On Saturday at the D23 Expo, Lucasfilm unveiled a new poster for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The poster shows Rey and Kylo Ren dueling in the foreground. In the background, the spectral image of Emperor Palpatine overlooks the battle.
This poster excited fans by offering the first glimpse at Darth Sidious’s return in The Rise of Skywalker. Except that it may not have. Upon closer inspection, some fans believe that Lucasfilm used a Hot Toys figure of Palpatine for the poster. The post claims the comparison matches down to Palpatine's wrinkles. One could argue that there are only so many ways to depict Palpatine’s looming shadow, but it's hard to deny the similarities here.
Here’s the post from Reddit. Take a look and judge for yourself.
Palpatine looks off to you? Thats because the Sideshow Toy's Palpatine Figure was used to create the Rise of Skywalker poster. It matches down to the wrinkles. from r/StarWars
Palpatine's return brings the Skywalker saga full circle in its final chapter. He was there at the beginning, as Senator Sheev Palpatine, enacting his plan to become Supreme Chancellor. He ruled the galaxy as the Emperor in the original trilogy. What role he plays in this final chapter remains a mystery, but star Daisy Ridley suggests it will be significant.
"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 in an interview at D23. "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."
Star John Boyega suggests that Palpatine’s return will be something more than an appearance in a vision or as a Force ghost. "I think the Emperor and his doctrine has trickled down to so many of the characters in the Star Wars universe," Boyega said. "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."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will end the Star Wars sequel trilogy and serves as the final chapter of the Skywalker saga. The film sees Star Wars: The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams return to direct following Rian Johnson’s work on Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, and Carrie Fisher.
Star Wars: Episode IX opens in theaters on December 20th. Other upcoming Star Wars projects include a new film trilogy from Game of Thrones creators DB Weiss and David Benioff, the new trilogy by The Last Jedi director Rian Johnsson, and the upcoming Disney+ TV series The Mandalorian, and series following Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Cassian Andor.