Star Wars Episode VII & VIII Spoiler Suggests A Surprising Return

A new report from news and rumor site Latino Review claims that a major, as-yet-unannounced character from the original Star Wars trilogy will appear in Star Wars Episode VII.

Potential spoilers beyond this point.

"Two independent sources have recently written to comic book movie to confirm something they had heard back when production first began," the story reads. "Even though Star Wars: Episode VII (as well as the following two sequels) will feature its share of new villains, the person pulling the strings, the real puppet master, the big bad of the trilogy is none other than Emperor Palpatine."

They add that Ian McDiarmid (who was Palpatine in the prequel films as well as Return of the Jedi) will no longer portray the character, leading to speculation in the article as to whether the character will physically resemble the version we saw most recently. While Emperor Palpatine appeared to die at the end of Return of the Jedi, the Expanded Universe saw him return in the Dark Empire comics, in which his spirit possessed the body of one of his elite assassins and he returned as "Palpatine the Undying."

He would appear in two more stories before finally dying a final death.

Of course, that McDiarmid doesn't appear in Episode VII may not mean much other than that the Emperor's survival is meant to be a surprise. In The Empire Strikes Back's original release, the character was portrayed by Elaine Baker, the wife of makeup designer Rick Baker, with a voice provided by character actor Clive Revill. McDiarmid had not yet been cast at that point.