Lucasfilm released the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker during the 2019 Star Wars Celebration last weekend, and as expected, the footage had a lot of major reveals. One of the biggest surprises was the unmistakable cackle of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) at the very end of the trailer, just after Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker talks about no one ever truly being gone. Could this mean the actual return of Darth Sidious in The Rise of Skywalker?
While it's likely that Palpatine will play a role in the film, McDiarmid insists that the Emperor is definitely dead as a duck.
McDiarmid attended this year's Star Wars Celebration and spoke with fans during a separate panel interview (Via Polygon). During his discussion with the event's attendees, the Star Wars actor said that he only showed up because he "happened to be in the area, so I thought I should just drop in for a laugh."
It's quite obvious that actor planned to attend the event though– Palpatine's been the talk of the town ever since The Rise of Skywalker's trailer drop.
The actor then recalled the different conversations with Star Wars creator George Lucas about Palpatine's fate after being thrown down the Death Star II in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.
"'Is he...?' And before I could even finish the sentence, [Lucas replied] 'Dead, yes.' 'Well, couldn't he perhaps...' 'No. He's dead.' 'Well, wouldn't it be interesting if...?' 'Forget it," McDiarmid recounted.
While it's highly unlikely that Palpatine survived after all this time (no those extended universe stories of Palpatine using his clones to live eternally don't count), we're bound to feel Palpatine's presence one way or another in The Rise of Skywalker.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premieres December 20, 2019.