ROTJ, in 1983 what did people think Palpatine was?

I had seen the movie before the prequels and it seemed intuitive that emperor Palpatine was a force user of some type, even though that isn’t explicitly spelled out in the film. I was reading something making the argument that is a retcon and originally in ROTJ he is just a sort of sinister sorcerer type character, which makes no sense since the SW setting makes pretty clear magic doesn’t exist outside force users etc.

Eh, seems pretty clear from the dialogue between he, Luke and Vader that he’s a force user. He talks about the Dark Side, he says its “strange” that he hasn’t felt Lukes presence on Tatooine while Vader has, suggesting he usually has the same ability to “sense” stuff with the Force and Vader is his apprentice.

At the time I did consider that the Emperor was a force user, who wasn’t specifically a Jedi. I assumed that force sensitivity was an inborn ability and there were many types of training to master it.

Vader was already referred to, outside of the movies, as The Dark Lord of the Sith, but nobody knew what The Sith actually were. However, the term “Dark Jedi” was unofficially bandied about by the fans and was what the Emperor was generally thought of as being.

At one point in the Timothy Zahn novels that came out in the 90s he was going to call a particular race of characters the Sith, but George Lucas vetoed it as that’s not what the Sith were, so Zahn renamed them the Noghri.

When Dark Horse comics was planning to write about the early years of the Jedi (I think it was the Tales of the Jedi series) they needed a Dark Jedi-like enemy that they could set against their main characters, and George said “well, why not use the Sith?” and everyone said… “Er… well who are the Sith? Nobody knows what they are.” That’s when George finally revealed that they were the dark users of the Force, and that only two were ever in existence at a time, Master and Apprentice, who constantly succeed each other in hierarchy.

Anyway, the Emperor (not referred to as Palpatine, even though he was given the name in the first Star Wars novel) was just considered a Dark Jedi or Dark Force User.

“The Force” is the SW universe’s magic system. I see no difference between calling someone a Force user and calling someone a sorcerer.

Was Yoda a force user or a sorcerer then? I don’t think anyone came away from ESB saying “sorcerer”.

What’s the difference?

No, because “force user” is what they call sorcerers in SW. Saying he’s one type of magic user and not another is meaningless if there’s only one magic system.

This. SW is SF in the décor, but the story itself is a tale of knights and dragons of a type which Homer was already familiar with centuries before knights got invented. Palpatine is The Baddest of the Evil Magi.

It makes perfect sense in universe:

I saw ROTJ opening day. There was no doubt in my 15 year old mind that the Emperor was using the Dark Side of the Force ™.

Also, Uncle Owen says of Ben Kenobi “That wizard is just a crazy old man.” when Luke asks about him. So they were certainly pretty free using magic-oriented terms about force users.

True, but in the first novel, he was referred to as an impotent figurehead, who put himself forth as Emperor as the Republic was sort of lumbering towards dissolution through corruption. Nothing about being a force user.

In the movie I got the distinct impression that the emporer was a powerful, maybe the most powerful, force user. Vader wanted Luke to team up with him so that they could control the universe as father and son, essentially saying that he couldn’t defeat the emporer without Luke’s help.

Might be different in the books, but who cares about the books? The movies are what made Star Wars.

Hmmm. Tangential question, that’s probably been discussed before but I don’t recall seeing it: in ROTJ, a major plot point is that the Emperor wants to lure Luke to the Dark Side. In the prequels, a major plot point is that there can only be two “Dark Lords of the Sith” at any one time. Does Vader forget that, if Luke joins the Dark Side, he (Vader) will be toast?

Does anyone else think this is the dumbest “rule” ever? :wink: I mean, how does that even work?

I don’t get if it is a rule, but the idea is to kill the Emperor and make it “two” again.

It was all pretty confused in TESB and ROTJ. In TESB, Palpy ordered Vader to kill Luke, or turn him to the Dark Side, implying there’d then be three allied Dark Siders. But in ROTJ, Vader tells Luke the two of them can kill the Emperor together, and take over, but Luke refuses. Then in the fight between Luke & Vader, the Emperor tells Luke to kill Vader and take his place. So even though it wasn’t spelled out in the original trilogy as a rule, it seems that the two Sith spend a lot of time & energy plotting the other’s downfall/replacement.

I think the idea is that its not so much an actual rule, but that the Sith are so evil that an apprentice always tries to kill his master eventually, so they never get up to more then two.

In the Clone Wars cartoon, there’s like six ex-apprentices running around, so its basically more a suggestion the a rule at this point anyways.

I remember reading in the Phantom Menace novel that they stick to the “Master and Apprentice” rule because otherwise they constantly fight over who is the top Sith, which ended up destroying them long ago.

In (IIRC) ESB, Vader converses with the Emperor’s Giant Floating Head and suggests turning Luke to the Dark Side. The Emperor agrees. Both of them appear to be down with it, and seem to be contemplating a third Dark Jedi rather than having one of them made redundant. Possible fanwank is that Luke would’ve been made a Dark Jedi, but not a “Dark Lord of the Sith”, whatever the fuck that means other than not being able to call himself Darth Luke.

And yeah, it’s pretty much the stupidest rule ever.

Vader’s aware. When he tries to get Luke to go with him he says it’s because he thinks the two of them together can defeat the Emperor. Of course, when Luke tries to kill the Emperor it’s Vader that deflects his strike. My takeaway/fanwank is that Vader is ultimately afraid of the Emperor and he’s been conditioned by it. The Emperor has so thoroughly turned him into his bitch that it takes Vader’s son being tortured to death for Vader to have a chance to break free from that control. In a way that’s true power, not skill with a lightsaber, an item neither the Emperor nor Yoda are never shown to own in the original trilogy.

The reasoning behind the Rule of Two was cooked up in the comics and novels of the Expanded Universe. The Sith had, as a vast organization, failed time and again to conquer the galaxy and it was Bane who grew disillusioned with their constant in-fighting and eliminated the lot of them, instituting his Rule. It’s ultimately a pretty stupid system but there’s a cool quote about it (it might have been said by Bane himself but I can’t remember): “One to embody power and the other to crave it.”

Just out of curiosity, is this “first Star Wars novel” a novelization of the first movie or is it the first novel of the “Expanded Universe”?