Assumed to be dead in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine returned once again in The Rise of Skywalker. The character’s familiar cackle was heard in the first trailer of Episode IX, and since then, fans can’t believe how the Sith Lord managed to survive all those years. It was recently revealed that Palpatine returned through the use of a clone, and there’s no doubt that he looked nothing short of terrifying. That said, he actually could have looked more disturbing compared to what was settled in the final cut.
"Luke Fisher, who is one of the concept designers that works with us, did a lot of sketches of Palpatine being on a kind of life support system," creature and makeup effects supervisor Neal Scanlan told Collider. “Something that is keeping him alive and keeping him in one piece. And then some parts of his physicality are almost independently being fed the necessary nutrients of life-giving entities.” The idea of having the Sith Lord held on a rig for him to move around was part of “trying to come to understand” how much they could show through that.
Scanlan revealed that the early concept days for the character were “quite extreme.” “We explored a dismembered version of him. We explored more abstract versions of what he might be,” he said. “You slowly get to the point where in [director] J.J’s [Abrams] world, that [Palpatine clone] story is still being told, but to an audience that maybe is not so familiar with Star Wars, you don’t have to know the backstory so much.” Scanlan says they had to design the character that involves a combination of telling a story and adding some depth to it, wherein it refers back to “a larger meaning or a greater explanation.”
Palpatine’s final look was already terrifying as it is, imagine if it was even a dismembered version of him! What are your thoughts on the character’s look in the movie? Do you think the studio should have went with their earlier design? Tell us in the comments below!
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now available on Digital HD and hits 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 31.