'Star Wars: Episode 7' May See the Return of a Familiar Villain

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The 'Star Wars: Episode 7' rumor mill has been working overtime these past few weeks, churning out plot and character details at a pace that probably has J.J. Abrams' head spinning. The latest tidbit is one the craziest rumors yet, so don't proceed unless you want a potentially major moment of the new films, namely the return of a certain bad guy, to be ruined.

Final warning! Are you ready? Okay, let's do this.

According to the folks over at Latino Review (and backed up by Badass Digest), 'Star Wars: Episode 7' will feature the return of the evil Emperor Palpatine. Yes, he may have apparently perished at the conclusion of 'Return of the Jedi,' but this is a universe full of cyborgs and Force ghosts. There are many, many ways he could return. Heck, some people are already speculating that the terrifying cyborg seen in that leaked concept art from a week ago may actually be the cybernetically-enhanced Palpatine himself, brought back to life and ready to seek revenge and what-not.

We're of two minds about this news (and we're taking it with a grain of salt and so should you). On one level, it'll be cool to see a bad guy as iconic and creepy as Palpatine make a grand return and it could help wash away all of the boring backstory that so tragically dulled his character in the prequels. At the same time, it would be a shame if the new films retreat to well too often, resurrecting dead characters when they could and should be introducing new foes. If this is true, we hope Palpatine is used responsibly and that his presence actually benefits the film.

And one final piece of interesting news: Ian McDiarmid, who has played Palpatine four times over six films, will not be back in the role this time around. So speculate away: is he reborn in a younger body? A clone? More machine than man? Maybe he's a motion capture performance this time around, which would explain Andy Serkis' involvement.

Anyway, you have plenty of time to speculate. 'Star Wars: Episode 7' won't arrive in theaters until December 18, 2015.

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