Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker trailer hints at return of Ian McDiarmid as the dark side of the Force’s ‘greatest evil’

‘No one’s ever really gone.’

Ian McDiarmid, who played Emperor Palpatine aka Darth Sidious in Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi and the prequel trilogy (Episodes I-III), appearance to be returning for the final chapter of the main Star Wars saga — Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker. The movie opens Dec. 20, 2019.

Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker trailer description:

Rey in a desert, wielding a blue lightsaber.

Luke: “We’ve passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in your now … but this is your fight.”


Rey is dueling with a TIE Fighter – Kylo Ren’s?


A transport approaching a settlement in frosty mountains.

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

Kylo Ren on the field of battle with his stormtroopers, taking down a foe — a Resistance soldier?

Then repairing his helmet.

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

Finn with Rey’s staff, and Poe. BB-8 and DO. Chewie and Lando happily reunited on the Falcon.


Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

Threepio, Finn and Poe in vehicular desert battle. An A-Wing going down. A Yavin ceremony medallion. Rey hugs Leia.

Luke: “We’ll always be with you.”

Rey, Poe, Finn, Chewie, Threepio, DO and BB-8 approach … fallen wreckage of a Death Star!

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

“No one’s ever really gone.”

Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious cackling …

Title reveal time. Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker

Read on for our description of the panel leading up to the jaw-dropping trailer…

Star Wars: Episode IX panel recap

Late Show host Stephen Colbert introduced Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and director J.J. Abrams at Star Wars Celebration Chicago on Friday, as the world awaited its first look at Star Wars: Episode IX.

Kennedy described this trilogy as a third act steeped in George Lucas’ universe. “We’ve immersed ourselves in everything George created, talked about it endlessly, and we’re so excited,” she said.

Abrams said it was a relief to connect with fans even as the film was still being edited.

“At this stage, we’ve been so focused in the cave of the editing room and we’re aware of course of what it means to everyone outside that room,” he said.

“I think that what’s also fascinating is that it’s over 40 years, so the context that George was working with — it’s 40 years later, so to keep this relevant and meaningful to the characters and people experiencing the story, it has to feel like it’s of this time.”

Abrams said it has to work as its own movie and cap off a trilogy of trilogies, but also be about this generation responding to “the greatest evil.”

A major challenge Colbert asked about was the death of Carrie Fisher, who played General Leia Organa — a character still alive in the universe.

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

“What if we could actually write scenes around her?” Abrams said when it came time to deal with Fisher’s absence. He had unused footage from his own Episode VII…

“Princess Leia lives in this film in way that is mind-blowing to me.”

A scene depicted from Episode IX.

Abrams said the movie doesn’t pick up immediately after the last film — some time has gone by.

“This is an adventure that the group goes on together. One of the great things is the dynamic between the characters — that’s one of the things that I’m most excited for you to see,” he said.

Abrams said the use of physical and location shooting (such as Jordan) continues in Episode IX.

Kennedy described the last day of shooting as emotional, “but I can’t really give you details except to say that.”

The droid strikes back

Colbert then introduced Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and R2-D2. Daniels embraced the crowd, including those watching globally online. As Colbert noted, he “binds the trilogies together” by being in all the films.

“Threepio is the one who tells you that you’re in danger — you should get out of there,” Daniels said. “And what does everyone do in three trilogies – they say ‘shut up.’ Well, I’m here to say enough! The droid fights back!”

“Things like Alexa and Siri terrify me,” said Daniels, who has been a GPS voice himself as Threepio.

‘Lando never left’

Next, Colbert introduced Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian.)

“I’m a very lucky person. I didn’t expect to be in this little adventure. But I got lucky and I ended up working with someone that I have a tremendous regard for — J.J. Abrams.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some pretty extraordinary people in my lifetime, but I regard this as a real highlight for me.

“Lando never left me.”

Kennedy said Williams’ first day on set was “jaw-dropping.”

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

After some delightful banter with the star, Colbert then welcomed to the stage the “next generation” cast: Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Naomi Ackie (the newest member, whose character is named “Jannah”) and BB-8.

The next generation

“On this adventure I think Finn has found his identity within the Resistance,” Boyega said of his character, a runaway First Order stormtrooper.

“The lightsaber that Rey inherited from Luke lives,” Ridley said, referring to Anakin Skywalker’s original weapon which got rent in half in Episode VIII — The Last Jedi.

“There are some extraordinary things that the character and Daisy did in this movie,” Abrams said when Ridley was asked about new Force powers.

Tran, bullied online over the character of Rose, got a standing ovation when Colbert turned to her.

“I was grateful to Rian Johnson for so many things that he did (in Episode VIII),” Abrams said, “but the greatest, for me, was casting Kelly Marie.”

Suotamo gave props to original Chewie performer Peter Mayhew, and said “no matter how big or small you are, there’s a place for everyone.”

One big creature named Klad was shown, described as a “friend to the Resistance, and someone Chewie brought in” by Abrams.

BB-8 then introduced a new droid named D-O:

Abrams: “Who here wants to see a teaser trailer?”

The Rise of Skywalker is the title for Star Wars: Episode IX!

Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious) on stage! “Roll it again!” he says in that voice.

An earlier version of this post accidentally substituted “ultimate evil” for “greatest evil” in the headline. “Greatest evil” is the correct quote.


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Jayson Peters
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