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Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker might have hit theaters back in December, but the conversation surrounding the blockbuster's contents haven't slowed down. J.J. Abrams' blockbuster has been dissected and discussed ad nauseam, and new information is constantly arriving. The Rise of Skywalker's novelization is arriving shortly, and advanced copies revealed that Palpatine was actually a clone in Episode IX. And now actor Ian McDiarmid has responded to this surprising plot twist.

J.J. Abrams had to include a ton of content and stories throughout Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's runtime. And as such, plenty of scenes and shots were left on the cutting room floor. That includes the line acknowledging that Palpatine was a clone, which was later revealed in the movie's novel. Ian McDiarmid recently spoke to this, saying:

The cloning thing? Yes. Well, of course, there were all sorts of explanations for why I might return. But it’s interesting because at one point the script had line in that first scene with Adam who when he says ‘You’re a clone.’ and I said in that original script which is no longer with us ‘More than a clone. Less than a man.’ Which seemed to me to sum it up really.

While the fandom was shocked to hear that Palpatine was a clone in The Rise of Skywalker, the same cannot be said for Ian McDiarmid. Because the movie's script actually acknowledged this, the line simply wasn't included in the movie's theatrical cut. Deleted scenes anyone?

Ian McDiarmid's comments come to us from Twitter, featuring the 75 year-old actor at a recent convention appearance. McDiarmid played Sheev Palpatine throughout all three trilogies of the Star Wars franchise, so he knows the character better than anyone. He was just as surprised as us to get the call for The Rise of Skywalker, and played a mangled, menacing version of The Emperor.

Palpatine's inclusion in The Rise of Skywalker was revealed with the movie's first trailer, and threw the generations of fans for a loop. Although the biggest question was how he managed to survive his fate in Return of the Jedi. Darth Vader's redemption resulted in The Emperor's apparent death, as he threw him into a space pit shortly before the destruction of the second Death Star. So how exactly did he mange to survive, and make it out of the weapon alive?

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It turn out, he probably didn't. But Palpatine is a master strategist, who is always many steps ahead of his enemies. He likely used the clone technology acquired from the prequels, and planned ahead in the case of his assassination. This allowed The Emperor to continue being a puppet master, even creating Supreme Leader Snoke to help manipulate Kylo Ren.

It should be interesting to see where the Star Wars franchise goes from here. We're likely in for a major break in movie production, as any future movies are only the earliest stages of development. But the galaxy far, far away has also found a new home on Disney+, with live-action shows like The Mandalorian helping to satiate the rabid fanbase's appetites.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will arrive on March 17 and DVD/ Blu-ray on March 31. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.