Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Concept Art Gives Palpatine A More Robotic Appearance

Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker

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Star Wars is arguably the most popular film franchise of all time, with generations of moviegoers brought up on the galaxy far, far away. But after decades of filmmaking and iconic plot twists, the Skywalker Saga came to an end with J.J. Abrams' The Rise of Skywalker. The filmmaker was tasked with crafting an appropriate ending, which included the return of Ian McDiarmid's Emperor Palpatine. Early concept for the character was recently revealed, giving Palpatine a more robotic appearance.

Despite his apparent death in Return of the Jedi, Palpatine's resurrection was revealed in The Rise of Skywalker's early trailers. The character was brought back by cloning and dark Sith power, with the villain reduced to a decaying version of his former self. Concept art for Palpatine was recently revealed on the internet, which seemingly gives him a much more robotic look. Check it out,

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Well, this is intriguing. While obviously very early in The Rise of Skywalker's development process, its exciting to see the different ways that Palpatine might have come to life in the big screen. Let's break down what we're showing, and how it differs from the appearance that ultimately made it into Episode IX's theatrical cut.

The concept art for Palpatine comes to us from the social media of production designer and concept artist Kevin Jenkins. Jenkins has worked on a ton of beloved blockbusters, working on all three installments of the sequel trilogy. The Star Wars franchise has a specific visual language, and special care is taken into crafting the settings, costumes, and creature designs. Palpatine's return in The Rise of Skywalker was a game changer for the property, and nailing down his new appearance was paramount to setting the movie's tone.

It took a lot of Jedi power and tech to keep Palpatine alive in The Rise of Skywalker, at least until he eventually drains energy from Rey and Kylo Ren. The iconic villain was shown decaying, missing fingers and seemingly only being supported thanks to his mysterious Sith followers. The early concept art from Kevin Jenkins seemingly would have highlighted the technology that was keeping Sheev Palpatine alive, giving him robotic arms in the process.

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While Palpatine wasn't given quite as much of a robotic look in The Rise of Skywalker, the concept art's visuals are certainly striking. It looks like the appearance was greatly inspired by Darth Vader, whom Palpatine fitted with his iconic suit and robotic limbs during Revenge of the Sith's final moments. Palpatine's costume in the above art seems to be using the same technology to keep himself alive, as he continued manipulating the galaxy on Exegol.

It should be interesting to see where the Star War franchise goes next. It'll likely be a few years until the property returns to theaters, although the galaxy will continue to be expanded through Disney+'s live-action shows. Could Palpatine once again factor into the action? Only time will tell.

CinemaBlend will keep you updated on all things Star Wars as details become public. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.