Star Wars Just Revealed How Palpatine Accidentally Created The Rebellion

Separatist infiltration sapped the Empire’s precious strength.


In the grand scheme of Star Wars, the Empire is the worst of all the galactic governments for one simple reason: it barely lasted three decades. Talk about Star Wars is usually hyper-focused on the Empire, mostly because nearly every movie and TV show is about the rise of the Empire, the Rebellion against it, or the fallout of the Empire’s defeat. From The Phantom Menace to Andor, The Last Jedi, and beyond, the subject of the Empire’s power and the Emperor’s immorality is never-ending. And yet, somewhat ironically, one major detail about the Empire’s creation also guaranteed its rapid demise.

As a new episode of The Bad Batch Season 3 reveals, Palpatine’s biggest mistake was rallying and urging on the Separatists during the Clone Wars. Sure, it threw the Republic into chaos and helped him seize power, but it also helped inspire the very Rebel Alliance that brought him down.

In episode 6, “Infiltration,” The Bad Batch widens its scope to check back in with other rebellious Clones, specifically Captain Rex and his rag-tag group. But we also return to two deep-cut characters, Senator Chuci and Senator Singh. Between The Clone Wars series and Bad Batch Season 1, we know Chuci was a Republic loyalist while Singh was a Separatist. But now, with the Empire ascendant, Chuci and Singh are closer to being on the same side, something that would have been unthinkable just a year prior.

The tricky origin of the Separatists

Not every separatist had ulterior motives.


In Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, Count Dooku is rallying planets to secede from the Republic, which throws the Republic into conflict. This is presented to the audience and the heroes as inherently bad, and in Attack of the Clones, the leading Separatist factions are clearly corrupt. From the Trade Federation to the Techno Union Army, none of these rebels are idealistic. Besides, as the audience, we know any independence from the Republic is tainted, because we know Palpatine organized the Separatist movement to give the Republic an enemy and himself an excuse to seize power.

That said, it stands to reason that many people and planets who fought for the Separatists were idealists unaware they were serving a doomed, Sith-y cause. Even Jedi Ki-Adi-Mundi describes Dooku as a “political idealist,” noting that, at least philosophically, the Jedi understood where the Separatists were coming from, before their objections turned violent.

First introduced in The Bad Batch Season 1, Senator Singh (voiced by Star Trek legend Alexander Siddig) represents that mundane, hopeful side of the Separatists. His planet, Raxus Secundus, was part of the Separatist Senate before the Republic defeated the Separatists and transformed into the Empire. In The Bad Batch Season 3, it’s Singh who shows signs of how the Separatists inspired the Rebels.

Clone Wars “villains” helped start the Rebellion

Avi Singh in The Bad Batch.


In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker thinks anyone who craves freedom outside the Republic is an extremist. In Revenge of the Sith, when Padmé points out the Republic’s problems, he snaps, “You’re sounding like a Separatist!” But anyone who wants autonomy isn’t inherently a villain; Anakin is weaponizing his patriotism for personal reasons.

It turns out the average Separatist politician was much less extreme than Count Dooku. In a pivotal moment in “Infiltration,” Senator Singh says, “The Separatist senate may not exist, but there is a growing desire for independence.” Singh has already raged against the machine of the Republic, and now he’s ready to do the same thing against the Empire.

Clearly, this was Palpatine’s biggest oversight in stirring up the Clone Wars. If planets like Raxus Secundus always wanted to break away from the Republic, then the Clone Wars emboldened people like Singh. All those Separatist rabble-rousers didn’t go away the moment the Empire took power. Palpatine had Anakin dispatch the Separatist leaders on Mustafar, but the rank-and-file idealists survived and returned to their old ideas.

Palpatine may have foreseen much of his complicated Dark Side political takeover, but in creating the Separatists, he basically created a test version of his biggest problem. Now, as the history of Star Wars keeps unfolding, it looks like this misunderstood group has more in common with the Alliance than we ever knew.

The Bad Batch is streaming on Disney+.

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