As we are all aware, Palpatine returned—somehow—in The Rise of Skywalker. The “somehow” involved a bunch of handwaving about clones and secrets and honestly, does it matter? He came back.
But Star Wars seems to think we need to understand. I do not need to understand! Somehow, it happened! We don’t need The Bad Batch to veer into a story about what certain Kaminoans did with all that cloning expertise. And we certainly don’t need Palpatine to show up in Obi-Wan Kenobi and evilsplain his plans to us.
But he could. Ian McDiarmid said so.
Speaking to Metro, McDiarmid said:
“I think I have to accept that, thanks to my ungrateful granddaughter, my annihilation was finally final. [But] of 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.”
It’s not impossible. But, as Star Wars News Net pointed out, he’s talking about this in the lead-up to Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Star Wars does nothing by accident. Maybe it’s just idle chatter, but maybe it’s hint-dropping of the highest order. Obviously Star Wars fans are going to pick up on this; obviously we’re going to speculate.
Maybe ol’ Sheev will just show up briefly, which would make sense; we are in the rise of his Empire, and his presence is felt (though he’s rarely seen) in Rebels. But the end of The Bad Batch‘s first season is enough to make a person worry that this might be more needless backstory to Palpatine’s evil plans for resurrection. Obi-Wan Kenobi isn’t a show like Rebels that exists in its own part of the galaxy; Kenobi is as closely tied to the Skywalker Saga as anyone. But he also deserves his own story, not one that’s trying to tie up loose threads about Palpatine’s unwelcome resurrection.
Clone Wars-era Obi-Wan is a rich and fascinating character, and there’s so much possibility in a story that explores who he becomes—and how he lives—in the wake of Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side. You don’t just get over that, you know? Not least while you’re trying to protect your now-evil former-apprentice’s love child in the backwaters of Tatooine. Who he’s been and who he is in A New Hope don’t exactly line up, and there’s plenty of storytelling promise in showing how he grew and changed.
We’ll find out which way it all goes when Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres on May 25th.