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Ian McDiarmid : The Emperor Has A Future

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Moviehole's Sydney based news editor and interviewer. Works for the Austereo network.

Though he was thrown off a bridge (by no less than Darth Vader!) at the end of “Star Wars Episode VII : Return of the Jedi”, Emperor Palpatine will probably surface again – somewhere – in the extended, upcoming “Star Wars” world – or so his portrayer, actor Ian McDiarmid believes.

Talking to Sci-Fi Now, the actor who played the role of the villainous Sith Lord in the “Star Wars” prequels, as well as “Return of the Jedi”, says it’s unlikely – since they’re sequels – his character will pop up in the new trilogy, but there’s always those spin-offs and TV offerings Lucasfilm have in the works.

“Yes, I’m sort of interested in any future development he might have,” McDiarmid says of Palpatine. “Unfortunately, as you probably know, he died at the end of Episode VI, Vader sent him to cosmic hell so he’s not going to feature in any of the new Disney ones, I don’t think.

“On the other hand they’ve got lots of exciting ideas for spin-offs about separate characters and so on, and then there is the television series which George has talked about and decided to make into being for a number of years, and that takes place between Episodes III and IV when the Emperor is very much alive. So I think he probably does have a future.”

McDiarmid says there’s lots of story to still be told of his “evil” character.

“I did see the most recent book [Darth Plagueis by James Luceno] that was written about him and his background, I was given a copy in fact when I was at the last celebration, so I read that and that’s fascinating. And it’s interesting to think that this character, who I thought had no backstory at all, I thought he was just born in evil and died in evil apparently could have.”

Not to say Palpatine started out as a goodie two-shoes like Vader/Anakin.

“Well, I mean that was certainly Vader’s story, it was the tragedy of a fallen man. A man who had everything really, he had looks, talent, the ability to defend himself and so on and then it all went horribly wrong. Probably because of what happened to him when he was very young, and that often happens with people. And that story, the story of Episodes I, II and III, subsequently, is a sort of tragic arc, and you could call that Shakesperean too. But as I said to you earlier, I didn’t imagine that that would be true of Palpatine. I thought Sith were just somehow born evil, that’s what they were. But I’ve… with reference to a few things that George has said, I realised that that’s not true. He might well have a tragic arc too, but I don’t know. And even if he does I’m not sure we’ll ever see it. But obviously, if we did and if it happened it would be something that would be completely fascinating to do and it would be like building a Shakespearean character.

“Also the great thing about these movies is that George doesn’t give much away in advance to anybody,” McDiarmid continues, “which is good because that’s what a good storyteller should do, you should really want to know what’s going to happen next or how it all started.”

Another spin-off idea, perhaps!?

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About Hugh Humphreys

Moviehole's Sydney based news editor and interviewer. Works for the Austereo network.

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