May 18, 2022
Star Wars: Rogue One Erased Palpatine's Most Embarrassing Decision
Emperor Palpatine once made a dumb decision to get the Death Star plans back. Luckily, Rogue One changed Star Wars canon to hide his error.

In the Star Wars universe, Emperor Palpatine is known for being a smart and calculating individual, which is why it’s so surprising that he made one plan so poorly thought out that Rogue One had to completely erase it from canon.

Before Rogue One and Disney rewrote Star Wars history, Darth Vader was tasked with recovering the Death Star plans stolen by the rebels. Following a lead, Darth Vader and a squadron of Stormtroopers visited a planet in search of the hiding rebels. Instead, this was a trap set by Darth Maul in order to test Vader and retake his place at Emperor Palpatine’s side. After a grueling duel in which they were evenly matched, Vader ended up coming out on top over Maul.

In Star Wars Tales #9 published by Dark Horse, written by Ron Marz, and illustrated by Rick Leonardi, Palpatine arrives at the planet in person. Maul actually didn’t set up the trap by himself. There were three robed individuals that were responsible so that Vader could be pushed from the Emperor’s side. But when Palpatine arrived he killed the three himself and revealed that he had followed Vader’s ship to the planet. He did so in order to see for himself if the Death Star plans were actually there.

Given that Palpatine is just as elusive as Yoda in the Star Wars canon, it is strange to see a Legends story that shows the Emperor behaving so recklessly. Even before he rose to the rank of Emperor, Palpatine was very suspicious of those around him. This paranoia only amplified tenfold once he took control of the Republic. Usually, he’s only seen either in an Imperial stronghold such as a Star Destroyer or at the Imperial Palace on Coruscant. He’s almost never seen in the field, let alone on an uncontrolled planet that was set up as a trap.

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If anything, Emperor Palpatine is lucky that Rogue One wiped out this story from the Star Wars canon. Because Rogue One takes place directly before A New Hope, there would be no time for the rebels to not only escape with the plans but actually hide with them on a planet away from the Empire’s view. So this story logically wouldn’t be able to take place in Star Wars lore. And this terrible mistake made by an otherwise strategic and calculating politician was actually never made. What’s even more shocking is that he actually followed Darth Vader there, a completely unnecessary risk the calculating Emperor Palpatine would scoff at. While Rogue One proved to be a divisive film in the Star Wars canon, at the very least it made Palpatine more competent than his comic counterpart.

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