The end of the trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker came with a shocking revelation: Emperor Palpatine is back in some capacity. It’s not something that’s abundantly clear on first watch, but with the appearance of actor Ian McDiarmid, who has played the villain since 1983’s Return of the Jedi, at the film’s Star Wars Celebration panel, it was all but confirmed. But now Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that not only is it Palpatine we are hearing in The Rise of Skywalker trailer, but that his Episode 9 return had been planned for a long time.
It turns out Palpatine’s return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is not part of director J.J. Abram’s slavish devotion to the original trilogy, but a revelation that had always been planned.
“This has been in the blueprint for a long time, yeah. We had not landed on exactly how we might do that, but yes, it was always [to be in Episode IX],” Kennedy told Yahoo Entertainment’s Kevin Polowy.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20, 2019.
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