Lit Palpatine's public face

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Daneira, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Daneira Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 30, 2016
    star 3
    Something the new canon has been doing is the idea that Palpatine, despite the end of ROTS showing that he appeared in public after his fight with Mace Windu turned him ugly and even saying in his speech that the attempt on his life made him scarred and deformed, is only shown as his pre-ugly self in Imperial propaganda. We see this in Rebels, Lost Stars, Thrawn, and Leia, Princess of Alderaan.

    Meanwhile, Star Wars Annual 1 has Palpatine appearing in public as he actually looks. His body double at the prison even looks like ugly Palpatine. Later, Palpatine gives a speech which is broadcast on Coruscant, with no manipulation of his appearance. Eneb Ray and the senators in the prison do not appear shocked by how he looks, a contrast with everyone's reaction in the books when they meet him.

    From this, it's easy to assume that after the Battle of Yavin, Palpatine started appearing in public again and the galaxy became familiar with his actual appearance. Certainly by Return of the Jedi, no one reacts to how he looks... except Ciena, who is horrified at the sight of him. In fact, this is one of the earliest (out of universe chronology) instances, aside from the Rebels episode, that indicates that Palpatine's image being manipulated is even a thing. There is no way to square this with Annual 1.


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  2. sidv88 Jedi Master

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    Aug 22, 2005
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    I don't like the idea at all. Palpatine would keep the deformed face to forever remind the galaxy how "evil" the Jedi are. He'd never let them forget. It's one of many things I don't like about the new canon, and arguably going against Lucas' intentions for ROTS. I don't know why they did this.
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  3. LelalMekha Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 29, 2012
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    It's actually addressed in Pablo Hidalgo's Propaganda book:
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  4. GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin + Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Look at what those cruel Rebels hath wrought on our kindly Emperor's noble visage.


    Missa ab iPhona mea est.
  5. sidv88 Jedi Master

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    Aug 22, 2005
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    Yeah, I don't think he'd ever let the galaxy forget. Palpatine airbrushing his photos and then suddenly not doing so opens him up to charges of lying. He's not the liar, the Jedi are! Palpatine tells the galaxy the truth, even how awful it is, but the people need to know how bad the Jedi are.

    Thus, even though it's "addressed" in the Propaganda book, I just don't agree with this decision at all. Did this come from George Lucas? Strange why they felt the need to change it.
  6. GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin + Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    What I'd suggest is that, like official portraiture of youthful Augustus, everyone knew the Emperor didn't really look like that -- but given the disfigurement he'd suffered, they didn't see a problem with art portraying him the way he would've looked.


    Missa ab iPhona mea est.
  7. Daneira Jedi Knight

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    Jun 30, 2016
    star 3
    The people that end up being surprised tend to be the younger generation, anyway (the ones who wouldn't know any better).


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  8. darklordoftech Force Ghost

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    Sep 30, 2012
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    I figured that's it. The public understood that Imperial art was symbolic.
  9. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    Jul 30, 2000
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    This is less weird than it sounds as Joseph Stalin would often use images of actors and impersonators in place of himself.

    One poor barve found himself unable to work in any other job BUT playing Joseph Stalin because he wasn't allowed to. Stalin apparently liked his portrayal THAT much.
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  10. Coherent Axe Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 2016
    star 1
    It sounds like the "disappearing from public view" bit is intended to tally with the ANH novelisation, but considering that doesn't exactly have a solid place in canon any more, it seems strange they're still paying lip service to it as if it's an inconsistency they need to smooth over.
  11. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Eh, it's pretty necessary.

    I call it the "Lucius Fox" effect. Palpatine needs to be available 24-7 for evil plots and mayhem. Hence, you need the actual day to day running of the Empire to be done by someone else.
  12. darklordoftech Force Ghost

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    Sep 30, 2012
    star 6
    The idea that Palpatine disappeared from public view explains why he isn't seen at all in ANH and only in a secret hologram conversation in ESB, and when combined with Palpatine's claim in TPM that Mas Amedda is "the true ruler of the Republic," Palpatine's claim in AOTC that he's "reluctantly" accepting the emergency powers proposed by Amedda, and the ANH novelization, suggests that Mas Amedda was perceived as the de facto Emperor.
  13. Coherent Axe Jedi Padawan

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    Dec 20, 2016
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    I'd argue that "public face" and "day to day running" are two different things. I don't think I ever imagined Palpatine attending Imperial meetings like an increasingly ticked-off Ned Stark.

    Do his absences in the OT need to be explained? Maybe in light of the prequels, which give him a much more central role, but he doesn't really seem necessary to the plot in the same way he isn't needed in Rogue One. As for TPM, Palpatine adds that Amedda is "on the payroll of the Trade Federation" in order to further push Padmé into voting Valorum out. Presumably Padmé doesn't go on to question why Palpatine retains Evil Horns Dude once he becomes Chancellor; and the emergency powers were voted by the Senate, weren't they, and only suggested by Amedda in a private meeting with Palpatine and the Loyalists? ROTS definitely gives the impression is a very public figure pre-transformation, and obviously goes before the entire Senate afterwards. There were even early animatics of the Yoda/Sidious fight that had holocams broadcasting the entire duel on huge screens, so who knows what the galactic population would have made of that.
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  14. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    Jul 30, 2000
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    Mind you, the Empire probably doesn't NEED to explain itself.

    They could probably claim water was wet and Palpatine was the father of all Banthas and COMPNOR would publish it.
  15. Coherent Axe Jedi Padawan

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    Dec 20, 2016
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    Only father of the three-eyed banthas, please.
  16. darklordoftech Force Ghost

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    Sep 30, 2012
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    Maybe GL was going for the idea that the public finds out that Palpatine is Sidious, but it's too late to stop him, but then GL remembered that Han and Motti don't even know that The Force exists.
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  17. comradepitrovsky Jedi Knight

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    Jan 5, 2017
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    Sidenote, but I hate Lucius Fox. The dude is embezzling from his company to help the CEO punch poor people. How many schools could a Batplane pay for?
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  18. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    That argument becomes moot the first time it saves the city from being murdered by Joker gas.

    [IMG]

    :)

    Mind you, someone should perhaps inform Gordon his officers are allowed to shoot to kill when supervillains are threatening people and we wouldn't NEED Batman to be the one to do it.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Sep 13, 2017
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  19. Havoc123 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 26, 2013
    star 4
    To be fair, its Wayne's privately ran company. If it's mucking up public and government contracts, then yes, it's a problem, but if Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox want to waste their own money on gadgets, then by all means.
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  20. LelalMekha Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 29, 2012
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    Also, from Tarkin (and thus circa 14 BBY):
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  21. Darth_Duck Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 13, 2000
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    I thought there were other shareholders in Wayne Enterprises, which means he's mucking up other people's money. Is there embezzlement going on at Wayne Enterprises?

    Imperial propaganda featuring Palps must've bugged Palps on some level. Some people would have to think that Pretty Palps is Palps and on those times when Palps is out in public, doing Palps stuff, there's all these people just going "ew, gross, look at his gross melty face, it's like Death and Ugly had a baby and named it Palpatine." The fact that all of his interactions with the world didn't end with just piles of electrified corpses speaks to his one character trait I admire, his patience.

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  22. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    We know from Star Wars & Propaganda, that between ANH and ROTJ, Imperial propaganda started phasing out the original "unscarred Palpatine" injury and depicting him more realistically. Perhaps that was why- after 20 years of it, he'd concluded it wasn't worth doing anymore?
  23. JediBatman Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2015
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    I did a bit of research on Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is a myth that FDR's disability was "virtually a state secret" or that the press had a "gentlemen's agreement" to never photograph him in a wheel chair. People knew about his disability. But that didn't stop FDR from giving his speeches standing up, or the secret service from going so far as to smash the cameras of press members who tried to get a photo of him getting out of his car.

    I'd assume a similar thing applies to Palpatine. Even if most of the public knows on a conscious level that he's scared and disfigured, he wants to project an image of strength, even if it's only on a subconscious level. (See also what Jello wrote about portraits). And as Charles said, this is something real world dictators/leaders have done before.

    A couple other reasons I don't mind this development:
    • Though Cienna is surprised at Sheev's age in Lost Stars, what really disturbs her is that the malevolence radiating off of him gives her the heebie-jeebies.
    • People probably assume he recovered and/or got plastic surgery after the Jedi attack, but is looking more haggard as the war drags on.
    • It's the nature of propaganda to be contradictory. Downplaying the scars when they need to show strength, but showing them when they want to inspire sympathy makes sense. Classic 1984 style double-think.
    • Sheev has scored some major propaganda victories. Blaming the Clone Wars on the Jedi. Going from "I love Democracy. I love the Republic" to saying how the Republic was hopelessly corrupt and democracy just doesn't work in 3 years time. In comparison, making sure the press only ever shows his good side is child's play.
    I feel compelled to defend my namesake! Pretty much every Batman continuity has shown him using his wealth to donate to charity, building some invention that will help mankind, or doing other humanitarian work. Sure usually the charity ball is crashed by a villain or the invention is stolen to by a villain, but at least he's trying.

    Not to mention that after the 12th time the serial killer/domestic terrorist clown doused a major city in poison gas, you'd think the Federal Government would step in and put him somewhere more secure than the world's worst mental hospital.
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  24. Darth_Duck Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2000
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    Maybe he snapped one day, necessitating a change in policy. Some poor charity dinner, VIPs just roasting at the head table.

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  25. Havoc123 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 26, 2013
    star 4
    Bruce Wayne owns all voting shares and thus controls the company. It's very rare to have something like this, but not impossible. We have had examples of real life companies, even pretty big ones, having their policy decided by one man who owns all the voting shares.

    On Sheev, I always thought he WANTED to maintain the old crippled man looking appearance for sympathies. I'm sure the Rebels used it against him by pointing to the other side that he looks like a monster now. It's my impression that Sheev could even get his appearance to be what it was back in his prime, but he both didn't care and wanted to maintain the illusion of being a weak old man.