Emperor Palpatine on the new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker poster is actually from a toy, not a movie or TV show as previously thought. Lucasfilm confirmed Ian McDiarmid's return as Sheev Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) at Star Wars Celebration earlier this year, shortly after teasing the Emperor's return at the end of the first Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer.
But ever since then, the studio has remained quiet on exactly how and why the Emperor returns - specifically, if Palpatine will appear as a Force ghost - though there have certainly been supplemental materials to answer both of those questions, at least in some form, in the Star Wars comics. Four months later, however, Lucasfilm finally revealed the first look at Emperor Palpatine by unveiling a brand-new teaser poster for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at D23 Expo 2019. The thing is, Palpatine didn't look like himself from the original or prequel trilogies.
In the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker teaser poster, a hooded figure can be seen looming above Rey and Kylo Ren, who are dueling each other. While that person is undoubtedly Palpatine, he looks considerably different. At first, it was believed that Lucasfilm used the Palpatine from Star Wars Rebels, hence why he looks like a cartoon. Interestingly, the answer is a lot more ridiculous. The Palpatine in the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker poster was taken from a Facebook post for one of Hot Toys' Palpatine figures. Check it out below.
Sure, Hot Toys' figures are known for being accurate to their subjects, but they're still unmistakably toys. Either the people who made the poster at Lucasfilm thought they could get away with it or were unaware that the source was a toy, to begin with, which is even more concerning. It wouldn't be the first time that a poster (or film, for that matter) used assets from somewhere else to get by, but for it to be done on a teaser poster for one of the biggest and most-anticipated movies of all-time, and from a marketing department that is presumably loaded with cash, is absurd.
It's no doubt that the teaser poster for The Rise of Skywalker is exciting, especially since it depicts a long-awaited duel between Rey and Kylo Ren as well as showcases the return of the entire saga's big bad, but knowing that a Hot Toys figure - actually, a social media image for a Hot Toys figure - was used for this may take away the novelty of it. Perhaps things will be different when the official Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker poster releases sometime in the fall.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019