Ian McDiarmid Thinks He'll Play Palpatine In A Future Star Wars Movie

Many of the stories we write regarding J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII pertain to characters and actors who are finding their way into this revitalized universe. Today, we learn of a veteran Star Wars actor who confirms that he is officially out… though the door isn’t completely shut on an eventual return somewhere down the line.

Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid played the pivotal role of Senator Palpatine – and, eventually, Emperor Palpatine – in the earlier Star Wars movies. There were rumors that the influential character would somehow return in Star Wars: Episode VII (even though he died in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi), but the actor put that chatter on ice. Or, better said, he lifted it up and threw it down a long, dark corridor. While speaking at the London Film and Comic-Con, Ian McDiarmid confirmed that he would not return to the Star Wars universe for J.J. Abrams’ movie, but didn’t rule out a possible spinoff. The actor said:

I’m definitely not in [Episode VII]. As you know, he’s dead by then! I know, we believe in reincarnation, and holograms… But you know, they are going to take many twists on the story as the years go on, and I guess they may go back to a time – I’ve got no clue, I’m speaking off the top of my head – when the Emperor ran the universe. And I don’t want anyone else to play him, do I?"

Neither do we! Listen to the actor’s comments, in context. His Star Wars talk begins around the 29-minute mark.

Ian McDiarmid will only say it "might" happen. And he’s right. Anything is possible in this brave new world of Star Wars movies. We know that Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank have been tapped to helm standalone solo movies, but we have NO idea whom they are based on, and when they take place. We have heard rumors that Han Solo and Boba Fett will be the primary characters in these movies. Could they theoretically take place during a time when Palpatine still ruled? I don’t see why not, so it is smart of McDiarmid to keep his options open and to keep his agent on the line.

I wish I could say that we’ll know more about the future of the Star Wars universe after Comic-Con, but the studio is skipping the festivities in San Diego. Maybe at Disney’s D23?

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.