Now that Darth Vader has made a return worthy of *checks Star Wars reference manual* thunderous applause with his appearance in Obi-Wan Kenobi, it was only a matter of time before fans began bringing into the conversation his sinister mentor, Emperor Palpatine, AKA Darth Sidious.
Even though longtime Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid recently shot down rumors he would appear in person in the Disney Plus show that serves as a prequel continuation, the return of both Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones as Vader was apparently enough to stoke fan speculation — and/or hot takes — about the emperor who notoriously loves regaling people with the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise.
Much of the renewed attention seems to stem from a post on Twitter showing photos of “The Skywalkers,” including Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker, his Darth Vader alter-ego, Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, and Daisy Ridley’s Rey Skywalker, the latter of whom is not related to the lineage of Anakin by blood, but instead adopted the moniker for herself after being trained by Luke. Indeed, Rey’s biological grandfather was actually Palpatine, but she renounced such a heritage.
One fan was obviously still unaccepting of Rey as a Skywalker, writing in a quote-tweet, “Why is a Palpatine here?”
And speaking of Skywalkers, the original poster, @TheStarWarsAcad, made an update to the collage by including Adam Driver’s Ben Solo, who is the son of Skywalker heir, Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia Organa.
Despite the updated image, fans were clearly still sour about Rey’s inclusion.
However, another fan defended Rey taking up the Skywalker mantle, saying all the backlash was a waste of people’s energy.
“Lol y’all are legit brain dead. It’s not even that deep. Rey is skywalker BY CHOICE. PALPATINE BY BLOOD. it’s really not that hard to understand.”
Another Twitter user took the opportunity of to point out, amid all the renewed discourse about how intimidating of a villain Vader is, that he was just a Palpatine pawn in the grand scope of things.
While we’re on the topic of “Somehow, Palpatine returned,” a phrase notoriously made famous by the wrinkled Sith lord becoming a surprise antagonist in Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker, another fan pointed out that reusing tired plotlines is an age-old tradition in the franchise, as evidenced by the fact that we’ve completely lost count of how many times the Death Star has seemingly been rebuilt time and again.
Even though Palpatine may have overstayed his welcome by returning to the sequel trilogy, he was arguably a highlight of the prequel trilogy more than a decade prior, having a stronger motivation and presence in 2005’s Revenge of the Sith than that film’s main protagonists.