Rumors about Star Wars: Episode VII have been flying fast and furious, ranging from plot details to how the new canon is going to take shape in the long run and everything in between. Lately there has been a lot of attention paid to who the villains may be. There is an old familiar face in the mix, as well as some new-jack upstarts, but now yet another report has surfaced about a surprising evildoer who could return to action.
There are potential major SPOIILERS beyond this point, that fact should be obvious.
Who, you may ask could we see don a black cape in the J.J. Abrams-directed Episode VII?
The Emperor. Yes, that Emperor. Palpatine. He of the lightning fingers who gets thrown down open and questionably placed shaft of some kind at the end of Return of the Jedi. Latino Review first reported this, though other outlets have turned to their own avenues and “confirmed” this piece of news.
According to LR’s sources, “The Emperor “100%” will appear in Star Wars Episode VII and VIII.” That sounds like they’re fairly certain this is going to happen, and it will be interesting to see how he figures in over the course of multiple films.
We heard rumblings that Darth Vader would be back (and played by a wrestler), and then later we heard more substantial reports to that effect that said he will appear in a flashback, possibly with a young Princess Leia (who may, reportedly, be played by Billy Lourd, Carrie Fisher’s real-life daughter). We’ve also heard that the Inquisitors, those Jedi hunters who will figure prominently into the upcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels, will be among the villains of Episode VII. They’ll also appear in the flashbacks.
It’s possible that the Emperor could also appear in a flashback, but, especially if he’s set to appear in multiple chapters, it’s sounding like he’s going to be a part of the foreground action. Badass Digest picked up this story, and their sources say that the cyborg villain we heard about a while back—the one where a picture leaked and we assumed it was the Inquisitor—is actually the Emperor himself.
How could this happen? Well, though he takes a serious tumble in Jedi, the old bastard is powerful in the ways of the Force and we never actually see him die. Perhaps he was able to survive and escape before Lando blasted the second Death Star into a billion pieces. That seems the most logical approach, though admittedly kind of cheap. Maybe he fell out the bottom and was floating around deep space for a while, like what almost happened to Luke at the end of Empire.
Overall, this idea would fit with the pulpy, serial-based nature of Star Wars’ origins, where this kind of thing happened all the time. Perhaps he’s still out there, pulling the strings of the recovering, more underground Dark Side—we’ve heard tell that the forces of evil are hiding out on an isolated ice planet working on weapon of mass destruction. If he lasts through multiple films, that is certainly a possibility.
Also, don’t expect to see Ian McDiarmid reprise his role. We heard it from his mouth a while back that he won’t appear in Episode VII, and according to this report, another actor will play the part (Andy Serkis in a motion capture suit, perhaps?).
As usual, this is all unconfirmed hearsay, so take these reports with a grain of salt. And I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again before we get there I’m sure, we probably won’t know any of this for certain until the film opens December 18, 2015.