The original versions of Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker were far more disturbing than the theatrical version we saw back in December.
While Emperor Palpatine’s return to the Star Wars universe in The Rise of Skywalker was met with mixed reception, it’s fair to say that he looked fantastic. Already a pretty freaky looking villain, Emperor Palpatine was made even more grotesque in The Rise of Skywalker by virtue of him being a failed clone. It’s hard to imagine how Emperor Palpatine could look even more scary, but according to Neil Scanlan, the Star Wars villain originally looked more disturbing.
Speaking with Collider to commemorate Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hitting Digital HD, creature and makeup effects supervisor Neil Scanlan discussed how Emperor Palpatine’s new look was informed by him being a clone that was rejecting the force that resided inside of him.
“Luke Fisher, who is one of the concept designers that works with us, did a lot of sketches of Palpatine being on a kind of life support system. Something that is keeping him alive and keeping him in one piece. And then some parts of his physicality are almost independently being fed the necessary nutrients of life-giving entities. So the idea of him being held on a rig which allowed him to move around and almost the Nosferatu aspect of that sequence, all of those things were part of trying to come to understand how much we would show with that.”
Neil Scalan continued by discussing the early versions of the Star Wars villain were far more disturbing, including one version showing Emperor Palpatine dismembered.
“In the early concept days they were quite extreme. We explored a dismembered version of him. We explored more abstract versions of what he might be. You slowly get to the point where in J.J’s world, that [Palpatine clone] story is still being told, but to an audience that maybe is not so familiar with Star Wars, you don’t have to know the backstory so much. You can understand and be part of that story without necessarily having too much history. It’s that combination of being able to tell the story but at the same time have some depth to it, which is referring back to a larger meaning or a greater explanation.”
It’d be really interesting to see those early versions of Emperor Palpatine, especially the dismembered one. While the look they went for in the latest Star Wars film was definitely spooky, it would have been awesome to see something that delved more into the abstract nature Scanlan touched upon. Of course, Star Wars villains are always about their cool looks, so it makes sense that Emperor Palpatine somewhat resembled his original, iconic look.
What were your thoughts on Emperor Palpatine’s look in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? Comment below and let us know!
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. Carrie Fisher appeared as General Leia Organa through the use of previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now available on Digitial HD and will be released on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray, and DVD on March 31.