Original Saga,  Prequel Trilogy,  The Rise of Skywalker

A huge spoiler about Palpatine in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker seems to have leaked


Warning! Potentially huge spoilers ahead.

JediPaxis from the Reddit forum had several verified scoops about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Today, he posted a “basic plot” of the movie assembled from his sources. Click here to read it in its entirety.

Here are just the bits about Emperor Palpatine, including a family connection with Rey. Remember that it’s still a rumor for now.

“[…] Using the coordinates found within the wayfinder device, Kylo arrives in the Unknown Regions. Here, Kylo encounters Emperor Palpatine. How Palpatine is still alive and how he ended up in the Unknown Regions is still a mystery to me that I hope to learn more about in the next few months (Note: Daisy Ridley recently said in an interview that it’s explained in the film), but my source on this tells me that this is indeed Palpatine in the flesh. Kylo and Palpatine’s conversation apparently centers around ordering Kylo to find Rey and bring her to the Emperor with the goal of turning her to the dark side.

    • Note: It’s not lost on me that this part of the story feels very Return of the Jedi inspired, but we’ll just crack on and see how this all pans out.

  • My source specifically mentioned that Palpatine is very old and decrepit at this point, possibly on the verge of death. A little bit of Googling reveals that Palpatine is thought to have been born around 84 BBY making him in the neighborhood of 113 years old by the events of The Rise of Skywalker. His goal in luring Kylo to him and converting Rey to darkness is more or less to have Rey and Kylo inherit his “new Empire” and for them to rule it together.

  • In order to facilitate bringing about this “new Empire”, Palpatine has spent his 30 years of PTO creating a fleet of “Death Star Destroyers” (Note: I don’t know if this is their actual name or not. Personally, I hope not, it’s bit on the nose)which appear to be exactly what they sound like. Star Destroyers with Death Star tech mounted on them, giving them the capability to destroy a planet. (Note: Apparently once this particular technology was unleashed 30 some odd years ago, that Pandora’s box can’t be shut again). According to my source, these star destroyers make up the “Sith Fleet” that house the new red Sith Troopers that were showcased at SDCC in July.

    • Note: I wrote this prior to the First Look being shown and the fleet has since been confirmed. It’s comprised of Imperial star destroyers hiding in the Unknown Regions and we see what appears to be their planet destroying capabilities during the reel.

[…] During [a duel between Kylo and Rey], Kylo adds another wrinkle to Rey’s backstory. He maintains that while her parents are nobodies, her grandparents (more specifically her grandfather) wasn’t. Kylo tells Rey that she is the granddaughter of Papatine. This explains his interest in bringing the random nobody from Jakku into the fold. […]

Rey leaves Ahch-to and travels to the Sith fleet in the Unknown Regions. Eventually the Resistance fleet arrives and battle ensues. Somehow, Rey finds her way to The Emperor who has been waiting for her. Palpatine confirms that what Kylo told her was true. Apparently after his defeat at DSII, Palpatine was shaken by the fact that he wasn’t able to maintain his hold on Vader or seduce Luke to the darkness due to their familial bond. During the course of their conversation Palpatine makes reference to this bond between Vader and Luke and likens it to his bond with Rey hoping that whatever familial connection they have will be enough to win her over and become as strong as that of the Skywalkers. Note: What my source described next feels very reminiscent of RotJ. Rey is trapped in The Emperor’s throne room, watching two opposing fleets battle while she is helplessly gazes onward. It’s at this point that Kylo/Ben reappears. How we get to this next part is still a bit fuzzy to me, but apparently Ben and Rey join forces and begin attacking Palpatine. Leia’s lightsaber comes back into play when Rey and Kylo share the Skywalker lightsabers throughout their fight. At some point the Emperor overpowers them both and supposedly kills Ben. (Note: there have been reports from other reputable leakers that Kylo kind of/sort of dies, but my source on this seemed pretty unambiguous. Personally, I think we’ll just have to wait and see what we learn over the next few months.) When it looks like all Hope is lost, the ghosts of Luke and Leia show up to aid Rey. Together they overpower the Emperor and end his darkness once and for all. […]

The last thing I was told is regarding the final sequence of the film. I don’t why, but our heroes travel to Tatooine. During these scenes, it is supposedly revealed that Rey has cannibalized Anakin/Luke’s lightsaber and Leia’s to make one of her own that supposedly has a yellow/gold blade. She buries the leftover pieces on the grounds of the former Lars homestead. The final shots of the Skywalker saga allegedly echo how the adventure began in ‘77, our heroes gazing at the horizon dreaming of the future as twin suns set in the distance.”


  • Carlos Cuevas

    I already know this movie will be absolutely horrible and disrespectful to Star Wars just like the previous two but this is even worse than i thought, expectations subverted!

      • Alexrd

        “And, yet, it will still make money.”

        Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, it’s irrelevant to my point.

        “The GA doesn’t care what you think”

        You don’t speak for them. And I don’t care wether they care about what I think or not. You do though. Thanks for caring.

        “they will still pay to see it because they don’t want to show they’re a part of the toxic online culture.”

        Normal people don’t go see a movie because they care about how people see them. Not going to see a movie, just like criticizing a movie, doesn’t make one part of any alleged “toxic online culture”. Making that implication does. So don’t worry, your toxicity won’t play a part in anyone’s moviegoing habits.

      • Alexrd

        Despite your rants being entertaining, Pasquali, I won’t feed you anymore out of respect for the author of this blog.

      • Cryogenic

        @ Tony:

        Do you ever get bored of creating fresh accounts to get around the banning of all your preceding ones? Spewing invective and using communistic shaming tactics aren’t helping your case.

        Also, the people spreading conspiracy theories and rewriting history on TFN are the mods, who brazenly lie about purging prequel fans and Disney critics (like me), while pretending to welcome any and all criticism, provided it is “constructive” (communist weasel word for “only the opinions we deem acceptable”).

        Disney has destroyed Star Wars and is launching an all-out attack on culture itself. Playing identity politics is exceedingly dangerous. The TFN mods take their cues directly from Disney. And so do you, apparently. The only way prequel fans can fight back is to use culture jamming tactics of our own. We aren’t a multi-billion-dollar corporation. We don’t own half the entertainment industry. But we can be rebels and bravely stand up to the Empire. George taught us that.

      • Cryogenic

        @ Tony:

        That’s a lot of talk for someone whose account is inevitably about to be terminated. Not that I condone censorship. But the owner of this blog doesn’t seem too keen on putting up with anonymous threats, narcissistic grandstanding, and vitriolic abuse, and I can’t say I blame him.

        Your bizarre, Marvel-Disney hybrid graphic really says it all:

        Disney, a company founded on the idea of luminous, wholesome entertainment, acquiring a troll army of gloating, aggressive fanatics, darkly smearing critics and dissidents at every turn, and doing so from within a middle-class ivory tower or behind the safety of a computer keyboard.

        I don’t know why you can’t have “serialised” cinema and classical cinema — all stripes of cinema — existing happily alongside each other. Star Wars itself is, of course, loosely based off of low-budget movie serials from the 1930s. In fact, cinema and television have really been in a protracted “format war” with one another, ever since TV came along and stole a lot of cinema’s thunder in the 1950s.

        You might find people like James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas adhering to a more classical conception of cinema because they believe in the primacy of the medium, and in keeping cinema and television reasonably separate from one another. There’s no particular right or wrong here, but you obviously can’t argue with the financial success of the modern “MCU” films, or for that matter: the enormous financial success those “old rich white guy” filmmakers have had following their own principles and philosophies. You say “toe-may-tah”, I say “toe-mah-toe”. What does it matter?

        I’m not trying to overthrow Disney. It’s more about providing a counter-balance. It’s something Luke talks about in one of his more enlightened moments in “The Last Jedi”, ironically. On the other hand, what you are talking about is the tyranny of the majority: AKA “majority rules”. The flaw in that thinking can be illustrated with a pertinent example: most people (or, at least, most hardcore science fiction/fantasy fanatics) didn’t seem to care greatly for the prequels. The only well-regarded Star Wars trilogy in the wider imagination is the Original Trilogy. Moreover, making Star Wars more like the Marvel franchise doesn’t necessarily work for Star Wars the way it appears to work for the Marvel universe. They’re different things, and they each require their own approach.

        That said, I really don’t care for the MCU, at all. I acknowledge it seems to appeal to a lot of people. Alas, I’m not one of those people. But that’s okay. Opinions differ. Including, it seems, how best to couch our disdain. You seem to think attacking people who feel differently is the way to go in every contribution you make to this comments section. Additionally, you smear and project onto prequel fans like Alex and myself, claiming that we also engage in personal attacks, but we don’t. While I’m not perfect and neither is Alex, I think you’ll find that we mostly stick to giving our own opinions, without resorting to strawman attacks and degrading ad hominem. Maybe you could learn a thing or two from prequel fans that you are so quick to tar and vilify.

  • Star Wars Hexalogy

    This sounds so terrible and stupid that considering TFA/TLJ´s track record it actually might be true.

    • bruce wayne

      These coming from the same people that thought George should have shown the people of Naboo suffering and dying at the hands of the Trade Federation, should have shown the Gungan City in ruins, and should have made Anakin’s slave life look like a living hell, with Anakin getting whipped and harassed by Watoo.

      • jpieper668

        @Bruce Wayne
        Star Wars Is Aimed at Younger Audiences Which is why They Never show Stuff like that(The main Exceptions being Anakin Getting Roasted on Mustafar and burnt body)
        P.S. What’s it Like Being Batman?

  • Slicer87

    Just when I think Disney could not drag SW any further into the mud, they drag it into a cesspool. This plot rumor, if true, does not make any logical sense following ROTJ. Whatbis JJ and co smoking? Then again, Ruin Johnson left them in a bad spot with his subversions. Maybe we should just try to enjoy wittnessing this trainweck in MST3K style?

    • jpieper668


  • archdukeofnaboo

    Anthony – I think you should rename the title of this article. I honestly can’t see this “leak” as anything more than a gloried rumour, and it is sad to see the comment section here devolving into such an unpleasant fight.

    • Cryogenic

      @ Arch Duke:

      I agree. By and large, I’m trying to avoid “leaks”, and I only got involved here because someone was being incredibly bumptious and uppity toward prequel fans. It was that return visitor who keeps spamming these comment sections with love, unity, brotherhood, and all that good stuff. Anthony has since erased their input (as expected), so my posts now read a little redundant, even if it’s good to have them intact. I think we need to be better than this.

      • archdukeofnaboo


        Agreed. They were fully entitled to stand up for the new films, but doing so aggressively, with such vitriol shouldn’t be tolerated. We’re here to discuss and debate – not to throw eggs.

        And to anyone on this blog, who also enjoys harassing any actor or member of crew from the Sequel Trilogy on social media: you’re not welcome here.

        No wonder Christensen stays off it.

    • Justin Cummings

      Most of the leaks for Game of Thrones season 8 were true and at first no one took them seriously. Rumor or not this shouldn’t be overlooked.

  • Natalie

    The rumor is, JJ has made a few cuts of the movie and conducting market research to find out the one most likely to do best at the box office. They seem to be very different from each other (i.e. Rey maybe or may not be related to Palpatine). Although Palpy will certainly be present in some shape or form, based on the trailer anyway. Now we know Lucas has made some major changes in post production due to the audience response (like Anakin’s turn in ROTS) but this really sounds like the opposite of the true creative process.

    • archdukeofnaboo


      To ROTS, oh really? I never knew Lucas did this.

      It must have been something fairly small, right? Like showing the one important scene with different edits or takes? I can’t imagine they’d show the whole film to a select group in advance.

    • Alexrd

      I don’t think Lucas did any changes to Anakin’s turn due to audience response. He has been open about the cause of Anakin’s fall as far back as 1999. The way the scene was established, which is what was changed in post-production, was done because Lucas himself was not happy with it, not because of the audience (how would he even know the audience response without test screenings? Why would he do test screenings to begin with?).

    • Tony

      I think Lucas talked about Anakin’s turn in the ROTS DVD bonus features. I can’t recall exactly what he said but I think it was along the lines of making Anakin’s fall more centered around the fear of losing Padme.

      I don’t think Lucas would have done this in response to audience test screenings (if there were any). Maybe I’m just being cynical, but I think the general audience might prefer Anakin falling to the dark side for reasons other than Padme. “I means who wants love in Star Wars! Anakin should be evil from the start! Don’t humanise the iconic Darth Vader blah blah”… (although I guess this would be more the view of the prequel haters rather than the general audience. So maybe I’m just being cynical)

      Now that you raise the issue of filmmakers responding to audience reaction, can anyone confirm or dispel this belief that Lucas gave Jar Jar Binks a smaller part in Ep II because “everyone” hated him in Ep I.
      I sometimes see this belief float about on YouTube.
      I personally think it’s complete baloney and it’s just egocentric “fans” wanting to believe they have some power in the creative process.

      • Alexrd

        If anything, Jar Jar had a role in AOTC despite the “negative” reaction. His story was over in TPM. He didn’t need to appear in AOTC, yet he did.

        The audience didn’t play a part in that at all.

    • Cryogenic

      @ Natalie, @ Arch Duke, @ Alex, @ Tony:

      “Now we know Lucas has made some major changes in post production due to the audience response (like Anakin’s turn in ROTS) but this really sounds like the opposite of the true creative process.”

      That’s (relatively) incorrect. But I can see where confusion has crept in.

      Be prepared for a bit of a long answer here! I had fun writing it, though…

      Lucas showed a rough cut of his final prequel to a group of ILM employees, followed by showing it to close confidante Steven Spielberg (who also unofficially worked on the film and helped with the storyboarding of several sequences), in May or June 2004 — a year out from the film’s worldwide theatrical release. Which means he had plenty of time to modify things, but read on:

      (Quotes in the next four paragraphs are all drawn directly from page 188 in J.W. Rinzler’s book “The Making Of Revenge Of The Sith”).

      Some of the ILM people, according to Lucas, were “having a hard time with the reason that Anakin goes bad”. As Lucas puts it: “They had strong opinions that were contrary to the way I was going . . . They wanted a real betrayal, such as, ‘You tried to kill me so now I’m going to try and kill you.’ They didn’t understand the fact that Anakin is simply greedy. There is no revenge. The revenge of the Sith is Palpatine. It doesn’t have much to do with Darth Vader; he’s a pawn in the whole scheme.”

      It seems the ILM crew’s confusion and/or disenchantment would be later mirrored by many people in the fanbase, who would express various doubts and upsets concerning Anakin’s turn, including the common accusation that he turns too quickly and is easily duped by Palpatine. Although, in a way, Lucas’ remarks do back up the latter sentiment — but people don’t really stop and analyse what Lucas means by Anakin being “a pawn in the whole scheme”, or what the implications of that concept are for the Prequel Trilogy storyline in general.

      Lucas concedes: “But then there were larger issues. So I had to ask myself, ‘What was I trying to say and didn’t I say it? Did it just get missed or is it not there?'” However, he then adds: “Fortunately, Steven [Spielberg] confirmed that most of everything was working.” Lucas finishes by saying: “I had to make a decision, and I decided that I’m not going to alter the film to make it more commercial or marketable. I have to be be true to my vision, which is thirty years old, but I have to be true to it.”

      These remarks don’t sound like the words of an artist/storyteller who is easily swayed by what others think. Nonetheless, Lucas admits he had to “look [at the rough cut] very hard”, and this is why he showed it to Spielberg. He needed a filmmaker’s opinion and the input of a long-time collaborator and someone he really trusted. But did Spielberg’s assurances put him completely at ease? Maybe, maybe not.

      In August 2004, during pick-ups/re-shoots (page 205), we find Lucas admitting: “[The] final confrontation between Mace and Palpatine wasn’t specific enough in terms of Anakin, so we’re we’re working to make his story, his conflict sharper.” Lucas also states that he has “two sharp ‘right turns’ in the movie” and that “they are very hard to deal with”, further noting, “for the audience, it’s a real jerk”. He admits (page 207) that it’s “a very difficult structural issue”, but that it’s “also designed to be that way” (echoing his remarks after the rough cut screening).

      Perhaps the key Lucas quote in all of this is the following (page 205): “The audience knows Anakin is going to turn to the dark side, but the things that he’s struggling with are so subtle that it may be hard for people to understand why his obsession to hold on to Padme is so strong.” This one is easily lost in all the bramble, but I think it’s critical to engaging with the film(s) at a deeper level.

      Even today, fourteen years on from the film’s release, there are fans that struggle to comprehend or accept Anakin turning on Mace and going to the Jedi Temple to slaughter all the Jedi inside, including younglings, based on vague promises from Palpatine that he and Anakin can avert Padme from dying, all of which is based on Anakin having “bad dreams” (to quote the DVD chapter marking Anakin’s first nightmare in the film). People still seem to fight against the mythic and Faustian overtones of ROTS, despite often rating it as the best of the prequels.

      Another piece of the post-production mosaic (which itself is something of a misnomer here: post-production, on a George Lucas movie, is really just non-stop production) comes from March 2004. This is when Lucas began working hard to get the rough cut (or what was then more of a “rough assembly”) into a more manageable length and shape. He had shot and put together an enormous volume of material, and a lot of this would have to be tamed down or removed. At the same time, he was now giving more attention to Anakin, to ensure his story arc would be sufficiently focused and dramatic (see page 176 for most of this).

      It was during this time, when Lucas knuckled down and went through “two to three weeks of reorganizing” (of the rough assembly) that he roughly edited in a newly-devised (and yet-to-be-shot) Anakin-based trifecta: Anakin reporting on Palpatine to Mace, Anakin alone in the Jedi Council chambers, and Anakin racing back to Palpatine’s office in an airspeeder. It’s a beautiful demonstration of Lucas’ dynamic, documentarian approach, which working with digital technology allowed him to take to an entirely new level.

      The man likes to tinker and layer in his story ideas, a scene or a shot at a time. Or as Lucas puts it, reflecting on his methodology in August 2003, in the middle of principal photography (page 116): “I like to create cinematically; I don’t like to have a plan. I like to have a rough idea of what I’m going to do — certain themes, certain issues I’m going to deal with — and then I try to do so. At first, I shoot around the movie — and then [in the editing room], I figure out where the movie is in the middle of all this.”

      In other words, adding entire scenes and sequences and re-doing certain aspects of the movie, that other directors may already consider set in stone, is an entirely normal part of the “George Lucas” movie-making process. If there’s something he doesn’t like or that isn’t quite working, it’s out. If he can still use it, maybe he’ll save it but edit it in some way: flip it, merge it with another take, apply some digital make-up. And equally: entire new pieces are added where Lucas thinks there are gaps or where certain themes should be made stronger.

      The Anakin-based trifecta is a perfect example of Lucas transforming his rough assembly and imbuing his nascent film with greater dramatic power. And it was done independently of the rough cut screening to ILM. Indeed, it was done before there *was* a rough cut, when the movie was still taking shape and the exact form of the narrative was just beginning to solidify.

      The addition of this trifecta (and possibly the general reaction at the rough cut screening) obviously impacted Lucas’ thinking concerning the Mace-Palpatine duel, which had already been shot the previous summer during principal photography, but that’s fine because Lucas had already scheduled an extensive re-shoot process. He anticipated having to shoot more material and having his cast members return that following summer (although the re-shoot process got pushed back to the fall), because a movie, to Lucas, is in a state of constant revision and evolution.

      Lucas evidently saw that Anakin’s story wasn’t all it needed to be well before his cast returned, and several months before the rough cut was finished and Lucas felt confident enough to show it to his ILM people that summer. So although he continued to sharpen up Anakin’s conflict during the re-shoot process, he had already remedied the bulk of the issue by the time the rough cut screening took place. In this regard, no major structural changes to the film took place; any that took place had already been in the process of taking place for some time. And they didn’t disrupt, interrupt, or otherwise go against Lucas’ wider storytelling scheme.

      One final piece of confusion surrounds Anakin turning because he’s fearful and greedy, rather than merely chasing power for its own sake (in Lucas’ existential conception of reality, you can’t have one without the other). There are people who seem to believe that Palpatine using the “carrot” of Padme to tempt Anakin to the Dark Side was something Lucas added later. They believe it was much more of a secondary thing, if it even existed at all, to begin with, when Lucas began filming Episode III. They are mistaken.

      Anakin seeking power to halt death was already set up in Episode II, around the mid-point of the Prequel Trilogy, when he leaves Naboo to locate his mother on Tatooine. His confession in the Lars garage to Padme (adding the perfect degree of dramatic irony) essentially makes it official: “I will even learn to stop people from dying.” Followed by his haunting soliloquy at his mother’s grave: “I wasn’t strong enough to save you, Mom. I wasn’t strong enough. But I promise, I won’t fail again.” How people miss these things is quite… surprising.

      Moreover, to return to Rinzler’s fantastic “Making Of” book for ROTS one final time, we find that in Lucas’ fifty-five page rough draft, from January 2003, Anakin is plagued by fears of losing Padme in a similar manner to the final film (page 41): “On Coruscant, Anakin is awakened by a nightmare in which Padme is consumed by flames.” This, of course, becomes Anakin’s fate on Mustafar, as a result of his trying to halt this same vision from coming to pass (though, in the finished movie, Anakin’s nightmare was obviously toned down as Padme isn’t being consumed in fire). A further extract is provided from the rough draft on the next page (page 42): “Thanks to promises of powers that would save Padme from death, Anakin gives in to temptation.” Sounds rather a lot like the finished film, doesn’t it?

      Because, and excuse me while I get a bit sappy and grandiose here…

      (Note: I am trying to remind myself as much as any reader…)

      Star Wars isn’t about vengeful power fantasies or getting even with someone or something. It’s about pride, arrogance, vanity, hubris, the inevitability of change, the fear of letting go, resisting greed and sorrow, responding to the suffering of others, trying to find the better part of yourself, placing trust in others, and hope for the future. In short, it’s about human frailties and human possibilities. The intertwined arcs of Anakin, Luke, Kylo, and Rey exemplify these core themes; and when the nine-film, three-trilogy saga is complete, perhaps more people will come to recognise the brilliance of all the interlocking parts, stand back in admiration of the whole saga, and draw a measure of genuine solace and sustenance from it. Prequel bashers, Disney haters, OT fanatics — everyone. It has already changed all our lives, after all.

      • Star Wars Hexalogy

        “when the nine-film, three-trilogy saga is complete”

        There isn´t and never will be any nine-film, three-trilogy saga. That ship has sailed in 2013 when they ditched Lucas and his treatments for Episodes VII, VIII and IX.

      • Stefan K

        There is the book “The Secret History of Star Wars,” and the author put a quite interesting essay on his website how the turn was supposed to originally happen. (However, you should probably take this with a grain of salt. He however uses Rinzler’s book, the older screenplay versions etc. to present the “original turn to the Dark Side”.)
        If I remember correctly, Anakin was supposed to be a passive by-stander during the fight of Palpatine against the Jedi because he was not sure who was good. At the climax of the fight, Anakin was convinced that Palpatine was right (the Jedi were trying treason) and that he joined Palpatine because of this (among the other reasons).
        This may make Anakin’s decision to instantly purge the Jedi temple “more logical” and have some other interesting implications in Anakin/Vader’s behavior later on in the movie. Still, the author uses this reasoning to also criticize Lucas etc.
        Personally, I think that GL was right to change the scene in Palpatine’s office and to make it “more intense.” And we should not forget that GL still left Anakin’s doubts whether the Jedi were still loyal to the Republic in the movie. GL could IMHO have included Palpatine mentioning these doubts to Vader before Vader went to the Jedi temple, but that’s just me.
        Anyway, the author of the essay is IMHO too negative towards Lucas. (I could try to find a link to the essay, but I am too lazy to do so. One caveat therefore: I have reconstructed the content of the essay from memory, so the text above is not suited to criticize the author of “The Secret History of Star Wars.”)

      • Cryogenic

        @ Stefan:

        “There is the book “The Secret History of Star Wars,” and the author put a quite interesting essay on his website how the turn was supposed to originally happen. (However, you should probably take this with a grain of salt. He however uses Rinzler’s book, the older screenplay versions etc. to present the “original turn to the Dark Side”.)”

        And he uses them incorrectly; or at least draws dubious conclusions. See my other post underneath your second response. The incorporation of relevant source material, even copious citationing, is no guarantee that an author is presenting an unbiased account or will cause the reader to arrive at a fair and balanced view of things.

        “If I remember correctly, Anakin was supposed to be a passive by-stander during the fight of Palpatine against the Jedi because he was not sure who was good. At the climax of the fight, Anakin was convinced that Palpatine was right (the Jedi were trying treason) and that he joined Palpatine because of this (among the other reasons).”

        Yes. That part is reasonably accurate. Lucas re-did that part and tightened up the drama of Anakin’s turn, and this is fully admitted to in Rinzler’s book. Indeed, this is where the author of the “The Secret History” gets the majority of his info on the movie from. Nothing is hidden or “secret” here. But he found the turn emotionally unsatisfying, then he started looking for ways to intellectually justify his disdain, exaggerating, twisting, and distorting certain facts in the process.

        “Personally, I think that GL was right to change the scene in Palpatine’s office and to make it “more intense.””

        Sure. And I agree. That, however, isn’t the issue. The issue is the author of the aforementioned “Secret History” book misrepresenting certain things — based on having an axe to grind — in order to fit an agenda. That’s not fair on these films or their fans, on Lucas and all the people who worked on them, or on film history. The book has clearly muddied the waters and succeeded (to some extent) at giving people a handbook of hate (disguised as a guarded celebration) to cling onto and thump down on the table whenever their argument needs an intellectual boost.

        The author fallaciously pretends to respect the “organic” nature of storytelling and Lucas’ right to change his mind, but then spends considerable effort concern-trolling his choices and methods to paint a picture of an egocentric hack: a bloated technocrat who failed to understand the appeal of the original films and destroyed the legacy of Star Wars through a mixture of petty pride, vanity, and hubris. For the author’s thesis to be valid, the turn in Episode III, the last of the Lucas films and the one where the PT passes the baton to the OT, has to fail, or have a broken foundation: the ultimate “proof” that Lucas half-assed the entire saga and did it all for money, or the sort of comfortable, lazy security money can bring.

      • jpieper668

        Lucas didn’t destroy Star Wars Legacy Disney Did with their OT Pandering Practical Effects Touting Prequel Bashing Character Derailing Excuse of a Trilogy

    • Cryogenic

      @ Natalie, @ Arch Duke, @ Alex, @ Tony:

      Got into a bit of an argument, a few months later in 2015, in a separate thread, in which I reprised the parsing I did of the Rinzler book quotes, and also discussed, in brief, the Plagueis/”save your wife from certain death” hook that Palpatine uses to lure Anakin.

      My opponent seemed to doubt this account, instead maintaining that the turn was fundamentally altered. While I supplied dates and page numbers, all he had was vague, dogmatic certainties founded on misapprehensions and falsehoods — an obvious adherent of the “Lucas kept changing his mind as he went along” (“and is therefore a hack”) school of thought:


      • jpieper668

        There’s also Obi-Wan’s Story about Anakin In ANH such as calling him a Good Friend many fans didn’t find anything friendly about Anakin in The Prequels (some people called him a sh*t) so To Prove These idiots wrong Mention Moments in the Prequel Trilogy in which Anakin was a Good Friend

      • Stefan K

        As mentioned above, the author of “The Secret History of Star Wars” wrote an essay that (as far as I can remember) tries to justify “Lucas kept changing his mind as he went along” (or better, “Lucas did not really think the turn 100% through, but he should”). The author uses earlier screenplay drafts, Rinzler’s book etc. to make his point, so while you may reasonably disagree with him, he does at least not seem to use “vague, dogmatic certainties.”

      • Cryogenic

        @ Stefan:

        My remark about the other guy clinging to “vague, dogmatic certainties” was in reference to the fellow arguing back with me in the supplied thread — a person who was obviously a fan of “The Secret History” book, but not the author himself.

        As I actually mention in the thread, the author of the book made some factual errors concerning the development of Anakin’s turn, including the dialogue exchange between Anakin and Obi-Wan when they’re floating down the lava. The issue is basic, but has led to confusion.

        The author argues that the dialogue there, with Anakin calling the Jedi “evil”, is at odds with the more emotional, Padme-driven turn that he believes Lucas modified the turn to be about in re-shoots, and is more consistent with the “power”-based turn in the original shooting script (and the poster takes his cues directly from that same stance), but there are two or three fundamental problems with that:

        i) That exchange between Anakin and Obi-Wan was actually added late into the filmmaking process: in August 2004, right in the middle of the re-shoot process, and only days before Lucas shot the revised Mace-Palpatine duel and the Anakin-Padme ruminations sequence.

        ii) If he wanted to, Lucas could easily have edited out that exchange, or re-shot it during the re-shoot process. But as just noted, Anakin and Obi-Wan’s blunt exchange of words was actually something Lucas added *during* the re-shoot process!

        iii) The idea that Anakin originally turned to the Dark Side because he was all about power for its own sake is a fallacy that ignores the thematic underpinnings of the Prequel Trilogy, including key scenes in the Tatooine passage of Episode II (the beating heart of Anakin’s fall), as well as the rough draft of the Episode III script which Rinzler’s book provides key excerpts from, including Anakin having a vision of Padme dying early into the film (like in the completed movie), and pledging himself to Sidious because of “promises of power that would save Padme from death” (like in the completed movie).

        To be frank, what is written in “The Secret History” (a somewhat dubious appellation to begin with) is mostly the author’s own psyche and attendant frustrations and sense of grandiosity being projected onto Lucas. It is a decent compendium of quotes and pulls from a lot of sources, but the author fails to make a cogent argument.

        The author falls down quite a lot (a bit like Anakin) at the final hurdle, barely giving any attention to AOTC at all (it has the shortest chapter, by far, of any of the films — consistent with the author’s expressed hatred of the movie on TFN and the now-defunct “Outer Rim Sieges” message board systems), and they screw up important details on ROTS, like those detailed above. All because they have a thesis to try and prove in a bid to narcissistically character-assassinate George Lucas.

        Furthermore, if you’d had any lengthy run-ins with the person I was responding to in the provided thread, you would begin to recognise the truth of my remark about him dealing in vague, dogmatic certainties (and various strawman statements and other fallacies of several kinds). In the post of mine I linked to, I quote him back extensively and deconstruct his long-winded ramblings (although I am certainly no stranger to long-winded ramblings!), which includes a bit toward the end where he throws outright opprobrium my way and engages in profanity — a clear sign that his thinking was clouded and he was arguing with bad intentions. Of course, he is also a long-term prequel basher.

      • Stefan K

        (So much to do, so little time… Therefore only a short answer, @Cryogenic)
        Excellent answer, I must say. I should mention that
        – I was already a bit skeptical about the “Secret History of Star Wars” because I did not like the result of its analyses (sure, that does not make something true or not, but I hope you get my idea)
        – Furthermore, I already disagreed with some bits of the analyses – it’s not as though Lucas removed all the other reasons for Anakin joining Palpatine (Lucas left in the scenes where Anakin is hesitant to spy on Palpatine because it is against the Republic)
        – And some other pro-PT person (forgot the name, sorry…) commented in a forum that you should take the “Secret History” with a grain of salt (or more).
        Now, you (Cryo) have presented not only more reasons to be skeptical, but a good rebuttal. The article by the “Secret History” author may have some fair points – I already presented how I would extend Anakin’s turn (not change it), but that’s just me. However, the article seems way too negative – Lucas probably knew what he was doing.
        I would say that I brought the article up in my original comment because it may present one or two interesting observations – however, I was also not sure what to make out of it.

    • Cryogenic

      @ Natalie, @ Arch Duke, @ Alex, @ Tony:

      “Now that you raise the issue of filmmakers responding to audience reaction, can anyone confirm or dispel this belief that Lucas gave Jar Jar Binks a smaller part in Ep II because “everyone” hated him in Ep I.”

      Ah, yes… my beloved Jar Jar.

      It isn’t true. But fans want it to be true for their own subjective reasons, because then it gives them a reason to go on hating Jar Jar as a “pointless” character, and also satisfies their hubristic, egoic attachment to Star Wars that ranting and raving produces positive results. Maybe that has been the case under Disney (even then: “it’s complicated”), but very doubtful it did much where the prequels are concerned.

      Rick McCallum basically came out and said, if anything, due to the backlash, they put *more* of Jar Jar into AOTC, as Alex touched on. Lucas, too, possibly in concert with co-writer Jonathan Hales (who helped with the movie’s humour amongst other things), gave his second prequel the cheeky working title, “Jar Jar’s Big Adventure”. In 2002, during press runs for the film, Lucas also said the following:

      “People have the tendency to think that you just put characters in for the fun of it. Ultimately, their personalities have to revolve around the plot.”


      • Michael Kelly

        Ahhh.. Cryo beat me to it. I love the Rinzler book(s)! Used it many times in discussions on various boards to combat the “myths” that kept popping up about Lucas and how he did things. The only Rinzler “Making of” book I am missing is the one for Empire Strikes Back. The OT RInzler Books were especially helpful in combating the revisionist history of fans that want to put words in Lucas’s mouth in order to fulfill their own narratives. One of those being that Lucas has said over and over he had everything figured out and planned out since the beginning. Which is a completely false assertion to make on the various Lucas quotes out there. For example, the quote Cryo supplied from the making of ROTS book, in which Lucas said he had to stay true to the vision he had (for Anakin’s turn) for 30 years. So many people have taken that quote and bent it to their own bias and narrative in order to deem Lucas some kind of liar. They over inflate a quote like that, and add context to it that is never there, and say that is proof that Lucas is saying it had it all figured out ever since he made ANH, which is not true.

        All Lucas is saying is that he had a vision of how Anakin turns to the Dark Side, and it’s been a vision that he has held for 30 years. He’s not saying that he had it all planned down to it’s most minute of details since 30 years ago. All he is saying is that Anakins turn was more about greed, and less about betrayal.

        So those Rinzler books have been a valuable piece to show context of what Lucas means when he says that he has had very specific things figured out for a long time, it doesn’t mean he has had the entire story figured out.

        For Anakin’s turn, I think the biggest the reason why people had such a hard time with Anakin’s turn is because they want to like Darth Vader. They want to like Vader, so they want Anakin’s turn to Vader to be something that they could justify thus justifying liking Vader. The idea that Anakin turned into Vader because Anakin was a bit of an asshole takes away from peoples liking of Darth Vader. People can’t fathom the thought that Darth Vader was actually a continuation of Anakin, that Anakin actually had these bad tendencies as a child, as a teen, as an adult. He was an overall “good” person, but, he was Human, so he had flaws, and his flaws were compounded by his being groomed by a horrible person, and his inability to understand the responsibilities he had in understanding why the Jedi rules were so important to follow.

        Anakin is the embodiment of the entitled societies we are being faced with now. I want to have THIS and THIS because I feel it’s owed to me, I don’t want to follow the rules or work for it, I just want it because I want it, and that’s a good enough reason for me to have it.

        And when we look at REY… Do we understand why Rey is such a popular character and so many bend over backwards to defend her magical ascension to Jedi Status in literally a few days of in-universe movie time? She has been handed the “baton” not because she worked for it, trained for it, learned how to change herself for it, she gets it because she’s owed it (enter SJW reasons)… And that’s why there is thunderous applause for he character…

      • archdukeofnaboo

        @Michael Kelly

        “because they want to like Darth Vader”


        You’ve just diagnosed the root cause of the backlash against Lucas’ portrayal of Darth Vader as a young man – as no machine. I’ve been thinking lately about formulating a post on this very topic on the Naberrie Fields Forum. And that is that two interpretations of the Star Wars Saga (I-VI) exist:

        For the prequelists, and they have grown quite powerful in recent years, Lucas’ 6 films could be better titled “The Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker”, or if you like, “The Fall and Redemption of Anakin Skywalker”. It’s the story of an innocent young boy who plays a supporting role in I, yet saves the day at the end, before becoming the main protagonist of II who showing concerning faults, and then in III as a lead character who goes – who descends – from hero of the Clone Wars to right-hand man of the new Emperor in tragedy. In IV he becomes the villain who by the end, through defeat, learns the destruction of the Empire’s super-weapon isn’t down to any mere mortal – it’s his son, and he’s survived. V is the villain’s desperate attempt to bring his son to his side, but as with his wife in III, the offer is declined. In VI there is the villain’s redemption via his son as Anakin re-emerges to destroy the Sith and fulfil the prophecy that Obi-Wan’s master once foretold.

        For the OT fanboys? Well there’s this Vader guy who is the villain, but they secretly love all his brutality, while his redemption at the end of RotJ is something to enjoy for a handful moments before quickly returning to engorging in his former life of carnage and mayhem. The protagonist of the PT is simply a different thing altogether, where his fall, including his Vaderesque slaughter of the younglings are to be critiqued at all costs. There may be an acknowledged that Anakin became Vader, but in truth it is a disjointed pair of trilogies. No integration whatsoever. Therefore any presence of Anakin’s Force Ghost post-VI, which would inherently echo the man of the prequels, are to be avoided at all costs.

        r/StarWars in flying form today, channelling what the saga is all about:


      • jpieper668

        There’s also Obi-Wan’s Story about Anakin in ANH such as Calling Him a Good Friend Many Fans Didn’t find anything Friendly about Anakin in The Prequels(some calling him a sh*t) so to Prove These idiots Wrong Mention Moments in the Prequel Trilogy in Which Anakin was a Good Friend

      • Alexrd

        @Michael Kelly:

        “Some people get upset because they want everything. Some people feel that they deserve to have everything, even though there’s no reason for it. They just feel it’s their right. That’s one of the problems of a democracy. You get these individual voices that are very loud, and very dysfunctional. And if you cater to those voices, you end up with a very dysfunctional society.” – George Lucas

      • Slicer87

        How about the fact that Anakin refused to leave Obi wan behind on the Invisible Hand despite Palps urging him to do so.

  • Roger Jacob

    My sister & her wife visited home this week. My sisters wife worked for a company that does work for Disney. I asked about SW. The Mandalorian, the first 4 ESP are good but in her words they “becomes a PC pile of crap, if you want to watch something good watch The Boys”. As for RoS the big ending is 3 battles, a space battle, Kylo vs Rey & the big surprise a force ghost battle – Yoda, Obi-wan, Anakin, Luke vs Palpatine, Vader, Maul & Snoke. She said the movie overall is pretty blah, but the ending is good. She could be making it up & pulling my leg as she is a practical joker. She asked if I liked the part in the trailer were Rey meets her family & then kills them. I didn’t get it. She said it was when Rey was training & cut a tree down, you know because she is so wooden.

  • Stefan K

    As these information may not be final, we will have to wait what will really be in the movie.
    My humble opinion:
    – Return of a familiar technology: At least they do not seem to put all eggs into one basket this time. Still, some will criticize that this technology is shown for the upteenth time – and there were complaints about it already after the release of RotJ…
    – Palpatine’s return: this seems basically in line with GL’s philosophy that Sith do not have an afterlife like Jedi (or, my headcanon, good normal beings in the GFFA). And I can see a bit of “pulp” story telling in the return of a villain thought to be defeated (that’s why I more than okay with Maul’s survival in TPM). On the other hand, there is the ending of RotJ that brought back balance to the Force so that this return should not happen – but that’s IMHO a problem with the whole premise of the ST, at least as it was handled “by Disney”.
    – Rey’s lineage: This could be quite interesting – is she a direct descendant? Did the Emperor therefore know something like love when he was “young and naive”? I am really speculating here, but I see some potential in the idea. And it is… ironic that Palpatine only seems to have a basic, but twisted idea why Anakin turned on him – he does not seem to understand that a simple family connection does not automatically mean that someone will join you (remember that Darth Vader tried this twice with his loved ones?).
    – The final battle: I have a problem with this because of the ending of RotJ. It was IMHO not that Luke won because he overpowered the Emperor and his father. It was because he refused to use violence any longer (among other things) – a huge contrast to all lightsabre battles before in the Saga. And now they seem to be back to “we do not win because we are good and true to the spirit of the Force. We win because we can overpower the bad guy.” Now, this whole story outline may not be the final version, but if it is really like this, I will be disappointed.
    – Sheev’s plan for Rey and Kylo: Sheev seems to have learned from Snoke’s mistake and/or to have found a way to use the connection of this couple. While I do not see how Sheev himself fits into this (let’s be real, he will not turn over the power to Rey and Kylo), it may still show Sheev as the master manipulator.
    – The ending on Tatooine: I would not mind it – if the whole premise of the ST was not “the bad guys were not really defeated, i.e., they may return anytime.” After the immensly positive ending of RotJ, you may think that the Rebellion would still have a lot of things to do, but that they would be successful in the end. The events of the ST make this expectation hollow, I am afraid: Regardless of how hopeful an ending is in SW, the bad guys may still return.

      • Stefan K

        To be fair, there is still a good chance that Anakin will appear in the moving in a non-trivial role – I just cannot imagine that he will not be featured, and then there is still Hayden showing up together with McDiarmid…

    • Stefan K

      If I think about it, when did the use of lightsabres in the crucial duels of the PT and OT really work?
      – EP I: Sure, Obi-Wan defeats Maul, but Qui-Gon is dead – and Anakin will get a good teacher, but not the one he needs.
      – EP II: Obi-Wan and Anakin lose, Yoda almost defeats Tyranus – but it does not prevent the war.
      – EP III: Yoda loses, and Obi-Wan turns Anakin/Vader into “half machine, half man.”
      – EP IV: Obi-Wan becomes “more powerful than you can possibly imagine” not by winning…
      – EP V: Luke loses. And not only his hand (sorry, I had to make this stupid pun…)
      – EP VI: Finally, the Emperor is defeated (at least for now) – but not because Luke was more skilled as a lightsabre and Force user.

      Sure, that may be Star Wars 101, but I still wanted to bring it up.

    • Cryogenic

      Am I suddenly being punished with a dumb anti-spam filter???

      My comments aren’t going through. I had a second response to Stefan, but it won’t let me post it. I hit “Post Comment” and it instantly disappears.

    • Cryogenic

      Nope. I was mistaken. Still not seeing my second comment to Stefan.

      But all these other responses have gone through already?

      I’m giving up at this point.

    • Cryogenic

      It’s all good now. My second response has finally showed up.

      Don’t know what the issue was. Bizarre software, though, to be sure.

      • Cryogenic

        @ Anthony:

        Thanks. The first time I submitted it, it simply disappeared. That has happened before; but it usually takes just a minute or two, then you check back, and hey, presto, there it is. But not this time. So I re-submitted it two or three times over the space of forty five minutes or so, but the same thing kept happening.

        The final time I tried submitting it, however, I had a weird message fill the screen, telling me I’d already sent through that exact comment already? Yet it still wasn’t showing. I figured, at that point, some weird anti-spam mechanism had been tripped.

        When it comes to adding multiple URLs into a post, there, the messaging system tells you your comment is awaiting approval, and you can see it within the rest of the comments (until you refresh and then it goes away). But this case is more random. No warning, no comment (and no URLs to activate the usual “awaiting approval” block) — nothing.

        Ah, well. At least you approved it. All’s well that ends well. Shame the comments section has hidden snares and wares one has to sometimes contend with!

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