Ian McDiarmid reprising role as Emperor Palpatine as Star Wars Rebels wraps up final season

Earlier today, Lucasfilm released the trailer for the second half of season four of Star Wars Rebels, previewing the final seven episodes of the show’s run.  We’ll break down in a subsequent article, but the biggest reveal is that the Emperor is getting involved.

Sheev Palpatine, the Emperor of the Galactic Empire, is seen surrounded by blue flames saying, “Ezra Bridger.  Mine at last.”  It’s unclear whether it’s actually Palpatine in the flesh or whether it’s through a hologram, but either way, Palpatine will be introduced into the show.

What’s more, Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican had the scoop that Ian McDiarmid will be reprising his role as Palpatine, which will be his first portrayal of the character since Revenge of the Sith.

McDiarmid played Palpatine in Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith, as well as the special edition of The Empire Strikes Back.  In The Clone Wars, Palpatine was voiced by Ian Abercrombie and later Tim Curry, and in his lone brief appearance in Rebels so far (we don’t see his face but see Vader talking to a hologram of his master) he was voiced by Sam Witwer.

Rebels may be ending, but not before a major Star Wars villain joins the fray.  Just what exactly Palpatine’s role will be remains to be seen, but one thing’s for certain: Ezra is no match for the powers of the Emperor.

Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni explains that Palpatine is interested for multiple reasons.  “One of them is Ezra’s kind of persistent ability to survive,” Filoni told Nerdist’s Amy Ratcliffe.  “It would arch your eyebrow.  I don’t know that it’s so specifically on Ezra to say, ‘I am after that guy.’  I think he’s probably got a target list of Jedi he is looking for and I think that this kid has become a persistent nuisance, you know?  And Ezra definitely has been causing problems, but there are other reasons why Palpatine’s gaze is directed that way that will be revealed.”

Other reasons like something on Lothal?  That’s certainly a possibility, as we’ve already seen that there’s more going on with the planet than we originally knew.  Maybe there’s even more going on, and Palpatine has a specific interest?  Either way, it doesn’t seem that he’s solely motivated by Ezra, but that will come with whatever else is going on.

Star Wars Rebels returns February 19th and will wrap up on March 5 with a 90-minute special finale.  So stay tuned; the end of Rebels is almost here, and with it surely some very significant and exciting developments in its final episodes.

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