Okay, this is pretty big rumor and I can’t find anything to corroborate it, but according to Kellvin Chavez at Latino Review, Emperor Palpatine may return in Episode VII.
Fans of the Expanded Universe are probably already aware of a plotline in the comic book series “Star Wars: Dark Empire” where Palpatine’s spirit returns from the underworld and possesses a new, fresh body (at least for a while).
Chavez uses the comic book as a point of comparison, but says that while the new movie will also feature Palpatine returning from the dead, he won’t have a cloned body: Instead, he’ll manifest as the same kind of Force ghost the Jedi do. That isn’t necessarily a blow-the-doors-off-the-barn surprise. Dead characters pop back up all the time in the Star Wars galaxy. Palpatine could appear in a flash-back, or even just a brief manifestation like Obi-Wan does here and there.
The REAL shocker here is buried in Chavez’s piece: This newly returned Palpatine will also be revealed to have had a new apprentice at the time of his death.
How would that change things for the Star Wars universe? Would it change the way that we view Darth Vader and his relationship with Palpatine? Was Darth second-favorite this whole time? What about that “One master, one apprentice” thing that the Sith have going?
In any case, I wouldn’t put too much weight in these rumors, at least for now. We’ve got years to wait until the film rolls out and there will be plenty of stories just like these to sift through in the interim. Still, it’s exciting to be at a point where we’re actually discussing rumored characters and plot points for a new Star Wars film, isn’t it?