Star Wars 9: HOW Palpatine returns will thrill and 'shock fans' in Rise of Skywalker

We know the cackling root of all evil is coming back to haunt the final episode in the Skywalker Saga. But will he be a ghost or a projection? Or will he, even more terrifyingly, actually be there in the decrepit and disgusting flesh? New leaks reveal huge news for the Sith Lord. WARNING POTENTIAL SPOILERS

There have been numerous leaks and reports over the past few weeks detailing scenes with Palpatine, Rey and Kylo Ren.

But is this the iconic Ian McDiarmid incarnation or the heavily rumoured Matt Smith version?

After intense speculation, it seems Smith’s involvement has been cut. Many believed he may have been lined up to play a Dark Acolyte who gives up his body as a vessel for Palpatine’s spirit.

With reports that reshoots are still going on (which seem rather late in the day) it appears the tumultuous reception for McDiarmid at Star Wars Celebration confirmed how much fans want to see the Palpatine they know and love to hate.

A leak claimed: “Many key scenes for Palpatine’s were changed and in doing so they were forced to cut the new villain from The Rise of Skywalker also known as the Dark Acolyte.”

“It is implied this character was to be portrayed by Matt Smith and due to changes to how Palpatine survived the explosion of the Death Star, the new villain had to be put to the side.

“Originally it is described that the new villain was to have been a Dark Acolyte taken over by Palpatine’s spirit after the old version of Palpatine died.

“However, through reshoots from July until now, many scenes for Palpatine have been adjusted to where Palpatine now has double the screen time and is said to return in a totally different way that will take fans by surprise.”

It seems certain Palpatine will somehow return to the screen as himself and not simply via an old recording or hologram.

Another leak has described Palpatine on some sort of throne.

Contrasting descriptions portray Kylo Ren serving Palpatine or fighting him, including by joining forces with Rey.

There have even been chilling claims Palpatine will hurl Kylo Ren to his death in a brutal echo of the end of Return of the Jedi.

Whatever happens, the return of McDiarmid’s iconic villain is an utterly thrilling prospect.