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USA Today Conducts ROTJ Retrospective Interviews

Posted By Eric on April 29, 2013

Star Wars Day is just a few days away and this year is the thirtieth anniversary of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. With that in mind, Brian Truitt over at USA Today spoke to several of the stars of Episode VI to get their thoughts on this year's big film anniversary. Billy Dee Williams, Ian McDiarmid, Jeremy Bulloch, and Anthony Daniels reminisced about Episode VI for Truitt's article. Here's an interesting passage about McDiarmid and his character of Palpatine:
The only guy worse than Vader in Star Wars lore is Emperor Palpatine, the cloaked, twisted monster of a man who ruled the universe. Although he looked like he was about 120, the Emperor was played in Return of the Jedi by Scottish-born actor Ian McDiarmid, even though he was only 37 at the time.

The yellow contact lenses and prosthetic mask he wore helped ? the hood was essential, too, both for the character and McDiarmid's career, since he was able to keep his hair long for the London play he was doing at night when not filming.

But to really get into the mind-set of being the worst villain of the Star Wars saga, he tapped into his time playing Satan in a radio version of John Milton's Paradise Lost.

"That character is the master of evil, the snake in the Garden of Eden, so I had a useful precedent," says McDiarmid, 68, who starred in the Star Wars prequels as the younger Palpatine. "This character was solidly evil ? it wasn't as if he had a difficult childhood. He just seemed to have come from whatever ghastly womb he was ejected from, born and bred evil."

Check out the rest of the interviews in Truitt's USA Today story.

UPDATE: Truitt has posted a few more extensive interviews with the stars of Return of the Jedi. Anthony Daniels "recalls his time as king of the Ewoks," while Ian McDiarmid "recalls his first day on the job."

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