If done perfectly, in a decent movie, Palpatine could have worked. This was nowhere near that movie.
You’re probably right. I remember some of the early speculation, from after the teaser trailer was released, said that Palpatine would appear as a possessing spirit. The main villain would be a Sith loyalist, played by Matt Smith, who gets possessed by Palpatine’s spirit towards the end of the movie. That could have been a much better way to bring him back.
Kylo as a villain also has issues. He’s compelling, but nowhere near intimidating enough to be a ‘big bad’. Hux is a joke by the end of TLJ, so he can’t be the primary villain. Both characters are also far too hotheaded to be masterminds of the First Order. The only choice left is to create a new villain. In my rewrite I chose Thrawn since he is a perfect coolheaded mastermind with which to balance the fire of Hux, and Kylo is quickly redeemed. Yes, it is difficult to redeem such a character since he has rejected two calls so far, but it also feels wrong in a series so focused on the concept of saving conflicted characters to not have Kylo be redeemed.
I understand why you chose Thrawn as the villain in your rewrite, but for me it has two issues:
- Thrawn has no force sensitivity. The main villains of the saga, namely Palpatine and Snoke, have always been force sensitive, so it could be underwhelming to break the tradition for the final movie of the saga.
- Thrawn wasn’t established at all in the previous two movies. Just like what happened with Palpatine, randomly introducing a new main villain in the final movie of a trilogy is probably not a good idea.
Those are also the main reasons why I wish Kylo would have been the main villain. I disagree with the idea that Star Wars is all about redeeming villains, that has only happened once in the entire saga.