The sinister stone throne revealed the new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer was actually first conceived a long, long time ago.
The seat that sits amid branches of a claw-like outcropping was originally sketched by legendary Star Wars artist Ralph McQuarrie in 1981. The sketch was an early design for the throne eventually shown in Return of the Jedi.
First, here’s the shot in the new trailer:
Now here’s the original sketch:
The comparison was first tweeted by Lucasfilm creative art manager and author Phil Szostak after the trailer’s release on Monday night:
Return of the Jedi eventually went with a more conventional sci-fi chair command chair for its climactic sequence where Emperor Palpatine torments young Luke Skywalker.
The choice for Jedi made sense as the Emperor was on a ship. But the seat of power in Rise of Skywalker appears to be in some sort of temple which better suits the creepily organic design.
And the throne from Jedi is also in the Rise of Skywalker trailer — behind Rey and Kylo as they stand off in the wreckage of the second Death Star, which has apparently crashed with major pieces still intact onto a watery planet:
Of course, Darth Vader seemingly destroyed Palpatine in Jedi when he tossed his master into the Death Star’s reactor. But we’ve heard Luke’s voiceover in Skywalker trailers telling us “no one is really gone” and actor Ian McDiarmid is definitely in the film. In the trailer he says, “Long have I waited. And now your coming together… is your undoing” — an echo of a line he said to Luke in Jedi (“your faith in your friends is [your weakness]”).
It’s unclear if Palpatine is appearing as a Force ghost, a hologram or in the flesh in the new film. The closest tease was this shot where Palpatine’s throne — with some kind of mechanical device in the back — appears to be advancing on Rey:
And there’s a hint of something creeping around the side at the very last half-second that looks like… fingers?
For more Rise of Skywalker final trailer analysis, check out our deep-dive breakdown over every major shot.