J.J. Abrams Teases the Emperor's Return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

After more than forty decades and soon to be nine films in the saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will see the journey come to an end. But based on the teaser footage of the movie released at D23 Expo last week, many fans have questions about whether the Light or Dark Side of the Force will end up on top, or if we'll finally achieve a true balance — all of this is put into question with the return of Emperor Palpatine, and the possible villainous turn to the Sith by Rey.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams is not eager to answer any specific questions about the film for fear of spoilers, but he did offer some teases as to the circumstances surrounding the Emperor's appearance in Episode IX.

"I will say that that's part of what the story is, and also, I will say that with the Emperor around, he's not going to be your, you know, the cuddly pal," Abrams joked during an interview with MTV News. "I can't wait for you to see how that plays out, but he's in the poster for a reason."

Actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega also teased the Emperor's rise is pivotal to the plot of the last film.

"He's the biggest baddie in Star Wars history. Now that we've done the story, I'm like, it couldn't have happened any other way," Ridley said during an interview with IGN. "It had to be that. But he's very instrumental to the plot of the film. It's not just like he appears again; it's all explained."

Added Boyega, "I think the Emperor and his doctrine has trickled down to so many of the characters in the Star Wars universe. The Dark Side, it is what it is because of a lot of his actions and plans. To have him come back, he's like the greatest foe, the greatest enemy. I mean, we might as well take him down properly."

Ridley also teased a satisfying conclusion to the saga, exclaiming that she loved the process of making it and bringing it to life.

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"I think it's awesome," Ridley said. "When we were doing it, I kept going, 'Oh my god, this is so cool.' And that's nice to be in a film where you're actually saying, 'Oh my god, this is so cool."

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premieres in theaters on December 20th.