As we learned in The Rise of Skywalker, Emperor Sheev Palpatine has always been the main villain of Star Wars, but there's nowhere that's more clear than the prequels. Episodes I-III show Sheev in his element as he gathers power, pulls strings, deceives his enemies, and then unleashes the full power of the Dark side. However, an exciting new fan theory argues that Palpatine isn't the ultimate villain of the prequels, or, at least, he's not the only villain.
Is it possible that Mace Windu could be just as villainous as Palpatine? It may sound ridiculous, but when you really think about it, this theory makes a lot of sense. Stick around, because, by the time we're done, you may think Anakin did the right thing in slicing off Windu's arm in Revenge of the Sith.
In a post on the Fan Theories subreddit, Star Wars fan u/ImpulsiveBeetle proposed an intriguing new idea: "Mace Windu (like Palpatine) planned to take over the Republic."
You might want to dismiss this as Sith propaganda. After all, that's basically what Palpatine claimed as he was reorganizing the Galactic Senate into a fascist Empire. But maybe Palps was onto something, and a careful look at a few pivotal Mace Windu scenes may reveal how the Jedi General attempted to mastermind a government coup as devious as Order 66.
To begin, u/ImpulsiveBeetle points out that Mace Windu was perfectly positioned to claim control of the Republic in a crisis. As they note, Yoda might be "Grandmaster," but Windu was "Master of the Council." That means if the Jedi took control, even temporarily, Windu would be in charge.
It's also worth noting that Mace Windu's purple lightsaber suggests he's not as devoted to the light side as some of his peers. Behind the scenes, we know Samuel L. Jackson got a purple saber simply because he asked for one, but the implication in-universe is that he's at least studied the ways of the Sith and this informed the color of the kyber crystal that powers his weapon.
As the Clone Wars progress throughout the prequel trilogy, Mace Windu (and the rest of the Jedi) take on even more power, becoming generals in the Republic army. This could have given Windu a taste of power, which he was unwilling to relinquish in Revenge of the Sith.
Finally, Windu's showdown with Palpatine may prove that at that point, he'd already succumbed to the Dark side himself. When Anakin argues that Palpatine should be arrested, not killed, Windu replies, “He’s too dangerous to be kept alive!” If that line sounds familiar, it's because Palps used the exact same words earlier in that movie when he provoked Anakin into killing Count Dooku.
While it's easy to view Star Wars as a clear battle between good and evil, the movies often fall back on the simple idea that anyone can succumb to the Dark side. Windu's lust for power only proves this.
Am I arguing that Anakin did the right thing in saving Palpatine's life? Not exactly, but it's worth considering that an ending where Mace Windu killed the Emperor wouldn't necessarily lead to a better galaxy if the person in charge is just as evil and power-hungry.