Star Wars 9 Matt Smith Emperor Palpatine

The Doctor is letting the hate flow through him. A new rumor Star Wars: Episode IX suggests that actor Matt Smith, who has previously been reported to appear in the movie, will play a young Emperor Palpatine. Not unlike Avengers 4, fans are already speculating if that means the next Star Wars movie will involve a time travel plot.

On Monday, the hosts of The Weekly Planet Podcast uploaded a new episode, where they revealed they were sent an “anonymous” email from a contact of an also-anonymous individual allegedly working on Star Wars 9. The source says that Matt Smith will appear in the film as a young Emperor Palpatine.

On top of the casting, the hosts say there’s “quite a lot of it,” meaning Matt Smith’s role as Palpatine. That context means the role may not be limited to quick flashbacks (a la Rey’s vision in The Force Awakens), but something more substantial. The hosts of The Weekly Planet propose cloning or time-travel, neither of which are too far-fetched for Star Wars to explore.

Story continues after this related video.

The Real Emperor Returns to 'Star Wars Rebels'

In the animated series Star Wars Rebels, time-travel was introduced in the episode “A World Between Worlds” when Jedi Ezra Bridger discovers an ancient Jedi temple on the planet Lothal that houses a vast network of portals.

“It is a pathway between all space and time,” says the Imperial minister who appears in the episode, “whoever controls it controls the universe.”

Will the next Star Wars installment explore the Jedi temple on Lothal and explore the tremendously untapped Star Wars multiverse? Possibly! But no one knows for sure, at least those outside the guarded walls of Pinewood Studios in London where Star Wars: Episode IX is currently in production.

Star Wars: Episode IX will be released on December 20, 2019.

Photos via BBC, Lucasfilm