The Star Wars Episode IX panel at Star Wars Celebration brought some big revelations, including a title for the upcoming film: The Rise of Skywalker. But the biggest surprise may have come at the end of the first teaser-trailer, with a none-too-subtle implication at the return of Emperor Sheev Palpatine.
The teaser-trailer shows a series of action scenes, with voice-over from Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) seeming to pass the Jedi legacy on to Rey. “We’ve passed on all we know,” he says. “A thousand generations live in you now. We’ll always be with you. No one’s ever really gone.”
But that hopeful final line immediately turns sinister, with audio of Palpatine’s identifiable cackle. As if to confirm the return of the Emperor, actor Ian McDiarmid briefly appeared on-stage as well. This pairs with some hints the cast and director JJ Abrams had dropped during the QA session of the panel, when they mentioned that the heroes gather together to take on the greatest evil in the galaxy.
Luke Skywalker passed away in the previous film, The Last Jedi, so presumably any advice he lends to Rey in this one will be as a Force Ghost. It’s unknown how Palpatine is returning, but in the now non-canonical Expanded Universe fiction, the character was known for cloning himself to be functionally immortal. Star Wars: Battlefront 2, which is canon under the new Disney continuity, did suggest that the Emperor had contingency plans in place in the event of his death.
For more news, check out everything coming out of Star Wars Celebration.