Written by robotical712
Palpatine orchestrated the Clone Wars to become the Emperor, but even that was a stepping stone. His true goal was to become a living god and for that, he needs the Chosen One… or one of his descendants.
- The Nature of the Force and Balance
- The Plans of Emperor Palpatine
- A Wound in the Force
- The Dawn, Rise and Fall of the Jedi Order
- Palpatine: The Ultimate Sith Lord
- Downfall of the Jedi and Rise of the Empire
- The Emperor and the Chosen One <
“You will not stop me; Darth Vader will become more powerful than either of us.”Darth Sidious
One of the most important enduring mysteries of the Star Wars Saga is why Darth Sidious wants the Skywalkers. Darth Sidious intended to rule forever, so it would seem having an apprentice with the potential to exceed him would be orthogonal to that goal. Yet, Palpatine desired a Sith apprentice who lived up to the name and craved power as much as he did. As he explained to Vader, his power was Palpatine’s power.
Unfortunately for Palpatine, instead of the ultimate apprentice, the Emperor received a broken shell of a man. Thus, when the opportunity to replace Vader with Vader’s son arose, the Emperor was willing to risk it. After the Emperor’s apparent demise, a new practitioner of the dark side, Snoke, picked up where Palpatine left off and endeavored to create a new Darth Vader with Vader’s grandson. Three trilogies, three generations, each driven by Palpatine’s desire for a member of the family descended from the Force itself. Yet, one question goes unanswered: why?
As laid out in The Plans of Emperor Palpatine, Darth Sidious strove for power over reality and the Force itself. Though he pursued many possible avenues to achieve this, such as access to the World Between Worlds via the temple on Lothal, the majority of his efforts were focused on the wound in the Unknown Regions. His first steps were taken before even the Clone Wars when he established the Observatory on Jakku. There, an ancient device was tasked with calculating a route through the chaos:
“For decades, these computers have been plotting a journey. Outside the known galaxy is an unexplored infinity, Palpatine explained, one closed off by a labyrinth of solar storms, rogue magnetospheres, black holes, gravity wells, and things far stranger.”Wendig, Chuck. Empire’s End: Aftermath. Kindle Locations 5961-5962. Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
That computer worked for decades, but had finished its work just before the Battle of Endor. The way to what Palpatine had worked towards for so long was clear. Yet, despite having the Chosen One himself under his thrall, he did not make his way to the Unknown Regions. Instead, he sought to destroy the Rebellion once and for all… and turn Vader’s own son.
The fact Palpatine even considered replacing Vader with Luke illustrates the importance the Skywalkers had in his schemes. Palpatine himself admitted he could not predict which way the coming confrontation on the Death Star would go, yet still risked it. That the confrontation happened after a way through the Unknown Regions had been found indicates Vader was not sufficient for what Palpatine needed him for. Vader had failed him.
When Anakin fell, Palpatine had expected to gain an apprentice with the greatest potential in Sith history, what he got instead was a physically and spiritually broken man in a suit:
Rather than crave ever more power and covet his master’s position as a Sith should, Vader’s ambitions amounted to inflicting his self-loathing on the universe. He couldn’t turn on Darth Sidious because Sidious was all he had left. Thus, Vader’s power stagnated. When Palpatine discovered Luke’s existence, the opportunity arose to once again harness the potential he had sought in Anakin to begin with.
When I found you, I saw what all masters live to see: Raw, untamed power… and beyond that, something truly special. The potential of your bloodline. A new Vader.Snoke in The Last Jedi
The easy answer to why Palpatine wants the Skywalkers is their raw power, yet there are hints there’s something else unique to the family. Again, Snoke to Kylo Ren:
Snoke demurred. “It is far more than that. It is where you are from. What you are made of. The dark side-and the light. The finest sculptor cannot fashion a masterpiece from poor materials. He must have something pure, something strong, something unbreakable, with which to work. I have-you.” He paused, reminiscing.TFA Novelization
The above does not appear in the film, but we can be sure it was in the script as some of the lines were used in the first teaser. Taken together with the first quote, it’s apparent Snoke sees Kylo as something more than just a powerful apprentice. Both Palpatine and Snoke value something only the Skywalkers can offer.
What might that be? For that, we have to look at what Palpatine and Snoke were pushing Vader and Kylo to do. While Snoke valued Kylo because he was from the light and the dark, he specifically pushed Kylo to fully embrace the dark. Same with Vader, Palpatine sought to extinguish the last flicker of light within Vader. In short, both masters sought to drive the light from their apprentices. When Palpatine failed with Vader, he tried to replace him with his son.
If you recall, in part one, I suggested there was an ancient wound in the Force somewhere in the Unknown Regions that Palpatine sought to exploit. Despite succeeding in locating this ‘source of the dark side’ prior to Endor, Palpatine still attempted to replace Vader. It is therefore likely the Emperor required someone descended from the Force itself to exploit the wound in the Force. The catch was he needed one that had fully turned to the dark and driven all traces of the light from himself (or herself). It was only then would he be able to harness the full powers of the dark side.
Save for Sidious, no sentient being in close to five thousand years had set foot in the shrine. The room’s excavation and restoration had been carried out by machines under the supervision of 11-4D. Even Vader was unaware of the shrine’s existence. But it was here that they would one day work together the way Sidious and Plagueis had to coax from the dark side its final secrets. In the intervening years he had actually come to appreciate Plagueis for the planner and prophet he had been. Such perilous machinations required two Sith, one to serve as bait for the dark side, the other to be the vessel. Success would grant them the power to harness the full powers of the dark side, and allow them to rule for ten thousand years.Luceno, James. The Rise of the Empire: Star Wars: Star Wars: Tarkin, Star Wars: A New Dawn (p. 125). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition