Speaking at a convention in Amsterdam, Star Wars' Emperor Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid said he would be up to return to the franchise - but has yet to film a part. But if that’s the case, who is the cloaked figure surrounded by the Emperor's Royal Guards in the above still from the first Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer?
The identity of the cloaked figure - Darth Vader or not - would seemingly be superflous as the presence of the Emperor’s familiar red-colored guard make it seem as though it could be Palpatine himself. It’s also possible Palpatine will only be seen briefly, or simply mentioned, or even that he could be a product of CGI.
In the original cut of The Empire Strikes Back, Palpatine was seen briefly played visually by Elaine Baker, with a voiceover from Clive Revill.
Check out McDiarmid's interview in this video, beginning at the 6:20 mark:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is scheduled for release December 16.