Perhaps one of the biggest knocks against the Star Wars sequel trilogy was the incredibly improbable return of Emperor Palpatine. (His return further resulted in one of the trilogy’s most groan-worthy lines, too, with Poe Dameron’s “somehow, Palpatine returned.”) Still, any chance to see Ian McDiarmid reprise his most iconic role is a welcome one. Now, an old interview from last fall is again gaining traction. In it, McDiarmid infers that the former senator from Naboo could make yet another return to Star Wars. Could it be in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series?

Kenobi; Inquisitor; Star Wars
Concept art from Obi-Wan Kenobi showing an Inquisitor. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Admittedly, we don’t yet know a lot about the new series, set to debut on Disney+ May 25th. We can, however, confirm that Darth Vader will make an appearance. Rumors also tells us that Inquisitors, the Emperor’s and Vader’s elite squad of Jedi hunters, will appear as well. With the show’s timeline (ten years following Revenge of the Sith, nine years prior to A New Hope) Palpatine is in his Imperial prime. It’s no stretch to guess he might show up in the Kenobi series in some capacity.

Will we see Palpatine in Obi-Wan Kenobi series?

Iam McDiarmid; Palpatine
Image: Metro UK

So what triggered this speculation? Obviously interest for the series spiked with the recent, official announcement that that show will premier exactly forty-five years to the day after the original Star Wars hit theaters. As we fans of the franchise tend to do, folks began to scrutinize every bit if information they could find on the topic. That turned up an interview Ian McDiarmid gave to the British newspaper Metro back in September. In it, he addressed the possibility of Palpatine returning in Obi-Wan Kenobi:

“[O]f course [Darth] Vader is back in the new [Obi-Wan Kenobi] television series, so I suppose it’s not impossible that one day his mentor might be discovered once again skulking in the shadows.”

Ian McDiarmid, September 30, 2021
Palpatine; Darth Vader; Star Wars
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

And why not? We’ve only seen a touch of Vader’s obsession with finding Luke Skywalker in the feature films. Other media, notably The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, focused on Maul’s fanatical desire for revenge on Kenobi. What we haven’t seen too much of, however, is Vader’s initial fixation on finding and destroying his old mentor…. Or the rift Vader’s compulsion caused between the Dark Lord of the Sith and Palpatine. The Obi-Wan Kenobi series could be the perfect vehicle to deliver that storyline.

Time will tell. Three months to go.