A cackling Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) says it’s time powerful Force user Rey (Daisy Ridley) “learns her story” in a new batch of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker TV spots. The spots follow a previously released clip from Skywalker showing the twisted Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) readying himself to confront the Sith Lord, who masquerades as Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) and Snoke (Andy Serkis) when taunting the red lightsaber-wielding Dark Sider: “I have been every voice you have ever heard inside your head.” Is Palpatine hinting at a connection to orphaned desert scavenger Rey? Answers to that question — and an explanation behind Palpatine’s return — will soon be revealed.
“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,” Rey actress Ridley previously told IGN. “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.”
The return of Palpatine — who was vanquished by a redeemed Anakin Skywalker (Sebastian Shaw / David Prowse) more than 30 years earlier in Return of the Jedi — was both appropriate and inevitable, according to Rise of Skywalker producer Michelle Rejwan.
“I think there was a feeling of inevitability that Palpatine had been a part of all three [trilogies] and in the biggest picture of nine movies, he has been there from the very beginning,” the producer previously told io9 when asked about concerns the Emperor’s apparent resurrection might undercut past endings. “And his presence in this movie, we will not spoil that, but when you see it, it does feel to us, not only does it have the feeling of inevitability, but the ending of where we left him last, in Return of the Jedi, was very important to J.J. [Abrams, writer-director] and Chris [Terrio, co-writer] and to all of us.”
Because Rise of Skywalker is the conclusion to the nine-movie Skywalker Saga, Abrams believes “the weirder thing would be if Palpatine didn’t return.”0comments
“You just look at what he talks about, who he is, how important he is, what the story is — strangely, his absence entirely from the third trilogy would be conspicuous,” Abrams told Uproxx. “It would be very weird.”
Starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Kelly Marie Tran, Anthony Daniels, Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Joonas Suotamo, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens December 20.