Hidden meanings and messages in Palpatine lines throughout the Saga

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by mandragora, Nov 12, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Moderators: anakinfansince1983
  1. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    For anyone that might be coming into this thread for the first time, and for our own sanity, I just want to bring it back to basics and express the essentials:

    Star Wars is like ........... truth stacking. It explores the essence of truth and approaches it in a tiered manner. It says there are one set of truths and another that all these truths seem to be stacked on top of each other. So Palpidious can tell Anakin that the Jedi need him more than he knows and mean: a) the Jedi need Anakin as a Jedi Knight, b) the Jedi need him to be a spy, c) the Jedi need him to eradicate the Sith, d) the Jedi need him to sweep away their dogma and balance the Force. Every truth is built on every other. For example, "d" is related to "c", but "d" is not the same as "c". Then "c" is related to "b", but "c" is not the same as "b", and so on. All of these things are true from a certain point of view. It depends on your focus.

    In terms of truth stacking, I was trying to imply a kind of geometric stacking. Like Russian dolls. Every progressive truth is bigger than the one before. But I'm not sure if it's correct to say that much. Maybe. Let's have a look. For example: "d" is a bigger truth than "c". The Sith are a small part of a complex cosmic equation, but the Force is everything. And then "c" is bigger than "b". In fact, if we start at the bottom and work up, we have ourselves a little narrative. The Jedi want Anakin to be a Jedi Knight and use his Jedi insights (a) and are abusing his trust with Palpatine to get Anakin to spy on Palpatine (b) with the aim of figuring out what's going on and eradicating the Sith (c) in the hopes of righting the wrongs and balancing the Force (d).

    But there is this thing called the "Dark Side" in the way. The Jedi's vision is clouded on these matters. While their basic chain of reasoning is correct, they fail to account for themselves. (Reflected later in a line by Obi Wan; when Padme asks if Anakin is in danger from the Sith, Obi Wan says, "From himself"). The Jedi are too much into the light. Their "Force pupils" are constricted and cannot register the dark. Palpidious is the other extreme. He can see in the darkness and operates with that ability at all times. So he can see where the Jedi are going wrong: what their Dark Side is. And because Anakin represents the Order, he can certainly see Anakin's Dark Side. And because the Jedi are in sway in the PT, it's perversely Palpidious that has the advantage -- because he's viewing things from afar. It begins to swing round in the OT. The Sith are now in sway and it's the Jedi who have the advantage -- because they're now viewing things from afar. Palpidious is too much in the dark. His "Force pupils" are dilated and the light is too bright. What's needed now is balance. We've had both extremes. The galaxy needs a rest! So Palpidious forgets about Anakin. Why? Because he can only see Vader, his Dark Side creation. That's where Luke is essential. He takes the Jedi's cautious and incomplete outlook, which has begun to mellow in the OT, and he goes the extra mile: he sees Anakin. I suppose this is a bit like Palpidious "seeing" Vader within Anakin in the PT and coaxing it out of him. The difference with Anakin returning is that he's already been a Jedi and a Sith .......... so what he chooses next will be his REAL self. Palpidious doesn't get this. He simply cannot understand a holistic creature because he's an extreme and is no better than the old Jedi. But it *seemed* like he was decent and reasonable in the PT because of the way he was FORCED (pun intended) to act. Only, he wasn't. It was all an illusion, even then: a phantom menace.

    In building a narrative in your own head, it's possible to come to new understandings about things. That seems to be what SW really represents: understanding through narrative. That's why the nakedness of the narrative is constantly on now. (Or Lucas realised this with the PT after a certain threshold had been crossed -- Campbellian overtones intended). I'm not sure I've come to any new understanding from the "story"
  2. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    I know this is a bit off topic Cryo, but with all the insight flying around I wanted to gage your opinion about Qui-Gon's dialogue. I have long-held the position that Qui-Gon was a more important character than he is actually given credit for. I also believe that what he taught Kenobi was in fact a prelude of things to come.

    OBI-WAN: I have a bad feeling about this.
    QUI-GON: I don't sense anything.
    OBI-WAN: It's not about the mission, Master, it's
    somethging...elsewhere...elusive.

    QUI-GON: Don't center on your anxiety, Obi-Wan. Keep your concentration
    here and now where it belongs.

    OBI-WAN: Master Yoda says I should be mindful of the future...
    QUI-GON: .....but not at the expense of the moment. Be mindful of the living Force, my young Padawan.

    -- See I don't believe that Obi-Wan took it to heart. There was a palpable friction that existed between Kenobi and Jinn, but not enough to cause outright dissent between them. I got the impression that Kenobi was conflicted by the opposing lessons. I have no doubt that he cared deeply for Qui-Gon; otherwise, he would not have implored his master to follow the code. He knew Qui-Gon was wise and wanted him to be recognized for it. Qui-Gon quite clearly showed us that he was not one for playing politics within the Order. By failing to take the lesson to heart, Kenobi (the father) passed that same sin down to his own son (padawan). Thoughts?
  3. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    "Prelude". That's a nice way of putting it. Just like the entirety of TPM.

    Obi-Wan definitely had trouble living up to Qui-Gon's ideals. Notice how Obi-Wan is sitting on the Council in ROTS? Notice how he never places his arm on Anakin's shoulder? Notice how he never calls Anakin "Ani"? He was a poor replacement for Qui-Gon. The fatherly bond that Anakin craved was fractured and non-reciprocal between him and Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan just didn't have the wisdom or experience to be what Anakin wanted and long saw him as.

    Beyond all of that, the dialogue is actually a commentary on the plot itself. It says don't pay attention to the future (OT) at the expense of the moment (PT). In 1999, the Force (i.e. the plot) was "living", being coaxed and shaped and told in real-time, as TPM had just been assembled and AOTC and ROTS, not yet even named, lay in the not-too-distant future. Qui-Gon essentially espouses a cogent philosophy for assimilating and understanding the story itself.
  4. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    I must confess to enjoying the saga as I saw unfold from the CT, to the SE, and then finally to the PT. While all the action was fantastic, there are some basic plot points that defy conventional wisdom. Like you said, it was being coaxed... a work in progress, a shame it wasn't solely for creative reasons. The secret history of SW revealed many of the missing pieces to the puzzle for me. Apart from the author's bias against Lucas, there are some fascinating facts.

    If only the PT could have had Irv...
    how amazing would the same actors (and characters) have been then?

    Star Wars is fun to dissect, no? :-B
    :cool:
  5. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    It's fun to dissect. And I would add: informative and enlightening. While one can sometimes go down blind alleys, the journey makes it all worthwhile. That's what this thread is all about.
  6. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    Yes, I have seen very little immature dialogue in here. Not like the PT forum. There are soo many avenues of thought to be explored without all the emotional and unintelligent responses. Pick out the wrong flaw in a character and you might as well declare war.[face_laugh]
  7. Master_Shaitan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2004
    star 5
    Are those just Qui Gon's ideals though? People always take that line to mean that Qui Gon is correcting Kenobi AND Yoda and saying to be mindful of the living Force. But I always took it to mean that he was reminding Kenobi of the other things Yoda has spoken of. Just sounds to me that Qui Gon is reminding Kenobi of the lessons taught to all Jedi. Kenobi is making a padawan error of remebering one part of his training and putting too much importance of it - being mindful of the future. Qui Gon is simply telling kenobi to remember the other parts of his training, the important part - "but not at the expense of the moment!".
  8. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    I didn't see it that way, because of the tone in Kenobi's voice when he rebutted. The key in that exchange for is the word BUT. It is that difference of opinion, that is further illustrated later on during their convo about him being on the Council. I gathered that Kenobi was of the belief that the right way to do things was to look to future, after all Yoda was the Grand Master.
  9. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    There are two intriguing Palpatine / Anakin scenes that I want to talk about.

    One is in AOTC and the other is in ROTS. It seems that these two scenes were designed to mirror / reflect each other. They're the first time that Anakin sees Palpatine in his office in either film, they're roughly the same length, they occur at roughly the same point in each film, they include the same sort of movements and camera work and the dialogue is very similar. In AOTC, Palpatine congratulates Anakin on getting his first assignment from the Jedi. In ROTS, Palpatine assigns Anakin to the Jedi. There is a tremendous amount of deference and lack of conflict in Anakin in both scenes. I find it really interesting how both scenes end. After Anakin shows gratitude to Palpatine, Palpatine concludes both with an auspicious statement concerning the future. In AOTC, he tells Anakin that he foresees him becoming the greatest of all the Jedi, even more powerful than Master Yoda. In ROTS, he tells him that the Jedi need him, more than he knows. I'm not sure what to make of all this, but there seems to be something to it.
  10. Pyrogenic Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2006
    star 4
    One thing I noticed in the AOTC scene is the abundance of empty chairs. We get an angle that's fairly similar to the first establishing shot of the office in the film, but only this time, the Jedi are GONE (not there to "help" Ani out). The Jedi just had a lot of contact with Palpatine earlier, but now, when Palps is talking about Ani's greatness compared to them, there's a real sense of it being behind their backs and that they're out-of-touch. The scene is really quiet and odd-feeling. In ROTS, there's a similar effect: when the two are walking at the beginning of the scene, they aren't saying anything. It's like "What were they doing?" Enjoying each other's company? :)

    That could be it--the final shot in each scene is nearly identical and HIGHLY reminiscent of that long shot of Vader in his Star Destroyer in TESB, looking out the window. A place of solace, perhaps?
  11. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    Empty chairs? Slagging off the Jedi behind their back? I like it!

    In AOTC, the two walk roughly in tandem. In ROTS, Palpatine carries on walking while Anakin lingers behind when Palpatine announces he's appointed him to be his personal representative. This is a selfish aim of Sidious' and the blocking seems to reflect that. Palpatine's speech is interesting at this point, too. Listen to how he says "Republic". It's a bit Emperor-ish. And that unseen smirk. It's a divisive move and Sidious knows it. But there's nothing immediately bad about what he says to Anakin in AOTC. There's something altogether more Sithian about the latter scene, however. Notice how Palpatine tells Anakin that he foresees him becoming the greatest of all the Jedi in AOTC? But he shifts this up a gear in ROTS and now tells Anakin that the Jedi need him, and more than he knows. Sidious now connotes a specific relationship between Anakin and the Jedi and implies Anakin is the "master" to the "slaves" of the Jedi. The word "more" is the linking word in both instances. And Anakin later says: "I want more! And I know I shouldn't." It seems that Sidious really slithered his way in.
  12. Pyrogenic Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2006
    star 4
    You mentioned WALKING.

    In Palpidious' reveal scene, he and Ani are walking in exact tandem as they leave the first room--they are in absolute sync with each other (left foot/left foot, right foot/right foot).

    The reason this is important is because we actually get a contrasting scene earlier in the film.

    When Ani and Obi walk down that giant hallway in the Jedi Temple, where Obi reveals the secret assignment to spy on Palpatine, the normally medium-shot framing cuts back for a moment (to a shot from above) in order to view Anakin's and Obi-Wan's walking to be COMPLETELY OPPOSITE, as in Ani's left and Obi's right go simultaneously and vice-versa. They aren't gelling together, and it's fitting that this scene presents Obi's request to spy: it just complicates Ani's SYNCRONIZED relationship with Palpatine.
  13. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6

    Well if Anakin was indeed the result of the Master's experiments; then its an easy bet that combined with the power of the Darkside, an unspoiled Vader would have been nigh unstoppable. If Sidious could toss senate pods like cookies, what would a suitless and more experienced Vader have been able to do?


    He's setting him up. The Jedi will reject AnaVAder's offer to come with on the arrest. His mentor Palpatine was telling him the NEED part to emotionally twist Anakin into believing that he should be there. He's already failed his mother, he won't fail again. Like I said elsewhere, he uses doubletalk really well.
  14. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    Yes, I know he's setting him up. We're a bit past the concept of double-talk. Look back at this thread! [face_laugh]

    I am trying to understand the precise nature of the connections. The word "more" is repeated and Anakin's relationship with the Jedi is accentuated. The way Ian McDiarmid phrases "more" is quite interesting: in the AOTC scene, it's quite normal, but in ROTS, it's dragged out. So yes, he's cranking things up, but the purpose of this thread is to go deeper and find the how's and the why's, and to do so in as many dimensions as possible.
  15. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    Well, Sidious is gambling that his years of subterfuge will payoff. The more than you know, is funny... because soon as Darth Vader HE WILL KNOW. And he will realize that he was strung-along. Sidious needs to be able to say:
    "Look, I did tell you... you just didn't get it."
    His dialogue rocks no matter you look at it.
  16. mandragora Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2005
    star 4
    @Cryo - I seem to recall that we've discussed this line already, somewhere in the archives of this thread. But perhaps a new try is worthwhile.

    "They need you, more than you know."

    What do they need him for, and what does Anakin do for the Jedi Order that no-one else can do?

    From most straight forward to most indirect answers:

    1. They need him as one of their most powerful fighters in the war.
    2. They need him as a spy; he's the one closest to Palpatine and Palpatine foresaw that when they received information about Palpatine's request to put Anakin on the council, they would take advantage of this. "Anakin, the only reason the Council has approved your appointment is because the Chancellor trusts you." "The Council wants you to report on all of the Chancellor's dealings. They want to know what he's up to."

    So much for the meanings with respect to the situation at hand. The meanings as related to the Saga:

    3. They need him because he's an exceptional case, the only Jedi accepted into the order at the age of 11, a student who exhibits the difficulties of the prevailing Jedi way of listening to rules rather than the Force - they need him as a challenge and a chance for change

    Since they are not ripe and thus destined to fail to accept this change, they need him even more (and this is again George Lucas, the storyteller, speaking through Palpatine):

    4. They need him because he is the father of Luke and as such he is the only one who could encourage Luke's determination to carry on despite Kenobi's and Yoda's death, and his never ending determination to believe that there's still good in him

    5. And finally, they need him because Luke alone would have failed; it was Anakin who in the end destroyed Palpatine.


    EDIT: "I will be the most powerful Jedi ever." Even though he became a Sith and even though he didn't need Force powers in the end to destroy Palpatine, in a sense he was. Because he was the only Jedi ever who joined the dark side and actually came back.
  17. DarthMatter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2004
    star 3
    Props to everyone for a great thread! =D=
  18. DarthMateous Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2002
    star 4
    Along with the negotiations with the seperatists and Dooku, Palpatine was also "negotiating" a deal with the Kaminoans to secure the clone army with for the Republic and with "negotiating" a strategy with Grievous (the capture of himself, no less!).
  19. Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    I agree. I tend to resist the idea that Qui-Gon was the only Jedi who placed the proper importance on the "living Force".
  20. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    No way. Had Yoda and the rest of the High Council been more in-tune with the Living-Force, then the Order wouldn't have gotten their collective arses handed to them. Kenobi clearly attempts to throw it in Qui-Gons's face with the whole: "But Yoda said" part. What Kenobi did symbolized the flaws of the entire order. I love how Lucas set up the PT with their exchange. The Jedi were too busy worrying about what might happen instead of paying attention to what was going on in the here and the now.

    This flaw was then magnified by Anakin, and then some.
  21. Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    This is a huge exaggeration of one exchange from TPM.
    I know why it's popular... the books ( the TPM novel, specifically, and maybe others ) latched on to this and blew it out of proportion.
    Qui-Gon is reminding Obi-Wan that a better way to summarize Yoda's teachings is to say "be mindful of the future but not at the expense of the moment".
  22. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    But it is Yoda who submits to Qui-Gon's teachings at the end of the ROTS Novel, so I don't see where the huge exageration is. Kenobi even emplored his master to compromise who he was, just so he could be on the council. If anything, it cements my POV that the Jedi were flawed from top to bottom. The maverick Qui-Gon was the one who was right all along, not the pompous and stodgy High-Council.
  23. Na-heela Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 4
    Been watching the boards for years now (without submitting though, my bad [face_worried]), but just had to register and finally make a comment:

    Great thread! Great ideas! No bull, straight thoughts. Fun to read! Keep it coming!
  24. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    I have been thinking about Palpidious and the way he exemplifies and deviates from Buddhism's Eight-Fold Path.

    This is a summary of the Eight-Fold Path from Bruce Lee's "Tao of Jeet Kune Do":

    1. Right views (understanding): You must see clearly what is wrong.
    2. Right purpose (aspiration): Decide to be cured.
    3. Right speech: Speak as to aim at being cured.
    4. Right conduct: You must act.
    5. Right vocation: Your livelihood must not conflict with your therapy.
    6. Right effort: The therapy must go forward at the "staying speed", the critical velocity that can be sustained.
    7. Right awareness (mind control): You must feel it and think about it incessantly.
    8. Right concentration (meditation): Learn how to contemplate with the deep mind.

    This is a more detailed explanation of it:

    http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/eightfoldpath.html

    I find it interesting that Palpidious says in a deleted scene from ROTS: "I've said I will do what is right."

    In the PT, he seems to adhere to the Eight-Fold Path immaculately. In the OT, he loses his way.

    I will now draw on both of the above explanations of the Eight-Fold Path to describe the dominant personalities of Chancellor Palpatine and Darth Sidious respectively:

    PT Palpatine:

    1. He sees that the existing system is broken down and corrupt. Example: "There is no civility, only politics."
    2. He resolves not to use any more Force or aggression than is necessary. Example: Often shown sat and waiting.
    3. He speaks warmly and friendly. Example: "I know what's been troubling you."
    4. He abstains from taking what is not given. Example: "The powers you give me..."
    5. He enters politics and works to fix the Republic.
    6. He is patient and proceeds as quickly, but also as carefully, as the situation allows.
    7. He understands other people and has clearly trained his mind and refined his consciousness to an artform.
    8. He is sensitive to other beings' pains and agonies even when they're not phsically near. Example: "I sense Lord Vader is in danger..."

    OT Sidious:

    1. He doesn't see that resistance to his Empire is more co-ordinated than he thinks. Example: "It is quite safe from your pitiful band..."
    2. He uses more Force and aggression than is necessary. Example: Tries to destroy Luke.
    3. He speaks mockingly and invectively. Example: "Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side!"
    4. He desires more than he is given. Example: "You, like your father, are now mine!"
    5. He has shed his politician's robes and acts like a fully-fledged Sith.
    6. He attempts to hurry the destruction of the Rebel Alliance and the conversion of Luke Skywalker.
    7. He stops serving the will of the people and employing compassion and acts independently of the whole.
    8. He stops empathising with other people and fails to detect the flaws within himself and the virtues of those outside of him.
  25. MotionWright Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2007
    star 1
    That's some very interesting insight, Cryo. And Na-heela, I second that. I hadn't thought twice about most of these lines before I found this thread. It's a nifty resource when writing Palpatine dialogue - gives me the idea to make sure there's always some hidden meaning in everything he says. Now to add my own two cents to the discussion:

    "He was too dangerous to be kept alive." (ROTS)

    Here, like many other times, Palpatine is being completely honest. The deception is all in dangerous to whom.

    With both of his hands cut off, Dooku couldn't have been a physical threat to Anakin or to the Republic. But he still had his tongue, and that made him a real threat to Sidious - I don't think he would have thought twice before spilling the secrets of the Master who had betrayed him by ordering Anakin to "kill him".

    And the whole point of the Chancellor's kidnapping, other than to test Anakin's dark side potential, was to keep the Jedi from suspecting him ... for whatever reason, he couldn't risk them finding out his identity now. It was too soon. He hadn't finished laying the foundations that would lead the Chosen One to side with him against the Jedi. And that made Dooku dangerous indeed, since he knew his secret, and would almost assuredly have revealed it to Anakin and the other Jedi if given the chance. If you remember, on Geonosis, he almost told Obi-Wan, when he spoke about the Senate being under the control of a Sith Lord. Maybe he knew Obi-Wan wouldn't believe him, but still, I don't think Sidious appreciated taking that kind of risk.

    "Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Senator." (ROTS deleted scene where Padme gives him the Petition of 2000)

    I have no doubt he means this too. Actually he is thanking her for giving him a list of his enemies in the Senate so that he can have them arrested or killed off one by one. She's making the job easier for him. So I bet that 'thank you' was quite sincere.

    In fact, I wonder about the common sense of whoever came up with the idea of putting all their names on that petition. It must have been someone who still trusted Palpatine to be a decent person, despite his increasingly despotic behaviour. I bet it was Padme. It's just in her nature to have too much faith in people (just think about Anakin).

    In my opinion, all the analysis in this thread leads to the following conclusion:

    If only someone had paid less attention to what Palpatine said and more to how he said it...
Moderators: anakinfansince1983
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.