The return of Emperor Palpatine in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has been met with a polarized response from fans and film critics. Anyone wondering how the villainous Sith lord stayed alive after being seemingly killed by Darth Vader in 1983’s “Return of the Jedi” does not get any answers in “Rise of Skywalker.” The film begins and it is openly accepted by nearly everyone in the galaxy that Palpatine is back. The opening crawl reads: “The dead speak! The galaxy has heard a mysterious broadcast, a threat of revenge in the sinister voice of the late Emperor Palpatine.” That’s about as much as J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio’s “Rise of Skywalker” script gives fans in terms of explaining the Sith Lord’s return.
In a new interview with HuffPost, “Rise of Skywalker” editor Maryann Brandon confirms that the explanation about how Palpatine survived and/or came back to life after “Return of the Jedi” was removed from the “Skywalker” theatrical cut. “[There was originally] a little more information about it, what was keeping [Palpatine] alive,” Brandon said, “[but] it seemed to go off topic.” While it’s somewhat comforting to know there is an actual answer behind Palpatine’s continued existence, it remains to be seen whether or not Abrams, Terrio, or Brandon will ever reveal the truth.
More from IndieWire
- Holiday Box Office Winners and Losers, From 'Star Wars' to 'Cats'
- 'Rise of Skywalker' Editor Opens Up on Rushed Production, Agrees Film Is Fan Service
“It was kind of a delicate balance and went back and forth a lot about how much we wanted to reveal,” Brandon said about Palpatine’s return. “Some scenes changed quite a bit, the way that we wanted to present it to the audience. In the end, we ended up showing a lot less of it than we started with.”
Brandon added, “There was so much information in the film and so many characters that we wanted to have an audience concentrate on. I think we felt we didn’t want to clutter the film up with things you didn’t need to know.”
Many “Star Wars” fans might disagree with Brandon and say that the reason for Palpatine’s return was something that needed to be known in order to make “The Rise of Skywalker” work. Head over to HuffPost’s website to read more from Brandon on the film’s most polarizing plot points.
Best of IndieWire
- The Best Films of 2019, According to IndieWire's Staff
- 12 of the Best Female-Directed Horror Films of the 2010s, From 'Knives and Skin' to 'The Babadook'
- Why These Are the 8 Best-Cast Films of 2019