Rumors and speculation have been flying ever since Disney acquired Lucasfilm last year, as to what the House of Mouse would do with the venerable property.  Unfortunately, factual news has been limited to the announcement of the new ‘Rebels’ cartoon series and some video games.  This was especially frustrating after the otherwise reveal-loaded D23 conference last week, which highlighted nearly every Disney project coming in the next two years.  But no mention, whatsoever of ‘Star Wars.’

Well, chalk this up to the rumor column, but the latest scuttlebutt is that Ian McDiarmid will be returning to the franchise in his famous role as Emperor Palpatine.  The actor appeared onscreen in more films than any other in the franchise (not counting voice actors), and some continuity would be nice as the next phase of the famed space epic launches.  But how?  The Emperor was betrayed and killed by his protege Darth Vader.

Possible SPOILERS ahead, but I doubt anything reported at this point will pan out.  Even so, I know how some SW fans can be, so… stop reading if you don’t like SPOILERS!

There are different theories flying around.  Latino Review speculates that Palpatine returns as a Force Ghost, similar to Obi-wan Kenobi, Yoda and Anakin Skywalker in earlier movies.  They also refute two other possibilities.  The first is the possibility that the Empire clones the Emperor, which they say is unlikely because this possibility was already explored in old Dark Horse comic books.  They also dismiss the idea that producers will go the easy route and simply bring him back to life.  Further more, LR state that it will be revealed that secretly, Palpatine had already taken on a new Sith protege before his death, which doesn’t quite make sense as he already had Vader in his service and was attempting to pull Luke Skywalker to the Dark Side, but who knows.  Per this theory, this apprentice will rise as a new baddie (if not THE baddie) in the franchise.

So there you have it.  No clone.  No resurrection.  A Force Ghost with a new protege.

Once again, the movie is still at a very early stage, so take this news with a grain of salt.  Lots of ’em.

What do you think?  Should Emperor Palpatine return or should they try something brand new?  Would you be satisfied with this plan to bring him back?  Comment below!