Ian McDiarmid believes Palpatine's return in The Rise of Skywalker was justified

The Shakespearean actor discusses the decision to bring Palpatine back to life.

Palpatine image courtesy of Starwars.com
Palpatine image courtesy of Starwars.com /

The return of Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker proved to be one of the film’s most controversial elements, as it was never explained how the infamous Sith Lord came back to life. While the film’s novelization clarified that Palpatine was resurrected through cloning, the way in which the film completely omitted the details of his return was viewed by some fans and critics as nothing more than lazy writing.

However, actor Ian McDiarmid, who played Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker and in other Star Wars movies, has defended the decision to resurrect the character. Speaking to Empire, McDiarmid was quoted as saying the following when asked about Palpatine’s return:

"Of course, he was dead at the end of Return of the Jedi! And frankly, I think George thought he’d killed me too. But J.J. thought it would be a good idea – I wasn’t going to argue with him. Still, if there’s anyone who might be able to pull off a return from beyond the grave, it might just be Palpatine. I felt that Palpatine always had a plan B – probably a plan C, D, E, and F as well. And he was an expert in cloning, so…"

McDiarmid clearly feels that Palpatine’s return was justified. While not everyone will agree with him, it was still interesting to hear the Shakespearean actor giving his thoughts on the matter. Although McDiarmid acknowledged that George Lucas would probably not have wanted Palpatine to be resurrected, the actor went on to describe how the character’s penchant for planning ahead made his return more than plausible. Throughout the detailed interview, McDiarmid also went on to describe how he feels a sense of pride about playing one of the most iconic and purely evil villains in cinematic history, saying:

"The thing that I’m most pleased about, and you know, this only came to a head when they asked me to come back for The Rise of Skywalker, is that every single evil act in all of the Star Wars franchise is either directly or indirectly down to that character. That is total evil, and that’s strangely satisfying as an arc. I do feel fortunate to have been able to do it – and other villains of cinema now have to compete with that."

Palpatine’s return in The Rise of Skywalker will probably always remain a point of contention among certain fans, but there is absolutely no denying that Palpatine will still be remembered as one of the greatest villains ever to have graced the big screen. Even if you happen to disagree with the way in which no explanation was given for how the character returned from the dead throughout The Rise of Skywalker, fans will always be grateful for Ian McDiarmid’s magnificent portrayal of Palpatine throughout the Star Wars franchise.

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