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WMG / Revenge of the Sith

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General Grievous was supposed to turn out to be Jar-Jar Binks, but George Lucas chickened out at the last minute.
This is part of a grand unifying WMG for the prequels: Jar-Jar was working for Palpatine all along, and his stupidity is an act. It's based on observations that:
  • Jar-Jar is seen falling upward into implausibly high positions for his capabilities, first as a general and then as a Senator from Naboo. It wouldn't make any sense to promote him in this way unless he's far more competent than we can see.
  • Jar-Jar claims to be "clumsy", and he certainly flails around a lot, but he's also seen perfectly executing some precise acrobatics, including in the battle or in The Phantom Menace. (He may also have had the benefit of the battle droids being programmed not to hit him.)
  • Jar-Jar also maneuvers directly into Palpatine's hands — everything he does is according to Palpatine's plan, from the obvious (proposing emergency powers for Palpatine in the Senate) to the less obvious (orchestrating the defeat of the Trade Federation).

The theory further posits that George Lucas was planning all along for Jar-Jar, the stupid comic relief character, to have been Evil All Along, and The Reveal would have taken place in Revenge of the Sith. But audiences' revulsion at Jar-Jar's character led Lucas to scrap that plan. But since Lucas already had a role for Jar-Jar in Episode III, he invented General Grievous to fill that role. And both Jar-Jar and Grievous are generals, so there's that.

Jar-Jar does have a brief cameo in Episode III, during Padme's funeral, but that might just be Lucas trolling the audience.

Padme had a strong Force Bond with Anakin, and Anakin severed it, killing her.
It's not just death from a broken heart — it can be explained by the Force. She may have been Force sensitive and not known it, or maybe her Force-sensitive foetus(es) were responsible, or perhaps her relationship with Anakin just made use of Anakin's prodigious power with the Force. The film doesn't say this explicitly, but it does imply a metaphysical bond. Maybe Anakin's turn to the Dark Side was too much for Padme to handle, or maybe Padme was so distraught by Anakin's betrayal that she effectively committed "suicide by Force".

This phenomenon, by the way, is known to Jedi, which is a big reason why the Jedi forbid romantic relationships; if they go sour, bad things can happen. The medical droid can't fathom what's up, but Obi-Wan does realise what's happening and knows already that it's too late to save Padme.

It might also be related to the Force-induced psychic link we see between Rey and Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi, although that one is sufficiently developed that they can even talk to each other. But there are points in the Prequels where Padme seems to sense Anakin's presence, even though she may not quite understand what's up.

Padme had a strong Force Bond with Anakin, and it didn't break — which killed her.
Poor Padme was forced to feel all the pain Anakin was feeling from (1) getting his limbs chopped off by lightsaber, (2) getting burned into a crispy critter, and (3) being subject to Unwilling Roboticisation, apparently without anaesthetic. And since Padme had already been roughed up by Anakin (who tried to strangle her at one point), and was in the process of giving birth to twins, it's no wonder she couldn't handle all of that at once — the psychic shock was enough to kill her.

Padme had a strong Force Bond with Anakin, which Palpatine exploited to kill her.
Palpatine could sense her connection with Anakin, and he exacerbated it. Notice how Padme, in spite of her Force Bond, survives Anakin's final betrayal, his attempt to strangle her, and his amputation by lightsaber and subsequent immolation as they happen. Padme dies at a time when Anakin is going through his surgery to turn him into Darth Vader — a surgery at which Palpatine is present. Palpatine deliberately made the surgery painful and perhaps enhanced the connection to Padme, thinking she would likely not be able to survive it. He may even have manipulated Anakin to exploit the Force connection to save his own life. Then Palpatine lies to Anakin that he killed her.

Padme had a strong Force Bond with Anakin, and she used it to effect a Heroic Sacrifice.
Padme realised the kind of bond she had with Anakin. She may have been Force sensitive to some degree, or at least had the ability to specifically use the Force in connection with her relationship with Anakin. She could feel that Anakin was in serious danger, but it wasn't enough to kill her. But even after everything Anakin had done to her, Padme still believed he could be redeemed. She also saw the Republic she fought so hard for collapse around her and figured that Anakin could do more good than she could in the Galaxy as it then stood. So she manipulated the Force Bond and gave Anakin the power he needed to survive his surgery.

Padme died of medical malpractice.
With all that future tech, they couldn't prevent Death by Childbirth? Padme's out in the sickbay of some mining colony, not exactly "civilisation". Notice how she's not treated by any actual doctors — just a couple of droids, who might be trained in medicine but not necessarily for humanoids. They may only know about the concept of "losing the will to live" as a way of covering their asses. Obi-Wan was no help either; Jedi are Made of Iron and probably don't need healthcare (look what Anakin was able to survive without healthcare), so Obi-Wan probably has no clue what to do himself. Palpatine should take note in establishing the Empire's healthcare system.

They also were totally unable to diagnose a crushed trachea, sustained when Anakin tried to kill her earlier (and also bashed her against a rock). It probably wasn't very helpful for her to give birth to twins immediately afterward. We never even see her on oxygen!

Padme did die of a broken heart — medically speaking.
She suffered a massive heart attack from the accumulation of injuries she sustained — getting Force choked, getting thrown against a rock, and giving birth to twins. She may have had a pre-existing congenital heart defect. The shock of her husband's betrayal and the collapse of her entire political career probably did her no favours. And a stress-induced arrhythmia can kill you and leave the heart looking completely normal, which is why the medical droid says that "medically, she's completely healthy."

Yoda or Obi-Wan killed Padme.
They knew that Padme believed staunchly that Anakin could still be redeemed, even after Anakin had violently showed her all evidence to the contrary. They were worried that Padme could seek Anakin out to try and redeem him, or even follow him and use her political clout for evil. Or they worried about the safety of her two Force-sensitive children whom they were trying to keep secret from Anakin. They had to get rid of her, for the greater good.

Padme died from the Jedi belief in faith healing.
The Jedi, being a religious order, are unfortunately prone to mistrust of science. Obi-Wan sees Padme getting choked into unconsciousness and struggle to give birth to twins, but he's willing to accept that she "lost the will to live". He wasn't particularly keen on giving Padme scientific medical care in favour of healing her with the Force. It might have worked, had it not been for Anakin and/or Palpatine drawing on Padme's strength to ensure Anakin got through surgery. Obi-Wan doesn't pick up on this and thinks Padme is just resisting him, so it's all her fault that she dies.

Padme lives! She's just hiding.
As stated above, it's unlikely such an advanced and futuristic society would be capable of allowing such a high-profile person to die in childbirth. So she faked her death. She figured it would be terrible for her reputation to be known as "Vader's Moll", so she fashioned a new identity for herself. Candidates include:
  • Mon Mothma, ex-Senator turned Rebel leader. (Okay, a Deleted Scene from Revenge of the Sith actually shows Mon Mothma as a colleague of Padme, but we can ignore that — this is WMG!)
  • Someone on Alderaan, maybe even in a lowly position like Handmaiden to the Queen, a position in which she has some experience. It would have allowed her to keep an eye on young Leia. Unfortunately, this means that come A New Hope, Vader gets to kill her twice (presuming she didn't manage to escape).
  • Someone on Tatooine, to keep an eye on Luke. Maybe even Aunt Beru! Vader still kills her twice. Or maybe she survived there, having retained one of her stunt double retainers, and took a new identity (maybe as a Twi'Lek dancer? But how old would she be at that point?).
  • Admiral Daala. She wants to fight the rampant sexism in the Empire.
  • Guri. We all thought she was an android or Human Replica Droid. Turns out that Star Wars cybernetics and bioscence are a lot more advanced than we thought.
  • All of the above! Took her a while to figure out what she wanted.

Order 66 was so successful because the Clones wanted to get back at the Republic.
The Republic had used the Clones as disposable soliders, and the Jedi were astonishingly bad leaders. Every battle involving Jedi, Clones, and Separatists seems to end in the Clones getting massacred and the Jedi walking away unscathed (e.g. Munnilist, Mygeeto). The Clones were so disgusted with being mistreated that when Palpatine gave them an order to betray the Jedi, they jumped at it. Palpatine probably even predicted that they would. It's similar to the real-life phenomenon of "fragging" — shoot your asshole superior and Make It Look Like an Accident.

Order 66 was so successful because the Clones are programmed to obey any duly given order.
You wouldn't make a disposable army and give them feelings, would you? The whole point is that they would follow any order and display utmost loyalty. They would embrace their expendability. They spend their lives being trained to obey any order duly given from the Republic. And Palpatine is the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic. So when Palpatine gives an order, they follow it without even thinking. None of them are shown even hesitating. So for all the bluster about how the Clones are so creative and quick-thinking, it turns out they're not much better than droids.

Palpatine's unscarred human face was a disguise.
The scarring of Palpatine's face in his confrontation with Mace Windu is mostly designed to explain Palpatine's appearance in Return of the Jedi. But what if the Return of the Jedi appearance is the real one? Palpatine was hiding his true nature all along, and Windu's attack was so powerful that he had to drop his disguise. Now that Anakin had seen him for real, Palpatine said "screw it" and decided to keep his disfigured face. At long last, he could establish the Empire, and he could pretend his face was scarred by Windu's attack to generate sympathy.

It does better than the usual explanation in one key respect: how would Windu's attack scar Palpatine so badly in Revenge of the Sith, when Palpatine's Force lightning didn't affect Luke in that way at all? Because that's not a side effect of Force lightning. If Luke was disguising his face, he'd revert to his original look.

There are a couple more hoops to jump through (but we'll gladly do it for a WMG). If his natural look is the "scarred" one because he's an alien, one would have to address Palpatine's habit of discrimination against non-humanoids (depending on the source material, either explicit or a WMG in itself) — but this can be resolved with Internalized Categorism, suggesting that Palpatine had disguised himself out of shame at his true nature but gave up once Windu exposed his true self to Anakin. The other option is that he was born humanoid (the Darth Plagueis novel in particular explores Palpatine's origins and makes it clear he wasn't born evil) and that his face was scarred as a natural result of his Sith training.

Palpatine did scar his face!
This is WMG — we can't let that stand! If Canon says Palpatine's face was disfigured by his own Force lightning, why can't we come up with explanations for why it would happen to Palpatine and not Luke? Let's go!
  • Palpatine was using a lower voltage on Luke than on Windu. He was trying to kill Windu. He was just trying to torture Luke and make him suffer.
  • Windu's got weird Force powers. He may even have been intensifying the lightning with his lightsaber. The novelisation implies that Windu's power is sufficiently close to the Dark Side that it became a positive feedback loop — and Windu, with a stronger will, could have won if Anakin hadn't showed up.
  • Palpatine was drawing on his own Force reserves to intensify the lightning. He may have learned how from the midichlorian manipulation power of his master Darth Plagueis. It may have made him look weird, but he wasn't concerned with that because he wanted to show off his "UNLIMITED POWERRR!!!".
  • Perhaps Luke was using all of his Force power to protect against the lightning and while it was intensely painful, any scarring was minimal. But Palpatine wanted to be scarred and took pleasure in his own pain, using his own lightning and Windu's lightsaber as a conduit for that.

Obi-Wan's "only the Sith deal in absolutes" line is actually pretty clever.
There are actually a number of ways it can shake out:
  • Obi-Wan's having some fun. He says, "Only the Sith deal in absolutes," in a way that is itself an absolute. It's ironic! And it fits Obi-Wan's personality of general amusement at everything around him, even in the heat of battle. (Or George Lucas thinks he's being clever — take your pick.)
  • Obi-Wan is emphasising that only the Sith deal in absolutes. Anakin had unambiguously stated that he would deal with enemies by sorting out who's With Us or Against Us. Obi-Wan says you can't deal with people in absolutes like that; he clearly knows it's fine to deal with other things in absolutes, including dealing with people who deal in absolutes. It's a bit like philosopher Karl Popper's paradox: the only way to ensure a tolerant society is to be virulently intolerant of intolerance.
  • Obi-Wan is forced to realise that Anakin cannot be swayed. He's spent a long time avoiding having to confront Anakin and possibly kill him, hoping that he can convince him to turn away from the Dark Side. Anakin, meanwhile, has already made his decision, and convinced himself that Obi-Wan is evil and must be killed. Obi-Wan, on realising that Anakin is utterly convinced of this, knows that his own attempt to avoid an "absolute" is pointless. It may be Obi-Wan bitterly repeating to himself something he once believed.
  • Obi-Wan is not so different. The narrative is trying to emphasise that the Sith and the Jedi really are "similar in almost every way." Obi-Wan rails against the Sith for dealing in absolutes, and unwittingly does it himself. The Jedi Order has been shown to be extraordinarily rigid, and a lot of its strict rules (such as those regarding emotional attachments) are directly responsible for Anakin's path to the Dark Side. Obi-Wan himself may have realised this later and sought to distance himself from the Jedi, but he was so ingrained in its teachings that he found it difficult. His training of Luke, on the other hand, was masterful in this respect, as Luke rejected the dogma of both Jedi and Sith and sought simply to use the Force for good however he could (although he identified as "Jedi" for historical reasons).
  • Obi-Wan is not so smart. He realised what he said a little too late, and by then he was in the middle of a lightsaber duel.
  • "Absolute" means something different when Obi-Wan uses it. Specifically, it refers to alcohol, drugs, and slaves. And only Sith deal in them. Assuming it's a fact (who the hell knows at this point), it can only be expressed as a rhetorical absolute. Maybe there's total prohibition of alcohol in the Republic (so no dealing in Absolut either) — that bar in Attack of the Clones was operating in several legal gray areas (and Anakin's comment about "back to your drinks" should have been a sign of his falling toward the Dark Side).

Darth Plagueis never existed; Palpatine made him up.
In the films, all we ever hear about Plagueis is Palpatine's now memetic narration of a story (the kind a Jedi wouldn't tell you). Palpatine invented the story to pique Anakin's curiosity about the power to save people from certain death. Anakin may have just been conceived the ordinary way (over on another WMG page we suggest Qui-Gon's the father), or Palpatine himself may have conducted the experiments with midichlorians that he attributes to Plagueis. It's not a story anyone would tell you other than Palpatine.

Now, if you're going to complain that Anakin finally asks Palpatine to teach him the power, only for Palpatine to admit he doesn't actually know it and they'd have to work together to uncover the secret... well, Palpatine made up the existence of the power. He just wants to get Anakin on his side; he couldn't care less if Padme survived or whatever.

If you're going to complain that the Expanded Universe has a ton of evidence that Plagueis really existed, including from media that George Lucas had a direct role in (e.g. New Jedi Order, Darth Bane, The Force Unleashed)... well, to that we say, this is WMG! Lucas has never been totally consistent about the canonicity of the Expanded Universe, and where there's space in the canon, we fill it!

"General" is a fairly low rank in the Star Wars universe.
It seems like anyone can be a general, regardless of military experience. Young Jedi fresh out of apprenticeship. A drug smuggler indebted to a gangster. An oily con artist who sold his best friend to the Empire (and only switched sides because Vader reneged on his deal). A clumsy, barely-articulate rabbit-like creature. Why is this?
  • Rank Inflation. If Futurama has twenty-five-star generals, what kind of inflation would there be in a Republic that's lasted a thousand years (if not generations)?
  • "General" is a "general" reward. If you do anything nice for the Republic, or the Rebels, you get to be a "general". It doesn't exactly have the same responsibility or cachet that a general on Earth might have. Think of it like how some U.S. state militias will make anyone a "colonel".
  • Sheer size. A galaxy-spanning military will have a lot of people, and so would need a lot of generals.
  • Public relations. A lot of these people aren't given actual responsibility, but the various militaries want people to think they're important for whatever reason.

Luke and Leia were adopted the way they were because Obi-Wan thought Anakin had died from his injuries on Mustafar.
Canon implies that Obi-Wan couldn't bring himself to finish Anakin, and he knew all along that Anakin had survived — he sensed it with the Force. However, why then would he send Luke to live with Anakin's known relatives on Tatooine? It seems extraordinarily risky, even when you take into account the canon explanation that Anakin was so traumatised by his experiences on Tatooine that he would never go back there, even if he knew his son was there. Of course Obi-Wan had to watch over Luke; he couldn't bet that Anakin would never return (or that the Sand People wouldn't do to Luke what they did to his grandmother).

But it would make more sense to suggest that Obi-Wan left Anakin for dead, and he had no reason to believe that Anakin had survived. Consider that in A New Hope, Vader notes when he senses Obi-Wan's presence on the Death Star that he hadn't felt it in a long time. Perhaps the opposite is true; Obi-Wan never senses Anakin until their confrontation on the Death Star. Maybe Obi-Wan found out earlier, after he drops Anakin off on Tatooine, and only then realises how badly he screwed up (which is how it went down in the Expanded Universenote ). But it would be more poignant for Obi-Wan to have never realised Anakin had lived until their fight in A New Hope, and it solves the problem of why Obi-Wan would have told Luke that "Vader betrayed and murdered your father" — as far as Obi-Wan was concerned, "Vader" killed Anakin on Mustafar.

Palpatine's battle with Mace Windu changed him somehow.
Yes, he was Evil All Along. He had spent the better part of the last ten years manoeuvering himself into a position of absolute power in the Galaxy. But his mindset changed. Before, he was pragmatic about it. Afterward, he's cackling and openly dictatorial. He's Drunk on the Dark Side, and now he's gone from a Well-Intentioned Extremist to Dastardly Whiplash. Call it brain damage; electrocution can't be good for you.

And he knows it's bad for him to be so moustache-twirlingly evil. Palpatine spends most of the Original Trilogy fighting his impulsive and impatient nature. By the final confrontation of Return of the Jedi, he's more or less recovered, but it's too late for the millions who died in the meantime. Nice one, Mace Windu.

Anakin fulfilled the Prophecy by carrying out the attack on the Temple.
There's been a lot of digital ink spilled about what exactly the prophecy meant when it said that Anakin would "bring balance to the Force". Canonically, Anakin fulfilled the prophecy at the end of Return of the Jedi, when he kills Palpatine in a Heroic Sacrifice. But it makes just as much sense — if not more sense — for Anakin to have fulfilled the prophecy in Revenge of the Sith, when he slaughtered the survivors of Order 66. This left two Jedi (Yoda and Obi-Wan) and two Sith (himself and Palpatine), and thus we have a Balance Between Good and Evil.

Now, you'll argue that we're missing the point of the prophecy — the existence of the Dark Side is itself an imbalance in the Force, and Anakin's eventual destruction of the Sith restored balance to the Force. It's a reference to the Jedi religion drawing from Taoism; its entire reason for being is to balance good and evil and not be an extreme of any kind, while the Dark Side is an extreme and thus an imbalance. To which we say:

  • How would you know? Lucas himself couldn't even keep it straight. He eventually settled on "killing Palpatine restored balance" because fans assumed that was what he meant. In fact, it would make things quite a bit more interesting if the prophecy existed and the characters themselves were uncertain of what exactly it meant, leaving each side open to twisting it to their own ends (Yoda does briefly question it). There's a reason this is one of the biggest fissures in the Star Wars fandom's famously Broken Base.
  • The Jedi may have intended this to be the case, but the Jedi Order itself had fallen into imbalance. It had stagnated over the decades, emphasising its arcane rules over the study of the Force. The Sith, meanwhile, have evolved as the need arose. Some members of the Jedi Council are aware of this, Yoda among them, and are trying to fight the Council's rigidity, but they don't get very far. Anakin and Palpatine cleansing the Jedi was instrumental in the Jedi's restoration of "balance", because the only two Jedi left — Yoda and Obi-Wan — were forced to realise the error of the Jedi's ways. It's telling that Luke, for all his talk about how he's a Jedi, sees and uses the Force very differently from the Council.

You'll also argue that the Force is thrown right back into imbalance when Obi-Wan dies (two Sith, one Jedi). At that point, you couldn't really call Luke a "Jedi" yet; he doesn't start using his Force power in earnest until The Empire Strikes Back. And then by the time you could call Luke a Jedi, Yoda dies shortly thereafter. But this could still allow Anakin to fulfill both definitions — he evens the numbers, then allows Luke to come into his own, then turns back from Sith to Jedi himself (if only for a few seconds), and finally everyone dies except Luke, who's very different from any "Jedi" we've ever seen.

Anakin fulfilled the Prophecy by erasing the Jedi Order, and the Jedi Code with it.
As explained above, the Jedi Order had stagnated under the weight of its Obstructive Code of Conduct. One particular aspect of that code is a prohibition on procreation. But what if "balance" to the Force required procreation? We know Force sensitivity is innate and inherited, and it may be better for the Force to spread itself genetically. We see the Force in all sorts of places — including plants and animals — and Force sensitivity in much higher concentrations in some parts of the Galaxy compared to others. The will of the Force is for it to spread naturally.

The Jedi Order was just after power. It limited the ability of Jedi to procreate in order to assure itself a monopoly on Jedi training. They may have thought themselves justified, what with their experiences with the Sith; they don't want a rival school of the Force to cause havoc. But this also inhibits the Jedi's ability to use the Force. Note how the Sith, individually, seem more powerful than the Jedi (and in the Expanded Universe, ancient Jedi are also more powerful). Anakin restored balance to the Force by wiping out the Jedi Order and allowing it to be reformed by Luke Skywalker in a way that was much more in line with how the Force would have willed it.

The Clones that shot Aayla Secura had their blasters on stun to try and hide her.
They didn't want to kill her, but knew they had to lest other Troopers come and do it. So they decided to merely stun her and claim they had killed her. They disguised their stun shots as real shots (they don't look like the circular bolts that were fired at Leia in A New Hope), and there was video footage that would have backed them up. But they screwed up, because all of them fired on her, and that was enough to kill her, albeit somewhat more humanely than killing her the "traditional" way. That would explain why there are no burn marks on her.

Palpatine induced Anakin's dreams of Padme's death.
First, Anakin's visions lead directly into his paranoia that Padme would die and the Jedi would do nothing to save her and the babies. Second, it seems unlikely that the Force itself would have any reason to induce those visions and nothing else. Third, Palpatine seems to be well aware of Anakin's premonitions without being told about them, which would be consistent with him having induced them. Palpatine would use those visions to get Anakin curious about how to save her with Sith powers. (It doesn't even work; he has to tell Anakin "I know how to save your girl" for him to cotton on.)

Palpatine used the Force to weaken Dooku.
Palpatine engineered it so that Dooku would lose to the Jedi, either before the battle in the middle of it. Dooku was doing pretty well early on in the battle, despite being outmanned — he knocks out Obi-Wan and sets himself up one-on-one with Anakin, and he likely could have won had Anakin not channelled the Dark Side and gotten the upper hand. Palpatine intervened to disrupt Dooku's Force ability, or perhaps even clouded his mind so that he would taunt Anakin into tapping into the Dark Side. After all, Dooku was always expendable in Palpatine's grand scheme to take over the Galaxy. The novelisation even posits that Dooku was planning to throw the fight at first, then started fighting for real, so he may have pre-arranged something with Palpatine and found himself betrayed- Dooku's expression when Palpatine tells Anakin to finish him seems to support that theory.

Mace Windu lives!
In the lightsaber battle, he loses a hand and falls out a high window — but we Never Found the Body. He used his Jedi power to slow his fall and survive. We've also never seen Force Lightning actually work to kill anybody, so he probably survived that, too. Luke lost a hand in The Empire Strikes Back and took on a lot of Force Lightning in Return of the Jedi and did okay in the end.

It took him a while to heal and escape Coruscant, and during that time Order 66 happened and Obi-Wan and Yoda had already gone into hiding, so he didn't know where they were — as far as he knew, they were dead with all the other Jedi. Windu then goes into exile on a planet so remote that he missed the entire Original Trilogy.

Given that Mace was so handily beaten that No One Could Survive That!, the theory that he survived opens up a couple of doors for other insane fan theories. First, the idea that it's possible for a Force user to survive a fall from a great height suggests that Darth Maul survived as well (which kinda did happen in the Expanded Universe). Second, if Windu survived and was so out of it that he never stepped in to aid the Rebellion, he must have been having some adventures elsewhere, which we may have seen in other media — maybe he was a bounty hunter looking for a briefcase, or a one-eyed superhero manager. It may have been "a long time ago" and "far far away", but we did say "insane" fan theories, after all.

Mace Windu is Lando Calrissian.
According to the Law of Conservation of Skin Colour, only one prominent black person is allowed in the Star Wars galaxy at one time. After surviving his fall from the Chancellor's office, Mace got fitted with a prosthetic hand, stopped shaving his head, and grew a mustache. He then used a Jedi mind trick to become the baron administrator of a mining facility on a backwater gas giant in the Outer Rim called Bespin. As part of his deep cover operation to undermine the Empire by supplying the Rebellion with tibanna gas, he assumed the name of a dead smuggler named Lando and affected the personality of a suave gambler and ladies' man because nobody would ever take him for the serious, blunt, and cynical Mace Windu.

Technically Jossed by Solo, but since it takes place after Revenge of the Sith there's always the possibility that he used some Palpatine-esque glamour to look even younger than he appeared during the prequels. WMG always provides an excuse!

Mace Windu dies, but not in Episode III.
Mace Windu is much too badass to die that easily. He survived the fall and went into hiding. Only he chose to hide out on Alderaan. This explains why we didn't see him in the Original Trilogy even though he likely wasn't the type to stand on the sidelines of the Rebellion. Obi-Wan may have even been hoping to meet up with him on Alderaan.

Wiping C-3PO's memory was in his best interest.
We know why it was in everyone else's best interest — he's not the best at keeping his mouth shut, and he was aware of the plan involving Luke and Leia, which had to be kept seriously secret. But it was also in his own best interest to have his memory wiped of the fact that the guy who built him — his "Maker", if you will — had turned to the Dark Side. First, no one would hire him if they knew his connection to Darth Vader, especially if they were involved in the future Rebellion. Second, the wrong kind of people would go looking for him if they knew he knew something about Vader. Third, it would relieve him of the horrible guilt he would likely feel if he knew his master had become one of the Galaxy's most evil people and he could, in theory, have stopped it. A stressed-out droid (such as it is) probably wouldn't function very well.

This also explains why R2-D2 never gives any indication during the Original Trilogy that he or C-3PO have ever dealt with or know anything about Luke or Vader. R2 was more stable and trustworthy (and less tied to Vader "emotionally"), so they didn't need to wipe his memory, and in A New Hope he was pretty insistent on seeing Obi-Wan when 3PO claimed to have never heard of him. R2 is lying when he says Obi-Wan used to own him (hence Obi-Wan's befuddled, "I don't recall ever owning a droid"), but Obi-Wan's the only character he can admit that he knew without tipping 3PO off to his true nature. R2 is very dedicated to the ruse, not even admitting to Luke that he knew the truth (although by the time that mattered Yoda may have also told R2 not to tell Luke).

Palpatine wasn't planning on losing to Windu.
On a straight viewing of the film, Palpatine was playing possum with Windu, pretending to lose but staying alive until Anakin could show up and "save" him. It seems obvious because no less than four Jedi show up to arrest him, and he very handily deals with the first three. But consider:
  • Palpatine had no reason to believe that Anakin would actually show up. He'd been hinting for damn near the entire movie to Anakin that he could help him save Padme if Anakin were willing to work with him, but Anakin is so thick that Palpatine eventually has to tell him outright. He knows that the Jedi were planning to arrest him and had told Anakin not to intervene, so he has to consider the possibility that Anakin would be dumb enough to listen to his superiors after he spent the whole movie railing about how they were holding him back.
  • Windu is no ordinary Jedi. He's second on the depth chart only to Yoda, he's got freaky unorthodox Jedi powers, and he's got a purple lightsaber. Palpatine pauses with Windu because he doesn't know how he's going to beat him. Palpatine hasn't exactly been training for combat; he's been undercover as a Senator and later as Chancellor, high-profile positions in which he couldn't admit to being a Force user.
With this in mind, one would have to assume that Palpatine was trying to beat Windu. And he really was losing — out of practice and unable to break Windu's Confusion Fu, as it were, he finds himself on the ropes when Anakin miraculously blunders in. Palpatine may have figured that all was lost, but now knowing that Anakin was definitively on his side (and thus could be manipulated into doing his bidding), he decided to reach deep into his bag of tricks and unleash his UNLIMITED POWERRR!!!. It was a gamble, as it could have killed him and did scar him, but Anakin did enough that Palpatine could gain the upper hand. It was exciting enough for him to cackle more maniacally than we'd seen up to that point.

General Grievous knew Palpatine's plan all along.
This ensured his survival as long as possible. His Badass Decay was intentional, ensuring that he would be beneath Palpatine's suspicion. He hated the Jedi so much, and wanted to see their destruction so badly, that he willingly became Palpatine's lackey and helped him execute Order 66. He may have fooled Palpatine, or Palpatine may have known all along and never minded because Grievous is a cyborg and easily controllable (and maybe he found it funny that his cyborg lackey knew more than his esteemed apprentice). In any event, once Order 66 happened, Grievous knew he would become expendable — but he let that happen because he hated being a cyborg. He just wanted to feed his his vendetta against the Jedi, especially if he could ensure that his death would lead to the Jedi's destruction.

Palpatine was after Plagueis's power all along.
He wasn't really into taking Anakin as his apprentice. Anakin was just a pawn so that he could discover how Plagueis was able to prevent death. His plan would have been to kill Anakin once he had the knowledge, and then live forever as Galactic Emperor.

Vader's Big "NO!" after his surgery was because he realized he would never get laid again.
It wasn't the fact that Padme was dead so much as that Palpatine telling him that reminded him that his entire body had been severely burned, and it is doubtful that he had been wearing a heat-resistant cup. Anakin's goods were probably fried off from lying on super-hot volcanic rock. Given Palpatine's obvious sadism, as exemplified by the clunky life support suit and absolute lack of reconstructive surgery, it is doubtful that any attempt was made to correct Vader being turned into a eunuch.

Palpatine never stopped regretting Order 66.
Not because he was suffering from a bout of conscience, but because the slaughter of all the Jedi — even the young Padawans — turned out not to be a great idea after all. Had he had the foresight to spare the younglings, he would have had an excellent pool of potential replacement apprentices. Instead, he's stuck with Vader, a single Dark Lord on Life Support whose powers were probably diminished by his injuries. Vader turned out to be powerful but ponderous, often a step or two behind the Rebel Alliance, and prone to wasteful brute force tactics which led to needlessly high attrition (e.g. all those Star Destroyers that got wrecked chasing the Millennium Falcon through that Asteroid Thicket).

Canonically, the exact nature of Darth Plagueis will never be revealed.
The sheer grandeur and mystery of Plagueis probably can't be given enough justice. Instead of giving him a definitive origin, there will be many stories about him, with hints in canon to suggest if they are true but nothing concrete.

Technically, this one is Jossed by the Darth Plagueis novel, which is all about his motiviations, machinations, and efforts to maintain his civilian guise. But as we've noted elsewhere on this page, the canonicity of Star Wars is such a mess that just because it exists in the Expanded Universe doesn't mean it can invalidate a WMG!

Palpatine and Darth Sidious were two different people until Episode III.
Palpatine was a well-intentioned leader, doing his best to hold the Republic together. Like many of the Republic's leaders, he found himself under Sidious's thumb. Wanting to save the Republic but unwilling to do Sidious's bidding, Palpatine begrudgingly accepted his emergency powers during the Separatist crisis and fully intended to step down when the crisis was over.

Sidious's plan was more or less exactly the same as was generally understood, with one exception: the real reason for the attack on Coruscant and Palpatine's capture on the Invisible Hand was to replace him with Sidious. And that's exactly what happened; Palpatine was summarily killed before the Jedi even got there, and Darth Sidious altered his appearance with Sith alchemy to resemble Palpatine. After this point, Palpatine suddenly transitions from "kindly grandpa" to "openly scheming villain". Dooku's out of the loop, which is why he's so stunned when "Palpatine" orders Anakin to kill him. Sidious's disguise held up until the fight with Windu, which revealed his real appearance.

Sidious may not have planned to kill Palpatine when he did — at least not before he could be assured that Anakin would be his apprentice, which in the film we didn't see until the fight with Windu. But Palpatine forced Sidious's hand. Palpatine was a Well-Intentioned Extremist who was doing his own political maneuvering, using Sidious as an end-around to quickly end the Trade Federation invasion of Naboo. He had his own reasons to watch Anakin's career with "great interest", hoping to turn the Jedi Council to his own side. He may have commissioned the clone army himself (Sidious co-opted it but didn't know what to do with it, hence why they suck so much by A New Hope), or Sidious may have done it but Palpatine hoped to co-opt it for his own ends. In any event, Palpatine was a loose cannon, and Sidious got lucky that he was able to complete his corruption of Anakin after getting rid of Palpatine.

Palpatine believes the Sith were meant to rule the Galaxy.
When he knights Anakin as Darth Vader, he states, "Once more, the Sith will rule the Galaxy!" That implies that they did rule the Galaxy at one point. It was a long time ago — in The Phantom Menace, the Jedi claim that the Sith had been "extinct for a millennium" — but it happened, and it predated the Republic that had been established over "a thousand generations" ago. Palpatine may have retconned that to "a thousand years" to obfuscate how long ago the Sith ruled. This all explains why Palpatine is so keen to take over the entire Galaxy — he thinks it's his birthright.

Plagueis is Only Mostly Dead.
Plagueis did discover immortality... sort of. Palpatine thought he killed Plagueis, but Plagueis was able to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. Plagueis couldn't be truly immortal — either he never learned how, or Complete Immortality is just plain impossible. He was reduced to an immaterial being. Like Voldemort, he's trying to get his physical body back, while Palpatine believes he's dead. Or Palpatine didn't really kill him but rather sealed him away, which would be plot important later on.

Anakin did not personally kill the younglings.
He shepherded them into the path of the Clone Troopers, who shot them. Like so many other things in his life, Anakin is hoping to find someone else to blame for his misdeeds. It also throws another wrench into the prophecy that he would "bring balance to the Force" — did anyone think about the possibility that murdering Jedi students was likely to throw the Force out of balance?

This WMG, however, requires a little bit of trickery. As far as we see in the movie, Anakin is the only one who could have killed the younglings. He's the only one there in the security footage. And Yoda and Obi-Wan, on examining the bodies, point out that some of them were killed by a lightsaber. Emphasis on some. Why would Anakin use a lightsaber on some of his victims and shoot the rest? Maybe Yoda and Obi-Wan are wrong about the lightsaber assessment. They're not very good at medical stuff, as shown when Padme dies in childbirth right under their noses.

Notice also how we never actually see Anakin killing the younglings. It's very heavily implied, what with Anakin glaring at the kids and igniting his lightsaber. But we never see him attack — it's just a Villainy Discretion Shot. And Obi-Wan is never seen looking at security footage of Anakin fighting the younglings, just other Jedi as part of the general Order 66. Now, the simplest way to think about this is that Star Wars is a franchise with a broad appeal, and you can't actually show one of the protagonists slaughtering children on screen without some pushback. But it makes just as much sense for Anakin himself to push back against it and to find some way to get rid of the younglings without having to do the dirty work himself. This is WMG — where there's space, we fill it!

Anakin wouldn't have turned to the Dark Side if he just admitted his relationship.
His main concern is losing his position as a Jedi. But while he might risk being kicked out of the Order (and even that's not a given), it would be a stretch to suggest that this would imply total disconnection like a creepy possessive cult. People would be around to help out. He'd be able to confide in people like Obi-Wan and Yoda about things like his Force nightmares and his relationship with Padme. They may also be able to help him find a job using his Force powers, and he'd be kind of a civilian ally. Instead, Anakin wants to have his cake and eat it too, and in the process he can only confide in Palpatine — and it all goes downhill from there.

Lots of Jedi had secret marriages, or at least secret long-term relationships and families.
We have been told that Jedi were forbidden from marrying, but were permitted to have sex. Many Jedi likely had serious long-term relationships, with children and something resembling a normal family life, even if without legal or religious solemnization. A non-trivial number probably had secret or even Open Secret marriages. The old Expanded Universe even has a few examples of Jedi with semi-secret relationships (in that other Jedi knew about them but just told them to keep it on the down-low). If Anakin had grown up in the Jedi Order, or had just had more of an opportunity to spend time with other Jedi, he might have realized this and relaxed about his relationship with Padme.

Plagueis saved Palpatine's life at one point.
He may not have saved himself, but he could save those he cared about from dying. In Plagueis's case, that's Palpatine. It might be a case of Even Evil Has Loved Ones, or it might just be Pragmatic Villainy — he needs Palpatine for his own purposes. In either case, it backfired pretty terribly for Plagueis, as Palpatine repaid him by killing him.

It's heavily implied that the withered old ghoul from Episode III onwards is Palpatine's true appearance. And the reason he looks like that to begin with is because he really is a ghoul of sorts — it's a side effect of Plagueis's power to resurrect him, which is unnatural and obviously imperfect. Except the glaring yellow eyes — that's just being Drunk on the Dark Side.

Plagueis survives in the form of a virus.
His physical body died, but his consciousness survived in the form of a virus stream, hopping from host to host. It's a greatly weakened state, and he needs to find a way to reclaim his power, but it does allow him to slip by unnoticed. It would also give Plagueis a Meaningful Name. He may have found a way to come back by The Force Awakens — in the form of Snoke.

If Mace Windu had killed Palpatine, he would have fallen to the Dark Side instead of Anakin.
Anakin pleads with Mace not to kill Palpatine because it's not the Jedi way (and therefore it's a Sith-like thing to do), and If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him! Anakin himself fell to the Dark Side partly because he executed Count Dooku, and Luke would have fallen to the Dark Side if he had killed Vader. If Mace killed an unarmed Palpatine, he would have become evil, since he's already closer to the Dark Side than most Jedi are (notice how he killed Jango Fett); Anakin might have ended up having to kill him after all, but remained good.

Padme entered a relationship with Anakin on behalf of the Jedi Council.
Both fans and detractors often argue about how Padme, shown to be a strong-willed woman otherwise, could have accepted the awkward, stalker-ish, kinda creepy Anakin. What if it was a big ruse to keep tabs on him?

The Jedi Council, or at least part of it, had already noticed Anakin's attachment to Padme. So they secretly talked to her, revealed the Jedi prophecies and Anakin's importance to them, and asked her to get as close as possible to him to keep him under control. (Obi-Wan wasn't informed — he was too attached to his old Padawan.) Padme accepted, mostly out of a sense of duty — her affection towards Anakin wasn't all fake, but she didn't love him. To avoid suspicion, she kept all contact with the Council to a minimum. It worked for a bit — and then she got pregnant, and it all went downhill from there.

As for her death, the medical droid wasn't completely wrong when it claimed she died of a broken heart. Sure, the other causes (strangulation, stressful childbirth, Force connection to a guy undergoing surgery for recent amputation and serious burns) were the biggest factors. But she considered herself to have failed the Galaxy, as her mission was to fill a void in Anakin's life and distract him from the allure of power, thus saving everyone from the "grave danger" the Jedi had long seen in Anakin. Even her children couldn't motivate her to keep living, especially given how getting pregnant to begin with was what led it all to fall apart.

Anakin didn't shout "I hate you!" at Obi-Wan.
What he actually said was much more profane. He either actually said "I fucking hate you!" or "Fuck you!" We heard it as "I hate you!" because of censorship.

The Jedi who went to arrest Palpatine with Mace Windu didn't really suck; they were just woefully unprepared.
  • Very few living Jedi had fought an honest-to-goodness Sith Lord. Even including the Expanded Universe, it's just Mace Windu, Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Quinlan Vos, and Aayla Secura. Out of those, only Windu and Anakin are on-world when Palpatine springs his trap (almost as if it were planned that way all along). Windu does show up to arrest Palpatine, and Anakin is considered too unstable to go and ends up fighting on the wrong side anyway. The Jedi were doing the best they could with what they had.
  • Because the Jedi had thought the Sith were long extinct, little emphasis was placed on lightsaber combat. For generations, the Jedi had long assumed their enemy would be firing blasters at them, and they would have trained in deflecting blaster bolts. It would have come as quite a shock to the three hapless Jedi (Tiin, Kolar, and Fisto) to see Palpatine suddenly pull a lightsaber and attack them that way. Here's a guy whom they thought was a physically frail politician suddenly turning into the kind of enemy they equated with the Boogeyman. Only Windu was ready for that. (It does raise a different question, though — why were they actively looking for said Boogeyman, and wouldn't they expect him to use a lightsaber?)
  • Palpatine may be doing some other Dark Side stuff in addition to swinging his lightsaber, perhaps a psychic Force manoeuvre to disorient the other Jedi. It might be his bizarre "constipated gargling" noise that he makes while barrel rolling up to the ledge where the Jedi are standing; Unnecessary Combat Roll, or Psychic Force Scream?
  • Kit Fisto does better than the other twonote , but Palpatine herds the other two into close quarters and isolates them, getting rid of them first. Fisto is forced to fight two-on-one with Palpatine, whose superior blade work makes quick work of him even with Windu's support.
  • And from a Doylist perspective, this is one of five on-screen lightsaber duels in the film. Most of the lightsaber fighting work was devoted to the massive climactic duel between Vader and Obi-Wan. Ian McDiarmid admitted that learning the choreography was difficult for him, so many of Palpatine's movements during the fight come across as slow and stilted. The fight was probably supposed to be a lot faster-paced than what we got, with the other Jedi hanging in there longer and forcing Palpatine to make more of an effort. Or, to put it in other words, Palpatine really is a league above the Jedi confronting him, but the film didn't do a good job of capturing that.

Obi-Wan is stifling a bout of Dissonant Laughter when he says Anakin killed the younglings.
It's a known psychological response to overwhelming fear or disgust. Obi-Wan is reacting at this moment in particular because only by putting Anakin's heinous acts into words does he truly realise the depths to which his former protégé had fallen.

Of course, the Doylist would tell you that it's because Ewan McGregor couldn't deliver the line with a straight face. But it works either way.

Anakin's visions are actually lingering effects from The Son's hypnosis
In "Ghosts of Mortis" from The Clone Wars, the Force God called The Son gives Anakin visions of his future, including Padme's death and Vader's mask, in order to convince him to try and prevent this future. The Father then wipes Anakin's mind, and Anakin supposedly has no idea about his future after this. But what if traces remained, causing Anakin to see his wife's death? This would add in a nice dose of irony, as The Son's attempt to prevent Anakin's future made it come true.

Ki-Adi-Mundi was a Separatist double agent.
The Separatists knew that Yoda was the brunt of the Jedi Council's muscle, so they had Ki-Adi-Mundi bring up the Wookiees' droid problem knowing that Yoda was the best man suited to an operation on Kashyyk, getting him out of the way for if Palpatine decides to act on the Council. Unfortunately for him, he was still a Jedi when Order 66 came, so he got swept up in the purge.