MOVIES

What The Original Voice Of Emperor Palpatine Sounds Like

Landing the part of Emperor Palpatine in “Return of the Jedi” would prove to be one of the most lucrative roles of Ian McDiarmid’s career, as the character would go on to become an integral figure in Rey’s family tree, as fans infamously know all too well at this point. In fact, McDiarmid was even brought on to eventually redo the hologram scene from “The Empire Strikes Back” for the 2004 re-release of the film. The quality of the hologram is significantly improved with advancements in visual effects, and for many viewers, they may only ever know the Emperor as McDiarmid.

In either case, Emperor Palpatine’s introduction is downright chilling regardless of who’s playing him. Darth Vader has been set up as this prime threat, so the fact he offers deference to this other figure, who can only be bothered to talk to him through a hologram, makes it clear that he is the main obstacle for Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to overcome. The original version comes across as more alien, particularly with the inclusion of chimpanzee eyes, while McDiarmid’s iteration simply screams “Sith” more with sunken eyes and withered skin. 

While Clive Revill was replaced, he still stayed within the “Star Wars” franchise to a degree. He had voiceover roles in various “Star Wars” video games, like 2011’s “Star Wars: The Old Republic.” But he’ll at least always have the fun fact of being the first voice of Palpatine in the “Star Wars” universe. 

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