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Ian McDiarmid Defends Palpatine’s Return In Star Wars Sequels – But He’s Wrong!

In a recent chat with Empire Ian McDiarmid defends Palpatine's return in the Star Wars sequels, however he's wrong!.

In a recent chat Ian McDiarmid defends Palpatine’s return in the Star Wars sequels, however he’s wrong! Before I explain why I think he’s wrong, we should listen to what the actor himself has to say. I’ll also happily admit I love McDiarmid’s Palpatine and I think he crafted one of cinema’s most enduring villains. That being said, I cannot agree with him on this one.

Speaking to Empire recently McDiarmid was asked about the negative response from fans to Palpatine’s return in the final sequel movie The Rise of Skywalker.

“A lot of people said it was ridiculous,” he says. “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,” McDiarmid reasons. “And he was an expert in cloning, so…”

“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,” says McDiarmid. “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.”

He’s Wrong

Look, McDiarmid is right in that if any evil character was going to reappear through cloning it would be Palpatine. He has 90% of the Galaxy’s resources at his disposal. So yeah, I’m sure he did have many plans we never saw.

My issue is that, A, Palpatine was so confident in RotJ I don’t think he ever considered he would die by the hands of Vader. B, and this is the big one for me, his return undermines Anakin’s redemptive death in RotJ. This one goes deeper to the point where I think they fundamentally erred by calling these sequels Episodes 7-9. If they had said this was the start of a new saga they would never have felt as beholden to certain ideas.

Palpatine coming back isn’t an issue, it’s what that means for Anakin. So…Anakin was not really the Chosen One then, because he didn’t destroy the Sith and bring the Force back into balance? All he did was temporarily hold up the Sith until Sidious’ own granddaughter could be the one to really destroy the Sith 30 years later.

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For any sequel fans out there who can’t understand this point, lemme put it in context. What if the sequel you loved were retconned by a 10-12? What if Ben Solo is inexplicably back to Kylo Ren and Rey died off-screen to him at the behest of another cloned version of Palpatine? That would suck wouldn’t it? Well, now put yourself in the shoes of an OT fan like me. I watched the first 6 films be the story of Anakin Skywalker’s rise, fall and redemption to fulfil his destiny. It’s a complete arc for both he and Palpatine.

Ergo, Palpatine’s return wasn’t bad because it made no sense. If made no sense is what you’re after, we have the surviving throne room after the Death Star exploded then crashed on a planet. Silliness! Then we have the map which was designed based on that broken wreckage, which was completely pointless and frankly even sillier. I’ll drop in sudden Force healing as another nonsensical addition.

No, Palpatine’s return was a poor decision because it just undermined the rest of the franchise before by tacking on a new ending.

So, Ian McDiarmid defends Palpatine’s return in the Star Wars sequels, and I say he’s wrong! Who is correct? You decide below as always,

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