Star Wars veteran Ian McDiarmid is hopeful series creator George Lucas likes the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, adding he believes the ninth entry in the episodic saga is "absolutely true" to what Lucas started. Lucas criticized Abrams' first franchise entry, The Force Awakens, and on the followup helmed by Rian Johnson, Lucas reportedly only said The Last Jedi was "beautifully made." Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger in recent months admitted Lucas felt upset and betrayed when he realized Disney would not be following his plots for the Star Wars sequel trilogy following its $4.05 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, and Lucas ultimately did not attend the unveiling of the finale to his nine-movie saga.
"I'm sure he's happy that the story continues to go. He has, in a sense, relinquished it, but he hasn't relinquished it in his head," McDiarmid told Red Carpet News TV when asked about Lucas' possible reaction to the Episode IX. "I'm sure we'll have a chat about it one day, but I really hope he likes it, because I think it's absolutely true to what he started."
McDiarmid, who reprises his role as the former Galactic Emperor Palpatine in Skywalker — his first time playing the role in a feature film since Lucas' Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith in 2005 — was long ago assured by Lucas that the Emperor was dead after perishing aboard the Death Star II in 1983's Return of the Jedi, taking place more than two decades after Palpatine's rise to dictatorship in Lucas' prequel trilogy.
"I was assured by George all those years ago — 37, 38 years in Return of the Jedi — that once my traitorous once-apprentice shoved me down that shoot, that was it. That I was absolutely, categorically, categorically dead," McDiarmid said. "Then J.J. called me in November 2017 and said, 'I have the responsibility of sort of tying up the nine films as well as making, I hope, an entertaining movie. Do you want to be part of it?' So I didn't wait to say yes."
Though Lucas once plotted a third trilogy, he intimated in a 2015 interview with Charlie Rose that the story reached completion with Return of the Jedi.
"My interests have shifted to more mature things. I did the kids' thing [with Star Wars], I did it," Lucas said when asked about his filmmaking future. "To me it's six films, and it ends where it ends."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters.