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MASSIVE spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
After decades of movies, the Skywalker Saga has finally come to an end. J.J. Abrams ended the Star Wars franchise as we know it with The Rise of Skywalker, wrapping up the story that began with A New Hope back in 1977. He had to go back to basics in order to properly include the events of all three trilogies, even bringing back Emperor Palpatine as the overarching villain. While there are always deleted scenes in big blockbusters, we shouldn't expect any deleted scenes with the Sith Lord.
Star Wars' visual effects are always handled by the company Industrial Light & Magic, and Palpatine was one of the many challenges for the group in order to complete The Rise of Skywalker. Visual Effects Supervisor Patrick Tubach recently opened up about the challenges of making Episode IX into a reality, where the subject turned to Ian McDiarmid's return as the hooded villain. Tubach shut down the hopes of deleted scene, saying:
I don’t think there’s anything you haven’t really seen. J.J. would always shoot variations on scenes — that’s the natural moviemaking process. But to my knowledge there’s no alternative version [of Palpatine’s story]. We change camera angles, we change lighting, maybe there’s a dialogue variation. It’s just naturally what we do.
Well, it looks like Palpatine's story has finally come to an end. He came back in a major fashion for The Rise of Skywalker, more scary looking and powerful than ever. But it doesn't appear that J.J. Abrams had spare footage of the villain's return. Sorry J.J. Cut campaigners, there's only one way that this story goes down.
Star Wars fans can currently re-watch the Skywalker Saga on Disney+. You can use this link for a free 7-day trial to the streaming service.
Patrick Tubach's comments to Yahoo! helps peel back the curtain behind production on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The franchise is notoriously strict with its security, hoping to keep the secrets of each movie. But it's been weeks since Episode IX hit theaters, so the cast and crew are finally able to speak honestly about the process, and the movie's contents.
Obviously that isn't to say that there aren't variations on Palpatine's scenes. J.J. Abrams no doubt covered his footage from various perspectives. What's more, Patrick Tubach mentioned there might be different forms of the movie's dialogue. Palpatine has a fair amount of exposition to give, especially during his first scene in the movie's opening sequence. So there may have been different drafts used in order to endure audiences got the necessary information.
Palpatine ended up factoring heavily into the story of The Rise of Skywalker, in a plot point that seems to be divisive among the fans. While some loved the OG big bad coming back and having such a deep connection to Rey, others felt it was fan service. Regardless, the movie has been raking in the bucks at the box office, and audience scores of Episode IX remain high.
Emperor Palpatine has been the overarching villain of the entire Skywalker Saga, which is likely J.J. Abrams and company brought him back for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. He was the ruler of the galaxy during the original trilogy, manipulating Darth Vader to do his evil deeds across the various planet systems. After trying to lure Luke to the Dark Side, he instructs Vader to kill his son. But ultimately Anakin Skywalker was redeemed, and seemingly killed the hooded villain in the third act of Return of the Jedi.
George Lucas went back in time for the prequels, which featured Ian McDiarmid's return as Sheev Palpatine. The three movies followed as Palpatine methodically sabatoged the Galactic Republic and democracy within the galaxy. Also known as Darth Sidious, Palpatine rose as the Emperor in Revenge of the Sith, dueling Yoda and Mace Windu in the process.
No one expected Palpatine to return in the sequel trilogy, and he wasn't even mentioned throughout the course of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. In his place came Andy Serkis' Snoke, who served as the Dark Master training Kylo Ren. But Rian Johnson unceremoniously killed Snoke off in Episode VII, which made way for Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker.
It turns out that while Palpatine wasn't seen, he was the puppet master behind The First Order. He was kept alive through mysterious dark circumstances, and created Snoke in order to dictate the plans of the Dark Side. The Emperor's importance in The Rise of Skywalker is apparent from the opening crawl, which reveals that the Sith Lord was transmitting a mysterious signal to the galaxy. What's more, the first scene follows as Kylo Ren hunts and finds Palpatine on Exegol.
Despite Kylo Ren becoming the new Supreme Leader, it's clear who has the power there. Palpatine resurrects a fleet of Star Destroyers, giving the First Order an extra advantage against the struggling Resistance. He continued to manipulate Kylo, while taking one final stand against The Light Side. He also tried to sink his teeth into Rey, as the two shared an unexpected connection.
It turns out that Rey's ease with The Force was due to her lineage. While she was indeed a child of scavengers, her grandfather was none other than Sheev Palpatine herself. And as such, the Dark Side was especially strong with her. We saw the true extent of Rey's abilities when she accidentally used Force Lightning. Ultimately Rey refused to turn to the dark side, and used Palpatine's own power against him in the final battle.
I personally didn't mind Palpatine returning in The Rise of Skywalker, especially given his terrifying new appearance. While there was obviously some fan service involved in the blockbuster, J.J. Abrams was tasked with the impossible by finding a suitable end for the franchise. Palpatine is certainly an appropriate choice, even if it's not exactly a mind-blowing twist.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now. Be sure to check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.