Ian McDiarmid: 'Palpatine's clone reveal was originally in Rise of Skywalker script'
Actor Ian McDiarmid has discussed how the lines of dialogue which established the fact were cut.
Ian McDiarmid has revealed the original script for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stated his character Emperor Palpatine was a clone.
The Scottish actor's evil Sith lord Palpatine was assumed to have died in 1983's Return of the Jedi and yet he made a surprise comeback in last year's The Rise of Skywalker, which never explained how he survived his apparent death to make a new claim for power.
However, fans were shocked earlier this week when an upcoming novelisation of the film by writer Rae Carson indicated Palpatine was a clone inhabited by the soul of the villain's original self, with social media users expressing their disappointment that this wasn't established in the movie.
During an appearance at London Comic Con Spring earlier this month, McDiarmid confirmed that the clone reveal was in the original script, in an exchange between Palpatine and Adam Driver's Kylo Ren, but was cut from the final film.
"The cloning thing? Yes. Well, of course, there were all sorts of explanations for why I might return," McDiarmid said during a panel, according to IndieWire. "But it's interesting because at one point the script had a line in that first scene with Adam 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 75-year-old, who also played the character in all three prequel films, previously told Digital Spy that he was "totally surprised" to be asked to reprise the role because he thought Palpatine was dead, just like everyone else.
"I thought he was dead. Because when we did Return of the Jedi, and I was thrown down that chute to Galactic Hell, he was dead. And I said, 'Oh, does he come back?' And (George Lucas) said, 'No, he's dead.' So, I just accepted that," he commented.
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