‘Star Wars’: George Lucas would have never resurrected Palpatine, says Ian McDiarmid

J.J. Abrams is said to have been behind the idea to resurrect the Emperor

Ian McDiarmid, who plays Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars, says creator George Lucas would never have brought his character back from the dead.

After appearing first in The Empire Strikes Back and then in a major role in Return Of The Jedi, the character was presumed dead and played no role in The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi.

Palpatine made a shock comeback in the recently released Rise Of Skywalker, becoming one of the film’s biggest talking points, and McDiarmid has said that he also believed his character to be dead, and that Lucas would never have chosen to resurrect him.


“I thought I was dead!” McDiarmid told Digital Spy. “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.

“I said, ‘Oh, does he come back?’ And [George Lucas] 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.”

Watch the full interview below:

After Palpatine’s killing at the hands of Darth Vader in Return Of The Jedi, it was always assumed that he’d never return to the franchise, but Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy recently stated that it was always their plan to bring the character back.

“This has been in the blueprint for a long time, yeah,” she revealed. “We had not landed on exactly how we might do that, but yes, it was always [the plan for The Rise of Skywalker]”.


Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker
Daisy Ridley as Rey in ‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’. Credit: Lucasfilm / Disney

Colin Trevorrow, the original director of the new film, said that it was eventual director J.J. Abrams who brought the idea forwards, and that he himself had never considered the move.

“Bringing back the Emperor was an idea J.J. brought to the table when he came on board,” Trevorrow told Empire. “It’s honestly something I never considered. I commend him for it. This was a tough story to unlock, and he found the key.”

NME‘s three-star review of The Rise Of Skywalker calls Episode Nine a “sufficiently satisfying finale that gives fans exactly what they want.”