Ian McDiarmid

Some Star Wars performers are inextricable from their respective characters. Mark Hamill will always be Luke Skywalker, Peter Mayhew will always be everyone's favorite Wookie, and the late, great Carrie Fisher will go down in history as the most badass space princess of all time. Another Star Wars actor who has developed an iconic connection with the galaxy far, far away is Ian McDiarmid -- who has become legendary for his portrayal of Emperor Sheev Palpatine. The actor hasn't appeared in the Star Wars universe since the release of Revenge of the Sith in 2005, but a new rumor suggests that he may soon lend his vocal chops to Palpatine on the final season of Star Wars Rebels.

This rumor (floated by Starwarsnews.net) suggests that Star Wars icon Ian McDiarmid has recorded dialogue for Star Wars Rebels Season 4 as Emperor Palpatine. While the character's voice has already been heard on the hit Star Wars series (voiced by Sam Witwer in Season 2), many have started to theorize that this could indicate an appearance by the terrifying Sith Lord during the final season of the series. The evidence for this theory is that fellow Star Wars alum Warwick Davis was in the same studio recording for the last season of the series only a few days apart from McDiarmid's arrival at the very same studio, so the production schedule seems to line up.

It's worth mentioning that Ian McDiarmid's voice recording sessions might not involve performing for Star Wars Rebels when all is said and done. With so many different Star Wars properties in development, there's always the possibility that he could be doing this for something else entirely. Alternatives to Season 4 of Rebels include dialogue for Battlefront 2, voiceover work for The Last Jedi (because of Rey's pesky Force visions), or even for a currently unannounced project. We currently have far more questions than answers, but the possibility the possibility of McDiarmid's voice showing up in Rebels seems like the smartest bet.

That said, we're still going to take this rumor with a grain of salt. The prospect of McDiarmid returning to voice Emperor Palpatine is enticing, but it does not change the fact that Sam Witwer has proven himself worthy as a suitable replacement -- which you can clearly hear in the clip below.

Of course, there are other ways to keep both McDiarmid and Witwer in the fray if the first Emperor is involved in the next season of Rebels. One possibility that has been suggested is that Ian McDiarmid will voice Palpatine in a flashback, thus allowing Witwer to keep voicing him in the present day. Another potential explanation is that McDiarmid will cameo as another character entirely. Whatever the case, we are just glad to know that there's a real possibility that we will hear this beloved actor's evil voice before Star Wars Rebels comes to an end.

The final season of Star Wars Rebels will air this fall. For now, make sure to check out our summer premiere guide for more information concerning the most highly anticipated small screen debuts of the next few months. Don't forget to drop by our rundowns of cancellations and renewals for cable/streaming and network TV shows.

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