The man who played the Emperor in Return of the Jedi seems to think that his character would fit in pretty well in politics today.
It’s a holy weekend for a large swath of America. No, we don’t mean Easter, but rather the annual Star Wars Celebration taking place in Orlando, Florida which is basically a giant Comic Con-like event that’s just about the galaxy far, far away. During an interview with actor Ian McDiarmid–who played the evil Emperor Palpatine in all the Star Wars films–left the fans with a bit of a warning about the state of the world today.
One of the things I really admire about [Star Wars creator] George [Lucas]…as a person and a creator of this amazing saga is his attention to great stories, great myths but also the present.
As far as the Emperor’s story is concerned, it’s about somebody who preaches democracy and acts as an authoritarian. And, all I would say is that hasn’t gone away. It probably won’t go away. There’s a lot of that about, so keep your wits about you.
While he doesn’t mention President Donald Trump or other far-right populists in Europe by name (this is a Disney-backed marketing event, after all), some Star Wars fans in the crowd and watching the live stream got the message.
Ian McDiarmid just slammed Donald Trump on cutting the endowment for the arts. I love him even more now. #SWCO
— Zach Dolber (@Zach_Dolber) April 13, 2017
Ian McDiarmid, with a twinkle in his eye, comparing Trump to Palpatine. "Keep your wits about you." #SWCO
— Andy (@Smartstuff99) April 13, 2017
I believe Ian McDiarmid just compared Trump to Emperor Palpatine. hahaha
— Stephanie Fink (@stephiefink) April 13, 2017
ian mcdiarmid closing a panel about playing the emperor with a not so veiled fuck you to trump
— BigGayLukeSkywalker (@AliceWCastle) April 13, 2017
The comparison is not without merit, though Emperor Palpatine was far more strategic despot. Policy efforts like the travel ban and the friendly relationship with Egypt’s strongman president have been called authoritarian in nature. Reuters news agency also told its reporters to cover the Trump administration like “any other authoritarian regime” in the world. During the campaign, people who favored authoritarian leadership overwhelmingly favored Trump.
The Star Wars celebration event also featured Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, Hayden Christiansen, George Lucas, and others associated with the films. It also featured a touching tribute to actress Carrie Fisher, who died in late 2016.
What do you think? Are there any comparisons between Star Wars’ iconic villain and the current president? Share your theories and thoughts in the comments below.
Featured image via screengrab