Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker capped off a journey that began in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, and as is the nature of Star Wars fans, audiences were quick to make their frustrations with the film heard, with the return of Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine being a plot point that didn’t sit well with some. Actor Ian McDiarmid recently addressed his villain’s comeback, noting that he felt it fell perfectly in line with what audiences knew about Chancellor Palpatine and also Emperor Palpatine, expressing how many plans he believed the figure would concoct to accomplish his goals.

“A lot of people said it was ridiculous,” McDiarmid shared with Empire Magazine. “Of course, he was dead at the end of Return of the Jedi! And frankly, I think George [Lucas] thought he’d killed me too. But J.J. [Abrams] thought it would be a good idea — I wasn’t going to argue with him.”

He continued, “I felt that Palpatine always had a plan B — probably a plan C, D, E, and F as well … And he was an expert in cloning, so…”

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Supreme Leader Snoke was poised to become the next great threat of the galaxy far, far away, and while it became clear he had tremendous influence over Kylo Ren, Star Wars: The Last Jedi showed Kylo overcoming that influence to kill Snoke. The opening scene of The Rise of Skywalker, though, showed that Palpatine had somehow projected his spiritual form across the galaxy in his final moments, so while his physical body was destroyed, his knowledge of clones allowed him to persist.

The reveal of Palpatine’s power in the sequel trilogy confirmed that he was the overall threat of the prequel, original, and sequel trilogies. McDiarmid reflected on how proud he was to have cemented such a cinematic legacy.

“The thing that I’m most pleased about, and you know, this only came to a head when they asked me to come back for The Rise of Skywalker, is that every single evil act in all of the Star Wars franchise is either directly or indirectly down to that character,” the actor confessed. “That is total evil, and that’s strangely satisfying as an arc. I do feel fortunate to have been able to do it — and other villains of cinema now have to compete with that.”

The Rise of Skywalker also confirmed that Daisy Ridley’s Rey was the progeny of Palpatine, and with a new film on the horizon set to focus on Rey, it’s unknown if this lineage will factor into that adventure.

Stay tuned for updates on the future of the Star Wars franchise.

What do you think of the actor’s remarks? Let us know in the comments or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter or on Instagram to talk all things Star Wars and horror!



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