Andor Can Show Palpatine As He’s Never Been Seen Before
Warning! This article contains spoilers for Andor episode 7.
Emperor Palpatine has yet to appear in Andor, yet his presence looms large in the series, offing the possibility of a new sort of portrayal of the secret Sith Lord. Palpatine’s gradual authoritarian coup is shown throughout the Star Wars prequel trilogy and his true self, a conniving, bloodthirsty, despot, is shown in his Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi roles. Depictions of Palpatine’s public persona during the reign of the Galactic Empire, however, are few and far between, especially in the post-2014 canon continuity, but perhaps Andor can change this.
Mon Mothma, along with other former Republic senators such as Bail Organa and the late Padmé Amidala, was suspicious of Palpatine since the Clone Wars, witnessing the Republic’s downward spiral towards fascism and protesting it with the Delegation of 2000. Revenge of the Sith nearly included this storyline, but it now exists in the form of deleted scenes (and the Legends-era Revenge of the Sith novelization). At Padmé’s insistence, Mothma and Organa feign support for their new Emperor, but they secretly plot against him, keenly aware of his malevolence.
Mon Mothma is likely unaware of Palpatine’s Sith Lordship, as only the surviving Jedi Knights Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi know of Palpatine’s Darth Sidious identity, but one does not need to be a Sith Lord to be a tyrant. Mothma and her like-minded colleagues watched as Palpatine gradually accumulated emergency powers during the Clone Wars until the Republic became an Empire in all but name. While Mothma probably does not know that Palpatine played both sides of the Clone Wars, she clearly saw him using the conflict to turn a democracy into a dictatorship, and the Empire itself makes no attempt to hide its oppression.
In George Lucas’ original story for A New Hope (known simply as Star Wars at the time), the Emperor was not a Machiavellian mastermind nor a Sith Lord, but rather a puppet of political and military despots like Grand Moff Tarkin or mystic Sith Lords like Darth Vader. While Palpatine will certainly not seem foolish if he appears in Andor, he may play the role of a figurehead with the Empire’s real leaders being regional governors. This would add to Mon Mothma’s descriptions as well as provide perhaps the most unique depiction yet of the Star Wars saga’s ultimate villain.
New episodes of Andor release on Wednesdays on Disney+.