The dead speak! Three times, in fact. At Star Wars Celebration 2023, three deceased Star Wars villains came back from the dead (and on Easter no less) to chat about their experiences playing baddies in a galaxy far, far, away. There was Gwendoline Christie who played Captain Phasma, Andy Serkis who played Supreme Leader Snoke, and the baddest of them all, Ian McDiarmid who played Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine/Rey’s Grandfather.
“Every time it happened, I didn’t know it was going to,” McDiarmid said. He was referring to getting the job 40 years ago on Return of the Jedi, then getting the call to return as Senator Palpatine in The Phantom Menace, the fact he didn’t know that Palpatine was also Darth Sidious until his first day of shooting and then, of course, “the surprise of all surprises. He never went away,” as revealed in The Rise of Skywalker.
“He had a plan B,” McDiamrid said. “And plan B was downstairs in the bowels of Exegol with this very sophisticated scientific team who are slowly giving him life. And they’d been doing most of the work...they created a lot of Snokes before they got to this clone that Snoke became...and I was so stunned to find out when I arrived, that I’d been responsible for him and, in fact, every direct or in direct evil action in the whole of the saga, was my fault.”
To hear McDiamrid talk about Palpatine’s plan was like completely rediscovering the plan for the first time. You could tell that he really did understand Palpatine’s “Plan B” but, at the same time, realized it was totally and utterly ridiculous. He even went so far as to say that “maybe I’m dead, but who knows?”
Andy Serkis had the same thought. He told a story about his surprising finding out that Snoke was going to be killed by Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi. He followed that by, half jokingly and half not, pitching a Snoke spinoff series. “Lucasfilm owes me and Kathleen Kennedy listens to you,” he said to the fans.
On the topic of Snoke, Serkis also admitted that who specifically Snoke was—a clone of Palpatine—was not something he knew right away. He was aware there was some connection to the character but described the discover of that as an “organic process” in the writing and production of the films.
Christie also offered fascinating insight into her character, including why she thought Phasma hated Finn so much. “She fancies him,” Christie said, “A repressed, desirous lust, perhaps. The idea of the envy of someone who liberated themselves from the confines of order and convention.”
Overall, the Villains of the Sequel Trilogy panel was a great way to shine a light on some characters that either didn’t get enough time to spread their wings, or were given too much.
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