Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Up for a Good "Star Wars" Mind F**k?

The following occurred to me in the midst of an email to Will:

In the "Star Wars" prequels, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (aka, Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith), is secretly the leader of both sides of the galactic civil war that posterity will call the Clone Wars. As Darth Sidious, he is leader of the Separatists, who are (ostensibly) trying to split the Republic in two and establish a new government more congenial to their interests. As Supreme Chancellor, he commands the forces of the Republic, vast armies of clones with an elite cadre of Jedi knights as his generals, which seek to suppress the Separatists and preserve the Republic.

Of course, Palpatine/Sidious is in reality seeking neither to split the Republic nor to preserve it, but to foment a civil war that will serve as a pretext for amassing unto himself greater and greater power. Towards the goal of defeating the Separatists, and then (WARNING: SPOILER) the traitorous Jedi, Palpatine gains more and more emergency executive powers, until he is the unquestioned leader of what he terms "the first Galactic Empire".

Well, not entirely unquestioned. There's the small matter of the Rebel Alliance, which by the time of the original trilogy (and, presumably, some part of the intervening 20-odd years) has been the further cause of civil war in the galaxy. Civil war which continues, one assumes, to serve as justification for the Emperor's harsh rule. And yet, the origins and leadership of the Rebel Alliance are mysterious. We never see its formation in any of the movies. We don't meet its ostensible leader, Mon Mothma, until "Return of the Jedi". We never see its leadership in closed session, and have only the vaguest sense of the structure of the Alliance beyond the Luke-Leia-Han triad.

So what I'm wondering (and the aforementioned mind-f**k) is: given that the Rebel Alliance plays exactly the same role in the original trilogy as the Separatists did in the prequels, isn't it possible that they're similarly being secretly orchestrated by Palpatine/Sidious? Certainly, the movies never explicitly say anything of the sort. But it wouldn't be crazy, right? No more so than Palpatine being the leader of both sides during the Clone Wars, I would think. And remember that the Rebel base on Yavin 4 in "Star Wars" was in an ancient and deserted Sith temple. Who knows what hidden evil whispered to Mon Mothma in the lonely hours of the night? Plus, this theory might explain exactly how Palpatine orchestrated the trap at the end of "Jedi" (which, if you think about it, weirdly parallels the trap he sets for the Separatist leaders at the end of "Revenge of the Sith"). Sure, the Rebellion ultimately triumphs and Palpatine is destroyed, but that wouldn't be the only titanic miscalculation he makes in "Jedi".

So, whaddya think? Might Palpatine/Sidious really be the secret leader of the Rebellion? How's that for a mind-f**k?