Just returning to the original topic a mere 14 years later!
I have often wondered why Irvin Kershner/George Lucas (or the casting team) cast a woman in the role of the emperor in 1980 for ESB. It’s hard to tell admittedly, due to the dim lighting, the flickering hologram and also the superimposed chimp eyes. But it still seems a strange decision. The character is clearly supposed to be male: he is referred to as the “emperor” rather than “empress”, and Clive Revill’s voice is unambiguously male. Why then cast an elderly woman instead of an elderly man?
If this has ever been discussed in an interview or documentary, I’d be grateful for the details just to satisfy my curiosity. I can’t find any discussion of it in this forum.