Shopping Maul said:
A puppet being operated by the real villain?
But why have a dime store Palpatine if the plan all along was to use the real thing?
Because that’s how Palpatine operates. Masks, deceptions and lies. Snoke was just a more sophisticated version of wearing a hood and keeping his face in a strategically placed shadow.
That’s a nice in-universe explanation, but in reality it’s almost certain, that JJ intended for Snoke to be the big bad, and when RJ dispatched him, they had to bring back Palpatine in some form to up the ante. Had it been their intention to bring back Palpatine, they would logically have introduced him as the puppet master in a cameo at the end of TLJ. Additionally RJ clearly made TLJ with the intention to break free from what came before, whilst TROS seems to do the opposite promising a whole host of connections to the past.
I have to disagree with your interpretation of TLJ. That is the message that hermit Luke and Kylo Ren share. Both are proved wrong by the rest of the movie’s plot. The end of the movie is about embracing exactly what Luke said they didn’t need before Rey and Yoda brought him back to himself. And Kylo is trying desperately to be bad and be consumed by the dark side and yet he can’t seem to manage it. He’s trying to convince himself that he needs to destroy the past so he can be bad enough. But that is not RJ’s message in TLJ. Luke executes the very single handed battle with his lasersword against incredible odds and creates a legend, reminding Kylo and us that he will not be the last Jedi - meaning he is embracing the past and letting it carry forward. Quite the opposite of breaking free from what came before. And there is no hint that JJ is going to undo anything.
I disagree. TLJ spends most of its time deconstructing the mythology of Star Wars. It then reconstructs it in some form, but not by embracing the past. Luke’s last stand is not a reaffirmation of the reality of his legend in-universe, it is a ruse, which tells the audience, that legends and myths aren’t real, but they can serve a purpose when others choose to believe in them. This is in stark contrast to the OT, where the legend of Luke Skywalker is real in-universe. The Luke of the OT is the guy who really faces down the bad guys with his laser sword, whereas the Luke at the end of TLJ is an illusionist of sorts, intent on perpetuating a legend in-universe, while the viewer has been made aware it is all just smoke and mirrors.
This brings up the question of what Luke’s legend actually was, in universe, after the events of ROTJ.
Is Luke a Jedi and hero who can singlehandedly dispatch an AT-AT with a lightsaber and who blew up the Death Star, who defeated not only Vader but the Emperor in a single stroke? If so, I can see Luke wanting to distance himself from this story since it is rather deceptive.
Or is Luke in the minds of the people more of an aspirational figure whom they know is all-too human, and who only managed to topple an empire due to his compassion and loyalty helped by his powerful friends and family? This is a legend he would probably embrace but it isn’t as alluring to the everyday person so I would bet that most of the galaxy thinks of him as the Jedi superman.
So I think it’s very apt that Luke would act as an illusionist in embracing this admittedly false legend in TLJ. Luke doesn’t ultimately use the lightsaber to defeat his enemies, he throws it away in favor of a more compassionate, human approach. This is now lost to the galaxy in favor of his newly-affirmed legend of Jedi superman, and could be a sinister turn for his legacy and history.
Luke’s ‘in-universe’ legend post-ROTJ would have to be simply that he (supposedly) killed the bad guys. If he had let slip at the Ewok party that he had stood by and shown mercy while the Emperor and his bestie were slaughtering thousands of innocent beings, he would have been lynched. Imagine how thrilled the many victims of Palpatine/Vader’s tyranny would have been to hear that Vader was a nice guy after all and that it had been worth letting a few more Rebels die in order to facilitate Vader’s bedside conversion.
I keep harping on about it but it never ceases to bug me - Luke did not save the galaxy. At best he inadvertently (accidentally if you will) prevented Palpatine’s possible escape from the exploding Death Star. All he cared about was saving Vader’s soul and keeping his cool so he could become a guru.
Chewbacca saved the galaxy. TFA should have opened with “Chewbacca has vanished…”
The story we have on our end is not what Luke would be known for in universe. I can’t say if Vader’s part would have come out, but if it had it would have been that he came back to himself and sacrificed his life to kill the Emperor. The story we see is very compelling because we were not the Empire’s victims. The story told in universe would have to be adjusted and changed in order for it to be compelling and picked up as a legend. And they would only have Luke’s word as to what happened. The larger picture is that Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie, Lando, and Wedge, worked together to bring down the shields and destroy the Death Star, Darth Vader, and the Emperor. Learning that Luke is the new Jedi would have caused the public story to emphasize him because of the stories from the past of all the Jedi exploits. People would imagine that Luke had led the troops as Obi-wan, Anakin, Mace, and Yoda once had. They would want him to do it again. While Luke did it with illusion, he really played out exactly what people in universe would imagine a Jedi doing, so he very much was embracing the past and the legends of the Old Republic Jedi and giving his sister and Rey exactly what they needed, which he earlier said was not what they needed. He did a 180 on his views thanks to Rey and then Yoda.
I agree with this in spirit, and I like the idea (if not the execution) of a disillusioned Luke reclaiming his legend, even if the legend isn’t 100% accurate. My beef is with ROTJ itself. To have the in-universe narrative be ‘Luke defeated the Emperor’ would be a lie. Luke accidentally defeated the Emperor - it was a lucky byproduct of Luke’s focus on his (and Anakin’s) personal religious goals. And the idea of the galaxy embracing the notion of Vader’s turn is outrageous. It might work for us as SW fans, but not for his victims. Would you forgive Osama Bin Laden because you’d heard he had a puppy?
All it would take (for me) is a bit of dialogue on Endor. Have Luke say to Leia something like “…he can feel when I’m near, which means the Emperor is on to us. You and Han take care of the shield generator. I’m going to make sure that the Emperor never leaves the Death Star”. Leia would weep at the power of Luke’s self-sacrifice and this would be the stuff of legends. This would be a hero whose goal is to defeat the bad guys (as per the trajectory of the saga). With Luke’s intentions stated thus, the details of Anakin’s turn and the real events surrounding Palpatine’s defeat would be irrelevant to the consequent legend, and Anakin’s noble sacrifice would be a by-product of Luke’s desire to protect the galaxy.
When TROS picks up a year later, I imagine we are going to find out that Rey has been training with Luke’s force ghost and has turned her raw talent into great skill. I’m not sure if she will be recruiting and training even more just yet, but that will be her goal.
And even with Palpatine in the PT, we still don’t have much to his backstory. We had to wait until ROTS to hear of Darth Plagueis the Wise and we didn’t learn his first name in the films. There is so much about him that was left to the tie-in media to explain. We did get a full account of how he became Emeperor, but even that many viewers missed because it wasn’t handed to them on a plate but layered in obliquely. Many of the questions about Snoke that are outstanding are still outstanding with Palpatine even after the PT. Other than he started TPM as a Senator from Naboo, we know nothing about him. Even the name drop in ROTS doesn’t reveal if that was his master or his master’s master. Those things were all left to reveal in books. What we know of him from the books is almost everything. I see Snoke the same way. We get what we need in the films (he is the head of the First Order, a group that has risen from a fragment of the Empire) and he is a master of the Dark Side of the force and has lured Ben Solo to the dark side turning him into Kylo Ren, leader of the Knights of Ren. What more do we really need to know? Star Wars doesn’t have a history of giving us the full backstory, only what we need to know who these people are. There is so much that came from books and comics that is considered fact, but it isn’t in the films. We didn’t know anything about how Han won the Falcon until Solo came out. Han was a mystery except he made a run for Jabba the Hutt that ended in him dropping the shipment. We know the most about the Skywalkers, but not much about anyone else. How did Lando become head of Cloud City? We didn’t know how Owen and Beru were related to Luke until ATOC. Some answers came in films years later, some came in books right away, some have never been answered. But most have not been answered in the trilogy we meet these people in.
All we ever needed to know about Palpatine was built into the story - there was an evil Empire, he was its Emperor, and Vader had helped him destroy the Jedi (and Luke’s father) and thus bring on ‘the dark times’ that everyone happened to be rebelling against. Even without the prequels, it works.
This new series is the sequel to the OT and needs to supply some context. Who the heck is Snoke and how did he undo the rebel victory? Where and what was he this 30 years gone? What happened with Kylo? Why did Kylo join him? If this is just stuff that happens, then the entire OT is pointless - there will always be Sith Emperors and Anakin Skywalkers and the OT is basically trivial.
Even more galling is the fact that TFA was designed to make us wonder as fans. Mystery boxes mystery boxes. JJ knew he was making us wonder, and it’s ludicrous that he didn’t even have the answers himself. Yes, Lucas did the same thing (“the other is…uh…your sister! Yes, Leia’s your sister!”) but he had the excuse of writing on the fly due to not knowing how well the films would go down.