Star Wars’ Emperor Palpatine Has This Strange First Name

By Brent McKnight | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

PalpatineWe just wrote about how Warwick Davis, Wicket the Ewok from Return of the Jedi, will appear in Star Wars: Episode VII (though we don’t know if he’ll reprise that role, or figure in some other way). With the continuing expansion of the universe, he’s not the only one coming back—we already know about the like of Han, Luke, Leia, Darth Vader, and others—and the Emperor is another. He’s not, however, going to show up where you might initially expect him, and when he does, we’ll learn something about him we didn’t know, his first name.

The Emperor won’t appear in Episode VII, at least we don’t expect him to, despite some rumors that have made the rounds—I guess it is possible he could appear in a flashback like Vader is rumored to—but he will show up in the canon once again. This specific instance that we’re talking about, however, will go down in one of the new novels slated to form key pieces of the universe. He’s in James Luceno’s upcoming canon novel Tarkin, which is scheduled to hit bookshelves on November 4, and, after 34 years, we finally know his first name, and it’s not something you hear everyday.

The Emperor first appears in 1980s The Empire Strikes Back, and pops up in Jedi and the prequels, but we never hear anyone refer to him by his given name. That’s not totally strange or unexpected. After all, he’s a powerful man, and doesn’t appear to have many, if any friends. Basically, he’s not the kind of guy you pal around or get chummy with, especially with a name like he has: Sheev. Yes, the Emperor’s name is Sheev Palpatine.

If you think this sounds like a character from the Harry Potter saga, so do we. You have to wonder if this has been his name all along, like if, when filming Empire all the way back in 1979, George Lucas knew that this sinister fellow, perhaps the most evil man in the galaxy, was walking around with the name Sheev? Then again, having a name like that is a sure fire way to get a kid picked on—this isn’t an entirely unheard of moniker, but it isn’t one you run across with much regularity—and perhaps it was childhood trauma that led to the drive to take over the galaxy, become a total dick, and punish everyone. He definitely showed everyone. Maybe the moral of the story is be careful who you fuck with as a kid, because you never know who might grow up to become an evil Sith lord that shoots lightning out of his fingers.

Palpatine_SmileI’m curious to see what, if any, impact this has on the ever expanding Star Wars canon. It doesn’t diminish his power or impact one bit, and you have to wonder how it’s going to come up in the story at all.