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Saga The Chosen Post: The Prophecy's Importance, Palpatine's Plan To Escape It, & Why Mace Lost the Duel

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Darth Nerdling, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013
    Well, for my first post, I am going to be pretty ambitious. The goal of this post is to tie together the significance of the Chosen One prophecy to the Saga (along with fate in general), the meaning of bringing balance to the Force, the true interpretation of the outcome of Palpatine’s duel with Mace (Yes, this will provide overwhelming evidence that Palpatine threw the fight), the reason Palpatine reveals his true nature to Anakin, and the reason all of this must be understood correctly for the prequel trilogy to be full connected to the entire Saga, making the entire Saga a richer experience in the process. I know. Small potatoes.


    What I’ll start with is the prophecy of the Chosen One. For some reason, the importance of this prophecy to the Saga is underestimated by most people, even though it was the sole reason that Anakin was selected by Qui-Gon despite his age and his being the Chosen One was what made Anakin so unique among the Jedi. We all know that the Chosen One is supposed to bring balance to the Force, and through the films (and also in interviews with George Lucas), it becomes clear what bringing balance to Force really means: destroying the Sith who are bringing the Force out of balance. If this is the real meaning of the prophecy, then it’s pretty important to the Saga. Why? The first answer to this question is pretty obvious. It involves killing off the baddies.

    However, there is a second answer to this question, and again, this answer is often ignored, but it is just as important because if the prophecy is correct, then Palpatine CANNOT be killed by anyone or anything other than Anakin -- not Mace, not Yoda, not the Death Star blowing up, nothing. For instance, if Mace were able to defeat Palpatine, then the prophecy would have clearly been invalidated because it would have been Mace who killed off the last of the Sith and who brought balance to the Force, and not Anakin. (Now does this mean that Palpatine is invincible? No, it just means that circumstances, in other words fate, will never put Palpatine in a position where his life could be taken by anyone’s hands but Anakin’s. I’ll go into the idea of fate in more detail in a moment.) There is another related reason that the prophecy is so important to the entire Saga. What most people miss in the Saga is that it is also telling the story of Palpatine working tirelessly to find a loophole in the prophecy and believing that he has succeeded in doing so. So, fulfilling the prophecy is Anakin’s main role while undermining the prophecy provides the main motivation for most of Palpatine’s behavior during the arc of the six films. That’s not inconsequential.

    Now, I can already sense the first two objections to my argument: the importance I give to the prophecy and my interpretation of it. To address the first, let me go back to one point I already made. I said above that as long as the prophecy is correct, then Palpatine can only be killed by Anakin and no one and nothing else.
  2. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    Some people may find such a literal reading of the prophecy to be too strong. However, throughout literature, prophecies are typically depicted as being infallible and unbreakable. From Oedipus to Macbeth to the Matrix, virtually any prophecy you can find ends up coming true. Oedipus is fated to kill his father and marry his mother, he works his whole life to escape this fate, but in the end, he fulfills his destiny, and to punish himself for these crimes, he stabs his own eyes out. It is prophesized that Macbeth will become the King and that he can never be killed by a person born of a woman, and he does become king, and he is only killed by MacDuff, who was "from his mother's womb / Untimely ripp'd" (in others, his mother died before giving birth, and he was saved via Caesarian section and not “born” as the word was understood back then). In “Lord of the Rings,” the Lord of the Nazgul could not be slain “by the hand of man,” and his killing blow is struck by Eowyn (a woman) who is helped by Merry (a hobbit). In the Matrix, Neo is thought to be the one chosen to save humanity, and ultimately he does this, though not in the way we expected as he becomes one with the Matrix itself and then sacrifices himself to achieve his goal.

    So, in almost every instance you can find, when a prophecy is fated to come true, it does come true, and really, if they don’t come true, prophesies would be pretty pointless. So, if Anakin is the Chosen One (which ROTJ proves him to be) and if Palpatine can only be killed by the Chosen One, then nothing else can kill Palpatine, and even despite Palpatine’s very clever plan to circumvent it (which I’ll detail later and which does appear to postpone the prophesy from being fulfilled for 25 years or so), in the end, his death does conform to the prophecy. (Of course, prophesies have the problem in that they imply that Palpatine could fill a room full of TNT, set it off, and still survive, but all prophecy storylines have this problem. They are sort of like time-travel storylines; you just have to accept the prophecy concept for what it is, and if you don’t like the concept of a prophecy, well, then too bad, so sad, that’s just you’re tough luck, because it is what it is. They’ve been with us since the beginning of drama, and they’ll be with us long after we’re gone. And, I should also point out that there’s one thing that saves most prophecy storylines from being so silly: nobody knows whether a prophecy is true or false (or perhaps even misinterpreted) until it is actually fulfilled, and that’s really important in this case. Since this prophecy involves Palpatine’s own death, which of course will be the last moment of his life, he can never have absolute certainty that the Chosen One prophecy is true or not. For this reason, he would never risk lighting up a room full of TNT because there’s still a chance in his mind that he might go shooting off to his death like some evil roman candle.)

  3. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    The other objection is that some might disagree with my interpretation of the prophecy. Bringing balance to the Force – what exactly does that mean anyway? Well, the dialogue from the films provides all we need to know to understand what the prophecy means and that Anakin is the prophesized Chosen One. For instance, in AOTC, Mace Windu says: “Remember Obi-Wan, if the prophecy is true (which it turns out to be), your apprentice is the ONLY one who can bring the Force back into balance." (Mace should’ve listened a little more closely to his own words, as they show that Mace CAN’T do this himself!)From the way Mace says this, it is clear that this reading of the prophecy is the consensus opinion among the Jedi and not merely his own point of view. And what does bringing the Force into balance mean? In ROTS, Obi-Wan’s question makes it very clear what the Chosen One is meant to do: “With all due respect, Master, is he not the Chosen One? Is he not to destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force?” Finally, what Obi-Wan says to Anakin after he has defeated him makes it clear that this is indeed the correct interpretation of the prophesy: “You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not join them

    There are a few other lines of dialogue that support this interpretation of the prophecy, but really, the films don’t go too far into it because the answer is pretty clear to most of us, since most of us saw parts IV, V, VI before we saw the prequels, and we know that Anakin ultimately kills the Emperor at the climax of the final film. (So, that’s a pretty big hint about what bringing the Force into balance really means.) But if there is any doubt about it still, just consider what Lucas has to say about the prophecy: "As evil begins to take over, it pushes the Force out of balance"(Lucas, AOTC DVD Commentary). So, balance in the Force doesn’t mean equal parts good and equal parts evil. All people, including Jedi (who are clearly not totally pure), already have to deal with good and evil instincts, but the presence of the Sith tilts that balance towards evil. Lucas develops this idea further in this quote: “In each of us we to have balance these emotions, and in the Star Wars saga the most important point is balance, balance between everything. It is dangerous to lose this. In “The Phantom Menace” one of the Jedi Council already knows the balance of the Force is starting to slip, and will slip further. It is obvious to this person that the Sith are going to destroy this balance. On the other hand, a prediction which is referred to states someone will replace the balance in the future. At the right time a balance may again be created, but presently it is being eroded by dark forces”(Lucas, Time Magazine, 2002).

    Though I would emphasize that the films provide all the information necessary, these two final quotes by Lucas make it clear what his own interpretation is: There is a hint in the movie that there was a Sith lord who had the power to create life. But it's left unsaid: Is Anakin a product of a super-Sith who influenced the Midichlorians to create him, or is he simply created by the Midichlorians to bring forth a prophecy, or was he created by the Force through the Midichlorians? It's left up to the audience to decide. How he was born ultimately has no relationship to how he dies, because in the end, the prophecy is true: Balance comes back to the Force”(Lucas, Rolling Stone Magazine; June 2005). “The individual who kills the Emperor is Darth Vader—also Anakin. The tale meanders and both the prediction and Qui-Gon are correct—Anakin is the Chosen One, and he did bring peace at last with his own sacrifice. Luke couldn't kill the Emperor himself, but he could make Anakin reflect on his life and kill the Emperor"(Lucas, ROTS DVD Commentary). So, Lucas spells it all out here. The prophecy is true and not a false prophecy, and balance comes back to Force at the end of ROTJ. How is this achieved? Anakin kills the Emperor after returning to the light side (then dies), leaving the universe with no remaining Sith. That’s what bringing balance to Force means. As Mace points out, only the Chosen One can bring balance to the Force, and since bringing balance means killing Palpatine (and returning to the light side) in this instance, only Anakin can kill Palpatine, and that’s exactly what he ends up doing. What the films tell us and what Lucas tells us match perfectly. This quote said by Yoda before Anakin’s birth that appears in The Essential Guide to the Force sums it up neatly: “Fully defeated by just anyone, the dark side cannot be, but only by the Chosen One. And who might be this Jedi? Know I do not, but not yet born is he or she. This much, sense I can. A vessel of pure Force the Chosen One will be, more powerful than any Jedi in history.”
  4. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013
    The films provide us with overwhelming evidence not only that the Chosen One will destroy the Sith but also that Palpatine is AWARE that Anakin is indeed the Chosen One. There are a number of reasons to make the assumption that he is aware of Anakin’s greater role. (Of course, there’s the EU, where Darth Plagueis is intimately aware of the Jedi prophecy, and he shares everything he knows with Palpatine, including his knowledge of it, but there’s tons to support this idea in the films as well, so we don’t have to go to the EU for the answer.) First, there’s the plain fact that Palpatine seems aware of virtually everything that’s going on around him. Just one of countless examples, immediately after Obi-Wan—in a request kept off the record and not made in session—asks Anakin on behalf of the Council to spy on Palpatine, Palpatine’s dialogue in the Opera House (presumably at most only days later) reveals that he is already completely aware of their plan despite their secrecy. He says to Anakin: “They asked you to do something that made you feel dishonest, didn’t they? They asked you to spy on me, didn’t they?”

    From the beginning, it seems Palpatine is aware of Anakin’s greater role as the Chosen One. As early as TPM, he takes a keen interest in Anakin even though he ignores the other Jedis without a high rank. At the end of TPM, he says to Anakin with a slightly evil smirk on his face: “And you, young Skywalker, we will watch your career with great interest.” It can be surmised that Palpatine could have learned of the prophecy of the Chosen One either through his ability to foresee the future and look into the past or from his great knowledge of the Jedi, as he seems fully aware of all the history, myths, and tenets of both the dark side and “the dogmatic, narrow view of the Jedi.” By AOTC, Palpatine clearly desires to turn Anakin from an adversary to an ally by feeding his over confidence with comments like, “In time, you will learn to trust your feelings. Then, you will be invincible. I have said it many times. You are the most gifted Jedi I have ever met… I see you becoming the greatest of all Jedi, even more powerful than Master Yoda.”

    Of course, there are many other explanations for how Palpatine could have learned that Anakin is the Chosen One. Since Anakin is close to Palpatine, he most likely mentioned the prophecy himself, especially since it is clear that he has shared his frustrations about the Jedi holding him back and the prophecy is evidence of his superiority. Furthermore, Palpatine’s apprentice, Dooku, was a Jedi when Anakin was allowed to join the order, so Dooku would most likely have learned that Anakin was the Chosen One and shared this information with him. Finally, Palpatine has “eyes” and “ears” everywhere, and the Jedi aren’t very tight-lipped about the prophecy (they speak about it out in the open, one time even in front of clone troopers). But perhaps what is the most compelling evidence that Palpatine knows about the prophecy is actually his reaction to Mace’s death, which I will go into in just a moment. At any rate, without even going to the EU, it seems safe to assume Palpatine knows of the prophecy one way or another.
    Since Mace’s death has such a strong relationship with Palpatine’s plan to subvert the prophecy, I think at this point I should detail exactly what Palpatine’s plan is. Palpatine never spells out his plan, but by analyzing the films closely enough, (I think) it will become undeniable what his plan really is. (If you care about my argument, read the next part closely. It’s very important to it.)

  5. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    Certainly, the most important scene in all of this is the conversion scene in which Anakin becomes Darth Vader. So, first, let’s ask ourselves something. Why the heck is the Emperor so obsessed with making Anakin his apprentice anyway? He’s been grooming Anakin for years to become his next apprentice, even though he’s got a very competent apprentice in Dooku, so what is he after? Well, let’s look at the final lines of that scene, and I think we’ll find our explanation. The final lines are typically the most important lines of a scene, and in a scene in which your prophesized murderer becomes your ally and, at the same time, an iconic character like Darth Vader is born, those lines are even more important. So what does Palpatine say to end this scene? “(loudly) Once more, the Sith will rule the galaxy! (softly) And… we shall have peace.”

    If Palpatine had only gained a new apprentice and nothing more, this would be a pretty weird thing to say. (For instance, I doubt Palpatine said anything like this when Dooku became his last apprentice, and in general, I don’t think Sith say overblown things just to boost the confidence of their new apprentices. If anything, they’re cruel to them to fill them anger. So, these words are evidently something that Palpatine really believes.) On the other hand, this line is not a strange thing to say if you believe that you have just thwarted a prophecy that will culminate with your death and end all you’ve been working for. In fact, it makes perfect sense then. Now, again, the exact wording of that prophecy must be emphasized here. It’s a prophesy to “…bring balance to the Force and destroy the Sith.” And what does Palpatine say at the end of the Vader conversion scene? He says: “the Sith will rule the galaxy.” So, this leads us to our next question: why does Palpatine get so jazzed up about Anakin’s conversion and why does Anakin’s conversion seem to convince Palpatine that the “Sith will rule the galaxy”?
  6. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    The answer to this question is what I think almost EVERYONE misses, but it’s INCREDIBLY important to the Saga. (In fact, this is perhaps the most important point I have to make.) At the point that Anakin becomes his ally, Palpatine believes he has created a paradox that would make fulfilling the prophecy impossible. (He may not be able to cheat death, but he’s certainly willing to try to cheat his way out of a prophecy.) Here’s how he believes he has undermined the prophecy. Palpatine has turned the one and only guy who can kill him into a Sith. So, whatever happens in the future, the Sith win. If Palpatine kills Anakin in the future, Palpatine will retain power, but more importantly, even if Anakin kills Palpatine, the Sith will remain in power because there would still be one Sith left—namely Anakin. It’s a win-win scenario. As we all know, “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny,” as Yoda explained to Luke in ROTJ, so Anakin would seem destined to carry on Sith rule. Before Luke redeemed his father, everyone thought that the dark side was a one-way street. (Ignore the EU here please, like Darth Revan, Kyle Katarn, Galen Marek, etc., as Lucas says the EU takes things in directions that he wouldn’t take them. Also, none of these are true Sith who have converted back to the light. The closest is Revan, but even he only returns after being stripped of his original dark side persona by the Jedi) Even as late as ROTJ, Obi-Wan and Yoda seem both convinced that Vader is unredeemable and that Luke is foolish for thinking that anyone can turn back from the dark side. Obi-Wan even tells Luke directly that if he is not willing to face Vader in combat, “Then the Emperor has already won.” From his behavior, it seems pretty apparent that Palpatine also believes a turn to the dark side is irreversible, and if Luke hadn’t shown up, redeemed Vader, and allowed Anakin to fulfill his destiny as the Chosen One, Palpatine’s plan apparently would have worked without a hitch and Vader would have never returned to the light. (But that’s how it goes with prophesies. One way or another, they always end up being fulfilled.) Thus, based on what we know up to this point in the Saga, simple logic seems to guarantee that the prophecy CANNOT be fulfilled after Anakin is turned and everything that the characters say supports this idea. Consequently, Palpatine seems right to conclude that the continued reign of the Sith is a certainty after Anakin is converted into an irredeemable Sith. Either he will kill his apprentice, or his apprentice will kill him, but in the end, Sith rule will continue on whichever of the two options occurs.

    Again, if you’re not convinced yet, consider what Palpatine yells right as he’s frying Mace with his Force lightning. (Remember how I said this is some of the most compelling evidence? He we go.) As he’s killing Mace, he yells “UNLIMITED POWER!!!!” So, unless Palpatine has totally lost it, why would he yell something like this at this time? All he’s doing is killing Mace. At this point, Order 66 hasn’t been executed yet, so there are probably like a thousand Jedi still alive, including Yoda who is arguably more powerful than Mace, so how has he gained unlimited power simply by killing Mace? However, if he’s yelling “UNLIMITED POWER!!!!” when he’s frying Mace because he’s just realized Anakin must embrace the dark side given that he’s just betrayed his master, making it seemingly impossible for the prophecy to ever be fulfilled because Palpatine has created a paradox which guarantees a Sith will always remain in charge, then it makes perfect sense for him to believe that the Sith have “UNLIMITED POWER,” since he now can’t be killed, or in the very least, that Sith rule will continue on even if he is killed.

    Or consider this: Palpatine is a pretty egotistical guy, but at the conclusion of the scene of Anakin’s conversion, Palpatine says, “Once more, the Sith will rule the galaxy,” and he does not say, “I will rule the galaxy.” When writing a scene like this, the ladder version of the line would have most likely first come to Lucas’s mind, so it was with a clear purpose that Lucas had Palpatine say “the Sith would rule” and not simply “I will rule.” The reason is Palpatine’s most important goal is establishing Sith rule.
    [Now, as I continue, I will make some secondary points of a more minor nature, and I will also respond to some objections to my argument that have been discussed before in different forums, and some of you might get annoyed by this nitpicking, so I will put these minor points and the defenses of my argument to often re-hashed debates in brackets. If you only want to follow the main thrust of my argument, just skip over the bracketed paragraphs.]

    [Of course, one could argue that there is a second rationale for why Palpatine yells “Unlimited Power,” declares that “the Sith will rule the galaxy,” and overall for why he just seems so darn pleased with himself after Mace’s death. This second rationale is that Mace’s act of murder allows Palpatine to justify the Jedi Purge. However, even if this is the case, it doesn’t make much of a difference to my overall argument. To achieve the goal of justifying the Purge, Palpatine would have needed to have the same incredible power of foresight and the same prior knowledge that the duel would not jeopardize his life, and so, either way, he would have acted in the exact same manner. Personally, it seems to me that Palpatine’s glee is more the result of turning Anakin and less about the Purge. Turning Anakin allows Palpatine to believe that he has thwarted a prophecy that involves his death. However, there are still a couple more steps in Palpatine’s plan that must be accomplished before his goals for the Jedi Purge are realized. First, he must present the evidence of a Jedi insurrection to the Senate (which is mostly just a formality). Second, and much more importantly, Order 66 must actually be executed successfully. Only at that point can Palpatine truly celebrate the complete triumph of the Jedi Purge. Obviously, it is quite possible that Palpatine is jubilant for both reasons, or that he is more delighted because he has turned Anakin but also pleased that he now has justification for Order 66, but in the larger scope of my argument, whichever is the case doesn’t make any difference. The way he would have acted to set up the situation is the same either way.]
  7. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    Now, if you still don’t buy that Palpatine’s ultimate goal is keeping the Sith in power, not just retaining power for himself, consider the choice of Anakin as his apprentice. If it weren’t for the fact that turning Anakin subverts the prophecy, Anakin is actually a pretty lousy guy to have as your apprentice, and here’s the big reason for that: once he reaches his full potential, Anakin will not only want to kill Palpatine but he will also become one of the few Force-wielders able to kill him (which is fine if your main goal is ensuring that the Sith retain power, but it’s pretty crappy, if you’re main goal is not dying.) In fact, if your goal is not dying, then Dooku would be a much better apprentice. Think about it. Dooku is able to fight even the best Jedi nearly on even terms. Unlike Maul, he’s mastered Force lightning and he’s a skilled strategist, but still he’s just a little behind Palpatine. (How do we know this? Because if he were powerful enough, he would have killed Palpatine already. That’s how it is with the Sith. Since Palpatine is still with us, Dooku, despite the arrogance that biases the Sith, must recognize that he’s Palpatine’s inferior, and so either he is afraid to try Palpatine in direct combat or he tried but failed to defeat him.)

    Furthermore, to achieve Palpatine’s political aims Anakin is not needed, and Dooku would work just fine. Anakin is not really needed to conduct the raid on the Jedi Temple. The clone troopers could have done that themselves. He’s not even needed to kill the Separatist leaders on Mustafar. A living Dooku, a contingent of clone troopers, even Palpatine himself could have slashed them up a later time. And actually, the most important part of his plan, Order 66, is achieved by clone troopers alone. Finally, Dooku certainly would have been up to the task of hunting down the remaining Jedi who survived the purge. It seems pretty obvious that if Palpatine wanted an apprentice who could safely help him carry out the steps to gaining control of the Republic, he’d stick with Dooku, and it’s just as obvious, that if Palpatine cares more about preserving Sith rule despite the threat it might pose to his own safety, Anakin’s his guy.

    In fact, Palpatine seems obsessed with finding the best apprentice possible, even if that means his apprentice will most likely ultimately kill him. He even brags to Yoda: “Darth Vader will become more powerful than either of us.” If this weren’t Palpatine’s mindset, this statement seems like a pretty strange boast when Sith apprentices have a habit of trying to kill their masters. Now, this doesn’t mean that Palpatine won’t put up a fight and try to rule for as long as possible, but in the end, he seems to believe in the Sith ways so much that he accepts that his apprentice will someday take him out and keep the Sith tradition alive. This would also explain why he thinks Vader is not a worthy apprentice after he is weakened. Just like Dooku, a damaged Vader, especially after the Jedi have been vanquished, would be a better apprentice than a healthy Vader, not worse, if the Emperor simply wanted to live and rule as long as possible. Vader still becomes very powerful, but at the same time, he will never exceed the Emperor. (Lucas says the damaged Vader tops out at 80% as powerful as the Emperor.) Plus, Vader has an extra weakness in that the Emperor can fry the cybernetic systems that keep him alive.

    So, a damaged Vader is the perfect apprentice for an Emperor who wants to go on living. He’s powerful, he ruthless, he can’t possibility defect to the Rebellion after all he’s done (that’s why Anakin’s storming the Jedi Temple and killing the younglings was so important to Palpatine’s plan), plus there’s the added benefit that he has a fatal weakness to Palpatine’s most lethal attack. All the same, Palpatine is dissatisfied with Vader as an apprentice. That’s why he wants to replace Vader with a converted Luke or Galen Marek (if you want to include the EU), even though unlike Vader, they might become powerful enough to kill him at some point. In fact, Palpatine’s apparent motivation is to find the perfect Sith apprentice EVEN if that means that they will kill him, since that more powerful apprentice will be best able to continue Sith reign, allowing Palpatine’s words – “Once more, the Sith will rule the galaxy” – to remain true even after his death.

    [Also consider Palpatine’s actions towards his master, Darth Plagueis. If preserving his own life is of utmost importance to Palpatine, he would not have killed his master before Plagueis is able to perfect the ability to cheat death. Plagueis does not follow the Sith Rule of Two and, as a consequence, he does not consider Palpatine a threat but treats him as an equal. He also spends all his time in a lab researching the power to influence the Force, so he is no obstacle to Palpatine’s political ambitions. Moreover, an apprentice Palpatine would have only become more powerful as time went by, making it easier to overthrow his master, and it’s not as if he comes up with an elaborate plan to kill him. Trusting Palpatine, Plagueis never takes precautions to protect his life, and Palpatine simply kills him in his sleep. If preserving his own life is most important to Palpatine, then he would have just waited to kill him later on after Plaguies’ research gets to the point that he fully understands the secret to preserving life. The fact that Palpatine does not shows that concern for his own life is, at most, secondary to him.]

    [FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black][FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black][FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black]Now, all that I’ve just explained leaves us with the proper context so that we can understand why Palpatine reveals himself to Anakin, why Palpatine chooses not to call in reinforcements immediately afterwards when he should have expected that the Jedi would attempt to arrest him, and why Palpatine would be highly motivated to throw the fight with Mace, and in the end, the evidence becomes so overwhelming that it is hard to argue that Palpatine does anything but throw the fight and that Mace could not have killed him (of course, the prophecy pretty much does this on its own). [/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT]
  8. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    Before the Jedi come to arrest Palpatine, we should not forget that Palpatine has just purposefully set up the situation. Just before they arrive, he revealed to Anakin that he was a Sith, so it is necessary to figure out what Palpatine’s motivation was for revealing, at just this time, this dirty little secret he’s been guarding for the last 40 years or so. Palpatine’s initial motivation seems to be pretty transparent. At first, it seems he is simply trying to convert Anakin to a Sith through the conviction of his arguments alone, most importantly that the Sith have the power to cheat death that Anakin covets. Palpatine has been trying to sway Anakin ever since he passed the test of defeating and killing Dooku. In the “opera scene,” Palpatine first tries to convince him that the Jedi are no better than the Sith. Then, when that doesn’t sway him, he mentions that the Sith can master the unnatural ability of preventing death, which certainly perks Anakin’s interest. The next time they meet, Palpatine reveals he is a Sith, and he begs Anakin to use the powers of the Sith to save Padme. However, when his arguments fail to sway Anakin, Palpatine does not seem troubled. In fact, he seems pleased when Anakin says that he will inform the Jedi of Palpatine’s real Sith identity. Here’s their exchange.

    Anakin: I’m going to turn you over to the Jedi Council.
    Palpatine: Of course you should, but you’re not sure of their intentions, are you?
    Anakin: I will quickly discover the truth of all this.
    Palpatine: You have great wisdom, Anakin.

    Palpatine does not attempt to dissuade Anakin from telling them. In fact, he encourages him, telling him that he has “great wisdom.” Palpatine has clearly planned for the eventuality that Anakin might not be convinced by words alone, so when Anakin is not convinced, Palpatine takes the next step and creates a situation in which Anakin is forced to choose. So, when you take into account what Palpatine says here along with what happens after the Jedi arrive, it becomes obvious what Palpatine’s reason for revealing himself really is. He is setting a trap for the Jedi that he is springing solely for Anakin’s sake. The basic setup of that trap is simple. Palpatine plans to attack the Jedi instead of allowing himself to be arrested so that he can manipulate them, more specifically Mace, into a position where he appears to be helpless and Mace appears to be caught in an act of treason just as Anakin arrives, and that’s exactly what occurs. In fact, when Anakin enters, Palpatine’s first words are: “Anakin, I told you it would come to this.” So, Palpatine successfully planted suspicions about the Jedi in Anakin’s mind in their previous scene together, and in this scene, those very suspicions are confirmed.

    Palpatine knows that Anakin’s allegiance is split between him and the Jedi, and he realizes that Anakin intends to use their response to Palpatine’s secret identity as a way to gauge their true intentions. Palpatine has already suggested that the Jedi are simply out for power, making them no different from the Sith, and their asking him to spy on Palpatine has provided some evidence that they are equal. (Obi-Wan evidently disapproves of the ethics of their decision.) Palpatine wants to confirm these suspicions in Anakin’s mind, and that’s exactly what Mace’s confrontation ends up providing for Anakin. In his last conversation with Palpatine, Anakin has revealed that he is determined to “quickly discover the truth of all this,” and when he arrives only to see Palpatin in a corner helpless with Mace’s blade pointing at his neck, it is easy to understand why Anakin believes that the Mace is acting traitorously when Palpatine says “I told you it would come to this.” In fact, just as Anakin arrives, Mace, with his saber drawn, is marching towards a man who does not even have a weapon to defend himself. Anakin is not aware that Palpatine lost his saber during the duel. So, from Anakin’s perspective, Mace appears to be threatening the life of a helpless man and that man also just so happens to be the chancellor of the republic to which Anakin has devoted himself. That pretty conveniently serves Palpatine’s purposes, doesn’t it?

    Anakin is left to conclude that Palpatine was right about the Jedi all along, and since Palpatine has acted as mentor to him and can save his wife’s life while the Jedi cannot, it is easy to understand why Anakin sides with the Palpatine when he tells him, “You must choose...” As Palpatine pushes Mace to the brink with his Force lightning attack, and Mace, after the immense strain of that attack, becomes so enraged that he comes to feel he must murder Palpatine to end his rule and his decision happens to coincide with the very same time that a begging Palpatine becomes disfigured and apparently helpless, Anakin understandably turns on Mace, and defends the chancellor.

  9. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    Now it would be INCREDIBLY coincidental that Anakin would enter into the chancellor’s chambers just at exactly the right moment that would make it appear as if Mace is about to commit an act of treason, which just so happens to serve Palpatine’s purposes to a T, and which also just so happens to apparently justify all of Anakin’s suspicions about the Jedi exactly how Palpatine suggested it would. However, if Palpatine did not depend on luck but instead used his power of precognition to gain a sense of what will happen in his confrontation with Mace and when Anakin will return, then Palpatine’s behavior makes perfect sense and relies on no amount of luck.

    His plan has two parts. First, as we have just seen, Palpatine places doubts into Anakin’s mind about the true intentions of the Jedi. Second, he rigs a situation so that Anakin will appear at just the right time to see that Mace is willing to break the Jedi code and kill Palpatine in cold blood, acts that would appear to indicate what the “true” intentions of the Jedi really are. Since it is highly unlikely that Anakin would enter into the chancellor’s chambers at just the right moment by chance, it is also highly unlikely that Palpatine was relying on luck to turn Anakin (since that would make Palpatine a complete imbecile if he was simply hoping things would turn out just right by sheer luck). So, that leaves only one other option – that Palpatine foresaw that Anakin would enter the chamber at a particular time and that he threw the fight to coincide with that time, knowing that he would look helpless and that an enraged Mace would make it seem as if the Jedi are treasonous. This being the case, it seems hard to argue that Mace coincidentally won the saber duel at just the right moment that would work perfectly with Palpatine’s scheme, and just this fact alone provides a very strong case that Palpatine threw the fight.

    Also, remember what the effect of Anakin walking in and witnessing Mace pointing his saber at Palpatine’s neck has on Anakin. Anakin – seeing in Palpatine his one chance to save Padme apparently weakened to helplessness and apparently disfigured from Mace’s onslaught and believing that Mace intends to assassinate this man just so that the Jedi will gain power – is persuaded to attack Mace just before Mace can make his death stroke.

    And, again, remember Palpatine is merely putting himself in the position where it appears as though he will die. It would make NO SENSE for a master planner to really let himself come within a second of having his life truly threatened and the Sith losing everything only to try to prevent Anakin, the Chosen One, from fulfilling the prophecy and killing him later on, so presumably either Palpatine knows precisely when Anakin will intervene or Palpatine can continue to keep Mace at bay with his Force lightning for as long as he needs, and in the ROTS commentary, Lucas even admits that Palpatine is faking his weakness at this point, so presumably Palpatine can hold him off as long as he wants or even disarm Mace in the same way that he later disarms Yoda.

    By rendering his Jedi master defenseless and siding with Palpatine, Anakin is in a position in which he really can’t turn back, which is just what Palpatine wanted all along. He would presumably be considered a traitor to the Order. He would also lose the one chance to save Padme from certain death. Mace’s strike forced Anakin to choose between his allegiance to Palpatine or to Mace and the entire Order, since only one of the two would survive the encounter, and that split second choice seals Anakin’s fate together with Palpatine’s, thus achieving exactly what Palpatine suggested the confrontation would confirm when speaking with Anakin before it occurred – namely, that the apparent dishonorable intentions of the Jedi make them a less desirable ally for Anakin than Palpatine himself.

    In my mind, this argument is a huge clincher for the case for a thrown fight on its own, since Palpatine, the consummate planner, would have to be a complete idiot to base his entire plan on what would amount to a huge coincidence rather than a plan fully orchestrated and designed by himself to make it seem as if he were helpless and about to be struck down by a Jedi master.

    [Once again, the biggest clincher in my mind indicating that Palpatine threw the fight is that according to the prophecy ONLY the Chosen One can bring balance to the Force, so if Mace could defeat Palpatine, that would undermine the prophecy. It’s as simple as this: if Mace is the one who kills the last remaining Sith, then the Chosen One would not be able to fulfill his destiny since he would be unable to destroy the Sith on his own, and Lucas has specifically said in a quote cited above that only the Chosen One can bring balance to Force, which is just another way of saying, destroy the Sith, so this is something that only Anakin can bring about.]
  10. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    Also, let’s remember that Palpatine has set up this confrontation beforehand, so he clearly knows the Jedi are coming and that they are going to try to arrest him. If he had any fear that those four Jedi could really kill him, he most certainly could have arranged a situation in which he would not be left to defend himself alone. To assume otherwise, would again mean that Palpatine is a total fool, which is the complete opposite of his portrayal in all 5 films he appears in. For instance, if he has an ounce of doubt, he could have a hundred clone troopers waiting in the wings just in case. (And his attempt to flee from Yoda shows he does have doubts at times). Since it is clear that he planned to reveal his identity to Anakin to spur the Jedi to come for him, Palpatine even could have placed secret defenses in his chambers designed to spring if his life is threatened (auto-turrets that have facial recognition of every Jedi or something like that). In fact, if he felt his life would at all be threatened, Palpatine could have simply allowed himself to be arrested. He does control the courts, and all the evidence the Jedi have is hearsay evidence, apart from one witness (Anakin) who could only testify that Palpatine said he was a Sith, which is hardly conclusive evidence (“Anakin, no, no, no, I was just kidding around about that Sith stuff…”), and I doubt being a Sith is even a crime given that the Sith have been extinct for a millennia, and even if there is an anti-Sith law on the books, it would probably be considered as relevant to the people of Coruscant as anti-witch laws would be if they were discovered on the books in some city in the US (well, perhaps with the exception of the Deep South). Plus, again, Palpatine controls the courts, so he could just have the courts rule any Anti-Sith law unconstitutional or something like that.

    Since Palpatine purposely revealed himself to Anakin, he effectively controls the situation and could manipulate it in any way that suits him, so there are countless other measures that he could have taken to protect himself, but there’s a simple reason that he doesn’t do any of this: he feels quite assured that his life will not be placed in jeopardy in any way. And again he’s not one to take unnecessary risks, though he seems to get slightly the better of Yoda in their battle, before Yoda blocks his way he isn’t above trying to flee and letting others do the dirty work of killing Yoda. So unless Palpatine is just a lucky dope whose life is spared by a huge coincidence that also happens to coincide with the key to turning Anakin to the dark side and a pretty important moment for establishing a rationale for the Jedi Purge, it seems pretty likely that Palpatine is so much in control of the situation that he is able to make it seem as if his life were in jeopardy, yet be highly confident that he will remain safe at the very same time.

  11. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    Finally, in terms of the plot of the entire Saga, consider how it would affect the meaning of the prophecy if Mace were able to kill Palpatine on his own. (This is another very important point of my argument, so you may want to read this closely as well.) First, as I pointed out, it’s not much of a prophecy if Mace and not the Chosen One can kill off the Sith. But also think about what this does to Anakin’s role in the prophecy. Instead of Vader’s redemption being an incredibly important moment in the legend of the Chosen One, it makes Vader’s redemption pretty insignificant, and this is why: if Anakin prevented someone, who really could have killed Palpatine (namely Mace), from actually killing him and then only ended up killing Palpatine 25 years later himself, then Anakin would have made possible a 25-year Sith Reign of Terror, which could have been prevented if he just didn’t interfere in the first place. That sort of makes a travesty out the prophecy of the Chosen One, right? (But of course, Mace having the ability and opportunity to kill the Palpatine pretty much turns the prophecy into a joke by itself). However, if Mace is unable to kill Palpatine, then the prophecy of the Chosen One, Vader’s redemption, and the unraveling of Palpatine’s plan to thwart the prophecy flow together perfectly.

    Again, consider things from Palpatine’s perspective. Palpatine has a brilliant plan. He thinks to himself, “Well, this guy is destined to kill me. How can I prevent what seems to be destiny?” Hmmm… Palpatine thinks to himself, then he realizes, “Well, it’s accepted wisdom that once you turn to the dark side, you’re not going back, so if I turn Anakin into a Sith, even if he does kill me at some point, there will still be one Sith left, Anakin himself, so no matter what, the Sith win. Yeah, that seems like a good idea. I’ll create a paradox to beat the prophecy. If a paradox can’t beat a prophecy, then I don’t know what else will.” That’s a really clever plan, and that really clever plan doesn’t make any sense if someone besides Anakin can kill Palpatine. Plus, there’s the extra twist that Palpatine actually uses Anakin’s fear of visions of his wife’s death to convince him to turn to the dark side and forgo his role as the Chosen One, and his turn to the dark side is what ends up breaking Padme’s will to live, thus causing the very vision he feared to come true. That’s one fiendishly evil plan for a master of evil to dream up.

    And now, also consider how the prophecy is ultimately fulfilled. Luke goes to Vader, expecting to face certain death (“Soon I’ll be dead, and you with me”) just so that he can redeem his father before they are both killed presumably just hours later. Then, Luke, tempted by the dark side, comes near to killing his father, but in the end, he sees that he is becoming what his father is, and taking pity on him (even though his father continues to embrace evil, effectively rejecting any feelings for his son), Luke throws his weapon aside. Then, Vader, who is only alive because of his son’s compassion, sees his son being tortured to death by the Emperor, and recognizing that he can act in the same way that his son has just acted towards him, he attacks and kills the Emperor, even though he knows that intervening will lead to his own certain death, and by performing this act of self-sacrifice, he in fact fulfills the original prophecy, returning him to the light side and re-uniting him with his son all at the very same time. That’s a pretty damn good story, isn’t it!? So, why would you ever want to ruin it!?

    In a nutshell, here it is again: Palpatine comes up with a brilliant plan to try to thwart a prophecy, and his plan does give him a good run, but in the end, he fails because a son’s love for his father allows for the renewal of that father’s love for his son, bringing good into that father’s heart, enabling him to sacrifice himself and fulfill the prophecy.

    And now, consider the alternative if Mace can kill Palpatine. Instead, the Saga becomes the story of a guy who is (kinda) prophesized to destroy the Sith but who prevents someone else (namely, Mace) from destroying the Sith first, and consequently, allows the Republic to be subjected to 25 years of tyrannical rule before he ends up killing the guy who Mace could’ve killed in the first place. That version sounds pretty lame, doesn’t it?

    Yeah, I’m going with Mace couldn’t kill Palpatine. That seems like a whole heckuva lot better option to me, and it also just makes a lot more sense for all the countless reasons I’ve just outlined over course of this giant uber-post. In my mind, viewing it this way also makes the connections between the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy much stronger, it makes the existence of the prequel trilogy undeniably necessary, and in general, it makes a great Saga even richer and more complex.

    And that’s why I’m willing to write a post of epic length to share my point of view! Also, I’m just so tired of Lucas not getting enough credit and hearing ROTS getting trashed. It’s the most complex of the six films by far, and I don’t understand people’s hostility towards it, especially when reviewers and viewers responded positively towards it when it came out, and it currently has an 80% positive rating on Rottentomatoes and 7.7 rating on imdb. By the way, if you love ROTS like I do, sign up at imdb, and give ROTS a 10 on its rating scale because it deserves even more than a 7.7!!!

    Well, that’s pretty much all of my main argument, but there’s been tons of talk about the Mace versus Palpatine duel on different forums, so I’m going to get into the nit-gritty of those arguments now. If you’re not that into that debate, there’s probably not much of a reason to read any further, since I’m only going to address this sub-topic from here on out (and I’ll return to my bracket format as well).

    I hope my analysis of the film has added something to your own understanding of the films or that, when you watch the films again, you get a richer experience now that you have this analysis in the back of your minds. And if didn’t get anything from this post, well, thanks for your time!

    [On top of the above reasons (which I believe are the strongest arguments of all), the films provide other evidence that support the interpretation that Palpatine threw his duel with Mace, and I will now go through the various arguments that have been addressed in the past on countless threads. The reason I am willing to go into this much detail is because if these arguments aren’t addressed, then they could be used to legitimize the idea that Anakin prevented Palpatine’s death, which, as I pointed out above, turns the prophecy into a travesty. I think to make this argument you would not only have to refute the following arguments I make below, but also the arguments I make about the prophecy giving only the Chosen One the ability to kill Palpatine, but also my argument that Palpatine would have to be an absolute imbecile to set up a confrontation with 4 of the best Jedi if he did not know in advance that he would survive, totally contradicting the characterization of him throughout the 5 films.]

    [Before I go on, let me give my interpretation of what happens in the duel between Mace and Palpatine. Through his power of precognition, Palpatine knows that Anakin will return and when that will happen, so he simply uses his superior dueling skills to hold Mace off until just before that point arrives. Then, an instant before Anakin enters his chambers, Palpatine hesitates, allowing himself to be disarmed so that it appears to Anakin as if Mace is threatening an unarmed man. Once Palpatine is disarmed, he uses his Force lightning against Mace, but he does not blast him full force. He only blasts Mace hard enough so that Mace can barely take it, which he senses will ultimately enrage Mace and lead him to commit murder. Palpatine could have chosen to use his full power on Mace, and then he would’ve disarmed him as he did Yoda and then killed him right off, but instead, as Lucas states, Palpatine fakes that he is not strong enough and then fakes that he has exhausted his energies, forcing Anakin to make the choice to intervene, which Palpatine both predicted Anakin would do and senses that he will do because he can feel Anakin’s fear. After Anakin does intervene, it becomes obvious that Palpatine was faking his weakness all along, as he roars back to life and fries Mace with a lethal Force lightning attack. There are other variations on this interpretation that I also think are valid, but this is my interpretation of it, since this interpretation most closely fits all my previous arguments and all my following arguments in one way or another.]

  12. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    [Some have also argued that Palpatine’s power of precognition is not strong enough for him to be able to predict what will happen in his confrontation with Mace so accurately. Well, really, if Palpatine is sufficiently powerful enough in his combat skills, Palpatine has to foretell very little. All he has to foretell is: first, when Anakin will return (or that Anakin will return during a certain time frame and sense his presence when he does arrive). Second, it seems he also has to be able to foretell that Mace will lose his cool if pushed too far. That’s about all he has to know. A powerful enough Palpatine can just hold off Mace until just before Anakin arrives. For instance, if it took Anakin an hour to return, he would have kept Mace at bay for a full hour. It’s really not that far-fetched. Not all fights are settled quickly. Two almost evenly matched boxers or mixed martial artists often go the distance, even at the most elite level, so if Palpatine’s power surpasses Mace’s by a large amount or perhaps even just a moderate amount, he could be toying with him with very little risk. This is my reading of the scene.]

    [However, the scene does not have to be interpreted in this way. For Palpatine to achieve his goal, the difference between the two does not have to be great for Palpatine to hold him off. In fact, there may not be a need for there to be any power differential at all. Remember, initially, Mace was not trying to kill Palpatine. He was only trying to arrest him, and arguably, he is still trying to do so during their combat. His anger after Palpatine’s subsequent lightning attack was what convinced Mace to try to kill instead of capture Palpatine. So, it can be argued that Mace isn’t going all out either. Also, it is false to assume that stalling a fight must make Palpatine far more powerful than Mace. In most styles of martial arts, there are defensive postures that one can take that are very ineffective at hurting an opponent, but very effective at protecting oneself from damage. In fact, there’s a strategy in MMA called “Lay and Pray” (essentially, going into full defense mode, so that the fighter opens himself to very little risk). In the past, fighters, who have won the first 2 rounds, would often employ this technique in the 3rd round so that they can win a decision victory. “Lay and pray” was so successful at holding off an opponent that MMA rules were altered so that the “lay and pray” fighter would receive point-deductions causing this technique to lose its advantage. So, even if Palpatine exceeds Mace by just a little, or perhaps not at all, Palpatine may simply be “laying and praying” until just the moment before Anakin arrives. And remember killing Mace would not serve Palpatine’s purposes in any way, so there is no reason for him to do anything but play defense. If Anakin arrived and found four dead Jedi and one-alive Palpatine, he’d have no reason to convert to the dark side. He’d simply remain a Jedi, try to arrest Palpatine himself, hoping to gain the information about how to prevent death while he’s in prison—that is, if he could even manage arresting him or if the courts would even hold him. (After Anakin has just intervened to “save” Palpatine from Mace, Lucas says in his commentary that “it's very clear that (Anakin) wants him to go on trial so he can pump him for information about how to get these powers.” So, Anakin is surprised when Palpatine bursts back to life and kills Mace.)
  13. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013
    [a. Continued.]

    [What’s really most important here is that Palpatine displays such a strong capacity to prophesize the future that he knew beforehand that Anakin would return quickly enough to allow him to hold off such a (presumably) powerful adversary for the sufficient amount of time. Now, I’ve read posts of some who don’t buy this, so let’s just look at Palpatine’s track record of predicting the future. He’s able to manipulate his way into the highest office in the galaxy and to run both sides of a war underneath the noses of the Jedi. That takes some pretty good foresight. He sets things up so that no matter who wins between the Trade Federation and the Naboo and who wins between the Separatists and the Republic, his political power is increased. Every little strategic move he makes also works in his favor. He puts Anakin on the council, knowing that they will not grant him the title of Master, which divides him from the Jedi even further. He knows that the Jedi will ask Anakin to spy on him and that they will not choose Anakin to kill Grievous. And he not only knows about Anakin’s nightmares about Padme’s death but also that the Jedi Order are clueless about their secret marriage. At the end of ROTS, he can sense that Vader will be in danger, though he is halfway across the galaxy. Then consider how perfectly he can predict what the Rebels and Luke will do in ROTJ.]

    Vader: A small rebel force has penetrated the shield and landed on Endor.
    Emperor: (In a snippy tone) Yes, I know.
    Vader: My son is with them.
    Emperor: Are you sure?
    Vader: I have *felt* him, my master.
    Emperor: Strange that I have not. I wonder if your feelings on this matter are clear, Lord Vader.
    Vader: They are clear, my master.
    Emperor: Then you must go to the sanctuary moon and wait for him.
    Vader: He will come to me?
    Emperor: I have forseen it. His compassion for you will be his undoing. He will come to you, and then you will bring him before me.

    (Another scene)
    Emperor: Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. Your friends, up there on the sanctuary moon, are walking into a trap, as is your Rebel fleet. It was *I* who allowed the Alliance to know the location of the shield generator. It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best troops awaits them. Oh, I'm afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive.

    (Another scene.)
    Emperor: And now I sense you wish to continue your search for young Skywalker.
    Vader: Yes, my Master.
    Emperor: Patience, my friend. In time, he will seek *you* out, and when he does, you must bring him before me. He has grown strong. Only together can we turn him to the dark side of the Force.
    Vader: As you wish.
    Emperor: Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

    [In fact, Palpatine has such an incredible sense of precognition that he can even accurately predict that Vader will block Luke’s light saber when he tries to strike him down, and that’s why he does nothing to protect himself from Luke’s attack or even flinch for that matter. And if he can predict not only that Luke will try to strike him down but also that Vader will block Luke’s lightning quick strike, then it seems logical that he can predict that Mace will kick him if he gives Mace the opportunity, let alone that Anakin will arrive in time to appear to “save” his life.]

    [When you take all of this together, I think it becomes pretty clear that Palpatine has an ability to see the future that far exceeds that of all other Force-users. Yes, he doesn’t sense Luke’s presence, but Vader was right there next to the guy that was clearing the shuttle for passage. Still, Palpatine can sense that the rebels are on the Endor moon, and when he is informed that Luke is among them, he immediately accurately predicts exactly what Luke will do next (turn himself over to Vader), a prediction that seems to shock even a strong Force-user like Vader. In fact, if it weren’t for his inability to sense that the Ewoks would inform the Rebels about the backdoor entrance to the shield generator and that Luke would redeem his father, his entire plan would have gone without hitch. And of course, if you think about it, Palpatine has to finally end up being wrong at some point, or he’d never lose, he’d go on ruling forever, and the series could never have a happy ending. Still, before these final fatal errors, his power of foresight seems virtually flawless. So, yes, I would argue that Palpatine’s power of precognition would enable him to foresee the outcome of his duel with Mace, know that he can hold Mace off as long as necessary, know that Mace would ultimately try to kill him, and predict or sense the time when Anakin would arrive, all in such a way as to all but guarantee he will survive his duel with Mace unscathed.]
  14. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    [Here’s another line of argument: the duel with Yoda. Now I could go into my impression of the two duels, though it seems to me he’s going all out against Yoda, but not Mace, but that’s more subjective, so I want to focus on one area of comparison more open to direct comparison: Palpatine’s ability to disarm Yoda with Force lightning and his APPARENT (and I emphasize apparent) inability to disarm Mace. Yoda shows a power no other Jedi ever demonstrates. He is able to repel Force lightning with his bare hands alone. He easily does this against Dooku, and he does so against Palpatine as well, though with great difficulty, concentration, and strain. Yet even though he has this power, Yoda is not able to prevent Palpatine from disarming him when he strikes him with a bolt at full force. Yes, Yoda is holding the saber in one hand when he loses it, but look closely, so is Mace the first instant Palpatine blasts him. Holding the saber in one hand with his arm outstretched towards Palpatine, Mace only grabs the hilt with his other hand about a second after Palpatine begins his lightning attack, a time when the saber had already flown far away from Yoda’s hand in Palpatine’s duel with Yoda. (And notice the blast that Palpatine chooses to use to disarm Yoda. It’s a single thick, very strong lightning bolt-like strike, while the lightning that Palpatine shoots at Mace is wide and diffuse. The lightning used to disarm Yoda even makes a louder more intense sound.) It just doesn’t follow that Palpatine cannot disarm Mace with a full force blast of lightning when he can disarm Yoda, so you have to conclude Palpatine isn’t going full out.]

    [Moreover, even if Mace is a better duelist than Yoda (which is not backed up in the extended universe; EU says he is sometimes able to fight him to a draw), it’s not as if Yoda’s grip on his light saber is weaker than Mace’s. Yoda’s grip would correlate directly to his power in the Force, so it should be stronger. (As Yoda says: “Judge me by my size do you?”) Though he is small, old, and feeble, the Force fills him with so much power that while he is in duels, he seems physically superior to Count Dooku and nearly equal to Palpatine, who are both younger and presumably more “physically” able, and Yoda apparently has the highest midichlorian count among the Jedi (apart from Anakin), plus he is clearly in touch with the Force as much as any Jedi is, so it seems logical to conclude that Yoda’s grip on his light saber is equal to or even exceeds Mace’s, since this physical attribute would be enhanced directly related to his strength in the Force, and supposing otherwise would be “judging him by his size.” So what follows must be true. If Palpatine can disarm Yoda, then he should be able to disarm Mace if he were really going all out, and the reason that he does not is that he is holding back.]
  15. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    [I’ll briefly mention another argument that some believe makes it unlikely that Palpatine threw the fight: his disfigurement. First, I’m inclined to agree with those who say that Palpatine really is not deformed by the lightning in any way. Instead, he is merely revealing his true Sith appearance, and I’ve read somewhere (I don’t remember where now) that the dark side has life draining properties that make the Sith look sickly and gives them a death-like pallor. Vader, unmasked just before his death, shows signs of scarring, but he also appears sickly and pale, and I don’t believe those aspects of his appearance are meant to be the result of the burns he suffered. At the time of his death, Anakin is only 46, but he looks to be somewhere around 70, which makes sense give that Sebastian Shaw was 77 when he appeared in ROTS.]

    [In addition, Palpatine’s protracted Force lightning attack on Luke did not alter Luke’s appearance in any way. At the same time, Palpatine’s own transformation brings about changes in physical attributes that certainly could not have resulted from injury. Before their combat, Palpatine’s fingernails are closely manicured, but after the Force lightning arcs back on Palpatine, his fingernails grow long and sharp. His eyes also turn yellow with a halo of red, even his hair seems to change momentarily from white to slightly blonde, and suddenly he looks like he needs a really good teeth cleaning. Since these changes are clearly not the result of any damage, there is little reason to assume any of the changes are true disfigurement in the sense that he is being injured by his own attack. Lucas also says that Palpatine is merely pretending to be weak – “this part where he pretends to lose his power and be weak was something that I added later” -- so it’s unlikely that he’s allowing his own lightning to do any real damage to himself, well, unless he’s a huge sadomasochist (which, I admit, just might be possible considering how he seems to get off whenever others are tempted by the dark side…). If the Force lightning prevented Palpatine from maintaining his false appearance or if Palpatine chose to forgo his false appearance at this time because it served his purposes, that’s really hard to know from the films alone, but it seems reasonable to assume that Palpatine knew he would end up appearing in his “disfigured” true Sith form at this time given that it serves his purpose so well. If he allowed the Force mask to fall, then that’s obviously the case, but even if the lightning forced his false façade to deteriorate, since, as Lucas says, he chose to not go at Mace full force, then he presumably knew that the consequence of doing so would be that the lightning would reflect back and erase his false appearance.]

    [Palpatine also had two very good reasons to want himself to return to his original “deformed” Sith form. First, it makes him more sympathetic to Anakin. Anakin, watching his mentor ostensibly be deformed by a Jedi Master who often treated him with contempt, causes Anakin to see Palpatine with more pity, thus making it more likely he would take his side. What is more, Palpatine uses his apparent deformity to create sympathy and support for the Jedi Purge. In building his case against the Jedi, he says to the chamber: “The attempt on my life has left me scarred and deformed, but I assure you my resolve has never been stronger.” The deformity provides strong evidence that the Jedi are truly out to take power. With Palpatine looking disfigured, he can convincingly say, “Look at me. I’m a mess. The Jedi really meant business. They wanted to do me in.” I mean, just consider if some attack by a religious cult left the President of the United State severely deformed. The President wouldn’t have a hard time turning public opinion against them, especially in a time of war.]
  16. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    [Though certainly not conclusive, the novelization also provides a strong indication that Palpatine threw the fight. For one thing, it indicates that Mace responds to a sudden hesitation on Palpatine’s part before he disarms him. Since nothing of note transpires before this hesitation, the fact that Palpatine wavers without an obvious cause suggests that the cause came from within Palpatine and that Palpatine is intentionally letting himself be disarmed. At first, Mace believes that Palpatine’s fear causes this momentary hesitation, but he turns out to be incorrect. Instead, it is Anakin’s fear that Mace is sensing, not Palpatine’s. The novelization also makes it clear that Palpatine also senses Anakin’s fear, as he says: “Fool…Do you think the fear you feel is mine?" And since Palpatine knows what Anakin is truly fearful of – Mace killing Palpatine and forever losing the ability to cheat death – it makes sense that Palpatine would hesitate, allowing himself to be disarmed because his sensing of Anakin’s fear for his safety convinces him that Anakin will intervene on his behalf. I should also add that this goes against the argument sometimes made that Palpatine could not have directly done anything to cause Mace to disarm him. The novelization makes it very clear that Mace is reacting to what Palpatine has just done: namely, hesitate. The same rationale should presumably apply to film as well.]

    [Also, the novelization’s depiction of Mace’s use of shatterpoints indicates not only that he cannot ever defeat Palpatine using Vaapad, but also that Mace cannot ever find any shatterpoints in Palpatine himself. Mace acknowledges that his Vaapad is not being effective, as the novelization reveals:But there was still only the cycle of power, the endless loop, no wound taken on either side, not even the possibility of fatigue. Impasse. Which might have gone on forever, if Vaapad were Mace's only gift.” So, at this point, Mace turns to his power to sense shatterpoints. A shatterpoint is a fault line or weakness in a person or thing. So, what does Mace ultimately realize is Palpatine’s shatterpoint? Mace discovers that Palpatine’s only shatterpoint is Anakin. In other words, Mace does not sense a single weakness in Palpatine himself that he can directly exploit. Instead, Palpatine’s only shatterpoint lies in someone else – Anakin – and this makes a lot of sense given that Anakin is the Chosen One and he does end up fulfilling his destiny by killing Palpatine in the end (that’s a pretty big shatterpoint there). At first, this interpretation of his shatterpoint revelation would make sense to Mace. Mace must assume that Anakin is about to come to his aid and fulfill the prophecy by killing Palpatine in the next moment. However, Mace’s assumptions are quickly proven unfounded, and at this point, things get a little more complex and confusing.]

    [After sensing Anakin as Palpatine’s shatterpoint, Mace, as I point out above, quickly senses fear just before he disarms Palpatine, so he assumes that it is Palpatine’s fear that causes him to be disarmed, but sensing fear seems to contradict what Mace just sensed an instant earlier. If Palpatine’s fear just caused him to be disarmed, then Palpatine would have a weakness after all that he could exploit, so that would mean Anakin isn’t Palpatine’s shatterpoint but instead that his shatterpoint is fear, but we know that this can’t be the case because Mace is really sensing Anakin’s fear. The novelization states: “His voice was a shout of thunder. “Do you think the fear you feel is mine?" Lighting blasted the clouds above, and lightning blasted from Palpatine's hands, and Mace didn't have time to comprehend what Palpatine was talking about.” And it makes a lot of sense that Mace can’t comprehend what’s going on. He first senses that Anakin is Palpatine’s one weakness, believing that Anakin will act as the Chosen One and kill Palpatine; then an instant later he senses that Palpatine has a weakness, namely fear, which allows him to be disarmed; then an instant later Palpatine tells Mace what he senses is Anakin’s fear, not his own. So, Mace must be asking himself, “How the heck did I just disarm this guy when I’m not sensing his fear, but Anakin’s? What the heck does Anakin’s fear have to do with my disarming of Palpatine? And why the heck is Palpatine still not afraid at all even though I’ve just disarmed him?” Well, if, as I am contending, Palpatine is putting on a show for Anakin, all these questions can be answered easily. Palpatine allows himself to be disarmed because he can sense that Anakin’s fears that he will die and lose the power to cheat death, and because Palpatine knows that Anakin will intervene to save him, Palpatine has no reason to fear for his life, despite being disarmed. Then, just before his death, Mace finally puts it all together: “The key to final victory. Palpatine's shatterpoint. The absolute shatter-point of the Sith. The shatterpoint of the dark side itself. Mace thought, blankly astonished, Palpatine trusts Anakin Skywalker...”]

    [What’s really ironic here and also kind of cool is that Mace must go from thinking, “This guy is Palpatine’s shatterpoint. Cool, he’s going to help me kill Palpatine,” to a moment later, thinking, “This guy is Palpatine’s shatterpoint. Crap, he just chopped off my hand, preventing me from killing Palpatine. Damn, if someone were here to kill Anakin, I’d still have my hand and then I’d be able to kill Palpatine.” But on both accounts he’d actually be wrong, because the correct thing to think is actually: “This guy is Palpatine’s shatterpoint, because 23 years from now, his son will return him to the light side, and in an act of self-sacrifice for his son, he’ll then kill Palpatine.” Palpatine’s trust in Anakin works in Palpatine’s favor when facing Mace, but against him when facing Luke. His trust in Anakin allows him to know that Anakin will intervene before Mace can swing his killing blow, but 23 years later, Palpatine’s trust in Anakin makes him assume that he will not intervene as he is killing Luke, and that trust turns out to be Palpatine fatal mistake. That’s pretty ironic stuff. No wonder Mace can’t make heads or tails of it.]

    [Now I should point out that since the staging of duel differs somewhat in the novelization from the film, one could argue that the specifics of what happens in the novelization do not really matter. Even if this is true, I would still argue that the novelization is relevant because Lucas approved it, and novelization shows the overall intent of the scene – that Palpatine is clearly using deception and manipulation to make Mace believe that one thing is going on when actually there is another reality going on completely hidden from Mace’s understanding. It also shows that Palpatine can do something on his own that will lead Mace to disarm him – namely, hesitate.]
  17. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    [Finally, I’ve also read Lucas’s own statements used to argue that Mace defeated Palpatine (and also to argue that Palpatine defeated Mace too). In Lucas’s commentary for the ROTS DVD, Lucas casually says the following: "Okay, well, this sequence uh always started out with Mace overpowering Palpatine, and then Palpatine using his powers to try to destroy Mace, and Mace deflecting his rays with his lightsaber. And it always was that Anakin cut the lightsaber out of his hand. But this part where he, he pretends to lose his power and be weak was something that I added later, 'cause this is, it moved the point where Anakin turns down to this moment right here, and you can see now, that it's very clear that he's, he, he wants him to go on trial so he can pump him for information about how to get these powers.”]

    [BTW, my understanding is that the following occurred in the scene when it was filmed the first time. Unlike the original script, Anakin was there for the whole thing. After fighting for a while, Palpatine lost his saber, which he took from Anakin (& supposedly in the final film you can see that in some shots he’s using Anakin’s light saber, not his own, since they only re-filmed some of it). Then, Palpatine, still on his feet, stood his ground using forcing lightning against Mace, but it was not reflected back at him. Instead, it was a standoff, and since the lightning didn’t arc back, Palpatine couldn’t fake that he was being disfigured. His face simply changed as he shows his true Sith nature. The standoff went on for a while, each asking Anakin for help, and finally convinced, Anakin stepped in and cut off Mace’s hand. Lucas, as well as Spielberg and others he showed it to, didn’t feel like Anakin had a strong enough reason to step in this earlier version, so Lucas re-staged it with Anakin coming in much later, with Palpatine on the floor, holding Mace off for a while with lightning, and then pretending to become so “weak” that he couldn’t go on. At this point, Lucas felt that Palpatine seemed so helpless that the audience would understand it when Anakin finally intervened. Intercepting Mace’s “death” stroke also gave Anakin a reason he had to act. If he did nothing, Palpatine would have “apparently” not been able to stop it himself (“apparently” because Palpatine was faking weakness). Again, I’m describing what was filmed the first time around, not what was in the original version of the ROTS screenplay or later versions of the screenplay. It also goes slightly differently in the novelization too.)]

    [For reasons I’ll state below, I don’t think Lucas’s commentary adds much to the discussion. As I said, this statement has been used by some to suggest that Palpatine threw the fight because in the final version (the version we see, so the ‘real’ version) he pretends to lose his power and be weak, thus he could have more fiercely used his Force lightning and disarmed Mace as he did Yoda or, at the very least, held Mace at bay as long as he needed (how it was in the original filmed version). This quote by Lucas, particularly what’s in bold, also supports this interpretation: “[I]It seemed to make a lot more sense to have him remain loyal to the Jedi as long as possible, which meant later on in the scene with the fight with Mace, we re-did that scene, and at first, there wasn’t the part where the Emperor gives up. He says, “Uh, you got me. You got me.” It was basically the scene without that where it just gets more intense, then finally Anakin breaks down and saves him, but it doesn’t have the same thing as that pause in there where you think that, and [B]it also makes the Emperor a lot more slimy[/B].[B] It’s really fun too. It’s a fun dramatic thing to deal with.[/B]”[/I][B] [/B]So, what makes Palpatine so slimy here? Well, it seems pretty slimy for Palpatine, when he could defend himself more vigorously, to pretend to be weak so that he can gain Anakin’s sympathy and so that he can reveal his true grotesque Sith form to the world at such at time that this apparent deformity appears to be caused by Mace’s “traitorous” act. Yeah, that’s hardcore slimy in my book.]

    [COLOR=#000000][SIZE=3][FONT=Times New Roman][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black][SIZE=3][FONT=Times New Roman][COLOR=#000000][SIZE=3][FONT=Times New Roman][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black][FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black][FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black][FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black][This commentary has also been used to suggest that Mace disarmed Palpatine [I]on his own [/I]and that[I] Palpatine did not allow this happen to himself[/I]. There is one really big problem with interpreting Lucas’s commentary in this way. The big problem is that it ignores the fact that Lucas never actually says in the commentary that Mace did in fact defeat him [I]on his own[/I] and that Palpatine [I]did not simply allow himself to be disarmed[/I]. The Making of the ROTS book states that Lucas purposefully wanted to leave the outcome of the fight ambiguous so that the fans could debate the matter, and since Lucas meant the scene to be ambiguous and probably also knew it would be controversial subject among fans, it seems logical that Lucas would specifically address this in a lot detail if he were really providing a final answer to this controversy. For instance, he would have said something like: “Some people think that Palpatine allowed himself to be disarmed and did not use his powers full force, but that’s not how I meant it. Mace really beats him fair and square.” However, Lucas says nothing like this even though he stated in “The Making of ROTS” that he meant the scene to be ambiguous. Actually, all he uses to describe the entire duel is a mere three words: “[I]Mace overpowers Palpatine.” [/I]He never says: “Palpatine allows Mace to overpower him because it serves his ultimate goal of turning Anakin to the dark side” or “Even though many people think that Palpatine is allowing Mace to overpower him, this is not the case. Mace beats him on his own.” And again, this is a scene that Lucas says he intended to keep ambiguous. So, instead of just focusing on those three words that Lucas does say, I think it is much more important to focus on what Lucas is saying in its full context, since that context might allow us to understand why he so briefly describes the entire duel with just three words. If you do, I think you’ll see that Lucas is not giving a deep explanation of what is going on in the scene. Just look at why he’s saying what he’s saying. What he’s doing here is comparing the final version of the entire duel to the previous version I already described, so what he is saying is a this-versus-that comparison. In a very brief way, he is saying: this is the same, then this is the same, then this is the same, but then [I]this part[/I] is [I]different[/I]. He is not talking about intentions or hidden motivations, like for instance, that Palpatine was holding back allowing Mace to “overpower” him, or anything like that.][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR]

  18. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013
    [e. Continued.]

    [To go further with this argument, let’s look at the commentary of another scene from ROTS in which we do know the subtext of the situation so that we can gain greater insight about the limits of what Lucas is saying here. The plot to kidnap Palpatine is very complex, involving many layers of deception. Palpatine has orchestrated the entire situation to create an opportunity to test Anakin. He wants to determine if Anakin is powerful and angry enough to be turned to a Sith. To manipulate the situation so that Anakin and Dooku will meet in combat, Palpatine, in one way or another, deceives both his apparent captors as well as his apparent rescuers; Grievous and Dooku are also each deceived in different ways from the other.]

    [Grievous is unaware that Palpatine and Darth Sidious are one in the same, and he believes that he is truly on a mission to kidnap and hold the chancellor prisoner. (Whenever Grievous speaks with Palpatine via hologram, Palpatine’s face is always hidden in shadows and Palpatine is always dressed as Sidious. He’s not simply appearing in this way because he thinks he looks snazzier in this garb. He’s keeping Grievous just as clueless of his own real identity as Nute Gunray is.) Unlike Grievous, Dooku is aware that Darth Sidious really is Palpatine. So unlike Grievous, he knows that the kidnap plot is simply a ruse and that Palpatine does not really need to be rescued since he orchestrated the kidnapping in the first place. However, during the action on Grievous’s command ship, the Invisible Hand, Grievous’s behavior and dialogue reveals that he is clearly not in on the plot. These instances are understated, but when analyzed, they make Grievous’s behavior irrational if he really knew Palpatine’s true identity and the true substance of his kidnapping plot. For instance, if Grievous were aware of Palpatine’s scheme, then he would not have captured Anakin and Obi-Wan as they were escaping with Palpatine, since Anakin was meant to rescue Palpatine all along. A similar rationale explains Grievous’s behavior on the Invisible Hand’s bridge. If he knew that Palpatine was Darth Sidious, then it is doubtful that he would have shattered the window of the bridge and escaped into the vacuum of space, since doing so not only could have placed the life of Darth Sidious, his master, in jeopardy but also left his master stranded on a ship apparently destined to be destroyed in a crash landing. Also, Grievous’s dialogue gives a hint that he is not fully aware of Palpatine’s scheme. When he is informed that two Jedi have just boarded the ship, Grievous says: “Just as Count Dooku predicted.” If he were aware of the Palpatine’s scheme, he would have made a statement that indicates that their arrival is merely the inevitable next step in the plan. His comment, instead, suggests that Dooku had previously told him what he predicted the next move of the Jedi would be, but if Grievous were in on it, then Dooku would have simply told him what would happen next in the plan rather than giving Grievous his “prediction,” which would disguise the fact from Grievous that Dooku already knew exactly what the Jedi would do.]

    [While Dooku knows more than Grievous, Palpatine still keeps some very vital information away from Dooku, as well. Dooku does know that Palpatine intends to test Anakin’s skills in combat and turn him to the dark side, but what he doesn’t know is that, as part of Palpatine’s plan, Anakin will prove himself worthy by actually killing Dooku, himself. (Had Dooku learned of this part of the plan, he probably would have been a little less likely to participate in it.) Dooku had expected Palpatine to intervene if his life was threatened. Also, Anakin and Obi-Wan are fully deceived and truly believe that Palpatine is a helpless captive of Dooku and Grievous, and that they are saving him.]

    [FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black][FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black][FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black][FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black][FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black][FONT=Cambria][COLOR=black][So, this is a pretty complicated plan that’s going on here. Dooku knows Palpatine’s identity, and he’s aware of the plan, but he’s deceived about the fact that the plan could end in his death. At the same time, Grievous does not know that Darth Sidious is Palpatine’s real identity, and so he believes that he has captured Palpatine against his will and that he must prevent the Jedi from saving him. Finally, Anakin and Obi-Wan are totally clueless about everything. Knowing all this, let’s now look at how far Lucas goes to explain the complexity of this scenario. If you listen to the entire commentary, you find that Lucas only addresses and explains a single aspect of this elaborate plan and nothing more: Dooku’s ignorance that he might die in combat. Lucas says: “[I]In this particular case, the idea is that Palpatine is testing Anakin to see if he’s strong enough to become his apprentice, and he doesn’t tell Dooku what he’s actually up to. Dooku thinks he’s just going to fight him, but the whole thing is a setup by the Emperor to test Anakin’s strength, and when Anakin is strong enough, which he proves to be by killing Dooku, then the Emperor is ready to convert him over to the dark side to become his new apprentice.[/I]” This and this alone is the only point of the plan that Lucas explains to the audience. He does not clarify any other of the multiple layers of deception going on in Palpatine’s hostage plan. The opening scrawl of the film even states: “[I]In a stunning move, the fiendish droid leader, General Grievous, has swept into the Republic capital, and kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine, leader of the Galactic Senate[/I].” So, if were going by what Lucas tells us in the scrawl and reveals in his commentary, we would have to conclude that Palpatine really is a helpless captive of Grievous when we know just the opposite – that the kidnapping is only a ploy and that Palpatine could have killed Grievous quite easily to prevent the entire thing or escaped at any time if he really wanted to. Lucas’s choice not to address this as well as the many other aspects of Palpatin’e plan also indicates that Lucas does not mind leaving it to the audience to figure out what’s going on in large portions of his films.] [/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT]

    [The third thing we should recognize after hearing Lucas’s commentary is that when Lucas wants to be explanatory and not just descriptive, his explanations are very detailed and elaborate because he intends to make himself completely clear. Just compare the commentary about Mace’s duel with Palpatine where Lucas only says “Mace overpowers Palpatine” to Dooku’s death scene, where Lucas says a great length: “In this particular case, the idea is that Palpatine is testing Anakin to see if he’s strong enough to become his apprentice, and he doesn’t tell Dooku what he’s actually up to. Dooku thinks he’s just going to fight him, but the whole thing is a setup by the Emperor to test Anakin’s strength, and when Anakin is strong enough, which he proves to be by killing Dooku, then the Emperor is ready to convert him over to the dark side to become his new apprentice.” As I pointed out earlier, if Lucas wanted to clarify whether Palpatine threw the duel or Mace won it fair and square, then he would have given a very long and complex explanation, so that all uncertainty about the proper interpretation is eliminated, and that’s exactly what we do hear in his commentary about what’s really going on between Palpatine and Dooku, and that’s exactly what we don’t hear in Lucas’s commentary during the Palpatine-Mace duel.]

  19. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013
    [e. Completed:]

    [In both cases of commentary, Lucas is merely giving a descriptive account of what the viewer sees happening in a scene, not an explanatory one, but since Lucas chooses to speak in a descriptive manner about the duel between Mace and Palpatine, then from the commentary alone, we don’t know whether Palpatine is throwing the duel or not. And there is also a very good reason why Lucas does not go into greater detail about what is really occurring in their duel, since as I pointed out above, Lucas purposefully wanted to leave the outcome of the fight ambiguous so that the fans could debate the matter. Well, this in itself is a pretty strong indication that Lucas is merely being descriptive when speaking about their duel during his DVD commentary, since giving us the answer would ruin the ambiguity and our opportunity to debate it. Furthermore, since Lucas had acknowledged that the scene is ambiguous and he said sometime before April 2005 (when “The Making of ROTS” was released) that he specifically wanted to leave it that way, it seems strange that he suddenly changed his mind in November of 2005, when the DVD was released, and that he then wanted to settle the issue in the DVD commentary, especially since in the commentary he doesn’t even mention the ambiguity of the scene that Lucas acknowledges he intended to create when making the film, and since the ambiguity of the scene was so important to Lucas in the first place, you’d think he’d at least mention that the scene can be interpreted different ways depending on the viewer’s perspective, and that he was simply revealing in the commentary how he interpreted the scene himself. What is more, it seems even stranger that Lucas would try to settle something he was intending to keep ambiguous by making a vague and brief three-word statement that could so easily be interpreted as only being descriptive, which makes his commentary ambiguous in itself, so again, his commentary really wouldn’t settle anything given that the commentary’s own meaning is ambiguous, and since Lucas would also be aware that his commentary is ambiguous, you have to assume that Lucas isn’t trying to settle anything here because if he were, he’d realize that he should give a comment that is more detailed and explanatory in nature, and probably he’d also acknowledge that he is giving the answer to an issue that has become a subject of discussion, which is really what Lucas apparently wanted all along, as he said he originally intended the scene to remain a subject of discussion for viewers to discuss without an obvious answer, so again, why would he be providing an answer to it all at this point? And if for some weird reason he did after just 6 months’ time choose to provide an answer to something that he said he intended to leave ambiguous just 6 months earlier, why would he do so in such an unclear manner? (Follow all that? I'm not sure I did.)]

    [Anyway, in a nutshell, if Lucas were really intending to settle any ambiguity with his commentary, he would have been much clearer and detailed about how he spoke about the topic, he would have mentioned that he initially meant the scene to be ambiguous, and he would have said that he’s now decided to clarify any ambiguity with his commentary, and since Lucas does none of these things, really what he does end up saying amounts to nothing more than a descriptive account equal to what you are seeing with your own 2 eyes when you watch the scene, and that doesn’t tell anything about how much effort Palpatine is putting into his combat – i.e. going all out or throwing the fight. Instead, you have to make sense of the scene within the greater context of the film, which is what I’ve tried to do in this mega-post!]

    Well, I’m done now. I hope I haven’t broken your forum.

    BTW, don’t forget to sign up at imdb and give Revenge of the Sith a 10! It deserves it!
  20. Darth_Nub

    Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 26, 2009
  21. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013
    Hey, I broke my toe, so I've had a lot free time... Maybe too much free time :)
  22. I Are The Internets

    I Are The Internets Force Ghost star 8

    Nov 20, 2012
    Um uh...way to go?
    minnishe likes this.
  23. Arawn_Fenn

    Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost star 7

    Jul 2, 2004
    Lucas has done this sort of thing before: suggest in one place that something is up to the audience to decide, while elsewhere giving his own more specific take on the matter. I'm thinking of the treatment of Anakin's origins in the Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair articles from 2005.
    Valiowk and SithStarSlayer like this.
  24. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013
    Yeah, Lucas is not always the most reliable source. He once told Damon Lindelof (or maybe Lindelof's partner) of "Lost" something like, "Pretend that you've got it all planned out even if you're making it up as you go." And GL has clearly done this himself. I'm nearly positve I read that he came up with Vader being Luke's father when he was writing TESB, but he always acts like he came up with it in the very beginning. When he came up with the father-son thing, that's when he got the basic storyline for the prequels and for how to resolve it all in ROTJ. Before then it was just going to be a Flash Gorden action serial that really just focused on sci-fi action from episode to episode. Actually, GL thought the ANH would be a moderate success, and I think he was planning to make "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" the next in the series.

    I think also GL often reverse engineers his stories. For instance, in ROTJ, I don't think he thought one way or another whether Force lightning can deform somebody. They couldn't do the special effects for it anyway. I think later on he was thinking, "How can I make Palpatine all disfigured like he is in ROTJ?" Then he thought well, "Maybe, the Force lightning can deform him... No, that won't work. Luke wasn't disfigured. Oh, I've got it. I'll have the Force lightning do it but add some stuff to make it seem like he may be revealing Palpatine's real Sith form. Yeah, that'll work. That'll keep them thinking." I think GL is constantly working backwards like that.

    About Anakin's birth, I think he hadn't totally worked that out when TPM came out. I think he realized, "Oh, geez, I can't make his father a Jedi or Sith because then I'll have to tell his backstory too. Oh, I got it. A virgin birth and Anakin is created by the Force." Then I think he realized later on that the Plagueis idea about cheating death fit together with the idea of Anakin being created by the force, so he thought, "Hey, I'll have Anakin be the Force's response to Plagueis's use of evil Sith alchemy to cheat death. Since he's trying to cheat death, the Force will counteract that by creating life." So, I think in the Anakin case, GL switched from being silent about it to discussing it because he hadn't figured it out himself earlier on. So, now there's a whole book about it.

    I also think GL might in part want to keep quiet about the Mace-Palpatine duel b/c it really becomes a complicated thing to figure out, so he's afraid that someone will catch something wrong in GL's own interpretation of it, so he figures it's better just to stay mum about.

    I don't know if you're one of those who think Mace won or Palp won. I've actually thought up a few more scenarios where I think you can have a slightly different interpretation of how the duel went that still don't contradict anything else that occurs in the films, but it was just getting so long that I decided not to include any more.

    It actually didn't take me that much time to type that up. I'm a really fast typer, so it didn't take me that long, but then I looked at all I had, and I thought, "Oh my gosh, I wrote all this, and now I don't want to spend a lot of time editing it, so I'll just put it up as is."
    Thanks for reading it, if you made it all the way through, or thanks for reading whatever parts you did. If you have the time, you may want to check out sections 2, 5, 6, 7, and 11 of my post. I think I say some stuff in those sections that I've never read anywhere else.
    Ezon Pin, Valiowk, kainee and 2 others like this.
  25. Darth_Nub

    Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 26, 2009
    It was a congratulatory letter to Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, read aloud at the party celebrating the final episode of Lost:

    GL has been a bit more relaxed & frank in the last few years about just how much he really had planned out at the start. Given that the first draft of SW is now being published as a comic, it's quite clear that he doesn't feel the need to maintain the illusion/spin of there having been a concrete vision all the way through.
    That said, there are a number of themes in the early drafts which managed to force their way back in after being abandoned - the redemption of a Sith Knight/Lord, the father's influence on the hero, etc.

    It changed quite a bit more than that - some details can be found here: - as well as in a few select threads in this forum.

    As for the rest of your novel, I'll, er, get back to you.
    Around September.
    Next year.