Star Wars Pin-up #24 FRAMED Emperor Palpatine Return of the Jedi


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Emperor Palpatine is a character and the main antagonist of the Star Wars saga. In the original trilogy, he appears as the aged, pale-faced Emperor of the Galactic Empire. While overseeing the final stages of the Galactic Civil War between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire, he is ultimately killed by Darth Vader. In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine personally arrives to oversee the last stages of the second Death Star’s construction and to set a trap for the Rebel Alliance. He assures Darth Vader that, together, they will turn Luke Skywalker to the dark side. Unbeknownst to Vader, the Emperor plans to replace him with Luke as his apprentice. When Vader brings Luke before his master, the Emperor tries to tempt the young Jedi to the dark side by appealing to his fear for his friends. This leads to a lightsaber duel in which Luke defeats and nearly kills Vader. When Luke refuses to turn to the dark side, the Emperor attacks him with Force lightning. Vader, moved by his son’s cries for help, redeems himself as Anakin Skywalker by throwing the Emperor into the Death Star’s reactor shaft, killing him. The initial conception of Palpatine was superseded by his depiction as a dictatorial ruler adept in the dark side of the Force. The Emperor was inspired by the villain Ming the Merciless from the Flash Gordon comic books.44 The rise of Palpatine involving an ambitious and ruthless politician dismantling a democratic republic to achieve supreme power is related to the real-world examples of Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler.45 Lucas said, “The whole point of the movies, the underlying element that makes the movies work, is that you, whether you go backwards or forwards, you start out in a democracy, and democracy turns into a dictatorship, and then the rebels make it back into a democracy.” Lucas and director Richard Marquand cast Scottish Shakespearean actor Ian McDiarmid to play Emperor Palpatine. He was in his late-30s and had never played a leading role in a feature film, though he had made minor appearances in films like Dragonslayer (1981).

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