Star Wars: Ian McDiarmid Offers More Details on Palpatine Being a Clone in The Rise of Skywalker

Much to the dismay of some audiences, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker didn't have the luxury of explaining every detail about Emperor Palpatine's return within its run time that would have explicitly confirmed how he could still be alive, with actor Ian McDiarmid recently offering more insight into the process. Questions arose about whether the figure we saw in the new film was the original body of the character who had seemingly died back in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, though Mcdiarmid's comments add more credence to the notion that cloning technology was utilized, in some capacity, to conjure the new form of Palpatine.

"The cloning thing? Yes. Well, of course, there were all sorts of explanations for why I might return," McDiarmid shared at Comic Con Brussels [H/T Insert Coin]. "But it’s interesting because, I think I can reveal something, at one point the script had the line in that first scene with [Kylo Ren actor] Adam [Driver], when he says, ‘You’re a clone,’ and I said, in that original script, which is no longer with us, ‘More than a clone. Less than a man.’ Which seemed, to me, to sum him up, really. Because we know the camera has already snaked past the clone tank in which there are various versions of Snoke, that you probably noticed."

When fans first heard Palpatine's voice in the debut trailer for The Rise of Skywalker, theories immediately ignited about how he could possibly return, with the film delivering these details in its opening sequences. As Kylo Ren used the Sith wayfinder to locate a sinister presence, he had to walk by massive vats containing figures that resembled Snoke, with Palpatine then taking credit for all of the actions Kylo encountered that led to this meeting.

"So Snoke was a clone, Palpatine was responsible for everything," McDiarmid added. "He made everything, in one way or another. Talk about power. If you think back, and I'm sure you will, to watch them in the correct sequence, that's threaded throughout all of the movies, is that sense of evil. In a sense, when everyone commits a bad act, it's because of this character, this influence. Either in public or pervasively in private."

While these details might not explicitly confirm all of the steps of the process that led towards the cloning technology reviving the Sith leader, they at least elucidate on that notion more strongly than the film did, as some audiences didn't know whether we were seeing his original, healed body or an entirely new figure.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits Digital HD on March 17th and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 31st.

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