Star Wars: Recasting the original and prequel trilogies for the 2020s

Brie Larson/Will Smith/Tom Holland. Composite: Dork Side of the Force.
Brie Larson/Will Smith/Tom Holland. Composite: Dork Side of the Force. /
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Jeremy Irons Star Wars
BERLIN, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 29: Berlinale International Jury President Jeremy Irons is seen on stage at the closing ceremony of the 70th Berlinale International Film Festival Berlin at Berlinale Palace on February 29, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images) /

10. Jeremy Irons as The Emperor

While the voice of the Emperor, or Darth Sidious, has been provided by Clive Revill, Sam Witwer, Ian Abercrombie, Tim Curry, Nick Jameson, and Trevor Devall, only Ian McDiarmid has had the privilege of embodying the live-action character through all three Star Wars trilogies. Like many others who were chosen to take on roles in the original trilogy, Ian McDiarmid was a veteran of the stage before he was chosen to become Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi.

McDiarmid became one of the very few to carry his role through the original, prequel, and sequel trilogy as he last brought back Darth Sidious for The Rise of Skywalker. McDiarmid continued to have a successful stage career, but he will most be remembered for his role as a character originally dubbed the Emperor.

When considering who else might be able to take on the dangerously calm presence of the Emperor in both voice and physical presence, the potential soundbite that continued to play in my mind was Jeremy Irons uttering “I will make it legal” in the opening moments of The Phantom Menace.

Jeremy Irons may always be most quickly remembered for voicing Scar in The Lion King, but his extensive career has included roles in Die Hard with a Vengeance, Lolita, The Man in the Iron Mask, and HBO’s Watchmen. If Star Wars were to be recast today, there’s no better Emperor than Jeremy Irons.