George Lucas Told Ian McDiarmid The Emperor Was Dead After ROTJ

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George Lucas Told Ian McDiarmid The Emperor Was Dead After ROTJ

When J.J. Abrams announced the return of the evil Emperor in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, a lot of fans were slightly taken back. After all, the dark lord of the Sith was tossed to his doom in Return of the Jedi — though, to be fair, he did return in the extended universe. Well, according to the man himself, actor Ian McDiarmid, who has played Palpatine in five movies now (including the prequels), Jedi was indeed supposed to be the bad guy’s last hurrah.

“I thought I was dead!” McDiarmid told Digital Spy in a recent video interview. “I thought he was dead. Because when we did Return of the Jedi, and I was thrown down that chute to Galactic Hell, he was dead. And I said, ‘Oh, does he come back?’ And [George] said, ‘No, he’s dead.’ 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.”

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Returning cast members for The Rise of Skywalker include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo and Billie Lourd. Joining the cast are Naomi Ackie (Doctor Who), Richard E. Grant (Logan), Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings), and Keri Russell (The Americans), who will also be joined by veteran Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams, who will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian. The role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

In addition to directing, J.J. Abrams co-wrote the screenplay with Chris Terrio (ArgoJustice League). Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, and Abrams will produce, with Callum Greene and Jason McGatlin executive producing. Composer John Williams, who has scored every chapter in the Star Wars saga since 1977’s A New Hope, will return to a galaxy far, far away with Rise of Skywalker.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now playing everywhere!