Episode 9 is expected to bring in iconic elements from all the previous trilogy movies.
Director JJ Abrams and writer Chris Terrio have committed to honouring the beloved characters and themes that made the Star Wars universe so unique.
Billy Dee Williams is confirmed to return as Lando Calrissian and there are persistent rumours about Darth Vader/Anakin making a final appearance.
But what about his master? A new claim this week ignited hopes that Palpatine will be part of the final movie, but in a way he has never been seen before.
A new claim this week from The Weekly Planet podcast has made a huge dent in every previous Palpatine report.
SuperbroMovies was the first to report the story: “A classic Star Wars character could be making their return to the series. According to James of The Weekly Planet Podcast, Doctor Who alum Matt Smith may be playing a young Sheev Palpatine in Episode IX.
“During the show’s Hot Scoop or Shot of Poop segment, Mr Sunday Movies revealed that a source, who is close to the production of Episode IX, claims that Smith will be bringing the Emperor back to the big screen.”
Smith’s Sith shock has immediately lead fans to suspect scenes showing him with his master, Darth Plagueis.
Smith’s involvement was officially confimed back in August, but there has been no official word about his role, as yet.
As always, take any of these swirling rumours and leaks with a hefty pinch of salt.
Some pedantic fans have already poined out that 6’1 Smith is too tall to play Palpatine, while many are understandably more interested to see the reurn of the magnificent McDiarmid one last time.
With other reports pointing to flashback scenes with Snoke, fans have pointed out that Smith’s angular features and height would be perfect to portray a younger version of the former First Order leader.
How will this tie in with previous reports that Palpatine would appear in an old hologram about Imperial weapons and plans being watched by Kylo Ren?
That certainly implies the classic McDiarmid incarnation.
The biggest attraction of a young Palpatine scene is the associated hope that fans will finally get to see Plagueis on screen, especially since many fans are also hoping for a shock revelation that Snoke was actually Plagueis all along…