In celebration of Ian McDiarmid’s birthday, Revenge of the Sith star Amy Allen shares a throwback photo of the Star Wars actor alongside a Force-sensitive Mickey Mouse. McDiarmid first appeared as the evil Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in 1983’s Return of the Jedi (before being added to the 2004 DVD release of The Empire Strikes Back). In the original trilogy, the Emperor rules the Galactic Empire as his apprentice, Darth Vader, and the stormtroopers enforce order. George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels unveiled his past as the charismatic politician Sheev Palpatine, who operated as a Sith Lord in secret.
In Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Palpatine is presented as an altruistic and rational Galactic Senator from the planet Naboo—who’s actually behind the Trade Federation’s blockade and invasion of Naboo. This duplicity continues throughout the prequels as he orchestrates the Clone Wars, lures Anakin Skywalker to the dark side, and executes Order 66, extinguishing the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic. It’s in Return of the Jedi that Luke Skywalker redeems his father, who then seemingly puts an end to the Emperor and his Empire. Nearly four decades after McDiarmid’s Star Wars debut, he’s one of the most recognizable cinematic villains of all time.
Allen, who played Jedi Aayla Secura in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, recently took to Instagram to wish McDiarmid a happy 78th birthday. In the post, she thanks the actor for “being the nicest Emperor” while showing photos of him at Walt Disney World’s last annual Star Wars Weekends in 2015. Check it out below:
The image of McDiarmid alongside a robed Mickey Mouse is somewhat symbolic of the House of Mouse bringing Star Wars back to vibrant life. Following Disney’s $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, the sequel trilogy continued the stories of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa, and even Palpatine. Piggybacking off of his Revenge of the Sith monologue about Darth Plagueis and cheating death, 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker reveals the Emperor was behind the First Order, cementing himself as the Skywalker saga’s overarching villain before being defeated by his granddaughter, Rey.
Although Disney’s Star Wars sequels have proven divisive, the franchise and its beloved characters have found new life on Disney+ with The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Obi-Wan Kenobi (not to mention the animated shows). For the latter’s season 1 finale, McDiarmid reprised his Palpatine role once again as a hologram telling Darth Vader to let his former master go. While the Emperor likely won’t appear in future movies, he could appear in the Disney+ show Andor, which takes place during his reign. Even if he doesn’t, the Emperor’s presence will always be felt, whether it is through The Mandalorian showing Imperial forces scrambling to assemble Palpatine’s clones or by fans remembering their time with McDiarmid at Disney World.
Source: The Official Aayla Secura/Instagram