Star Wars fans had theorized that Emperor Palpatine could be returning to the saga in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, with the first confirmation of those theories coming in the film's teaser back in April, but collectible pint glasses being sold at Alamo Drafthouse could provide us with our first look at the character in the new film. The theater chain is offering two glasses in conjunction with the release and, while both featured stylized illustrations of the main characters, given how we've yet to glimpse Palpatine, this could be the first hint of how he'll appear in the new film.
Appearing on the glass celebrating the First Order and the Sith, Palpatine looks remarkably similar to his last appearance in the saga, before Darth Vader threw him down a chasm on the Death Star II. The biggest difference would be the red bags under his eyes, but with this being a more stylized look at all of the characters, it's possible that this was just artistic license.
While this look at Palpatine might have some fans excited, it's worth noting that all of the artwork on both glasses could be entirely artistic liberty and that Palpatine won't look anything like this. For the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Alamo Drafthouse released similar collectible glasses, which included the image of Luke Skywalker wielding a lightsaber in his Ahch-To outfit. With that scene never appearing in the final film, the artist likely based their work on various elements provided to them through Lucasfilm as references.
With Palpatine seemingly having been killed in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, fans had assumed we would only be seeing the character in animated adventures or possible spinoff films in the future. When the first teaser for The Rise of Skywalker debuted back in April and ended with the villain's signature laugh, fans were left to speculate about whether this served as confirmation of Palpatine's symbolic presence in the new film or if the figure could actually return.
"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," director J.J. Abrams previously teased with MTV News. "I can't wait for you to see how that plays out, but he's in the poster for a reason."
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