get your hopes up” sounds like a definitive rebuttal, but now that we’re only a few hours away from Obi-Wan Kenobi finally premiering on Disney Plus, we can’t help but wonder if McDiarmid is directly misleading fans by pulling an Andrew Garfield. He’s been known to troll fans, after all, so take this answer how you will.


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Jonathan Wright
Jonathan is a religious consumer of movies, TV shows, video games, and speculative fiction. And when he isn't doing that, he likes to write about them. He can get particularly worked up when talking about 'The Lord of the Rings' or 'A Song of Ice and Fire' or any work of high fantasy, come to think of it.