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How do we know Palpatine is really dead?

Discussion in 'General Sequel Trilogy Discussion' started by SegNerd, May 24, 2020.

  1. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

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    Well, no. The character doesn’t act “foolish” in ROTJ. Quite the opposite. He successfully simultaneously maneuvers three separate parties into three separate interconnected traps. Not by happenstance or lucky coincidence, but by deliberate design. His downfall is actually centered on his inability to comprehend the virtue of compassion. It’s the aching blind spot in his dark philosophy. Just as the Jedi can’t perceive the deception of the Sith, the Sith can’t perceive the benevolence of the Jedi.

    The prospect that a pitiful little band of Rebels could ally themselves with the indigenous peoples, doesn’t enter into his calculations. The prospect that a child’s desperate pleas could successfully appeal to his obedient servant, doesn’t enter into his calculations. The very premise is incompatible with his world view. In his mind, compassion = weakness. For him, it’s just another string to be pulled. That’s the root of his demise. In reality though, compassion = strength and he wasn’t prepared for that. That’s why he fails. It isn’t foolishness. It’s lack of empathy. It’s the moral to the story.

    In TROS though, even though he’s apparently had about three decades to meditate on his resurgence, seems to be improvising a great deal. Leaving a lot to chance. Palps has been reduced to this pathetic husk, clinging to what scrap of existence he can hardly muster, but still wants to hold out for the premium model with leather trim and seat warmers? He’s a ‘beggar’ that’s ‘choosing’. It’s like someone dying of thirst, insisting on only drinking Perrier. In the OT, it’s obvious why Sheevy wants to trade-up. Vader’s busted. Luke is the better option. But what exactly does Rey have over Kylo? Sentimentality? He wants to keep it in the family? I’m grasping at straws here.
     
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  2. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    I wasn't arguing for the belief that he is foolish in either movie. I was saying that there are a number of fans who see him as foolish in one, or both films.

    But really I was pointing out that in both he pits two force users against each other and banks on one killing the other, and his over confidence that such will occur is what causes his downfall. That hubris is what I was saying was somewhat the allegorical point - pride comes before the fall, and all that.


    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  3. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

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    I certainly appreciate that perspective. And I don’t disagree, but the place I’m coming from is what’s typically championed by you yourself: chiasma.

    “The Emperor wants Luke to kill Vader so that he will have a new young Jedi. You know, let’s face it, Darth Vader's half mechanical, he’s not nearly as good as he could be. He’s not nearly as good as he was hoping Anakin would become. Because he ends up in this confrontation which puts him in that suit, so he's hoping to get a new better young apprentice in Luke. And if he kills his father, then he would take his place as his apprentice, which actually is something that happens in the next film. That's how Anakin becomes the Emperor’s apprentice. There's a lot of stuff that's repeated through these movies. I mean between this trilogy of 4, 5, and 6 and the first trilogy of 1, 2, and 3.” - George Lucas, director’s commentary, Return of the Jedi (chapter 39)

    What he’s referring to is the motivation for pitting the two against one another in the first place. His current apprentice is flawed, or not ideal, in some way. With respect to Dooku, he flat out says this: “Soon I will have a new apprentice. One far younger and more powerful.” So his intent is to replace his undesirable pupil with a superior one. The conflict he personally instigates is simply the means of accomplishing that end. That’s the established pattern of narrative and characterization. Endorsing Rey though doesn’t appear to afford him any perceivable advantage. There’s nothing outwardly undesirable about Kylo. There’s nothing demonstratively superior about Rey.

    The rationalization of him not ‘picking the lowest hanging fruit’ plays as a ‘maybe the grass is greener’ mentality, which is just silly to me. When he was at his epoch and held dominion over everything, he could afford to lose Luke or Anakin. When he’s in shambles and frantic to abandon ship though, it’s pretty goofy that he’d be particular over which life boat to get on. Leaves me with the impression that they didn’t really think the character through all that much: What does he want? Why does he want it? How’s he going to get it?
     
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  4. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    But that's your perspective of his situation; not his.
    Your view is that he's hanging on by a thread, but does he ever indicate any view of that perspective of himself?

    He doesn't ever once seem to see his position other than exactly where he wants it to be, and never once flinches at anything taking place. Nor does he ever seem desperate for anything.
    To the contrary, the entire time he sees himself as invincible and his victory inevitable. He even has a stadium of spectators just to observe his greatness.

    From that vantage point, it fits exactly as no different in his perspective than before. He's not clambering for a lifeboat - he's choosing his bodily heir and putting them to the test.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  5. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

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    Interesting take. I'd say the film language itself is shouting at a rather deafening volume that the character is in severely dire straights. But sure, I suppose he could be perfectly content to wait around in his spooky basement, attached to a crane, not able to count to ten on his fingers, until a better option roles around. Livin' the dream :D
     
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  6. Too Bob Bit

    Too Bob Bit Jedi Commander

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    I'm loving this toing and froing. Keep it up guys!
     
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  7. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    Well, right. It's a mixed communication.
    On one side, there's our view of his circumstances, which is that it's pretty beat down and dire. That's the only reason we can believe there's a chance being plausible - because this super powerful death conqueror who has been the bane of the entire saga is weakened and confined.

    On the other side is the character's view. The film communicates both at once. With the physicality of everything we are addressed directly by the film's language.
    By the character's demeanor, behavior, and dialogue, the film communicates his psychology and view.

    The two are at odds, but his view is pretty straight forward and clear because if he felt exposed and desperate, at any point we could have been shown an Emperor who feinted in some manner at any event put in front of him, but he doesn't. He doesn't feint at even a saber right in his face. He doesn't grovel, or anything. He openly chuckles and plays with Kylo's mind at that moment rather than concern over how things will go.

    Even when the two of them show up teamed against him, he is still showing amusement. He drags them hovering in the air in front of him like play things for his entertainment. His voice and attitude just never show any sign of him being in any psychological position of doubt or concern ever.

    Rey does. A lot. Kylo does as well a bit. But Palpsy just keeps trucking along like Hannibal Lecter - like a cat playing with the mouse he's going to eat.

    And that's partly what makes him creepy - the fact that what we see and would surely think should cause someone to be cautious and concerned is being openly dismissed and ignored without any thought or show in behavior.
    It's one thing to see a character have a sword thrust through them and they desperately push on. We can assume certain expectations of normality about such a person's psyche.
    It's entirely a different matter when we see a character have a sword thrust through them and they don't even seem to care that there's a sword thrust through them.
    At that point, all bets are off on normal expectations regarding that individual's psychology - clearly they are ticking to a different psychological beat than a normal relatable person.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  8. TK-1204

    TK-1204 Imperial Special Forces
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    Presumably the potential to have Force ability that could either equal or surpass his own.

    The following is speculation:

    Sheev spent years grooming Kylo to become the Supreme Leader, someone who would theoretically become so far-gone and consumed by the prospect of absolute power that he would be totally irredeemable. An important factor in this being that he had ordered Kylo kill his family (via Snoke), which he succeeded in killing his father and almost killed his mother. Using this combined with a greater reverence for Vader, Kylo, in theory, becomes a more reliable pawn with fewer sentimental attachments that could be used against him. A byproduct of this is that he's also very familiar with his strengths and weaknesses with regards to his prowess.

    Rey, by contrast, is an unknown. She had been hidden from her grandpappy for most of her life, and the period of time in which she's active with the Resistance hasn't been all that long. So I'd imagine granddaddy Sheev would very much want to test her mettle, both in terms of the strength of her connection to the Force and of any weaknesses he could exploit for the purposes of manipulation, to see if she could be a more suitable host.

    By the end, he had seen Rey tap into the dark side, defeat Kylo, and become emotionally unbalanced. Moreover he tried to use the very thing Luke had to turn Vader against him, believing that he could use sentimental family attachments as a tool to turn his granddaughter. However, to cite the things you pointed out earlier in your post, Palpatine basically repeated the same mistakes he had made in 6. He didn't think the Resistance capable of uniting a galaxy striken by fear and military conquest against him, he didn't think the mother who was almost killed by her son would sacrifice her life to save his, nor did he think his granddaughter could have a family beyond blood ties.

    This is honestly pretty beat-for-beat a repeat of RotJ. That said I won't claim this to be a perfect explanation, as there are, inevitably, still going to be holes in the writing. Though no piece of fiction is ever perfect.
     
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  9. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

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    Honestly, I’m fairly confident that if there was nothing left of Palpatine but a disembodied head in a fish bowl, he’d still find his way back to the loving embrace of being an arrogant dickweed. That’s his lane.

    We don’t really need to speculate about the justification for his cavalier demeanor toward Kylo’s threat. It’s given to us in the scene itself. “I have died before. The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.” What’s being insinuate is that killing him would be pointless. He’d cheated death once, he could do it again. Whether that’s expressly true or not, Palpatine apparently wants Kylo to think its true. That’s not some unrelatable psychosis at play. It’s cold calculation. He’s defusing the situation.
    It's JJ’s bigger and louder version of the faux feeble Emperor from ROTJ. “I am defenseless.” It’s the same bait and switch. Palp lulling his enemies into a false sense of security, then exploiting it, doesn’t translate to an absence of desperation because he revels in it. “Doubt or concern”, from what we’ve seen, aren’t reactions the guy displays unless he’s in the act of being murdered.

    I don’t think it’s a stupendous stretch to deduce that the guy isn’t all that keen on extending his persistence as a Hellraiser cenobite. Am I crazy? Do you really disagree? Honestly? That restoring himself isn’t a chief priority for him? There’s no urgency involved here at all? That if things don’t work out then “oh well, there’s always broom boy”? I’m sorry, but that wasn’t the impression I gleaned from what was portrayed at all.
     
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  10. TK-1204

    TK-1204 Imperial Special Forces
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    You would be correct. At the end of the day there were some implications made that were, ultimately, going to be left unexplained due to both limits to film length and the script probably needing more refinement than what we got.

    From a lore standpoint, however, I'm not going to pretend to know how Sith rituals work. On the one hand he literally sent his consciousness across the galaxy into a clone body, so why does he need to be murdered now for it to work? But that clone body was "empty", with no sentience until he moved in. So does that process work differently when trying to possess the bodies of the living? Is that Darth Plagueis' trick to immortality? Was the Rule of Two really just a singular, continuous ritual that saw the consciousnesses of old Sith merge with the new that successfully slew their master? But then that doesn't even totally make sense.

    But assuming that there are more specific steps needed to take steal one's body, he'd probably have no choice but to keep repossessing inferior, deteriorating clone bodies until both a suitable host is found who can, willingly or not, complete the necessary steps to make the ritual work. Otherwise he resigns himself to true death, which I reckon he didn't want to do.

    Honestly I'd quit trying to make sense of poor writing choices that need book and fan theories to explain if it wasn't so much fun. :p
     
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  11. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    I'm not saying his character motivation isn't to restore himself.

    I'm saying that all of what you just pointed out and more shows that he has full confidence of achieving it, has no fears or concerns of it not happening, sees neither Kylo or Rey as earnest threats, and is quite in line with playing with his food before eating it by trying to have the two square off and kill one or the other just as he's repeatedly been a fan of in the past.

    He seems quite fine waiting to see what happens and doesn't ever appear to be in a rush, but instead - true to form - enjoys watching it all unfold in what he thinks is as he has foreseen.

    There's a difference, I think, between a character's motivation and their disposition regarding that motivation.
    Palpsy indeed is motivated by restoration. His disposition is one of patience and hubris regarding it.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  12. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

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    That was definitely how I interpreted his line “Kill me and my spirit will pass into you. As all the Sith live in me. You will be Empress. We will be one.”

    The ‘rule of two’ then was actually only ever really the ‘rule of one’? Truthfully, I really like that development. The Sith represent an inherently selfish ethos. That they ever shared power, even with one other person, never jived with me. The system being nothing more than a means for a single spiteful ego to perpetuate itself is a fun twist. “Palpatine”, the man, isn’t truly who we’ve ever been dealing with. It was a false facade from the start. It was always “Sidious” pulling the strings. Good stuff.

    It does make his line about Plagueis in ROTS a little wonky though. “It's ironic. He could save others from death, but not himself.” Though how much of that colorful anecdote is accurate is hard to say. Maybe he made the whole thing up.
     
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  13. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

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    Cool cool cool cool cool. Counterpoint: He’s the EMPEROR!! Even if he didn’t have supreme confidence, he’d still act like he did . . . . because he’s the EMPEROR!! Just because he’s disdainful toward his enemies doesn’t mean he’s indifferent toward his own plight. That’s a false equivalency.
    Yeah, we’re just gonna have to have an amicable parting of ways on this, man. For me, that read of the text massively diminishes the dramatic tension of his circumstance. If he’s simply fine either way, then the extreme presentation of his condition becomes irrelevant. It’s just a pointless aesthetic choice there for empty shock value then. No thanks.
     
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  14. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    You're outlining how odd it is that he doesn't just take Kylo, and I'm offering the counter position that the man never seems to be at all bothered with how long it takes him to get around to being restored and conveys a sense of ease and entertainment with everything.

    We're in a Russell's teapot situation.

    Your proposition of Palpsy's psychology is an element that doesn't exist that can only be derived from extra-film interpretation where we apply our own self into the situation rather than reading the expressed version of his self that exists in the film.

    For if he somehow deeply psychologically feels concerned and worries over time lines in spite of his presentation - as you posit, then the actor did a terrible job showing it, the film did a terrible job showing it, the writing did a terrible job outlining it, and so if it is there it's functionally meaningless as it's never shown, conveyed, or articulated as a concept or aspect of his personality in any way.

    The only reason it seems you convey that he must feel this way is that we are shown his condition. You aren't asserting that he must feel this way because it was expressed by his character or the tonality of the camera at anytime in the film.

    As to the diminishing of the dramatic tension.
    The aesthetic choice is to show that he's weakened, not that there's a time limit, because here's the real kicker.

    If Rey had just never gone to him, then there would have been nothing to worry about and he would have just sat around in his rotted state doing...well...nothing either way it would seem.
    And I say that because it's never once shown in the film that he's on a death line time table. There's equal evidence in the film that he can last in his current state hanging from the human 3D printer feed indefinitely so long as custodians continue to curate his machines.

    It's a presumption that he either gets Rey or Kylo, or dies.
    That's not conveyed. What is at least conveyed is that it's either get Rey, or Kylo, or remain as is. That much is truly shown. We can assume "or death", but as you note - he doesn't appear to be bothered by "or death" as an option either.

    In fact, that's kind of why this thread exists, right? Because the man shows no sign of concern to such a degree over even death that Rey killing him causes some of the audience to lack any sense of finality or meaningfulness in that death because...why can't he just pop back up?
    As that isn't really conveyed clearly well in the film. The best it can be interpreted is that because they were pitting "All of the Sith" against "Every Jedi", that Palpsy finally kicked the bucket because all of the juice power of all of the Sith in him went poof-poof from being hit by a counter of "Every Jedi"...but that's dialogue, because physically he appears to have just been hit by his own Force lightning again so on its own, that doesn't inherently convey the idea well - we didn't see tiny spirits flinging off of his shredding body as he died...so...who knows.

    But if he were concerned with death, this thread wouldn't be around - no one would be wondering if the death didn't have any bite to it.

    Either way, - regarding the idea of 'why not just kill Kylo?'
    Well, he didn't right?
    So clearly he has some reason for that right? Even if it's purely amusement or some other matter we don't know, but there's some reason.
    And whatever that reason was, it wasn't wrapped up in concern over expedition, because, as you note - he could have just killed Kylo if he wanted an expedient solution.

    But he didn't kill Kylo, so, we can only deduce from that action that he wasn't being concerned with expedition in his choice.

    P.S.
    I hope I'm not aggravating you. It is not my intention.
    As always, I of course believe that anyone is fully allowed to see whatever they want in any movie, whether I agree with that interpretation or not.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #74 Jayson, Sep 2, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
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  15. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

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    Thank you. That's the point I was originally making to begin with ↓
    There’s no supporting evidence in the narrative that reinforces this inference. You’ve drawn that conclusion on your own. Palpatine never states this as a possible alternative. It’s never placed on the table as an option. It’s never even hinted at. His one and only intended target for enacting that ritual on is Rey. Just her. No one else. The one he marked for assassination.

    I’ll totally admit that my analogy of a sinking ship was a poor one. There’s no indication of a ticking clock for Palps. He REALLY pushes for that ritual the second Rey shows up on Exegol, but that expediency is likely to take advantage of the fleet he expects is inbound.

    But the whole premise of hunting Rey, the very reason she even exists (not articulated in the movie unfortunately), is for this ritual. So he doesn’t have to persist in his current freakshow state. If she actually died before he got that chance, then that would be a loss for him. It would. Maybe not the difference between life and death exactly, but in that vicinity.

    For someone whose aim is “unlimited power” to be perfectly impassive at the prospect of being relegated to that inferior state, just doesn’t land for me. I can’t go there. He’d desire more and would want to ensure its success. Seems decidedly un-Sith-like to just let it go.
    Not mine either. I enjoy these back-and-forths. Though I shouldn't since there's honestly other things I should actually being focusing my attention on :oops:
     
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  16. TK-1204

    TK-1204 Imperial Special Forces
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    While not the most uh... beloved source of opinions, Doug Walker I think summed up what was great about the opera house scene really well in his prequel trilogy video. Specifically the nod to how we really don't know if Palpatine was telling the truth, or if he merely doctored the story to be more appealing to Anakin. Between the writing and McDiarmid's acting, there's plenty left to the imagination when it comes to interpreting that story.

    So quite frankly the idea that the Rule of Two being a singular, ongoing ritual could be true after all.
     
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  17. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    The only reason I went with the idea of Kylo suiting for the job was just because you had posited the idea that he could have just solved his problems by killing Kylo right at the beginning, but it is true that there's nothing suggesting that Kylo would do just as well for the purpose as Rey.
    So if we strip that out, then pretty much the entire problem goes away because the answer of why he wouldn't just kill Kylo and use him as a solution would be that he's not a possible solution.

    That leaves the "Why would he ask for Rey to be killed?"
    No clue. We can make guesses, but that's about it. It's never explained. If we assume he always wanted Rey, then it would seem that he did all of that just to make sure that Rey would make it to him - if we accept this view that Kylo wouldn't do for the purposes.

    However, if we assume he wasn't always after Rey, then things read a bit different.
    That would mean he was perfectly fine slowly restoring himself, and he clearly was still continuing on attempts to manufacture some bodily solution, and did want Rey taken out, but - under this view - it would mean that when Rey showed up he decided to attempt to win her over and give her body to him to take over.
    I mean, the guy does have a history of trying to weasel out of trouble through bargaining deals with people.

    So in this way of looking at things, he was never in a hurry to get Rey early on - possibly considering her another failed attempt of the past, but once she showed up gave it a shot.

    Neither of these interpretations are incompatible with what's in the film.
    You could argue (and people do) for either perfectly fine.

    So I suppose it's a matter of "choose whichever one you want".

    Ditto - I need to stay on track with my writing. Can't fall behind on the deadlines!
    But dammit, I always love these discussions - it always makes my understanding of storytelling better.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #77 Jayson, Sep 3, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2020
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  18. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

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    I replied to @TK-1204 ’s statement “…the cloned body is described as being ‘imperfect’ and began deteriorating when his essence entered it (link)” with “Which, presumably, is why he wants Rey . . . . even though he demanded she be killed :confused: (link)”

    My point was, assuming a ticking clock (which isn’t in the actually movie, I understand), his actions are rather counterproductive to his apparent goal. If one of his primary objectives really is to ditch that cadaver he calls a body, then he sure seems to be dealing in a good bit of needless self-sabotage.
    We also have to acknowledge the proposition that Snoke = Palpatine. Assuming that to be literal, then Palpy unequivocally had her captive in the last movie. He could have done with her whatever he pleased. He decided to have Kylo kill her. This, assumingly, was the ‘completed training’ he’d had in mind for him mentioned in TFA. So, he totally had Rey and deliberately sponsored Kylo, his “good and faithful apprentice”, instead.

    If he'd wanted her for the ritual, he could have had that. If he'd wanted the two to thunderdome it out, he could have had that too.
    That’s how it seems to play in the movie. “Well, she’s right here, guess I’ll give this a shot.” Like he’s kind of winging it. Whatever his plan ever was, we know by his own account that Leia somehow doinked it for him. That could mean that he wanted Rey dead and Leia stopping that was the foul up, or that he wanted Rey angry and Leia inspiring compassion was the foul up. Or, I guess, both?
    It passes as the character hedging his bets. But it also kind of reads like the writer hedging his bets. Gives me the impression that JJ and Chris didn’t exactly have a solid bead on it themselves. “Just . . . he . . . uh - he’s the bad guy, OK? Leave me alone!”
    Also ditto. Wait, how do you ditto a ditto? Double ditto? Ditto²? Dittitto? Hmm, that’s awful . . . . I like it!!
     
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  19. wariotime952

    wariotime952 Clone

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    Because he died
     
  20. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    Well, under this view I don't see much of a problem.

    It would mean that Palpsy wanted Kylo. Wanted him to get that extra juicy dark by killing Rey. Kylo failed to do that in TLJ. Still wanted him to go do it in TROS. Failed to do it in TROS. Rey showed up instead, and Palpsy - true to form - just gave a swing at convincing her since she biologically was - in some manner - designed for this gig, so hey - why not. At the very least it's a leg up from necro-body.

    HAHA! Awesome!

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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