Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine aren't exactly the first characters one thinks of to spread joy. That doesn't mean that the actors who played these iconic villains are bad people. Ian McDiarmid and Hayden Christensen decided to make a surprise visit to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City Thursday morning, shocking some star-struck patients and parents in the process. Maybe there's some good in these iconic Star Wars villains after all, though we already knew that about Anakin Skywalker.

Ian McDiarmid and Hayden Christensen are in Utah for the FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention this weekend. Before heading to the convention, the two actors stopped and had one-on-one interactions with patients and their parents. They signed autographs and answered Star Wars questions, but McDiarmid was careful not to spoil anything about The Rise of Skywalker. Lucasfilm may have had spies there to double check and make sure no leaks were provided.

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The actor is back as Emperor Palpatine in the final installment of the Skywalker saga. While it's unclear if Hayden Christensen will be back, fans have been wanting him to make an Anakin Force Ghost appearance ever since the new trilogy launched.

Ian McDiarmid first appeared as Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi and then appeared in all three of the prequel movies and various voice roles over the years. Hayden Christensen showed up in time for Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Christensen played Anakin Skywalker before his transformation into Darth Vader. Over the years, the prequel trilogy has been looked at in a more positive light by younger Star Wars fans who were first introduced to the franchise by them.

Star Wars fans were excited, and a bit confused, to hear Emperor Palpatine's iconic laugh at the end of Rise of Skywalker trailer back in April. Since then, we have learned that the villain will have a pretty substantial part in the movie. But, we're just not exactly sure how it's going to happen at this point in time. While J.J. Abrams has had fun teasing fans with the return of Ian McDiarmid, he and the rest of the Lucasfilm team have been keeping everything under wraps and they have been doing a really good job thus far.

While Ian McDiarmid is making visits to a children's hospital to spread joy, don't expect Emperor Palpatine to do the same thing in The Rise of Skywalker. J.J. Abrams says, "I will say that with the Emperor around, he's not going to be your, you know, the cuddly pal." So, Palpatine is back to his evil ways, but that doesn't mean we won't see some further redemption from another villain when the next movie hits theaters. You can check out some pictures and video of Ian McDiarmid and Hayden Christensen visiting the children's hospital below, thanks to the KUTV 2 News' Facebook page.

Kevin Burwick at Movieweb
Kevin Burwick