'Star Wars': The Return Of Emperor Palpatine Might Have Been Old 'Force Awakens' Ideas

Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker made a big impression at Star Wars Celebration, but it saved its biggest reveal until the end. As the first trailer wound down a classic line from Star Wars: The Last Jedi played, followed by the familiar laugh of Emperor Palpatine, revealing that the famous villain will be returning for the last film in the Skywalker saga. The anticipated film will also feature the return of J.J. Abrams, who handed off the director baton to Rian Johnson for The Last Jedi after The Force Awakens, a movie that seems to be the place this idea started.

It's pretty astounding that Disney was able to keep the Palpatine thing a secret for so long, especially since it seems this was an idea originally pitched for The Force Awakens. Writer and artist Otis Frampton noticed some similarities between the footage in the trailer and a piece of artwork in The Art of The Force Awakens, which you can see for yourself below.

"Is JJ pulling unused ideas from the development of The Force Awakens for use in The Rise of Skywalker? *shakes Magic 8 Ball* “All signs point to YES”

As you'll notice in the artwork, Palpatine's chair is shown within the remnants of the old Death Star. This was teased in the trailer as well, as we see the Death Star wreckage as the resistance approaches it. Not too long after that, we hear Palpatine's cackle, so either he survived the explosion and has been hiding out here or the crew will meet his Force Ghost in the film.

As for the art itself, this was part of the development process before Abrams settled on a story. "The Art of The Force Awakens book. Before settling on a story, JJ gave the artists carte blanche to come up with visual ideas and throw them at him. This was one of them."

Abrams would later confirm that Palpatine is indeed returning, and is just as surprised as you are that it didn't leak beforehand.

"In case there’s any lingering ambiguity from the trailer (and McDiarmid’s appearance at the panel!), I can 100% confirm that Palpatine is back in The Rise Of Skywalker as I just asked JJ. He’s thrilled - and slightly incredulous- that McDiarmid’s presence on set didn’t leak."

Are you excited for the return of Emperor Palpatine? Let us know in the comments!

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