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Star Wars prequel theory reveals Palpatine is even more sinister than we thought

The Emperor always has a backup plan.

Everyone knows that Emperor Palpatine is a scary guy. He’s got the Force lightning, he has total control of the most powerful Empire in the galaxy, and he’s a conniving two-faced weasel. But his most underrated evil trait is the sheer amount of planning that goes into all of Palpatine’s plans.

Whether it’s how he possibly staged a “rehearsal” of Order 66 to prepare for any unforeseen circumstances, or his much-besmirched return from the grave in The Rise of Skywalker, Sheev always seems to have a plan B, if not a plan C and D. And according to one fan theory, almost all the events of Revenge of the Sith were just another backup plan.

Redditor FlyingDutchman9977 suggests that the first act of the film, where Obi-Wan and Anakin are sent to save Palpatine from his “kidnapping,” didn’t quite go as Palpatine wanted. After defeating Count Dooku, Anakin has immediate regrets about executing him in such a brutal, non-Jedi way, but Palpatine reassures him that he did the right thing.

Obi-Wan and Anakin fight Count Dooku in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Lucasfilm

When he checks on the unconscious Obi-Wan, Palpatine urges Anakin to leave his master to his fate, but Anakin refuses. The scene makes it clear that Palpatine’s original plan was to get Anakin to abandon Obi-Wan, but that obviously doesn’t go according to plan, and he had to adapt accordingly.

According to the theory, Palpatine’s original plan was to dispatch Obi-Wan as quickly as possible. Not only would Obi-Wan’s demise weigh heavy on Anakin’s conscience and leave a vacuum where Palpatine could easily step in as a new mentor, it would also eliminate the only person on the Jedi Council that Anakin truly trusted, alienating him further from the critical institution.

Furthermore, the theory explains how meticulously Palpatine planned his faceoff with each of the Jedi Council members. Palpatine realized that, as powerful as he was, there was no way he could take on two or more Jedi council members at once. Yoda and Mace Windu, for example, could likely defeat him if they worked together. So he manipulated an invasion of Kashyyyk, knowing Yoda would be sent there. If Obi-Wan had been knocked off earlier, that would have eliminated all the obstacles in his way.

Without Obi-Wan, so much of Palpatine’s emotional manipulation would have been easier.Lucasfilm

The prequel series may suggest that Palpatine was able to play both sides and act out his master plan without any bumps in the space road, but even now, almost 20 years after their release, fans are providing more insight into just how much of an evil genius he was. Sure, Palpatine was responsible for more than his fair share of mass murder, but the man knew how to plan ahead. Maybe we’ll get a Disney+ show that explores his many long nights of mulling over spreadsheets and whiteboards.

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith is now streaming on Disney+.