The mid-season return trailer for Star Wars Rebels brought with it many dramatic moments, including bringing back Emperor Palpatine as a serious threat to the members of the Ghost crew. What makes the character's return even more exciting is that Ian McDiarmid is reprising his role as the character, confirming a rumor that began circulating last year.
“The big bad in this time period of Star Wars is The Emperor,” executive producer Dave Filoni told Entertainment Weekly. “He is the one running everything and the evil of the land. We dealt with his lieutenants, and Vader is a lieutenant.”
Palpatine previously appeared in the show's second season, voiced by Sam Witwer, but the show's final episodes aim to make him even more terrifying than we've seen him in the past.
“He’s a sophisticated villain,” Filoni added. “That makes you more worried for Ezra.”
The show has featured a variety of terrifying villains, from Darth Vader to Maul to Thrawn, yet Filoni promises that Palpatine will bring a new kind of fear to the series.
“I wanted something more insidious than perhaps lightsaber play,” Filoni explained. “The Emperor can appear so many different ways. He can seem frail at times or powerful at times. He’s the ultimate deceiver, and he plays on your own wants and greeds.”
With the actor lending his vocal abilities to the animated version of his iconic character, fans can't help but wonder if we'd ever see McDiarmid as a live-action version of the villain again. That possibility may be uncertain, but the actor definitely doesn't want to see a Palpatine that isn't portrayed by himself.
"I suppose there must be a chance but I think you'd find out about it more quickly than I would," McDiarmid explained to the BBC about the possibility of him returning to the saga. "But there is what they call the anthology series and, actually, the most recent one, Rogue One, was about the time when I was in charge. I was referred to a few times, Darth Vader popped up, but you did not see me. Maybe they are keeping me as a surprise for later but I have no idea. Of course, I don't want anyone else to play him."
Tune in to the return of Star Wars Rebels on Monday, February 19 at 9:00 PM ET on Disney XD.
[H/T Entertainment Weekly]