The fate of the galaxy rested on one man. But just how flawless was Palpatine’s plan to rule the galaxy?
It’s hard to imagine any form of Star Wars media without at least one mention of Sheev Palpatine. He might have appeared as a harmless old man, but he was the reason everything in the saga started.
The man orchestrated everything like moves on a chessboard. While he waited for his opportunity to strike, Palpatine planned everything, though it took him 13 years to bring his plan for galactic conquest to fruition.
While the plan was incredibly calculating and malicious, there were flaws in it. Palpatine might not have seen them, but an observant viewer may have.
Let’s begin with the pawns in Palpatine’s plan. Every evil plot needs pawns. The majority of the pawns Palpatine used didn’t even know they were being used.
Photo courtesy: Penguin Random House
Padmé was one of the earliest pawns Palpatine had to ensure he would become chancellor. He whispered in her ear while she was Queen of Naboo to issue a vote of no confidence against then-chancellor Finis Valorum.
This allowed Palpatine to get enough votes to go from Naboo senator to chancellor of the Republic.
Ten years later, Padmé placed Jar Jar Binks in the Senate as her representative while she was under Jedi protection. As the representative for Naboo, this gave Jar-Jar the power to give Palpatine emergency powers to allow the creation of a clone army, hence beginning The Clone Wars.
Fast forward three years and Padmé had become pregnant with Anakin’s child. Sometime during the war, Palpatine discovered the relationship and used it against Anakin to turn him to the dark side.
What Palpatine hadn’t counted is the child Padmé would give birth before her death. He became unaware she carried twins and one of those twins would bring about his downfall 23 years later.
Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm
Anakin was always a pawn in Palpatine’s plan to rule the galaxy. Revenge of the Sith suggested the Sith were responsible for Anakin’s fatherless conception.
After Anakin loses Padmé and is defeated by Obi-Wan, he becomes nothing more than an empty shell of the man he once was. He blindly followed orders as Darth Vader.
For 23 years, Vader did exactly as his master told him. What the emperor wasn’t counting on was the discovery that Padmé had, in fact, given birth to the child the galaxy thought she had lost when she died.
When faced with the ultimate decision to either sit by and watch his son die or to save him, Vader chose the option the emperor hadn’t thought he would choose.
In saving Luke, Vader redeemed himself, but not before killing Palpatine. Palpatine had underestimated the love Vader had for Padmé and therefore, their son.
Maul and Dooku
Photo credit: Lucasfilm
Before he took on Anakin as his final apprentice, Palpatine had two other apprentices. He took on the Nightbrother known as Maul before the Dathomirian Zabrak was allegedly killed during the Invasion of Naboo.
Dooku was a Jedi Knight who taught Qui-Gon Jinn. He was also the Padawan of Yoda in his youth. Sometime either before or after Qui-Gon’s demise on Naboo, Dooku turned to the Dark Side.
When it comes to flaws, Palpatine didn’t count on Maul’s brother, Savage finding him and saving him from death.
In regards to Dooku, Palpatine didn’t realize the former Jedi would train Asajj Ventress in secret and train the cyborg General Grievous in lightsaber technique.
The First Death Star
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The plans to the first Death Star were seen as early as Attack of the Clones on Geonosis. However, we don’t see the construction to the Emperor’s battle station until Revenge of the Sith.
Rogue One introduced the notion there was more to the building of the Death Star. Scientist Galen Walton Erso came up with ‘Project Stardust’. He named it after the nickname he gave his daughter, Jyn.
Because Galen was forced into creating the battle station, he created a 2-meter–wide thermal exhaust port in the meridian trench as a way back door into the Death Star.
The emperor would never have seen this coming. Let alone Galen’s betrayal to the cause he had been forced to serve.
Loyalties to Palpatine and his cause
Alliances can break all the time. Within the ranks of the Empire, it is no different. While we don’t see anyone defect from the Empire in the mainstream films, we see some of the Empire’s highest ranked defect in Star Wars Rebels.
Kallus is the prime example of an Imperial lackey breaking rank. After he forms a close friendship with Zeb, he realises the rebellion is doing the right thing.
Over time he defects officially and becomes a walking target for the Empire. His friendship with Zeb is the reason he became a Fulcrum agent before he revealed himself to the Ghost Crew.
Emperor Palpatine would never have foreseen one of the ISB’s highest ranking agents defecting to the opponent’s side because of a friendship.
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm
Much like Kallus, Minister Maketh Tua decided the Empire wasn’t the glorious organization she thought it was.
She started to fear for her life so she contacted Phoenix squadron, which almost didn’t believe her. Ezra was quick to sense she was telling the truth and managed to get everyone else to agree with him.
Unfortunately, tragedy strikes when Tua is killed in a bomb blast orchestrated by her enemies. The Ghost Crew become targets when they get blamed for Tua’s death.
Again, the Emperor could never have predicted Tua would become afraid she would die at the hands of the Empire.
So, what is the conclusion? Did Palpatine’s plan for galactic conquest have flaws? The answer would be yes. Without these flaws, the galaxy’s greatest war between good and evil would have gone on much longer.