'More than a clone': Ian McDiarmid reveals cut Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker line that explains Emperor Palpatine's return

An earlier version of Episode IX’s script featured an illuminating exchange between the villain and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren

Louis Chilton
Wednesday 04 March 2020 11:32
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Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker - Final Trailer

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker originally featured a line confirming that the evil Emperor Palpatine was in fact a clone of the series’ original villain, according to actor Ian McDiarmid.

McDiarmid’s sinister bad guy made a surprise return to the franchise last year, having previously been killed at the end of 1983’s Return of the Jedibut the film itself offered no explanation for his survival.

“The cloning thing?” McDiarmid said during an appearance at Comic Con in Brussels. “Yes. Well, of course, there were all sorts of explanations for why I might return."

“But it’s interesting because at one point the script had a line in that first scene with Adam [Driver] when he says ‘You’re a clone.’ And I said in that original script, which is no longer with us, ‘More than a clone. Less than a man.’ Which seemed to me to sum it up really.”

The revelation that Episode IX‘s version of Palpatine was a clone was recently unearthed when advanced copies of the official Lucasfilm book were sold in Chicago’s C232, and leaked online.

In the book, Kylo Ren (played in the films by Driver) stumbles upon cloning equipment on the Sith planet of Exegol.

McDiarmid’s comments are the first confirmation that Rise of Skywalker director JJ Abrams had intended to explain Palpatine’s survival in the film itself, instead of leaving it to be explained by the tie-in novels.

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