Star Wars fans have always made fun of Palpatine’s dramatic change from the Supreme Chancellor to the dark lord of the Sith, but a new theory explains why he changed his robes.
Since cinema is mostly a visual experience, costume designers play a huge role in conveying all the subtleties of a scene and the characters in it. Over the years, even the Academy has gone out of its way to celebrate the importance of costume design in movies. And when we think about George Lucas’ Star Wars and all the mythological elements tied to the story, the visual cues are just as important as plot developments. For instance, we know that Buddhist monks and their clothing were the source of inspiration for Jedi robes, which highlighted their zealousness in the Prequel Trilogy.
It would seem, though, that these warriors of peace and justice aren’t the only group in the galaxy far, far away concerned about how they look. In Revenge of the Sith, when Anakin succumbs to the dark side and kneels in front of Palpatine, the evil Sith Lord gives him the name of Darth Vader and tasks him with destroying the Jedi Order. This was obviously a serious moment for the entire saga and a turning point for the galaxy, but that didn’t stop Palpatine from putting on his Sith robes and flipping over the hood in the middle of the conversation.
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As you know, these robes bore the ancient markings of the Sith, and Palpatine wore them as a final insult to the Jedi. According to a new theory on Reddit though, this change in the movie’s third act has much more significance in terms of characterization. As the Redditor explains:
“Palpatine had his fresh-pressed evil robes brought to his office specifically so he could throw that hood on before telling the clones to execute Order 66. He was SO SURE of the success of his plans that he prepped an outfit for the occasion.”
Of course, when you decide to change the ruling body of an entire galaxy, you may as well do it in style. And this is exactly what Palpatine did after tolerating the pomposity of the Jedi for decades, adding to the long list of reasons that explain why the sinister Sith Lord is so beloved in the Star Wars fandom.