According to reports, Star Wars: Episode VII could mark the return of Emperor Palpatine—the villain of the original trilogy who appeared to die in Return of the Jedi.
Sources for Latino Review and Indie Revolver report that Palpatine will return in some form, perhaps as the baddie pulling the strings behind the scenes. But what about his on-screen death? The writers could pull out several tricks to resurrect him; for example, he could survive the fall and get put back together with cybernetic enhancements. He did something similar for Anakin Skywalker. If Luke could somehow save his father from the second exploding Death Star, surely the Emperor could have one or two pupils willing to save him.
Another option would be to leave him dead and have him appear in flashbacks, but that seems unlikely. Latino Review reports that Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid will not be reprising the role. LR also says that the Emperor will remain the main villain in Episode VIII (although Badass Digest suggests that he’ll only appear in Episode VII).
Earlier reports pointed to the Sith Inquisitors as the main villains in Episode VII, with a backstory that has them secretly working under the influence of Darth Vader. It’s unclear whether they’ll play any role.
Star Wars: Episode VII will premiere on December 18, 2015.