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If you just woke up from hibernation and haven’t been on the Internet since last week, let me fill you in real quick. The response to Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker has been very divisive. Fans have flooded Twitter, Facebook and comment sections the world over to point fingers, offend people and get offended themselves, and one of those key topics they’ve argued about is whether bringing back Emperor Palpatine was a good idea.
Almost all of us think he’s a good character, of course, but there are many who feel the groundwork wasn’t properly laid for his return and/ or it was too out of left field. Well, actor Ian McDiarmid was more than happy to return to his beloved character, but you can count him among those who were very surprised when he first found out.
He explained why in an interview with Digital Spy. Check out the quote below…
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.
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, Ian McDiarmid is obviously great, per usual as the villainous Sheev Palpatine. The effects department did a great job of somehow making him look more hideous and corrupted than ever, and his back and forth with many of the characters is great. He’s still got that scene-stealing energy about him. Let’s go over the various cases for and against his return.
The biggest reason to bring him back is pretty simple: he’s the arch villain of the Skywalker Saga, and Episode IX is the presumptive end to the Skywalker Saga. If you have a big baddy, that’s who you should face during the final level. McDiarmid is also a wonderful actor, and finding a part for him was a way to both give fans a reason to be excited but also make a safe, known choice that would obviously work.
The case against Emperor Palpatine basically comes down to two complaints. First, as stated previously, they didn’t tease this or hint at it in Episode VII or Episode VIII. He’s just suddenly back with some convenient explanations and some unanswered questions. Second, it’s hard to build new worlds and universes and create new things for people to get excited about if you’re constantly bringing back the old. Emperor Palpatine is great, but for Star Wars to be relevant fifty years from now, we need new Emperor Palpatines to excite the next generation.
Regardless of where you stand, Emperor Palpatine rules, and it was nice to see Ian McDiarmid in our lives again. Expect all the chatter around his performance and the decision to bring him back to die down within the next five to ten years.