• Pete Fletzer

What's in a Name? Plagueis is the Big Bad.

What's in a name Anakin... AKA No-Family?

So, ladies and gentleman, we are all very excited about Episode IX, The Rise of Skywalker and, ever since we heard the now famous cackle (@johnnyhoey), the commonly held belief is that Emperor Palpatine is returning. Not so fast …

Consider, if you will, that it’s not Emperor Palpatine returning. It’s not Darth Sidious returning. It is Darth Plagueis the Wise returning. All the evidence is in the names of the characters – primarily, but not limited to, the “Darths.”

Each Sith Lord’s name can be traced to some variation of a common English word that also, in some way, describes their role. Darth Maul is the most obvious (if not laziest). The Zabrak apprentice was simply a weapon for his master. I explore it in my novel, but I also believe the intention was never to have him become a Sith Master. He was a killing machine and, from what we know, a darn good one.

Next is Darth Tyranus. Again, a little ham-handed in that he was a “tyrant” who led the Separatist movement against the Galactic Republic. The name fit him well.

Let’s start to get creative here now. Anakin can be read as "without family." The prefix "an-" means "lacking" and "kin," of course, means "family." So an a kin ... see?

Darth Vader can take two directions. One would be ‘vader as a truncated INvader. This is a perfect name for a military mastermind who would spread fear throughout the galaxy. The other option is that “vader” literally means “father” in Dutch and is close enough sounding in English. Did his master give him that name because he was his patriarch or because he would sire the greatest Jedi to ever live (Luke)? Is it because he allegedly had no father? Regardless, there is a clear connection between the name Vader and his role in the series.

However, it’s when you get to the last three names that the story becomes crystal clear. First, let’s start with Sidious. Yes, it’s clearly a variant of “insidious” which actually describes his story to a tee. According to Merriam-Webster the definition is this:

“having a gradual and cumulative effect “

awaiting a chance to entrap”

harmful but enticing”

My work is done here on that one. However, combine the last definition: “of a disease : developing so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent” with “Plagueis” or plague, and you see that perhaps it is almost too on the nose.

Enter “Palpatine.” If you go with me on this journey and accept “palpable” as the variant, you are see that the word is defined as:

“capable of being touched or felt”

“easily perceptible”

I realize it’s a popular theory that there is possession at the heart of “The Rise of Skywalker,” but could it be so obvious? Could it be that Plagueis is truly a spirit with viral tendencies who took root in Palpatine (his palpable form) during the Age of the Republic to become Darth Sidious? That it used his physical host to entrap and infect the entire galaxy? Did it “possess” Snoke and allowed itself to be free until it got close enough to Rey to take her over? That’s my theory … as of today.

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