Classic Star Wars villain Emperor Palpatine could be appearing in the fourth and final season of Star Wars Rebels, with movie actor Ian McDiarmid reprising the role. Last month at Celebration Orlando, it was revealed the upcoming season of the Disney XD hit will also be the last, giving Dave Filoni and crew a chance to tell the complete story of the Ghost team and how they helped form the Rebel Alliance seen in the original trilogy. Though the series primarily focuses on new characters, the Lucasfilm story group hasn't been averse to including legacy figures made popular in the films. Season 2 saw the terror of Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi returned in season 3 for a poignant episode with Darth Maul.
As invested fans are in the stories of Ezra, Kanan, Hera, and the rest, many are hoping to see some familiar faces come back in animated form before Rebels bows out. Filoni will not confirm or deny if some well-known antagonists will grace the small screen again, but the latest rumors indicate one Sheev Palpatine is part of their plans of the show's epic conclusion.
A source has told Star Wars News Net that around six months ago, actor Warwick Davis recorded voice over lines for his Rebels character Rukh, and a few short days later McDiarmid also travelled to London to do the same. Though there is some question over whether or not the two were performing for a different project, most signs are pointing to the work being for Rebels. If Palpatine is to appear in season 4, it makes a great deal of sense. The Emperor preferred to stay in the shadows, hidden from the rest of the galaxy he ruled, but with the Rebels rising, he might be inclined to make a move. After all, the Battle of Scarif was the Alliance's first major victory, so odds are things don't end well for the band on TV.
It's interesting that McDiarmid is said to be playing the Emperor on Rebels because in season 2, Sam Witwer portrayed the villain and did an excellent job. A talented VO actor, Witwer was able to do an extremely convincing take on Palpatine's iconic dialect, so it stands reason to believe he would return for season 4 (especially given his relationship with Filoni). That said, Star Wars movie actors have played their characters on Rebels in the past (James Earl Jones, Billy Dee Williams), meaning this development wouldn't exactly be out of the question. It is unknown if Palpatine will factor into any of the upcoming films, so this would be a nice way of getting McDiarmid to do the Emperor one last time and add on to his legacy. Several viewers would enjoy seeing that.
Time will tell what the future holds for Rebels, and Lucasfilm could be saving an Emperor reveal as a surprise for when they're ready. The show's midseason trailers have become quite famous for tantalizing teases like the final showdown between Obi-Wan and Maul and Vader's duel with Ahsoka Tano. There are big things in store for the show when it returns later this year, and there isn't much out that could top the Emperor crushing the Rebellion personally.
Star Wars Rebels will return to Disney XD Fall 2017.
Source: Star Wars News Net