The beloved Star Wars saga finally continued last year with the epic Star Wars: The Force Awakens, set 32 years after the 1983 classic Return of the Jedi. This year, Disney and LucasFilm will debut the first of three planned Star Wars spinoffs, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, arriving in theaters December 16. This story will be set between the final prequel Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and the story that started it all, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, although it seems an important character from that era of the Star Wars timeline may not be featured in this movie.
After appearing in five of the first six Star Wars movies, Ian McDiarmid's Emperor Palpatine was not featured in last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We learned in a recent trailer for Rogue One that The Emperor's iconic apprentice, Darth Vader, will have some sort of a presence, but it seems that The Emperor will not be featured. The actor revealed during an appearance at the Amsterdam Comic Con (via Star Wars News Net), that he will not be reprising his role for this new space opera.
"Rogue One's on its way, when I was in charge of things - I mean the Emperor, not me. I am not featured in [the movie] myself, but I understand that Darth Vader may be making an appearance."
Long before we got our first brief glimpse at Darth Vader in the new Rogue One trailer, a report claimed that this iconic villain will have a much larger role in this story than originally believed, although no specifics were given. If Darth Vader does in fact have a large role in Rogue One, then it's rather surprising that Ian McDiarmid won't be present in this movie. However, it's also possible that we will see the Emperor portrayed by a different cast member.
You may recall that the first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story featured a mystery character bowing to someone, or something, who was seen surrounded by the Emperor's guards. It's certainly possible that another actor will be standing in for Ian McDiarmid as the Emperor, but if that's the case, we don't know if the Emperor will have any speaking lines, since it's hard to imagine the franchise using anyone other than Ian McDiarmind to voice this character, since he was featured in both the original and prequel trilogies. It's also possible that the actor may be protecting a secret reveal that he is in the movie, but we don't know for sure. Take a look at the video interview with Ian McDiarmid, which starts at the 6:24 mark of the video below.