Characters Palpatine characterization thread: UP FOR ADOPTION!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by LLL, Mar 1, 2005.

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  1. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    EDIT: Palpatine story index begins at the bottom of this first post.

    Are there any other Palpatine groupies out there?? Do you have trouble understanding him or writing a convincing representation?

    Who is he? Where did he come from? Is he completely evil, or is he a "real person" like Anakin Skywalker? Has he ever been in love? CAN he love? Who cares??

    I do. I'm trying to write an audio drama that heavily features Palpatine, and I've been out of the SW universe for a while. And anyway, since May will be the SW swan song, I'm going to enjoy Palpy's last hurrah as fully as possible ... that means with a few fellow writer fans.


    In progress: PALPATINE STORY INDEX
    Know any good Palpy stories? PM me! I'll sort them as more are added. Fics starred are personally recommended by the archivist.


    Drama

    Title: The Bargain
    Author: leiamoody
    Genre: Crossover, Angst, Borderline Horror
    Timeframe: Before ROTS
    Crossover With: Hellraiser
    Characters: Palpatine (wearing his Palpy face), Pinhead (wearing his Cenobite face)
    Summary: The corrupted come together and make a deal for one who is corruptible. Or, Leviathan's chief handy demon walks into Palpatine's office and...
    Author Notes: Pinhead is the creative bad news baby of Clive Barker.
    Archivist comment: *raises Spock eyebrow* Fascinating.

    Title: When All Around Has Fallen
    Author(s):CodyMonKenobi
    Timeframe:ROTSish
    Characters:palpatine, Anakin/Vader
    Genre: Songfic.
    Summary:palpatine tries to seduce Vader.

    Title: Mortal Instruments
    Author: leia_naberrie
    Genre: Alternate Reality. Short story.
    Characters: Palpatine. Padmé. (for now).
    Summary: Snippets from the life of Padmé Naberrie, ward of Palpatine.

    His Ultimate Punishment
    Authors: sabarte and LLL
    Genre: PT era, drama, missing scene
    Characters: Sidious, Dooku
    Summary: After the events of _Dark Rendezvous_, what induced Count Dooku to pass up the chance to kill Sidious, and to remain so loyal to him until the end of his life? How did Sidious get him back? (How did Dooku survive his master's wrath?!) Sidious and his apprentice settle their differences in mortal combat.

    Often Grows the Wolf
    Author: sabarte
    Genre: AU, begins in 73BBY.
    Characters: Qui-Gon, Dooku, Yoda, supporting cast of Jedi, and a somewhat ... different Palpatine.
    Summary: Qui-Gon changed the galaxy on Naboo. Now a Jedi Knight, he means to take on a deadlier challenge. A series of vignettes over thirteen years tracing the Jedi training of a Sith apprentice.

    *Title: The Man Who Would Be Emperor
    Author: leia_naberrie
    Characters: Palpatine. "Other."[face_devil]
    Timeline: RotS AU.
    Genre: Thriller.
    Summary: As the Senate dome burns, the would-be Emperor celebrates alone. But not for long.

    *There is No Death, There is Immortality
    Author: Bale
    Very short. Groovy speculation on the origins of Palpatine!

    Title: Alive
    Author: Brentus
    Characters: Palpatine, his mother and his Master
    Time Frame: Palpatine is a boy of six and then ten
    Genre: Songfic
    located here

    *Title: Choices
    Author: Brentus
    Characters: Dark Leia, Palpatine, Luke, Mara, Han, Ben, OCs
    Time Frame: Around ESB
    Genre: Angst/Drama/some horror
    located here

    Title: It was I ...
    Author: darth_shockwave
    Genre: AU, PT, viggie
    Characters: P
  2. Kynstar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 2, 2004
    star 5
    Hey sweet! The Emp/Chanc/Palps thread! [face_dancing] :D Glad to know there is somebody else out there too! :D

    Dunno about you but I'm enjoying Palps pre OT movies! Man him being so conniving and manipulating. It's juz sweeeet!
  3. Ace_Venom Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 22, 2002
    star 3
    Old Palpy gets his due. We shall not pay the price for our lack of vision.

    Anyhoo, Palpy seems real enough on screen to me. Very cunning and manipulative, he is.
  4. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    I hate that he is presented as a cardboard villian. Powerful and smart, yes, but cardboard just the same. Anakin has depth. Palpatine is there just to make the story go, so he has NO depth.

    I want to fill him in and make him complex and human.
  5. Herman Snerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 1999
    star 6
    Palp-ster has no apparent depth because he does everything he can to seem present himself as a schmoozing politician rather than the scheming uber-genius villain that he is.

    As a politician he appears to bow to the will of others. As a Sith Lord, he sends his apprentices out to do his work for him.

    Meanwhile, he sits back and smiles as his plans come together.
  6. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    Ooh, yay, finally a Palpy thread. :)

    ^I agree, LLL, he usually is the carboard villain. Ugh. He deserves to have depth and character. Gie reason for his evilness. Mwhaha.
  7. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    Discussion Question #1:

    What has been your biggest problem in writing Palpatine?

    I did this with Palpatine: Went around to several appropriate message boards and asked people the question: Is Palpatine human? The responses I got indicated that most people think of him as a real person, like you or I, rather than a figment of the Force or just the embodiment of evil. But when I asked if there was anything redeemable about him or if anyone wanted to see him redeemed, a'la Anakin Skywalker, the responses were overwhelmingly negative. People don't seem willing to accept much evidence of any good in old Palps.

    So my biggest challenge in writing him is to present softer evidence that humanizes him and makes him sympathetic, enough to move or intrigue but not so much that people can't/won't accept it.

    For instance, the drama I'm working on now. I'd like to imply that Palpatine USED to be very attached to someone and that his Sithly life has caused him to choose between other attachments and his destiny as a Sith ... and that although he did make the latter choice, it was with a heavy heart at times. But how to intrigue ppl instead of turning them off? THAT is the question!
  8. JalendaviLady Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2002
    star 4
    I've tried to create a backstory for Palpatine in my fics (the big long interconnected AU series). He's got the Sith 'we will have our revenge' thing going on towards the Jedi, but he's also got issues with the rest of the galaxy. Basically, because of a long chain of events long since passed into legend for most beings not in his family he thinks that he is owed the galaxy. Literally.

    I suppose he is a bit of a tragic figure in the total arc of the series, because he chose to interpret things that way and let his mind get warped around the past. He was born in a comfortable position in a matriarchy where his mother was the leader of his entire people (he's human, but wasn't born within the realm of Republic control). He had several kids at several points in his life, all of whom ran away or were discarded at various ages. He could have had a very comfortable life, but he chose to decide that the galaxy owed him for offenses incurred before the Republic was even formed.
  9. Kynstar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 2, 2004
    star 5
    For instance, the drama I'm working on now. I'd like to imply that Palpatine USED to be very attached to someone and that his Sithly life has caused him to choose between other attachments and his destiny as a Sith ... and that although he did make the latter choice, it was with a heavy heart at times.

    Ohhhh I'll look forward to that one then for sure! I juz mainly write him as a schemer/planner and manipulater for sure.

    In my fic that I'm doing currently - he's using a Jedi and unfortunately something 'good' is going to happen from it. Though that 'good' doesn't come into affect until end of RotS. Hehehehe oh well ;)

    I agree that he sits backs and let others do his work for him. Nothing wrong with that [face_mischief] and allow them to take the fall if there is one. *evil laugh*
  10. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    I've only written Palpy in one fic but I've written him as exceptionally manipulative and evil, cunning, patient and cruel. Seems to enjoy his 'work' by hurting and killing innocents for fun. Sort of like Caligula without the madness - much more dangerous and harder to catch.

    However, I don't consider him as cardboard at all. I've meet people almost as manipulative in real life who seem to enjoy making other people unhappy for the sheer pleasure of it. And we have had truly horrible people running countries in the past who have killed millions.

    I'm sure Palpy loved his mother until he killed her for gain...
  11. pokey1984 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2004
    star 2
    My biggest problem with wrting Palpatine is trying to figure out a why for anything. I can't figure out what he'd say or do b/c I don't know why he'd say or do it.

    He just doesn't make any sense to except as a "card board villain." I'm glad to see this thread, maybe you all can help me figure this out. :) (we really need a [face_hopeful] I am always wanting to use it...)
  12. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Great discussion!! Glad to see other Palpy fans.


    What has been your biggest problem in writing Palpatine?

    The biggest problem I've had is the question asked below-is he human?

    I think he is. Palpatine's evil comes from very human things, human emotions. He's greedy and he's arrogant. He doesn't do things just to do them, he has a purpose and a vision, for lack of a better term. That's what makes him so evil. I don't see him as a cardboard character with no depth. I don't necassarily think we need a back story for him to give him depth--his actions and the motivations behind them give him depth.
  13. Kynstar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 2, 2004
    star 5
    Then at least we are all in agreement on one thing... he's evil [face_laugh] And it is great to see others talking here about Palps :D

    I'm sure Palpy loved his mother until he killed her for gain...


    You know diane I do wonder about that too ;) Oh great comparison there too!
  14. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    Hi Pokey.

    As for why he would do this, in a word, power!

    Some people gather money to protect them from the vageries of the world, some people gather friends, some gather possessions or blindness or silence.

    And some gather power - to manipulate, to control, to be 'better' than anyone else. Some are obvious in their lust for power, others not. Palpy was the master manipulator and I think he enjoyed it very much. Just look at his face when Amidala told him she was returning to Naboo in TPM. The subtle change in his eyes (Ian did a great job with the role).

    And even more so when you see him with Luke and Vader near the end of ROTJ - trying to make Luke turn, insulting his friends, pitting father against son. Classic control freak. And, because he had been ruler for so long, overconfident that he could manipulate Vader to the killing of his son.
  15. Ace_Venom Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 22, 2002
    star 3
    Palpy is indeed human. We know his motives, but we really don't know why he has those motives. Problem with this is that he's not like Dooku or Skywalker. He was never a Jedi (quite obvious even without E3 Spoilers), so his turn to the darkness was nowhere near as dramatic as far as we know in the canon.

    It's clear that Palpatine is the incarnation of the human desire to dominate.
  16. vader_incarnate Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2002
    star 4
    I'm on a Shakespeare kick a the moment. Please excuse the randomness. [face_blush]

    I don't think that a lack of depth for Palpatine is necessarily a bad thing. Take Iago from Othello. Since reading that play, I've looked at Palpatine as something of an Iago-esque villain: he's evil, damned good at being evil, but the Force alone knows why he does what he does. It's what makes Iago one of Shakespeare's most astounding villains: the utter lack of conviction or motivation for why he does what he does. I don't think Palpatine's motivations are ever quite clear, because anything so transparent just wouldn't be Darth Sidious.

    Other Shakespearean villain that makes me immediately think Palpatine is Richard III. He's a villain, but so unashamedly so: utterly heinous, manipulative, scheming, and just so damned evil that we can't help but watch with a certain degree of awe. His open allegiance to the dark during the OT and his relentless pursuit of power during the PT fascinate us no less than the good guys and their escapades.

    Anyway. :) [:D] Yes, I think Palpatine can be a human figure, but I definitely understand the temptations in casting him as evil incarnate.
  17. pokey1984 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2004
    star 2
    I get that Palpatine wants power (you have to be a serious control freak to want to run the whole galaxy) but Why?

    Why does Palaptine want so much power, so much control. Anakin turned bad for power, but he did it because he honestly thought that was the way to help the galgaxy. He thought Palpatine could bring order to lawless systems (like Tatooine). (That's my guess, anyway.)

    But I can't see any reasoning behing Palpatine's lust for power.
  18. Ace_Venom Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 22, 2002
    star 3
    My theory on Palpy's motives comes from my theory for his desire to dominate. The Empire was the New Order to replace the ailing Republic, whose flaws were revealed during the secession crisis and the Clone Wars.

    Palpatine wanted order, which isn't exactly far off from what Anakin desires. He's an excellent strategist as well, turning a peaceful republic into something that resembles the Third Reich.

    But that's just summary. Perhaps we just need to dig deeper, back between the schism of Light and Dark Jedi way back when. It's easy to think he's just carrying on the age old war between light and dark. It may have something to do with the fact that he was born on a planet like Naboo, seemingly unimportant in the galactic scheme until the Trade Federation conveniently gets involved...

    Maybe he just wants to show everyone that he can do it.
  19. Herman Snerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 1999
    star 6
    We know his motives, but we really don't know why he has those motives.


    To remove the Jedi Order is pre-eminent. But to accomplish that, Palpy has to stage a war to deplete the ranks of the Jedi. To start a war and direct it how he wants, he needs political power.

    I think ruling the galaxy is only necessary because he can't destroy the Jedi without doing that first.

    It's the means, not the goal.

    Of course once he was in power, why leave? ;)
  20. pokey1984 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2004
    star 2
    Okay, I can buy that Palpatine wanted order. But, again, why? Going back to the Anakin comparison, Anakin's life as a slave and the horrible death of his mother and all the suffering he saw during that time all contributed to his desire to stop that from hapening. What was Palpatine's motivation? Why would he want order? I thought he enjoyed others suffering.

    Did he want to create order to cause suffering?

    And did Palpatine become Sith in order to gain power?
  21. Arin_Atona Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 10, 2004
    star 4
    Maybe Yoda peed in his Cheerioes and he's just out for revenge? I'm curious what his motivations are besides just "I am Sith, and this is what Sith do."

    I suppose it's possible to train up a child to be cruel to others (heck, it happens all the time in RL)... but I don't know exactly what would cause someone to go on a galactic killing-spree/conquest. Last time *I* got *really* mad, I went bowling.
  22. Ace_Venom Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 22, 2002
    star 3
    I could almost see this discussion:

    Vader: Master, why did you turn to the Dark Side?
    Palpy: Because that good for nothing Yoda stole my decoder ring when we were in Kindergarten.
    Vader: But you said he took a leak in your...
    Palpy: Forget what I said! And don't pay too much attention to the Death Star when you leave. It's only a model.
    Vader: o_O

    Seriously, I think we fan fic writers have to band together to give Palpy some depth if the EU won't. I think I only saw one fan fic on Palpy's origins in all the years I've been reading and writing 'em.
  23. JalendaviLady Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2002
    star 4
    I can just imagine the insanity if we had challenges to increase the number of serious Palpatine stories...

    Such as: "Challenge 1: In under 2,000 words, show Palpatine's devotion to something before he destroys it for his own gain. Said item/person/pet/ideal must be irrevocably destroyed and/or killed."
  24. MariahJade2 Former Fan Fiction Archive Editor

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2001
    star 5
    I think the mistake people make labeling Palps as two dimensional, forgets that ambition and greed and the need to control are all very human traits, they are just the unadmirable part of our darker nature. I would guess that somewhere in his background or childhood he didn't have control of his circumstances. Maybe he learned by brutal experience that he coudn't advance without power and manipulation, or that he could only control his life that way. He's the ultimate politician hooked on a drug that makes him almost invincible. Every choice he made along the way led him to his evil, but I don't believe he was born evil.
  25. lazykbys_left Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2005
    star 4
    My biggest problem in writing (or trying to write) Palpatine is reconciling the PT Senator/Chancellor with the OT Emperor. To me, they seem to be completely different people. If nothing else, he seems to have lost the patience for really long term plotting. In my fic (see sig, wink wink) I'm trying to reinterpret his actions to fit the "master manipulator" model, but it's rather AU so I'm not sure it counts.

    Is it because he reached the stage where he doesn't have to wait, or because he can't afford to?
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