A new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker poster gives fans their first look at Emperor Palpatine. During Celebration Chicago, it was surprisingly revealed the villain would be coming back for the saga's grand finale, making him the character that tied the three trilogies together. Palpatine's now-iconic laugh ended the Star Wars 9 teaser trailer on a high note, sending viewers into a frenzy as they theorized the nature about his return.
In typical Lucasfilm fashion, they've kept several Star Wars 9 plot details under wraps during the earliest stages of promotion. Palpatine, of course, remains one of the most secretive elements. There had yet to been a look at the Emperor from the new film, until now.
During the 2019 D23 Expo, Lucasfilm shared a new Star Wars 9 poster, which features the Emperor watching over a battle between Rey and Kylo Ren. Check it out in the space below:
Minimalistic, but eye-catching in design, the poster plays into one of the core conflicts of the sequel trilogy: Rey vs. Kylo Ren. Dating back to The Force Awakens, that dynamic has been at the center of these new films, with the two characters representing the present and future of the two sides of the Force. With Palpatine looming over them in this one-sheet, it'll be truly interesting to see how Rey and Kylo's relationship develops in The Rise of Skywalker. A sizzle reel that played during the D23 panel ended with Rey wielding a double-bladed red lightsaber as she wore all-black robes. Reportedly, the Emperor spoke while this shot played, suggesting Rey could be aligned with Palpatine. Since there's so little known about the plot at this point in time, it's hard to say with any certainty how the pieces fall into place, but this will surely make for great theory fodder over the next few months.
Lucasfilm had held off revealing the Emperor (outside of his trademark laugh) in marketing to this point. In the poster, he resembles the character audiences saw in Return of the Jedi, with his evil yellow eyes glowing from under the dark hood. Of course, there's still much to learn about the nature of Palpatine's role, but he seems to have that classic appearance. It'll be interesting to see how much more of the Emperor is revealed during marketing; Lucasfilm enjoys keeping spoilers close to the chest, but it's hard to market a blockbuster film like Star Wars without fleshing out the villain somewhat. Most likely, future trailers, TV spots, and posters will have bits and pieces sprinkled throughout, saving all of the meaty material for December.