In a couple of interviews late last year, Ian McDiarmid teased that he could one day return as the villainous Emperor Palpatine in various projects. It would certainly be interesting see more of the dynamic between Darth Vader and Palpatine or even if his secret cloning experiment is referenced or used in any of the many upcoming Star Wars projects on the horizon. Check out the quotes and video below, along with my thoughts on where Palpatine could show up again in the Star Wars franchise.
In an interview with Metro (UK) back in September of 2021 McDiarmid spoke about the Emperor’s end in The Rise of Skywalker. McDiarmid said,
“I think I have to accept that, thanks to my ungrateful granddaughter, my annihilation was finally final. [But] of course [Darth] Vader is back in the new [Obi-Wan Kenobi] television series so I suppose it’s not impossible that one day his mentor might be discovered once again skulking in the shadows.”
As Luke once said “No one is ever really gone.” In the world of Star Wars, anyone can come back. Some examples of people who we all thought were gone are Boba Fett and Darth Maul. In addition, in a video from another interview McDiarmid did last November via Red Carpet News TV, he talks a little bit about Kenobi. McDiarmid was asked if there is a chance we’d ever see Palpatine again and his response was:
“There’s a chance, there’s always a chance. I’m lurking around the background of a lot of these anthology projects… and in some of the animated ones, my voice does make a return. But I have no news to tell you in answer to your question.”
He adds, “I can tell you I’m not in the series that has just been completed” (as of November 2021). But he does admit to talking with Hayden Christensen and trying “to get as much information out of him as possible” about the show. He was told that Christensen and Ewan McGregor fight again as Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi. This has already been rumored but it’s nice to hear the old master and his apprentice have been talking, and rather fun to think of McDiarmid trying his best to pry Star Wars secrets from Christensen like any of us excited fans would undoubtedly also do given the chance.
That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if Palpatine did make a cameo in Kenobi. Especially since Darth Vader is going to be a big part of the show. I think if Palpatine were to show up it would be scenes where Darth Vader is asking Palpatine for advice about how to go after or defeat Obi-Wan. This could be something similar to what we’ve seen in the original trilogy, like Vader in front of a holo of Palpatine. So here’s hoping Mr. McDiarmid got a call to appear on the series since recording this interview!
In the past, McDiarmid has voiced Palpatine in a few of the animated shows. He was briefly in the Clone Wars and season four Rebels. It is possible that his return could be in The Bad Batch since that is set during the Empire. The second season of The Bad Batch is slated for the spring which would be before Kenobi. And both The Bad Batch and The Mandalorian have had a secondary focus on cloning, which was part of Palpatine’s story in The Rise of Skywalker, so he could show up in either show.
Another upcoming show that takes place during the Empire era is Andor. There hasn’t been much news about this show but it does take place before Rogue One. I doubt Palpatine would make an appearance in this show, but he could definitely be mentioned and his presence could be felt.
If Ian McDiarmid does come back as Emperor Palpatine where do you think he’ll show up next? Let us know in the comments or on our social media!