The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novelization isn’t even available yet commercially. Not yet, that is, unless you were at C2E2 in Chicago this past weekend. If so, you were able to get your hands on an advanced sales copy. The book is already making headlines for its reveals, including the bombshell that Emperor Palpatine was, in fact, a clone. Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid has now confirmed that the clone reveal was in the original Rise of Skywalker script, as well.

Clone Palpatine; Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

From the novel we learn that Palpatine had somehow managed to transfer his life force into a clone body. The power of the Dark Side, however, was too much for the flesh and blood vessel…. Hence the deteriorated state in which we see the Emperor in the film. While it’s great to get confirmation of the clone subplot, it would have been nice to have seen the Palpatine reveal in the film. Had they used the original script, we just may have.

Palpatine clone reveal in original Episode IX script

Ian McDiarmid, who portrays the legendary Lord of the Sith, recently attended a comic-con in Belgium. It was there, according to, that he admitted a Palpatine reveal was part of the original plan. According to McDiarmid, there was back and forth dialogue between the Emperor and Kylo Ren about the subject in the script:

[I]t’s interesting because at one point the script had a line in that first scene with Adam [Driver – who plays Kylo Ren] when he says ‘You’re a clone.’ And I said in that original script, which is no longer with us, ‘More than a clone. Less than a man.’ Which seemed to me to sum it up really.”

Palpatine; Rise of skwalker
Rey prepares to face Palpatine in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

What’s still mysterious about McDiarmid’s admission is the “original script” to which he’s referring. He doesn’t elaborate as to whether it was the Trevorrow script (some elements of which appear in the movie and the novelization), or whether the Palpatine reveal was in an early draft of the J.J. Abrams script. If it came from an Abrams script, well, queue up the ongoing debate over whether or not there exists an “Abrams Cut” of The Rise of Skywalker….

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives chocked full of extras in Digital format March 17 and on Blu-ray March 31.