|Early concept art for the Emperor for REVENGE.|
With the passing of time, SW fans and critics have acknowledged the incredible acting contributions and legacy brought to the Classic and Prequel sagas by Ian McDiarmid, with his portrayal of the truly evil, Dark Side lightning-bringing Emperor. But in the original story ideas being developed for REVENGE OF THE JEDI during mid-to-late 1980, this character's involvement wasn't locked down. Back then, Darth Vader was still clearly going to be the uber villain of the middle trilogy's final film, and not necessarily killed off, either.
Recalled Producer Gary Kurtz in a nineties interview: "Well, (first of all), the Emperor wasn't even supposed to have come into it, except in reference, as in EMPIRE, until the last episode of the series, the ninth one. Having the Emperor show up, in effect, emasculates Darth Vader as your chief villain."
From other previous sources, as well as further info from Kurtz, this originally conceived "ninth" film would have been about the final battle waged against a retreated Empire by the "other" (referred to in EMPIRE), and whom wasn't originally Leia, though still a female member of the Skywalker family- a character returned from a far-off realm to help our surviving older heroes.