The recently released teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker provided very few details about the actual plot of the film, but it did reveal the return of Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine. The inclusion of the Dark Lord of the Sith surprised many and has already sparked arguments amongst fans over whether or not his return will add to the plot or prove to be little more than fan service. However, from the sounds of it, Palpatine's return has been in the works for a long time.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy revealed to Kevin Polowy of Yahoo Entertainment that the plan has always been to include Palpatine, saying, "This has been in the blueprint for a long time, yeah, we had not landed on exactly how we might do that, but yes, it was always [to be in Episode IX]."
Kathleen Kennedy says Palpatine's return was in the blueprint for a long time. "We had not landed on exactly how we might do that, but it was always [to be in Episode IX]." pic.twitter.com/SDqqKHgJ7C— Kevin Polowy (@djkevlar) April 12, 2019
Palpatine appeared in every film in the original and prequel trilogies except for Star Wars: A New Hope. The Emperor was last seen in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, when Darth Vader -- unable to stand by as his son, Luke, was being tortured -- hurled him down the Death Star reactor shaft and fulfilled his role as the Chosen One, bringing balance to the Force.
No details have been released regarding how Darth Sidious managed to survive his fall or the desturction of the Death Star. It's also not clear on how large a role he will play in Episode IX. However, it is far from difficult to believe that he was intended to return from the beginning as, in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, he implied that he had learned how to cheat death, much like his master, Darth Plagueis the Wise.
Directed and co-written 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, Keri Russell, Matt Smith, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher, with Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant. The film arrives December 20.