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Saga Which Politican/dictator is the most like Palpatine in your opinion?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by DarthStarkiller144, Oct 20, 2023.

  1. DarthStarkiller144

    DarthStarkiller144 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 14, 2023
    The most common answer are Augustus or Hitler, but I think there are some more Modern politicians/dictators that much quite well. Who do you think is the closest to Palpatine? (Not Palpatine in the OT but Chancellor Palpatine during the Prequels)
     
  2. Lulu Mars

    Lulu Mars Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 10, 2005
    This can get ugly really fast.
     
  3. darthvader88

    darthvader88 Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Apr 29, 2005
    This thread will surely go over well....

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
     
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  4. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 1998
    In before the governmental crackdown.
     
  5. Lulu Mars

    Lulu Mars Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 10, 2005
    For what it's worth, GL himself has said that he was inspired by Richard Nixon more than anyone else.

    “The inspiration for Star Wars, one of the very first ideas, was when Richard Nixon tried to change the Constitution so that he could run for a third term. We all knew he was a crook, he was a bad guy, he did terrible things and we sort of chugged along with it. It wasn’t until the impeachment, and really even later than that, that we understood how completely corrupt he was.
    But that was the idea, which was, ‘How does a democracy crumble? How does it die?‘ When it doesn’t die with a revolution — it does in some cases — but not in the world of the ideal democracy, which we thought we had at that time, how does that happen? Would the people vote for it? And yes, they do vote for it, that’s the whole point. There’s an outside threat, and that threat allows the tyrant to take over. And the populace gives up the democratic powers and this guy is suddenly running the show. You end up with the Empire.
    That’s what happened with Palpatine, ultimately. Everybody thought he was a nice guy. But he wasn’t. He was a politician and he was ambitious, and he was a Sith Lord, but he didn’t talk about it. And he was plotting to take over the Republic. He wasn’t just a bad guy that ran around killing people.”

    But it was all written in a way that made Palpatine and his story applicable to a lot of historical leaders, of course.
     
  6. Django211

    Django211 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 1999
    Nixon tried to change the constitution? Do tell
     
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  7. Lulu Mars

    Lulu Mars Chosen One star 5

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    Mar 10, 2005
    It seems like he actually didn't. Maybe it was rumored at the time that he did. Or, George simply got different presidents mixed up.
    Either way, Nixon was his primary source of inspiration back in the '70s. Understandable, since it was all so fresh. The war in Vietnam was also a major influence.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2023
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  8. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Skywalker Saga/LFL/YJCC Manager star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Mar 4, 2011
    If we want to talk about Lucas being influenced by real-world political figures and situations, that’s a fair discussion.

    If this thread delves into which post-2012-Disney-sale politician most resembles 1999 Palpatine, it will be locked.

    Tread carefully.
     
  9. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord 23X Wacky Wednesday Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

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    Sep 2, 2012
    I recall Napoleon getting a big mention in a The Politics of Star Wars book as a very Palpatine-esque character.
     
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  10. Kenneth Morgan

    Kenneth Morgan Chosen One star 5

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    May 27, 1999
    As I understand it, Nixon was the primary inspiration in the OT as originally written. It's quite apparent in Foster's prologue to the ANH novelization. Later, of course, the character was altered into a supervillainous chessmaster, rather than a corrupt despot.
     
  11. Sauron_18

    Sauron_18 Force Ghost star 5

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    Apr 1, 2005
    What’s interesting is that this still sort of works as the primary inspiration for the public persona of Palpatine. The prequels act as the story of Palpatine’s rise to power and his fall from grace as he goes from politician to emperor. We see him become darker as he gets more power, at least publicly. But of course we know that in secret he was corrupt from the start.

    I am very curious about what historical inspirations there were not for Palpatine’s Sith persona, necessarily, but for Sith Lords in general. Lucas mentioned that the Sith ruled the galaxy before the Republic, with Lords and their apprentices having parts of the universe they each governed apart from one another while getting into territorial conflicts.

    He compared this to a medieval feudal system, which reminds me of both the European medieval conflicts of the Middle Ages and the warring states era in Japan. I wonder, though, if there were particular people from these parts of history that Lucas used as inspiration for the Sith. And I especially wonder whether there are any history books that may have helped him form this idea.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2023
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  12. BlackRanger

    BlackRanger Jedi Master star 4

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    Apr 14, 2018
    I think literary sources might have been important there as well - eg, the fascist lords of the Dark Empire of Granbretan in Michael Moorcock's Dorian Hawkmoon series, who always cover their faces with masks as part of their culture.
     
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  13. Power of the Dark Side

    Power of the Dark Side Jedi Knight star 3

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    Mar 17, 2023
    In terms of how Palps came to power, there are parallels with the rise of Julius Caesar. Starting off with a legitimate political office, benefiting from the fall out of a civil war and becoming a dictator in the aftermath. That would pretty much track with Dooku as Pompey, leading the opposing faction and ultimately defeated by a more ambitious and cunning opponent.
     
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  14. BlackRanger

    BlackRanger Jedi Master star 4

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    Apr 14, 2018
    But Pompey was already well-established in politics at the time Caesar was a young man, and a large part of their rivalry was due to the fact that Pompey feared being supplanted by Caesar. And while Dooku might be older than Sidious, he's still his subordinate in the Sith Order; and they're still both manipulating both sides of the civil war together, despite being outwardly the heads of opposing factions, which is unlike anything in ancient Roman history.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2023
  15. Power of the Dark Side

    Power of the Dark Side Jedi Knight star 3

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    Mar 17, 2023
    Well it's not a perfect analogy, but there's enough similarity that Lucas could have possibly drawn inspiration from Rome. You also have a Senate sitting at the heart of a vast power ruled over by an ineffective bureaucracy, populist sentiments driving military reorganization giving more power to the center (Ceaser and Palpatine), the turning of a republic to an empire that maintains at least at first the show of democracy. Also Pompey and Caesar did work together in moving towards a more authoritarian state prior to the eruption of a the civil war. There's enough similarity to raise the possibility that it was an inspiration.
     
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  16. BlackRanger

    BlackRanger Jedi Master star 4

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    Apr 14, 2018
    You're right, I'm sure it was. I was just pointing out that it's not a 1:1 analogy by any means.

    The parallel was probably more exact in some of Lucas' earlier ideas for the Clone Wars, where Palpatine was the Chancellor when the Republic fought against an invasion by external enemies - a society of clones who instigated the war, in fact, as Lucas suggested to Leigh Brackett in his 1977 story conference notes for ESB. (I suspect this idea was the germ of both the clones and the martially obsessed Mandalorians, which is probably why they've been associated with each other for so long in SW.)

    In that version, Palpatine's rise would have been more like Caesar gaining popularity and power by fighting the Gauls on behalf of Rome - or like Richard Nixon rising to power during the turmoil of the Vietnam War. The Emperor would have risen to power as a politician who started off genuinely fighting the Republic's enemies, and then used the prestige and authority he gained from the war to seize absolute power for himself.

    In contrast, Palpatine in the prequels as eventually released deliberately brings about a war and sets it up so both sides of the conflict are ultimately under his control, which I would say is much more of a modern concept, as well as one that's far more Machiavellian and fitting for the Sith Lord he eventually became.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2023
  17. Sauron_18

    Sauron_18 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Caesar is probably spot on. There was a TPM documentary where Lucas was interviewed as he started fleshing out his backstory for the Star Wars prequels, and he mentioned doing plenty of research, and among the books the camera showed from his library, there were at least two written by Julius Caesar (The Gallic War and The Civil War).
     
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  18. HMTE

    HMTE Jedi Knight star 1

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    Feb 7, 2021
    I think there are several parallels between Palpatine and Richard III (or, at least, Shakespeare's re-interpretation of Richard III)
    Richard and Palpatine are both charismatic, narcissistic schemers who manipulate others and ruin lives in the quest for political power.

    Richard and Palpatine are both what TV Tropes would call "card carrying villains." Richard is "determined to prove a villain", while Palpatine exults in the power of the darkside. They don't have a loftier goal beyond the acquisition of personal power.

    Richard and Palpatine are both physically deformed. Richard is hunchbacked, has a withered arm, and a limp. Palpatine is scarred by a combination of darkside corruption and scarring from his duel with Mace Windu.

    Both are ultimately undone by the excesses of their cruelty and lack of empathy.

    Now, obviously the real life, historical Richard III was not nearly so monstrous. Many people consider Shakespeare's play to be Tudor propaganda. So this entire comparison on my part might not fit with the prompt of this thread.
     
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  19. StampidHD280pro

    StampidHD280pro Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Jul 28, 2005
    I don't want to get into too many parallels because it's not worth the argument, but at the time, it seemed like post-9/11 politics were being subtly alluded-to in ROTS as well as some plots in TCW regarding terrorist acts and emergency powers. Further restrictions in the name of freedom. Some of George W's "with us or against us" rhetoric. Looking back, Osama bin Laden was a bit of a General Greivous type, striking and then hiding in caves, allegedly running around on dialysis.
     
  20. DarthStarkiller144

    DarthStarkiller144 Jedi Youngling star 1

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    Apr 14, 2023
    He is not a Politician but Rupert murdoch is also a good analogy I think. He also looks like Palpatine a bit.
     
  21. Darkslayer

    Darkslayer #1 Sabine Wren Fan star 7

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Pretty sure Palpatine labels 3 key Separatist systems as "triad of evil" in the ROTS prequel novel (mirroring a speech from President Bush), which was written based off of some notes from George, so I think you are definitely spot on. I teach history, so I find it really cool when I notice a parallel like that.
     
  22. DarthStarkiller144

    DarthStarkiller144 Jedi Youngling star 1

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    Apr 14, 2023
    But wasnt Bush pretty Incompetent?.. He reminds me of Jar Jar more.. Perhaps Palps is like Nixon posing as FDR?
     
  23. Darkslayer

    Darkslayer #1 Sabine Wren Fan star 7

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    Mar 26, 2013
    I'm not going to wade into what I think of Bush since he is still relatively recent. All I'll say is that I love, LOVE, that GL is a student of history. He'd be the first one to tell you that yes, there is inspiration, but that his characters and situations are an amalgam of historical figures and events and not an allegory.

    Also, I'd encourage you to look up some YouTube videos of W, regardless of what you think of him politically, the dude is a hilarious and well-meaning human being. You'll be entertained, that's for sure.
     
  24. Tia

    Tia Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Oct 11, 2022
    this is probably because people and fish can co-exist peacefully ;)
     
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  25. CLee

    CLee Jedi Knight star 3

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    Jun 18, 2017
    I don't really think most real politicians or even dictators are particularly comparable to Palpatine as he is, even in the prequels, such an almost caricature idea of just open self-interested, self-advancing wickedness. Though I guess there are pretty significant similarities to the big three of Hitler, Stalin and Mao of all wanting to thoroughly change society and wanting and to an extent being able to get mass mobilization in support of themselves, a lot of propaganda and to some extent also trying to play the victim, to claim that it's other people that are bad and the problem and are causing or forcing what problems society does have.

    It is interesting that Lucas compares and draw from all of them, also Caesar and Napoleon and I think also Lincoln, also from a good praised figure (although most Americans don't really think much at all about Caesar and Napoleon, most people generally probably think they're from too long ago to really be considered detestable evil villains), consider and dramatize how Lincoln could have gone wrong or what someone bad could have done with his position and situation.