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Unpopular opinion: I'm glad Palpatine's return wasn't set up in TLJ.

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The whole point of TLJ is, by the end of the movie, that hope has been reignited, that the First Order will be destroyed, Luke even inspires the galaxy with his return, having come to terms with his legacy.

If Palpatine had been set up in TLJ, it would take that way, that hope would all be meaningless since we would know that Palpatine is just going to come back and ruin everything.

In other words, his return is meant to come out of nowhere in TRoS.

Even then, his return was already set up in the opera scene in RotS, Anakin asks him as to whether it is possible to “learn this power” (referring to Plagueis wanting to keep himself alive), and Palpatine responds, “Not from a Jedi,” intentionally grinning at us, the audience.

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I’ll be honest with you, man, I think you’re bending over backwards a little bit to find more intent in on-the-fly story decisions than there really was. I think it is less that Palpatine’s return was meant to come out of nowhere, and more so that it just conveniently worked out that way, at best.

Also, you could say the Opera scene could retroactively set up that Palpatine had hidden knowledge of cheating death, but at the time ROTS was made, you could equally say that Palpatine was just lying to Anakin about knowing the secrets to cheating death in order to manipulate him into doing his bidding. It is just retroactive foreshadowing.

That doesn’t make it a bad thing, though. Like any potential “hints” that Vader was Luke’s father in the original Star Wars could also be called retroactive foreshadowing.

Again, I totally see your point by saying it actually works out better that Palpatine’s return is a surprise in IX. I actually think I agree with you to an extent. But I think it is wrong to say that is was meant to work out that way. Clearly is wasn’t always the plan to bring back Palpatine, so if you feel like the reveal works out better not set up in previous films, I think it is just serendipitous and convenient, rather than intentional.

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Just a point, Anakin didn’t want to keep himself alive, he wanted to keep Padmé alive.

I think it is less that Palpatine’s return was meant to come out of nowhere, and more so that it just conveniently worked out that way, at best.

You guys and I feel as though TLJ is the natural progression to the story, that it being about hope feels like it was meant to be that way.

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TestingOutTheTest said:

In other words, his return is meant to come out of nowhere in TRoS.

Nothing was meant to happen because they had no idea what they were doing. JJ himself admitted Palpatine was not the intended outcome of the Disney trilogy and they just kinda winged it.

I’m not knocking your opinion at all; if that’s what you personally want to take from it then more power to you, but you’re kind of framing your argument like it’s an actual fact when we’ve got the filmmakers themselves contradicting that.

Even then, his return was already set up in the opera scene in RotS, Anakin asks him as to whether it is possible to “learn this power” (referring to Plagueis wanting to keep himself alive), and Palpatine responds, “Not from a Jedi,” intentionally grinning at us, the audience.

And I won’t even touch that.

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Ryan-SWI said:

JJ himself admitted Palpatine was not the intended outcome of the Disney trilogy and they just kinda winged it.

He did? Then why was Kennedy saying at the convention that they “always intended Palpatine to return?”

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It is true they made everything up on the fly just like Lucas. Except Disney Lucasfilm wasn’t able to get away with it, and Lucas was.

Star Wars under Lucas one retcon after retcon.

The Saga wasn’t always the Saga of Darth Vader, it wasn’t always about father’s and sons and grandfathers, or a family soap opera. Leia wasn’t the sister and Vader wasn’t Luke’s old man. Obi Wan wasn’t a liar and so on. It wasn’t about a chosen one prophecy, a virgin birth and other such nonsense about blah, blah balance of the force.

So Rey being related to someone, then a no one, then related to someone is not that big a stretch.

I laughed when Emperor Smeagol was cut in half and did not foresee it. He was a bargain basement replacement for Palpatine anyway. I always assumed he was just a puppet and Palpatine was really the person behind the curtain pulling the strings. I never assumed he was literally Palpatine’s creature created in a cloning tube on Exegol.

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Fang Zei said:

Ryan-SWI said:

JJ himself admitted Palpatine was not the intended outcome of the Disney trilogy and they just kinda winged it.

He did? Then why was Kennedy saying at the convention that they “always intended Palpatine to return?”

Apologies, Trevorrow made the comment before the release of ROS, not JJ, my bad: “Bringing back the Emperor was an idea JJ brought to the table when he came on board. It’s honestly something I never considered. I commend him for it. This was a tough story to unlock, and he found the key.”

As for Kennedy’s contradictory comments, PR. You’re not exactly going to get up on stage and admit you winged a 4 billion dollar property. And NuLucasfilm isn’t exactly known for their great track record when it comes to being on the same page as each other.

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I agree that setting up Palpatine’s turn in TLJ would have been a bad idea. That’s why I kind of don’t think it’s a good idea to set it up in fanedits, it just undermines TLJ and barely improves TRoS.

But it’s not that it was “meant” to come out of nowhere or anything. Palpatine’s return not being set up well hurts TRoS pretty badly. Setting up Palpatine’s return in TLJ is a bad idea, having Palpatine return without a setup is a bad idea, therefore having Palpatine return at all is a bad idea. Although there are plenty of other reasons why Palpatine’s return was a bad idea.

Death of the Author

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Who’s been saying Palpatine’s return should have been set up in TLJ? I thought consensus was just that his reveal in TROS was poorly executed, rushed but only for the movie not the trilogy.

“The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” - DV

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Yeah as time goes on I’m leaning on the idea of not wanting Palpatine in TLJ. TLJ leans heavily on its themes and while it is a sequel it kind of stands on it’s own and works like a character deconstruction

I would like to add some subtle things into TFA to hint at Palpatine though.

What, no Turkey?!

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Your idea for TFA would still undermine TLJ’s idea of hope, because by TLJ it’d still be implied some other threat exists.

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TestingOutTheTest said:

Your idea for TFA would still undermine TLJ’s idea of hope, because by TLJ it’d still be implied some other threat exists.

Yeah you are completely right I just wish General Enric Pryde from TROS was in it. That would be my only wish for the movie.

What, no Turkey?!

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TestingOutTheTest said:

Your idea for TFA would still undermine TLJ’s idea of hope, because by TLJ it’d still be implied some other threat exists.

I saw an idea in some thread on this site about implying Starkiller Base was involved with bringing back Palpatine. I wasn’t a fan of their idea on how that worked, but it kills two birds with one stone: Replaces its original (dumb) functionality in TFA, and sets up Palpatine, all without killing the third bird by undermining TLJ.

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I think of the three trilogies the only one that wasn’t done by winging it was the PT. The end was know before we saw the TPM crawl. Vader turns, the Empire rises, Luke and Leia where hid after they were born. The only story point that in any way changed was when Padme died, and even that may have been set.

But the OT was done on the fly. George had a general story from the long script that he followed in TESB and ROTJ, but the deeper story was done on the fly. We don’t know when he decided to make Vader Luke’s father. I think it was very early in TESB story development, he just never put it down. It was not in any version of the script until the script was published later. Only 6 people knew before the paperback came out in April 1980. The final confrontation in ROTJ changed a lot as the drafts progressed.

The ST was done much the same. TFA was an intro. TLJ was all about character development. TROS not only had to be the finale to the trilogy but to the saga. Trevorrow had a creature who taught Palpatine… but wasn’t that supposed to be Darth Plagueis? Changing that to be Palpatine himself and unleasing a fleet of Star Destroyers carrying an updated and more compact planet killer was genius. It gave the movie an epic villain and an epic conflict. It gave Kylo competition and conflict. It was exactly the ingredient the final story of the saga needed. Some have complained that Palpatine came back and some have complained about bringing back planet killers yet again, but for anyone who has watched any version of Flash Gordon, you know that Ming never dies and always comes back and he always has worse weapons every time he comes back. Star Wars is supposed to be a more serious take on the camp of Flash Gordon. So I think Palpatine made the ending perfect. It ties all 9 movies together into a whole.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if the inspiration was Max Von Sydow. Abrams might have turned to Flash Gordon for inspiration and heard the movie end with Max’s evil laugh as Ming… after the heroes had won and Ming was dead.

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The DotF script didn’t say Tor Valum taught Palpatine, just that he taught Plagueis.

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The big script thing Lucas has peddled isn’t true. The original Star Wars sequel was called Star Wars II by Leigh Brackett, and Darth Vader wasn’t Luke’s father.

In fact if you read the story conference for Splinter of the Mind’s eye, everything we’ve been told about the Saga of Darth Vader goes out the window.

The script from 1974 Vader was just some general, and Valorum was the Sith Knight. Luke was an old General.

I’m glad at least the secret history of Star Wars is out there for people to read who were only given a certain point of view.

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JadedSkywalker said:

The big script thing Lucas has peddled isn’t true. The original Star Wars sequel was called Star Wars II by Leigh Brackett, and Darth Vader wasn’t Luke’s father.

In fact if you read the story conference for Splinter of the Mind’s eye, everything we’ve been told about the Saga of Darth Vader goes out the window.

The script from 1974 Vader was just some general, and Valorum was the Sith Knight. Luke was an old General.

I’m glad at least the secret history of Star Wars is out there for people to read who were only given a certain point of view.

Have you read all the drafts of Star Wars? That one was one of the earliest. As the drafts went on, the story changed and it got closer to what we see. For the film we got in 1977, he cut out the middle. How do we know this? Because some of that was sketched and drawn. The evolution of the Milliennium Falcon has all the pieces of this. Originally they did not arrive on the Death Star, but on Bespin, which had a different name and was an imperial outpost (or capital) where Leia was being held. The original story had more in this section and then the whole Wookie battle while the death star battle was going on. That part of what Lucas said is certain. The Bespin floating city idea wound up in TESB and the forest battle with primitives (now Ewoks - wok-e to e-wok and 7 foot to 3 foot) ended up in ROTJ. The rest of the story evolved and changed, but Lucas is absolutely correct that he cut out a bunch that he recycled in the other two OT movies.

As to when Vader became Luke’s father, we don’t know. I’m sure it was not in the story treatment that Lucas gave Brackett to write the screenplay. It is very clearly not in what she wrote, but the reveal scene is. We don’t know if Lucas was being secretive or came up with the idea later. We do know that before the novelization was finished that the writer knew, Lucas and Kershner knew it because they told Hamill. James Earl Jones and Ben Burtt had to know (to record Vader’s lines and add the FX. So it was well planned in advance. One later copy of the script that was digitized just has notes for the reveal scene indicating that something was secret about it at that point. Kasdan probably knew as he probably wrote it… unless George wrote that part himself.

So it is in error that Lucas pulled it out of his ass at the last minute. There are plenty of indications that he had it planned for a while before filming. Who knows what he told Alan Dean Foster. Who knows if what he told him is what he was thinking. That is a mystery. A lack of evidence of one thing is not evidence of something else.

Lucas has become a master of rewriting history, but most of the time he takes a shred of truth and embellishes it. I have no doubt that in his mind as he worked out the story of TESB that it came to him at some point and he has projected it back into the older drafts where there is no trace of the evil general being the hero’s father. But there are hints. In one draft the father is a cyborg. So I have no doubt in Lucas’s mind that is the origin of the idea. Plus we only have some of his written drafts. It is by no means a complete picture and does not tell us all his thoughts and early rejected ideas that later came back to him and he incorporated. There are echoes of the fallen father and twins in earlier drafts, but no where close to what we got. Enough to say Lucas isn’t outright lying, but not enough to say he is accurately remembering what he wrote in those early drafts.

Also, he evidently reread some of those old drafts before he wrote the PT as a great many unused things in them made their way into the PT.

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Also, wasn’t the PT (especially ROTS) known for reshoots? Weren’t Anakin’s reasons for falling to the dark side completely changed during production?

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Weren’t Anakin’s reasons for falling to the dark side completely changed during production?

Yeah, originally he turned merely because the Jedi were, from his point of view, evil, but it was changed to lean in more on saving Padmé.