palpatine

Why Palpatine’s return made perfect sense (+ redeeming the Jedi Order)

Hey it’s time for the the Star Wars Blogathon!

And I decided to write about a Star Wars twist I very much liked.

So…Palpatine’s return in The Rise of Skywalker was… a point of contention among most Star Wars fans, I know. And some of the criticisms I agree with! It wasn’t executed well at all. (If you have to both read the novelisation and play Fortnite to get the whole story, something’s gone wrong.) But…

Palpatine actually being there in the first place? In terms of the overall Star Wars story, it makes sense!

Palps has always been the Big Bad of Star Wars. He’s not really a person in a way, more just the embodiment of evil in the world. (Sometimes I think of him as the Star Wars equivalent of the One Ring.) But the prequel trilogy makes pretty clear that the Jedi allowed that embodiment of evil to rise, via neglect, ignorance, arrogance or all three. Like – the individual Jedi are great people, but their system is so very broken. They don’t free slaves, they don’t intervene where they should, they don’t understand Anakin’s connection to his mother… they’re part of the reason for Anakin’s fall. Not on purpose obviously, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

This gifset sums it up really well I thought:

And in the movies – I’m not counting all the secondary material here – it’s something the Jedi never really get to make up for. Anakin’s throwing Palpatine in the pit is a redemption for him but it doesn’t quite redeem the Jedi for their part in things. They just get to die.

Until The Rise of Skywalker! The Jedi are able to finally redeem themselves by assisting Rey. It’s a wonderful scene because it does the thing Star Wars has always been about, making up for the mistakes of the past.

Windu: Feel the Force flowing through you, Rey.

Anakin: Let it lift you.

Adi Gallia: Rise, Rey.

Qui-Gon: We stand behind you, Rey.

Obi-Wan: Rey.

Yoda: Rise in the Force.

Kanan: In the heart of the Jedi, lies her strength.

Obi-Wan: Rise.

Qui-Gon: Rise.

Luke: Rey, the Force will be with you. Always.

I dearly wish we had seen the Jedi in uh… the flesh? In physical form. But hearing their voices was powerful as well. When Rey says “And I am all the Jedi!” to Palpatine it feels deserved, to me at least, because now these other people have finally got the same thing Anakin got – a chance to make up for their mistakes.

And that’s why I liked Palpatine’s return. :)

A Finn-ale

So after the John Boyega interview where he rightly complained about Finn being sidelined, I wondered, there must have been a way to write him into the Rise of Skywalker finale and de-sideline him, surely?

So what I would have done is this:

Finn goes with Rey to Exegol. (From here on, Finn’s original role in the movie is taken by Rose.) He has a lightsaber with him, Luke’s lightsaber, which counts as his now. Rey has Leia’s. He’s completely untrained but willing to fight to defend the galaxy anyway. Even if he’s not necessarily Force-sensitive, he’s still willing.

There, Palpatine immediately captures Finn, realising right away that he must mean something to his granddaughter. He torments Rey by telling her this wouldn’t be the first time he’d turned someone into a Sith by using their love for another.

Palpatine shocks Finn once with Force lightening and this is enough to make Rey crumble. She tells Palpatine that he can do whatever he wants, just spare Finn. There you go, almost the exact same way Anakin fell…

…except Finn isn’t having it. From behind whatever Force-field Palpatine has him in he tells Rey that he would rather die than see her become a Sith and the galaxy in darkness. He tells her he’s spent all his life trying to find agency and he’s damn well not about to let it go now, even in the face of death. Hey turns out Rey and Finn were the Anakin and Padme of their generation, not the Han and Leia, except they’re not about to make the same mistakes.

Palpatine just laughs evilly at this, as he usually does, and is about to deliver the killing blow to Finn but THEN Ben Solo enters the picture! He strikes Palpatine from behind, causing enough damage to free Finn from his clutches. Now the game has changed! Rey, Finn and Ben go 3-1 against Palpatine (albeit probably with some confusion on Finn’s part as to why Kylo Ren is there.) They’re doing pretty well for the first few minutes! Then Palpatine aims some lightening at Rey. Finn somehow deflects it away from her but instead it hits him full-on.

Rey thinks he’s dead and is horrified and grief-stricken, but she can hear the voice of Anakin Skywalker in her head telling her not to give into her rage. She listens, and Ben can not only feel her emotions but suddenly hear the voice of his grandfather as well. This distracts him so much Palpatine is able to shove him into the pit and remove him from the fight.

NOW Rey, all alone and thinking her true love (Finn, not Ben) is dead, finds herself able to do what it took Anakin a lifetime to understand. With all the ghosts of all the Jedi working through her, she calls on the Light Side and defeats Palpatine once and for all. Only then does she run to Finn and allow her emotions to take over. He definitely appears to be dead and she sobs while holding him.

Then Ben comes climbing up out of the pit. He looks at the scene before him and realises what he has to do. Without a single word said, he kneels down and he Force-heals Finn. Rey watches in bewilderment. Finn sits up with a gasp, instantly falling into Rey’s arms. Rey exchanges a look of intense gratitude with Ben and then realises he’s given all of his lifeforce over to Finn. He’s dying. She takes his hand, but does not kiss him, as he dies and disappears.

At the end of the movie both Rey and Finn (and BB8) return to Tatooine. Finn wonders how he was able to deflect the lightening away from Rey back on Exegol, and Rey ponders that maybe it’s a person’s willingness to sacrifice, rather than any training or even any Force sensitivity, that makes them a true Jedi. She names herself “Skywalker” and Finn says he would like that name as well, which sounds an awful lot like a proposal.

The sun sets as Luke, Leia AND HAN watch the new generation from the afterlife. All is finally well in the galaxy.

-The end.

gffa:

DAVE FILONI:  “You see Mace Windu’s the guy that tells little Anakin, no, he will not be trained.  You cut to Anakin and he’s like, ‘What??’  There’s this look on Anakin’s face like, ‘I’m gonna remember that, you’re a negative, why are you doing that?’
      “So you have to look at it, the Jedi are–though they mean really well for Anakin–they’re always telling him ‘no’.  They’re always saying ‘no, you’ll be expelled, you’ll have to leave the Jedi Order’.  And then Palpatine is always playing off that saying ‘they need you far more than you know, I think you’re the most powerful Jedi ever’.
      “So you have this one group that’s trying to train you to be this balanced person that has considerable skill, but they’re always limiting you, [Anakin] saying, ‘It’s all Obi-Wan’s fault, he’s holding me back’.  We have to assume that Obi-Wan’s doing these things for Anakin that are making him frustrated.
      “And then you’ve got Palpatine saying ‘no, you’re the best! you’re beyond the best! they need you, they don’t know it, I know it’.”

RFR INTERVIEWER:  “So, it’s the guy telling you the truth and the guy telling you what you want to hear.”

DAVE FILONI:  “Right.  So when you get to that point, all these things I’m talking about get you to that point where Palpatine’s on the ground and Mace Windu has a lightsaber at his throat and he’s saying ’he’s the traitor’.
      “So Anakin’s there and he’s choosing the guy that’s always told him ‘no’–that, while he respects him and [Mace’s] not a mentor, but he’s a fellow Jedi–and the father figure [of Palpatine] who holds the key possibly to immortality and you saving this person you love in Padme.”

lurkingforestvegetation:

Late night musings: I think Emperor Palpatine is miserable.

I have usually thought of Darth Sidious as kinda the one “happy” sith, the only one who isn’t just digging himself deeper and deeper into misery. That he truly enjoys his life, because he is just that evil. 

But yesterday it struck me that I while I think Palpatine had his own wicked version of fun during the clone wars, pulling off this entire centuries-in-the-making-plot to overthrow the Republic, he is bored as the emperor.

There are some good Lucas quotes on how the dark side of the force is very focused on transient pleasure, contrasted by the joy of the light side:

“The dark side is pleasure, biological and temporary and easy to achieve. The light side is joy, everlasting and difficult to achieve.”

“Pleasure is short lived. It lasts an hour, it lasts a minute, it lasts a month. It peaks and then it goes down–it peaks very high, but the next time you want to get that same peak you have to do it twice as much. It’s like drugs, you have to keep doing it because it insulates itself. No matter what it is, whether you’re shopping or you’re engaged in any other kind of pleasure. It all has the same quality about it. 
(…)
“People who get the pleasure they keep saying, ‘Well, if I can just get richer and get more cars–!’ You’ll never relive the moment you got your first car, that’s it, that’s the highest peak. Yes, you could get three Ferraris and a new gulf stream jet and maybe you’ll get close. But you have to keep going and eventually you’ll run out.  You just can’t do it, it doesn’t work.”

Palpatine hit peak pleasure in establishing his empire and murdering the Jedi. There is just no way to top that. He is bored out of his mind during his time as empreror. Oh, he gets a few more glimpses of amusement out of messing with Vader but that must have grown old quickly, as would inflicting systematic and personal pain on the galaxy (not that he would stop doing either, but that it just wouldn’t give the same satisfaction anymore). He can’t reach those same heights again. I also think Palpatine enjoyed the entire game of pre-empire, but now that he has won there is no need or space for that.

Luke showing up is probably the best thing to have happened for him in up to a decade. It’s a new way of causing Vader pain and he has one last Jedi to pull down into the dark (attempting to re-live his old victory)

All Sith are miserable, and even Sheev Palpatine was no different. It’s just what the dark side of the force does to you. 

#i waffle back and forth between this and that sidious isn’t really a character #so much as an almost literal avatar of systemic injustice #oh well on the other hand, #there’s no reason he can’t be both (via @gffa

)

I feel much the same way!

The Rise of Skywalker novelization apparently reveals that Palpatine’s son was a clone!

Arrrrgh. I did honestly really like The Rise of Skywalker, but it annoys me so much that they had all this great material and just… didn’t put it in. What’s the story of Rey’s father, how did he escape Palpatine’s clutches?! What’s his name, even? I really, really want to know all that, that could be a movie or TV show in itself, but will it ever materialise…?

Star Wars Thoughts

Rae Carson’s novelization for The Rise of Skywalker officially releases on March 17, but parts of it have hit the internet early.

Included in that was the big but not crazy reveal that Palpatine’s spirit occupied a clone body in the film. That meant that there were two clones in the film (in Palpatine and Snoke)… but it turns out there was a third.

The novelization apparently reveals that Palpatine’s son was a clone.

Posted to the Star Wars Leaks subreddit, we read this excerpt from the book:

“The heretics of the Sith Eternal toiled, splicing genes, bolstering tissue, creating unnatural abominations in the hope that one of these strandcasts would succeed and become a worthy receptacle. The heretics would do anything, risk anything, sacrifice anything, to create a cradle for their god-consciousness.

“Nothing worked. But their efforts were not entirely in vain.

“One genetic strandcast lived. Thrived…

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A line was cut from The Rise of Skywalker explaining that Palpatine was “more than a clone, less than a man” — Star Wars Thoughts

The upcoming novelization for The Rise of Skywalker, written by Rae Carson, reveals that Palpatine’s spirit lived on in a clone body. This gives a large part of the answer for how he returned, and the novelization makes it seem almost as if this clone body, which serves as the host for his spirit, can’t […]

A line was cut from The Rise of Skywalker explaining that Palpatine was “more than a clone, less than a man” — Star Wars Thoughts

Oh man… I kinda like that line. I wish any of this had made it to the movie.

The Full Set of Posters for ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ in Homage to the Original Trilogy

These! Are! Fantastic!

(I really like old-style movie posters.)

Phantasy Studio:

Star Wars has some of my favorite posters in cinema. Because I love them so much, I decided to recreate them featuring characters and themes from the Sequel Trilogy. And since I have paid homage to A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, the full set is complete!

UZuri

I am so happy that I was able to illustrate these posters. Creating them helped me understand poster design more, allowed me to illustrate a multitude of characters at once, and has inspired me to continue creating posters in the future.

I especially love the color palettes used in each piece. The first uses vibrancies in pink, blue, yellow, and green, while the posters in homage to The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi uses blue heavily but they still differentiate themselves from each other.

Until next time!

Art Credit 2020: Phantasy Studio…

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Spacecest

So – is there any point warning for Star Wars spoilers anymore? – at the end of Rise of Skywalker, this kiss happens.

(gif from here. I guess there’s a camrip of the movie already?)

I’m not a Reylo shipper, but it was effective, I guess. Adam Driver’s acting in that scene was stellar, which made it mostly worth it overall. Except. EXCEPT

Rey and Ben are related! (Probably.)

So in a canonical Star Wars comic from last year, this scene happens,

which seems to confirm the Palpatine = technically Anakin’s father theory that’s been in the air ever since Revenge of the Sith came out. Okay cool! But Palpatine is also Rey’s grandfather, and Anakin is Ben’s…

See? You see what I mean?!

Why’s the question mark there? Well, because some of the Star Wars story people (holy heck, that’s a job? Sweet) have come out and said Palpatine is absolutely not Anakin’s father and all that stuff in the comic was a vision or a metaphor etc etc etc, but… it’s Star Wars. There’s pretty much no strict canon at all anymore, so heck, let’s assume that purely based on Palpatine’s Revenge of the Sith speech and the fact that he keeps calling Anakin “son” that he’s his, uh, I guess “Force Dad.”

So what does this make Rey and Ben? I have no idea, but let’s just say they’re closely enough related that they probably shouldn’t be kissing. (And that’s even without getting into the weirdness of Ben’s parents constantly serving as surrogate parents to Rey.)

Luke and Leia would be so proud.