Palpatine in Return of the Jedi

There are few franchises as beloved as Star Wars. The galaxy far, far away has delighted and enthralled entire generations of moviegoers, making each of the characters film icons. Few movie villains are as insidious as Ian McDiarmid's Emperor Palpatine, who terrorized the galaxy in both the prequel and original trilogies. And while Darth Vader seemingly killed him at the end of Return of the Jedi, rumors have been swirling that he might show up in Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi. Now the actor has weighed in, and revealed whether or not Palpatine could have possibly survived his presumed death.

As far as the new films are concerned, I'm dead. There is no question about that.

Well, that certainly seems cut and dry. While the fandom may continue to debate Palpatine's fate and his possible connection to Supreme Leader Snoke, Ian McDiarmid seems clear about whether or not his signature character actually died. And as he told BBC, Palpatine is a goner.

While this may be disappointing to Star Wars fans who were hoping that Palpatine might show up in the new trilogy, it actually makes total sense that he bit the dust at the end of Return of the Jedi. During Darth Vader and Luke's final battle aboard the second Death Star, Vader finally had a change of heart and attempted to redeem himself. He threw Palpatine from a great height in the super weapon, and the Death Star was destroyed by Lando shortly thereafter. So it would be almost impossible for the big villain to somehow survive.

Then again, we've seen crazier things. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Captain Phasma somehow managed to escape the garbage pit she was thrown into, do a bunch of tasks, and escape Starkiller base before its destruction. And that all happened in a matter of just minutes. Phasma will reportedly be a larger force in The Last Jedi, although her miraculous escape will require suspension of disbelief.

Despite the return of many of Star Wars' most beloved characters, the new trilogy of films does seem more focused on the new characters, rather than bringing back every villain and hero from the original trilogy. Supreme Leader Snoke has taken the place of Emperor Palpatine in the new franchise, while Adam Driver's Kylo Ren is a new take on Darth Vader's narrative.

It should be interesting to see if any more classic characters show up in the next two Star Wars movies. In particular, the fandom has been curious about where the hell Billy Dee Williams' Lando Calrissian has been since the victory in Return of the Jedi. He originally showed up in the second movie from the original trilogy, so let's see of Rian Johnson follows suit with The Last Jedi.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will arrive in theaters on December 15th, 2017. In the meantime, check out our 2017 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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