Fans of Star Wars were shocked at the of the first trailer for Rise of Skywalker when they heard a familiar laugh. It was instantly recognizable as Emperor Palpatine, the original puppet master pulling Darth Vader’s strings in episodes four through six. Has he also been calling the shots in the new trilogy?
While it would be easy to scoff at the idea that Supreme Leader Snoke was a puppet of Palpatine, the return of the original super villain was always planned. Director J.J. Abrams explained, “I want a kid to watch episodes one through nine and see that one story.”
Producer Kathleen Kennedy dove deeper into the big reveal, “This has been in the blueprint for a long time, yeah. We had not landed on exactly how we might do that, but yes, it was always [to be in Episode IX].”
Actor Ian McDiarmid has played Emperor Palpatine since Return of the Jedi. He was 39-years-old at the time. You’ll hardly be able to tell he’s now in his 70s once the makeup is applied. The role has always been one of the actor’s favorites, “I used to refer to it as just a solid block of evil, with nothing at all in his background except that.”