Star Wars fans were shocked to hear Emperor Palpatine's iconic cackle at the conclusion of the first Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer. And just yesterday, fans at the D23 Expo were treated to a brand-new poster for the upcoming movie which has the villain front and center. But, just how big of a part will he have to play in the final installment of the Skywalker saga? As it turns out, he is "instrumental" to the plot and his return will be all explained, says Daisy Ridley.

Rise of Skywalker stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega both discussed the return of Emperor Palpatine at the D23 Expo this weekend. They appeared on stage with J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy to deliver some new footage to the enthusiastic crowd, which raised a whole new set of questions. Ridley had this to say about the return of the Emperor.

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"He's the biggest baddie in Star Wars history. Now that we've done the story, I'm like, it couldn't have happened any other way. It had to be that. But he's very instrumental to the plot of the film. It's not just like he appears again; it's all explained."

As for how The Rise of Skywalker ends, Daisy Ridley couldn't be more happy. While making the upcoming movie, she kept telling herself, "Oh my god, this is so cool," and she is confident Star Wars fans will enjoy it. Elsewhere, John Boyega also talked about Emperor Palpatine's influence on the movie. He explains.

"I think the Emperor and his doctrine has trickled down to so many of the characters in the Star Wars universe... The Dark Side, it is what it is because of a lot of his actions and plans. To have him come back, he's like the greatest foe, the greatest enemy. I mean, we might as well take him down properly."

D23 attendees were treated to some brand-new Rise of Skywalker footage, which will be available online tomorrow morning, and fans are wondering about the big Rey reveal. The character is shown in a dark cloak with a double-sided red Lightsaber, just like Darth Maul's from the prequels, teasing a Dark Side twist. However, John Boyega isn't spoiling the surprise. He had this to say.

"We're gonna get bits of bits, we're gonna get sprinkles like chocolate chips. But what we have to deal with right now is this new enemy. And why is Rey dressed like that? I mean, who decided her wardrobe? ... Loads of questions, loads of questions. And Finn is fully involved in that one, which is great."

The Rise of Skywalker is apparently going to answer a lot of questions. Was he the one behind Snoke this entire time? Will Rey end up changing allegiances? Is Rey connected to Palpatine? We'll just have to wait and see, but things don't look like they are going to have an easy explanation when all is said and done. The interview with John Boyega and Daisy Ridley was originally conducted by IGN.

Kevin Burwick at Movieweb
Kevin Burwick