This essay is from David Stover
Published on November 8th, 2004, Revised on November 14th, 2004
The Emperor of Oz Theory
Testing the theory:
- What does it mean to “have the force” ?
- Observing lightning/electricity in the Star Wars universe
- Debunking supposed proof of force powers
To say that the Emperor (or anyone else) has the force, we should assume this means that the he has powers that ordinary creatures do not, e.g. – running faster and jumping higher, telepathy, clairvoyance, mind-tricks, and lightning. However, I have found clues within all the movies that indicate that this might be a great hoax. I have found in my analysis that there is a valid “non-force” explanation for each event that shows a pattern of deception consistent with everything the Emperor says and does.
The lightning coming from the Emperor’s hands in ROTJ (and Dooku’s in AOTC) might not be a force power at all. There are a couple things that GL points out in TPM and AOTC that lead me to consider this: power couplings. They seem to be everywhere and they are mentioned very deliberately in order to show that the technology exists in many sizes and strengths for many different purposes. See Jar-Jar’s tongue in TPM and Obi-Wan and Annakin chasing Zam in AOTC – both are very deliberate attempts to show the audience the power-coupling technology, it’s effects, and even mention it by name in both scenes. There is a distinct possibility that the same technology could be employed as a weapon.
The weapon could be on hidden under a cloak, attached to the person’s belt. This would work for the Emperor as well as Dooku as they both wear capes/cloaks. It is a given that Dooku has the force, but he could be using the lightning weapon in addition to a light-saber, all-the-while boasting of his great powers that eclipse even Yoda’s. This is an intimidation tactic, repeatedly used by him, the Emperor, and Vader. His lie is exposed and he even admits as much by saying, “Obviously this contest cannot be decided based on our knowledge of the force”; meaning Yoda called his bluff and knew more than he. Yoda’s ability to absorb the lightning and re-direct it at will is a tribute to his true power. The fact that Dooku cannot absorb or re-direct lightning exposes his weakness and proves that he was just trying to intimidate Yoda.
Consider that Darth Maul never uses lightning. He has no use for a lightning-weapon because of his great saber-fighting ability and agility. Something like that would only slow him down. But if it were a force-power you would think that he would use it, just as he uses force-throw to get the door open to the plasma processing plant and force-push to knock Obi-Wan into the pit. Darth Vader never uses lightning for obvious reasons.
If you consider everything seen in the movies as far as lightning/electricity is concerned, you can make a case (albeit not a rock-solid one) that there is the potential that the Emperor and Dooku are using technology and not the force, to generate lightning attacks. If you cannot make this conceptual leap and consider it a real possibility, you can stop reading now.
OK. You’ve made the conceptual leap of faith that maybe the lightning is not a force power. But what about all the other things the Emperor says and does that might indicate that he has the force? Analyzing every scene the Emperor is in and every mention of him in every movie you will find that in each instance where you think he might have the force, there is a possibility that he merely using “smoke and mirrors” in order to fool everyone.
The first that comes to mind is the unlocking Luke’s handcuffs. This one is easy to debunk. He could have easily used a remote control button on his throne. He is sitting when Luke comes in and only stands after the cuffs are released. The buttons on his throne control the throne movement, the elevator, the door, and his comm-link. Presumably he could remote unlock those handcuffs. Also, Luke seems truly shocked, as if he was unable or unaware of the ability to use the force this way. This is an intimidation tactic consistent with everything we have seen dark-side characters do in every movie. This trend continues throughout ROTJ, his using tricks and trash–talk to intimidate his opponents.
Why does he not use a light-saber? Vader, Maul and Dooku all do. Maybe he doesn’t have to or maybe he can’t. Either way, we do know this: the reason that only a Jedi would use a light-saber is because of the inherent danger to oneself. This alone doesn’t prove the theory, but if the Emperor at least owned a light-saber it would go a long way towards proving the theory wrong. I came up with this theory over a year ago, but it was posted the Monday after the ROTS teaser trailer was released. Although it appears that the Emperor is in fact using a light saber, I still maintain that it is not absolute proof of having the force. And let’s not forget the Palpatine/Emperor clone theory! The theory could end up being partially correct if Palpatine does not have the force and the Emperor does, which would explain why the Jedi do not detect a force presence in Palpatine and why Sidious remains hidden.
Here’s a really good one. Clairvoyance. The Emperor claims to have foreseen the future so many times, but in every instance you will find that it is all due to careful planning and trickery. “It was I who allowed the alliance to know the location of the shield generator.” Right there he admits that it wasn’t clairvoyance. If he were able to see the future, maybe he would have foreseen that Vader would throw him into a pit and the Death Star would be destroyed. The reason he keeps repeating these things is to intimidate.
He “claims” that he has foreseen that Luke will seek out Vader. Well duh. He knows that Luke sought him out once before. He admits that the whole “Death Star II, still under construction scheme” was a trap to get the rebels to attack. In fact, the first scene in ROTJ is where the Bothan spies get the bait. Vader reveals in front of a thousand people that a)the Death Star is not yet operational and b)that the Emperor is coming - both of which prompt the rebel attack. Talk about a breach of security! He knows Luke will be there to help attack. He knows that Luke and Vader are telekinetic. Not hard to predict, just as it was not hard to predict the “eminent attack” of the rebel fleet.
Vader senses Luke’s presence, but “strange that I have not” the Emperor says. Not so strange if you don’t have the force! Of course he has to say that it is strange in order to keep Vader down. He can’t let Vader think that he is weak. He has to keep him down and yet at the same time he is challenging or testing Vader to make sure he is telling him the truth. “Are you sure your feelings are clear?” Intimidation. smoke and mirrors.
Regarding the Sith: just because he says he is a Sith, does not make it true. Kaiser-Soze anyone? (see the Usual Suspects) I believe he could be using the Sith name as a way to scare and intimidate the Jedi. Maul says, “At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge.” Note that he never says Sith. In the scenes when they are alone they do not refer to themselves as Sith, but they do when in the presence of others. There could be a hundred reasons they want revenge. Calling themselves Sith could be a smoke screen. Could Maul be one of the many Jedi that have started leaving the order? His body tattoo could be an elaborate disguise to keep Jedi from recognizing him. He was well trained in the Jedi arts. The Emperor does have a penchant for recruiting susceptible young Jedi into his little secret society and Maul might be just another Jedi gone bad.