Palpatine’s return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was planned before The Last Jedi hit theaters based on new evidence.
The Last Jedi left the Star Wars franchise in a fragile place with Jurassic World helmer Colin Trevorrow originally tapped to finish out the sequel trilogy. Trevorrow would end up being replaced by J.J. Abrams, who made the controversial decision to bring back Palpatine, something that was a surprise to many when it was revealed at the end of the first trailer for The Rise of Skywalker.
A common critique of the sequel trilogy by fans is that it wasn’t planned out in advance. While it seems J.J. Abrams apparently toyed with the idea of bringing Palpatine back when he was working on The Force Awakens, Colin Trevorrow’s leaked Star Wars: Duel of the Fates scripts never featured the phantom Emperor. Abrams officially replaced Trevorrow on Episode IX in September 2017 and likely brought the idea of Palpatine’s resurrection back now that we know the first sketches of his return were done before The Last Jedi hit theaters in December. This is all based on The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker written by Phil Szostak, which revealed the art department started working on the film in October 2017.
This Palpatine sketch is dated November 1, 2017 but the earliest Palpatine pieces are dated October 11, 2017 which, if you’ve read the Art of #TheRiseOfSkywalker, you’ll know is mere days after the art department started on the film.#StarWars https://t.co/fz4uCiPLB1
— Phil Szostak (@PhilSzostak) July 4, 2020
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Here is the official synopsis for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker:
Lucasfilm and director J. J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come.
Directed by J. J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Ian McDiarmid, and Billy Dee Williams. The late Carrie Fisher appears as General Leia Organa through the use of previously unreleased footage shot for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now available on Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray, and DVD. Stay tuned to Heroic Hollywood for all the latest news surrounding Star Wars and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more video content in the future!