It was an interesting move from J.J. Abrams to reintroduce Emperor Palpatine back into the Star Wars saga in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. That aspect of the story fell flat for a lot of fans and ended up being more confusing than anything. What’s done is done, though.
Some super early concept for the character was recently shared on social media by franchise production designer and concept artist Kevin Jenkins, and as you can see, it gives Palpatine a more robotic/cyborg appearance.
At the very beginning of production, I was on my own developing designs for Palpatine’s return. Due to secrecy at the time and I was locked away in my own dark office, let out once a week to review designs with JJ. This pencil sketch is from the very first batch #StarWars pic.twitter.com/dJ9ivslM6D
— kevin jenkins (@kev_jenkins) June 14, 2020
Regardless of what you think about how the character was used in the final trilogy of the Skywalker Saga, it’s alway cool to see the early work that was being done to bring the character back from the dead after all these years.