Well, it's official. That uncanny, haunting cackle at the end of the trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker does indeed confirm that Emperor Palpatine is back. And J.J. Abrams couldn't be happier that the big reveal wasn't spoiled beforehand.
The director and co-writer of Episode IX spoke with James Dyer of Empire Magazine after the panel at Star Wars Celebration, confirming that actor Ian McDiarmid is back for the final entry in the Skywalker Saga.
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. pic.twitter.com/qDzPQagXSW— James Dyer (@jamescdyer) April 12, 2019
The fact that such a monumental secret was kept from fans is no small feat, especially in this age of spoilers dominating discussion on social media. But with McDiarmid set to return, the speculation engines will start revving up.
The actor himself appeared on stageat the end of the trailer, leaving little doubt to his involvement after Palpatine's iconic laugh closed out the trailer. McDiarmid, in his gravely Palpatine voice, simply declared, "Roll it again," prompting cheers from the audience before the trailer played once again.
We have no idea why the Sith Lord has returned, but we'll likely learn more in the months leading up to the premiere.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will bring back a classic convention from the franchise, making use of the time jump between films once again. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was the only film in the saga to begin moments after the previous movie ended.
"The movie doesn't pick up immediately after the last film," Abrams said during the panel at Star Wars Celebration. "Some time has passed. This movie is an adventure the group goes on together. One of the great things about getting to work on the movie is the dynamic between all of the characters. They're amazing together, and it's something I'm excited for you all to see."
We'll find out more about Palpatine's return as we get closer to the release date of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, premiering in theaters later this December.
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