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Why Palpatine returning makes sense.

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' started by Adam812, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Jedi General

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    We saw no more evidence of his "death" this time than when Vader chucked him down a shaft and it exploded.
     
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  2. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    Meanwhile, on yet another hidden planet, yet another clone of Palpatine is busy building yet another implausibly massive secret army . . . . . . . get excited, people!!
    Now he's EXTRA dead.
     
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  3. delph

    delph Rebel Trooper

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    No please, not again Palpatine. He had been killed twice, let's find another enemy, literally any. I wouldn't stand another theory or implausible plot to make a comeback.
     
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  4. Jaxxon

    Jaxxon Jedi Commander

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    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Matt_T

    Matt_T Clone Commander

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    I'm still confused as to who or what was killed (or not?) at the end of TROS. I thought I knew but then the novelization gave insight that feels like the theory behind it all was rewritten after the movie. And don't even get me started on the granddaughter thing. So (sadly) I don't much care anymore.
     
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  6. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    It was a metaphor.
    Palps represents a constant and old evil of humanity.

    He can come back as often as a bad storm, plague, or natural disaster.
    As often as corruption, malice, envy, lust of power, zeal for control, hate for opposition and otherness, and devalued appreciation for life and sentience rises again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again in human history.

    Because Star Wars is a myth, it uses figures to represent ideas. Employing Palps as a representation of all that is evil and a twisting of humanity's (from Star Wars' perspective) "natural" order is par for the course.
    Using him to come back yet again isn't about the shock value of him coming back. Clearly. They blew that shock value well before the film ever came out.
    He wasn't the M. Night Shyamalan twist of TROS.

    His value is his symbolism. The evil of humanity has returned. The worst of it.

    It doesn't really matter that he's once again defeated in any difference than Skeletor once against being defeated by He-Man, or a Bond Villain once again being defeated by Bond. In Bond's case, the fact that it's constantly a different villain actually makes the whole affair less valuable, rather than more.

    More appropriate for the comparison, Palpatine is Star Wars' Hades - God of the underworld. More accurately, he's Hades and Ares rolled up into one a bit.
    In Christian mythology, he's their Lucifer. He's the Hebraic Morning Star. Their King of Babylon. The bright shining 'star' of (what we call) Venus which pretends to itself that it can outshine the Sun and replace it. Futile in effort, ridiculous, but regardless, it's hubris and attempt to do so is ever constant and an always returning cycle.

    To say that one is like the Morning Star was an insult which stated that they had a hubris and lust for dominion beyond their station, and were a dangerous fool.

    The King of Babylon, the Pharaoh of Egypt, Haman...
    Each is an ever present reiteration of the same force, just as ever-present as Hades or Ares themselves.

    This is Palpatine. He is the great Hebraic mythological King of Hubris, Corruption, and Fallacy of Star Wars. The King of Humanity's Evil.

    It's not important IF he comes back. It's not important IF he's killed with finality or not.
    What's important is HOW the mortals defeat him.

    None have faced him in exactly the same way, but all of the mortal heroes HAVE faced him. They have faced the SAME measuring stick.

    • Anakin succumbed to the King of Humanity's Evil because he sought power to save those whom he loved and right justice in the world. Anakin is Star Wars' tragedy (and eventual redemption) of King David.

    • Luke denied the King of Humanity's Evil, almost giving in, but remembered his core even after torment and doubt. Luke is the Job of Star Wars.

    • Rey was the heir of the King of Humanity's Evil who denied him after doubt because of her relationship, which became her strength once she committed to her choice of values for justice. Rey is the Star Wars Moses (and in the final scene, Kylo serves a similar role to Rey during her facing of evil as Aaron to Moses)
    The comparisons aren't dead on, nor should they be. I only give them for a reference of conceptual similarity - not exact fit, nor to suggest anyone specifically tried to make the characters be iterations of these mythological characters.

    The point in doing that was to say that Palpatine coming back repeatedly allows for a more simple conversation. It's easier to identify the metaphor and value of the villain - there is no new threat to understand as a new face of an old threat, or any such matter.

    It's simply the same struggle that it has always been repeatedly.

    If the implication one walks away with is that Palpatine can just come back at any time...GOOD.
    The evil of humanity will always come back. He may wear different faces in our reality and be difficult to recognize, but the King of Humanity's Evil will always return.
    You can never truly be rid of him.
    All you can really control is how you choose to respond.

    I don't mean that religiously. I mean all of that metaphorically.

    Like all the good stuff of Star Wars - Palpatine's value isn't just that he's Palpatine. It's in the metaphor he represents.
    His visage returning again and again is representational of the ever constant return of the same evils of human psyche and the struggles that are brought by its malicious, seductive, and depressing presence.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  7. Jaxxon

    Jaxxon Jedi Commander

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    This is a great critical take on Palpatine and I largely agree. I just don't think it necessarily works in terms of plot. I also think that what you're saying applies more to "allegory" than "myth."

    In allegory, one thing stands directly for another. I.e. Aslan = Jesus. Or Palpatine = Human hubris.

    But myth is more surface level. It embodies truths of the world but in a more particular way. For example, Achilles tells us a lot about the hubris of Greek heroes, but he is not Hubris itself. In my opinion, Star Wars functions more in this mode. Palpatine tells us something about the ongoing nature of pride and evil, but he's not those things incarnate.

    I think he text itself would point to the Dark Side as an analogy/literal embodiment of those things, and Palpatine as an instance.
     
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  8. Veronica

    Veronica Clone Commander

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    Why would it be a cheap move for a villain who was in love with power and longe I? It would make perfect sense for Palpy to clone himself if he got injured or a diseased etc.
     
  9. Obi5Kenobi

    Obi5Kenobi Rebel General

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    What are you referring to here? I'm not being sarcastic or trying to start an argument. When has Star Wars relied on unexplained plot convenience previously?
     
  10. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    I used the term myth because myth includes allegorical metaphor employing archetypal representation of juxtaposed, and often contradictory, ideals.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is that it encompasses it, as well as all other narrative devices of relevance beyond just allegory.

    If you walk into a research university's anthropology department and say, "Mythology", it is assumed that allegory will be one of the devices, of which there are many, that will be a part of the discussion.
    No one talks of Allegorology. There's no such field of study.

    There is, however, a study of Mythology, and within mythology you will find allegory as a narrative device.
    Capture.PNG

    Allegory is simply where characters represent general, or proposed, truths about the human condition. It is not required for allegorical narratives to have characters who are concepts such as "evil itself", or the like.
    An allegorical tale can have both, or just one. Some characters may be both representative of a force of nature, and within the same narrative not representative of a force of nature. There's no requirement for an absolute ON/OFF position for such concepts in mythology, or allegory.

    What's common across all allegory is that the characters are archetypal and not highly realistic in their composition and behavior. They may be highly relatable and familiar as a type of person, but they are not realistic.

    They aren't Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver.

    This, isn't an archetypal character of mythological allegory.
    BBoXAna.jpg

    But this is.
    luke-with-his-fathers-lightsaber-in-star-wars-a-new-hope.jpg


    Lastly, saying that Achilles isn't allegory is to stand in opposition of his narrative classification.
    Homer's works are almost the 101 class starting point for studying allegory in mythological literature.
    Often the first starting point will be Animal Farm in starting school (junior high/high school), but when you get into the real good stuff, allegory is most often examined via Homer. Indeed, there are whole books just on the allegory of Homer's works.

    It is these works, in fact, that Lucas most commonly mentions when discussing Star Wars - most likely due to his education and training in anthropology and literature.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  11. Phil J

    Phil J Guest

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    Was he inspired in the same way that Tolkien was inspired by his love of philology, theology and nordic literature? I know he did essays/stories on:
    • Gawain and the Green Knight
    • Finn and Hengest
    • Beowulf
    • Sir Orfeo
    I have also read Letters of Tolkien which gave a fascinating insight into his creative process.
     
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  12. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Similarly, yes.
    He even met with one of his philosophy of mythology heroes eventually, Joseph Campbell, and discussed mythology and narrative structure at length - bouncing much of his ideas and interests regarding Star Wars off of Campbell. This was after ANH, but he had read Campbell previous to ANH.

    In fact, the noted "Power of Myth" series by Campbell was shot at Skywalker Ranch.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  13. Jaxxon

    Jaxxon Jedi Commander

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    Maybe "allegory" isn't the clearest word I could have used.

    I like what you point out about archetypes. And that kind of gets to my point. Luke, Han, Leia, the Emperor--they're all archetypes. An archtype isn't a specific, realistic character like Bickle, but I would argue that it's also something different than a one-to-one allegorical stand in for a concept.

    For example, Luke embodies the archetype articulated in Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces, and that archetype contains many allegorical connections and concept. But it doesn't stand in one-to-one correlation with one specific concept.

    That's why, to me, Emperor Palpatine certainly embodies evil and hubris. But he's more than a one-to-one stand-in for those concepts. He's an archeytpe of the evil ruler--similar to Biblical archetypes you highlighted. But I think that archetype CONTAINS the concept of evil/hubris, as well as many other concepts. It can't be reduced simply to the one concept it contains.

    On top of that, I think it's important to note that archetypes are different from instances of archetypes. Palpatine is an instance of the evil ruler archetype. So was Snoke, before TROS. Bringing Palpatine back was one way to bring back this archetype, but not the only way.

    EDIT: I am using "allegory" and "myth" in the sense C.S. Lewis employs in "An Experiment in Criticism." Myths are extra-textual and embody connections to meaning lie at a deeper level than classifications of them. "Allegory" is a subset of myth in that we use it to classify myths, to make explicit one-to-one connections between mythological tropes/archetypes and known concepts. But fundamentally, myth is a larger bucket than "allegory"--it's more fundamental, more inseparable from its own meaning.
     
    #153 Jaxxon, Mar 2, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
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  14. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    That's what I meant in my comparison, yes.
    The reason that I think it works to keep bringing him back is that it makes an allegorical statement through him that the same evils of humanity repeat and it is up to each generation to face them in their own way.

    You could do it differently, absolutely. There's more than one way to convey ideas.
    However, I think it's a very easy and clear way to convey that idea.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  15. SKB

    SKB Force Sensitive

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    So, according to the new novelisation, the Palpy seen in TROS (IX) is a backup clone of the real Emperor killed in ROTJ (VI).
     
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  16. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    Or to quote a CG meat monster: “Through the ages, I've seen evil take many forms. The Sith. The Empire. Today, it is the First Order.” Palpatine being the literal embodiment of that concept makes the idea more accessible.

    What sticks for some folks, I’m guessing, is to what extent its application in the ST is substantially superior to what was presented in the OT. Is it, relatively speaking, simply putting a finer point on the matter - saying essentially the same thing, but in a louder, more explicit, voice?
     
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  17. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    OT didn't say the same thing.
    Or, rather, they say the same things in certain ways, but different in others.

    They both say the same thing in this respect: Friendship, loyalty and staying in the light side, and avoiding the dark side.
    They say something different in this respect: Can you break free of your predefinition, or are you bound by it? Does kicking against it only cause what you kicked against to happen because it will kick against you (will Anakin cause Luke, will Luke cause Kylo, etc...)?

    OT: No. You can't break it. You can only kick against it (pendulum, back and forth).
    ST: Yes. You can break it. You can choose to accept and deny it, rather than kicking against it.

    OT: "I am like my Father before me."
    ST: "I am all Sith" "And I am every Jedi"..."Rey Who?" "Rey Skywalker."

    To me, it's not a finer point or a louder voice. It's a finality of the conversation left in OT regarding predefinition. A conversation that the OT never actually finished having. All we had was Anakin choosing badly, and Luke choosing well. Neither were able to deny their predefinition, however. Yet both were haunted by it. One ruined by it, the other able to cope with it.
    It wasn't until the ST that liberation from predefiniton is gained, and this goes back to the beginning. Both Lucas and Kasdan have spoken over the decades about this tangent being of specific interest to them - "Sins of the Father" is a big blanket term for predefinition as a catchy phrase.

    However, both say the same thing about friendship, loyalty, and goodness.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  18. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    I’m getting a funny sense of déjà vu here. I feel like we’ve had this discussion before and I very much disagree with you interpretation. Profoundly so.

    Luke, in my perspective, is absolutely the epitome of defied destiny - of broken preconceptions and definitions. It’s not just part of his story, it IS his story. It’s at the core of his arc in ROTJ and the trilogy as a whole. It’s not even subtle. It’s right in the text.

    Yoda: Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.
    Obi-Wan: He's more machine now than man - twisted and evil...you cannot escape your destiny...bury your feelings...
    Vader: It is too late for me…It is pointless to resist...you will meet your destiny.
    Emperor: By now you must know your father can never be turned from the dark side. So will it be with you…It is unavoidable. It is your destiny. You, like your father, are now mine.

    All figures of authority within Luke’s sphere are telling him the same thing: turning someone from the darkside is impossible. To do so will only result in turning yourself. They each arrogantly refer to “destiny” and are so d@mn sure of what can or can’t be done. They’re each projecting their own preconceptions onto him and he unequivocally proves them WRONG.

    Luke does save his father from the darkness. Luke does resist his own darkness in kind. He shatters the boundaries that were placed in front of him. He succeeds where they failed. He forged his own path and held true to his own ideals no matter the obstacle.
    Yeah, that’s not the line you’re looking for. “I am a Jedi like my father before me.” He’s counting himself among the order that stood for peace and justice. The Order that used the Force for knowledge a defense. The order his father was once counted among the righteous number. That’s not specificity with regard to an individual. Luke, in that moment, has persevered in his internal struggle and emerged as “the last Jedi”. He’s the bridge between what came before and what is yet to be.
    And I see it more as a protracted extant of the OT’s already fulfilled finality. People be different :)
     
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  19. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    I don't think we're at odds actually.
    You're focusing on what people are saying his destiny is given certain choices.

    I'm not speaking of that.
    I'm referring to his inheritance.

    Luke never denies his inheritance. He welcomes it as his liberation.
    Palpatine offers Luke to take over his Father's place by his side.
    Luke spins this on Palpatine and says that not only will he not take up a place by Palpatine's side, but that the reason for doing so is because he is like his Father.

    Either way, really, Luke was going to embrace his inheritance. If he chose to take Palp's offer (which was never going to happen) then he is being like his Father.
    If he denies Palpatine's offer, then he is being like his Father ("from a certain point of view").

    Either way, he never denies his inheritance.
    He rejects the obligation to it and redefines what that inheritance means.
    That is...he kicks against it.

    That's the whole point of the 'like my Father' line. It's changing the response of being like his Father from meaning that he joins the Dark Side, to being that he remains on the Light Side.

    But again, he never rejects his inheritance which predefines him.
    Rey does.

    In a nice little spin, when she rejects Palpatine, unlike Luke, she is rejecting her inheritance at the same time, rather than embracing it.
    She is not bound by it, nor does she embrace it.
    She pulls an aikido move existentially and uses the force of her inheritance against her own inheritance to deny it presence in herself.

    She then nails it shut by choosing to take a different name.

    That is fundamentally different from what Luke was doing.
    Luke was defying what was being told was inevitable if he chose to have compassion, absolutely, but he never denied his inheritance which - to everyone around him - predefined him. Ben, Yoda, Palpatine. They all attempted to shove Luke into an Anakin reprisal box.
    He didn't disappoint. He stood right in that box and shouted that that box was what gave him strength to choose differently than his Father did.

    Rey seeks a box at first, any box. Then she learns to live without a box. Then she finds that she's actually standing in the most terrifying box made of immovable stone and breaks the box wide open in defiance by turning her own box's rigidity against itself.

    Predefinition isn't just about what someone says your destiny is. That's not the entirety of the Star Wars "Sins of the Father" motif.
    Anakin, Luke, and Palpatine make up one scenario. Kylo/Ben, Rey, and Palpatine make up another.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  20. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    Luke rejects the darkness of his father that is being imposed on him and instead embraces the good that he once represented. Just as Rey rejects the darkness of her grandfather being imposed on her and instead embraces the good that her parents represent. Rey does not deny her inheritance, she redefines it. Just like Luke did. And like her father before her ;)
     
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