It Took 40 Years, But Star Wars Is Finally Letting Emperor Palpatine Die For Real

After 40 years of Star Wars storytelling, it seems that Emperor Palpatine will not return and that his death will be permanent. Darth Vader throwing Palpatine to his death in Return of the Jedi may have seemed like the end to audiences at the time, but the franchise has always found a way to bring the Emperor back from the dead. The first instance came in 1991 with Star Wars: Dark Empire by Veitch and Cam Kennedy, bringing Palpatine back in a clone body six years after Return of the Jedi. Although the story is now non-canon, Palpatine returned much the same way in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Now, however, Star Wars may finally let Palpatine go by letting him stay dead. A few sources have hinted this is the case, but if Disney were considering Palpatine's return, it would be a mistake. The Emperor has already served his purpose to the saga and then some, making it time for upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows to focus on a new antagonist. One upcoming Star Wars movie in particular strongly suggests that this will happen.
Emperor Palpatine Won't Return In Rey's New Jedi Order Movie Emperor Palpatine may have returned once in The Rise of Skywalker, but he won't return a second time in Rey's New Jedi Order movie. Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid confirmed in an interview with that "I haven't been approached" implying that Disney and Lucasfilm have no plans to feature the Sith Lord again. While this can change later in development, as The Rise of Skywalker set the precedent for Palpatine's return, Disney will likely be eager to avoid further criticism. Palpatine's initial return proved to be controversial, in part for its lack of explanation and the sequels having waited until the last minute.
Palpatine's return was also controversial in the pre-Disney era of Star Wars, even when there was an explanation. Dark Empire brought back Palpatine in a very similar manner, and while it was clearly explained how he did so, the series proved divisive among fans, especially once it contradicted the Chosen One prophecy in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The Rise of Skywalker faced this same problem, as well as its lack of original villains, so Rey's New Jedi Order movie will surely move on from Emperor Palpatine.


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