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The main villain of the first six Star Wars movies went by a few names. Some know him as Darth Sidious, others simply call him Senator/Emperor Palpatine. Since the character's introduction in 1980's Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, however, one key element of his moniker has long been a mystery: his first name. It's never mentioned in any of the films - either the original trilogy or the prequels - and has never popped up in any other materials either. But now, it seems, that has all changed. A full 34 years after his introduction, Palpatine has a name. You ready?
It's Sheev. Sheev Palpatine. Doesn't he actually sort of look like a Sheev?
So how did this reveal happen/all come about? According to the fansite Star Wars Underworld, Sheev Palpatine is the name given to the legendary character in the upcoming, in-canon book "Tarkin," written by author James Luceno. The fact that the book reveals the Emperor's name was itself revealed at a New York Comic-Con panel this past weekend, and while the novel isn't actually out yet, apparently the information has leaked. The online Star Wars Wiki - best known as Wookieepedia - has updated Palpatine's page with the character's first name and it cites page 93 of "Tarkin" as a reference.
So what does this actually mean? Well, not much unless you're a hardcore Star Wars obsessive who is always hungry for new bits of trivia to remember. Even if the Emperor does actually show up or have any kind of influence in Star Wars Episode VII or any of the new trilogy, I'm sure knowing how to greet him informally isn't going to change anything. I'm pretty sure he's not like Rumpelstiltskin in that you can't just call him by name and he goes away. All the same, this little bit of news makes me wonder what Ian McDiarmid's thoughts are on the whole business. Did he ever actually ask George Lucas what Palpatine's first name was? Has he just been keeping it a secret to himself for decades? Or does he actually have a completely different first name for the character? These aren't important questions, but they are ones that I would like answers to.
The secret of Emperor Palpatine's first name has been uncovered early, but if you still wish to purchase "Tarkin" it will be available starting November 4th. It is currently available for pre-order right here.
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