I’ve seen a lot of information and theories flying around about Senator/Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine (Darth Sidious). There are theories that Darth Vader was a means to an end, that Darth Vader was disposable and the Emperor would do away with him as soon as someone else came along that might be better, or even worse, that Palpatine was some kind of celestial being (possibly Darth Plagueis) who could jump from body to body and was planning to jump into Anakin once he was properly prepared.
First of all, people… stop with the Plagueis theories. They’re getting old very quickly… Palpatine’s mentor was Plagueis, Palpatine is Plagueis, Snoke is Plagueis, the Grand Inquisitor is Plagueis…
Here’s a thought, maybe nobody is Plagueis. Maybe Palpatine made the whole thing up. Anybody ever thought of that? All right, moving on.
So we know that Palpatine is not above using pretty much anyone to get what he wants. He’s also not above sacrificing those people if need be. However, that being said, is it possible that in some way Palpatine actually cared about Vader/Anakin and cherished his friendship?
Maybe this is my own personal bias because I believe that everyone has some good in them. Palpatine is painted pretty much as bad as anyone can get, we know this. However even some of the worst people throughout our own history had friends, family, and people they genuinely cared for.
So the question is posed, based on what we know of Palpatine, SOLELY FROM Level 1 Canon, in other words forget the books, video games, etc. Based solely on Lucasfilm’s work (movies and TV shows)… does Palpatine truly care about Darth Vader or is he simply a means to an end?
Honestly, it’s a tough question to answer…
I mean if we look at scenes like the Opera chamber in Episode 3…
It’s… pretty clearly Palpatine planting the seeds of manipulation in order to make the dark side more tempting.
We also have this scene where Palpatine laughs as Darth Vader is defeated and attempted to goad Luke into killing him and taking his place.
However I don’t know if this is evidence or not… for a couple of reasons. One, we don’t know what would have happened if Luke had tried to kill his father. Would Palpatine have stopped him? Two servants are better than one.
Even if he did let Vader die, Vader had conspired against him in the past (Episode 3 and 6), something no doubt the Emperor sensed and decided that, despite his feelings, Vader was now a threat.
So then what evidence do I have that he actually cared about Vader? Well… it all boils down to two specific clips;
“You will not stop me. Soon Darth Vader will become more powerful than either of us.”
He’s placing a lot of faith in Darth Vader here and it almost seems as though he’s counting on Vader surpassing him and perhaps one day succeeding him as Emperor, maybe?
However the biggest piece of evidence that favors this argument is a later clip from Episode 3:
If there was ever a good place to leave Darth Vader for dead, this was it. He was broken, dying, completely mad with rage, and wounded to the point of not being able to survive on his own.
Simply put; the Emperor didn’t need Darth Vader anymore. The galaxy had turned on the Jedi, they were already being hunted down by clones, and soon the inquisitors would be joining that hunt, and the Emperor had all but achieved his goal of galactic domination. Granted having Vader around as his enforcer made things easier, but the pieces would likely have fallen into place without a second ambitious Sith Lord being a liability.
Yet the moment that the Emperor sensed that Vader was in danger, he hopped a shuttle and made his way to the Mustafar system. Once he arrived, at seeing Vader’s broken form, he could have easily either finished him off or left him to die painfully. Instead he immediately directs the attention of his guard to where Vader is. Upon seeing him, the Emperor appears both shocked and relieved. He orders his men to get a medical capsule and then goes down to Vader and… by the looks of things attempts to comfort him.
But what about when he lies about killing Padme’?
Did he lie though? Think about it, why did Padme’ die? The medical droids couldn’t figure it out, they simply said that she lost the will to live. Now silly as this is, since this is the plot point… what caused her to lose the will to live? The answer; Anakin.
A certain point of view? 🙂
I think this evidence is enough to make the case that he did in fact care about him on a friend level. However, I’m curious to what everyone else thinks. Let’s open this one up to a discussion.
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