Although the Emperor died at the end of 'Return of the Jedi' could he make the greatest comeback of all time in 'Star Wars: Episode VII'?
I have to admit, it's hard to imagine the 'Star Wars' universe without the insidious influence of the Emperor himself. While Darth Vader was certainly the most prominent villain of the original trilogy, Emperor Palpatine had his evil hand in the events of the entire saga - from the trade embargo of 'Episode I' to the construction of the planet-destroying Death Stars. Of course, we all remember those iconic scenes where the Emperor was thrown to his death by none other than Darth Vader himself… but could the Emperor have survived?
In a word - no. But that might not stop him making a spectacular return.
Speaking with USA Today, legendary actor Ian McDiarmid sheds some light on those iconic death scenes… but that might not be the end for the deviously manipulative Emperor.
"I remember it well because it took about a week to get me down that chute with the wires and flying," he explains. "I remember saying, 'Is he dead, George?' at the time, and he said, 'Yes, he is. Absolutely dead'."
"I guess that means he can't survive and do Episode VII… unless of course he'd been clever enough to clone himself. He's certainly clever enough, but I don't know if he had that idea or not."
And when you really think about it… why wouldn't he? It always seemed a bit strange that the Emperor of the entire galaxy would choose to be on board the very space station that he knew the rebellion would attack. Of course, he wasn't expecting them to succeed, but would a man of his power and cunning really take such a risk?
While this is pure speculation at this point, the idea that the Emperor might have cloned himself opens up two very distinct possibilities…
Firstly, that might not have been the real Emperor who was killed aboard the second Death Star. Of course, that opens up a whole different can of worms - namely, would a cloned version of the Emperor still be able to wield the raw power of the Force? To be honest, I have a feeling that would be stretching it a bit too far… for one thing, if clones were imbued with their master's power, what would stop him from creating an entire army of Force users at the push of a button?
But the second possibility is far more fitting… Perhaps the Emperor really did die at the end of 'Return of the Jedi'. But he had already prepared a plan for his triumphant return. In the Expanded Universe, we've already seen the story of the Emperor's reincarnation - using an ancient Sith ritual to transfer his spirit into a cloned body, he was able to cheat death. But will the writers look to the Expanded Universe for inspiration?
We've already heard rumours about a 'disciple of Palpatine' appearing in 'Episode VII. But are they just wishful thinking on the part of an eager fan? For now, we'll have to wait and see. But I get the feeling we shouldn't underestimate the power of the Dark Side.
Do you think The Emperor could return in the sequel trilogy? Who else would make a fitting Dark Side villain?