The Rise of Skywalker finally out, and raking in cash at the box office in spite of what reviewers had to say. But no matter what critics say, The Rise of Skywalker is quite a sight to experience in a theater before you watch it at home, even if you too come to realize there’s one annoying thing about the plot that might ruin the original trilogy (I already explained what it is in our spoiler-filled review of The Rise of Skywalker).
But, as it turns out, that decision, which ultimately affected the course of the entire movie, might not have happened under George Lucas, according to recent comments from the Star Wars premiere. Before we go any further, you should know that some spoilers follow below.
Palpatine’s resurrection was teased well-before the launch of The Rise of Skywalker, and we knew he would make an unexpected comeback in the film. But the problem with the Emperor’s presence is that it doesn’t make sense, as the plot doesn’t provide any decent explanations for how returned. He’s alive, he’s still powerful, and he’s highly influential, having been able to amass an army more formidable than Vader ever had. And all that happened in the background, with the Emperor having been able to conceal his presence and go forward with his plans to reconquer the galaxy for dozens of years before finally being discovered.
The Rise of Skywalker leaves us guessing about Palpatine, and no matter how loyal a Star Wars fans you might be, it doesn’t change the fact that there’s just no good explanation for how exactly it happened.
This brings us to Ian McDiarmid’s comments on his reprisal of the Palpatine role for The Rise of Skywalker, comments he made at the UK premiere in an interview with DigitalSpy (via We Got This Covered).
The actor believed, as most fans did, that Palpatine was dead forever. And that’s because George Lucas told him so:
I thought I was dead! I thought he was dead. Because when we did Return of the Jedi, and I was thrown down that shoot to Galactic Hell, [he was dead]. And I said, ‘Oh, does he come back?’ And [George] said, ‘No, he’s dead.’ [Laughs] So I just accepted that. But then, of course, I didn’t know I was going to be doing the prequels, so in a sense he wasn’t dead, because we went back to revisit him when he was a young man. But I was totally surprised by this.
That’s not to say that Lucas would have made a better trilogy, or a better Episode IX. He gave up making Star Wars movies years ago and doubled down on that when he sold Lucasfilm to Disney.
But, up until Disney decided to reawaken Palpatine, Star Wars canon had the Emperor gone for good. And in any Lucas version of Episode IX, we probably wouldn’t have had a logic-defying villain to deal with.