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Master Azronger
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The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Empty The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis

September 15th 2023, 3:15 pm
Message reputation : 100% (2 votes)

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis 154249

This is a topic with enough frequently brought up misconceptions circulating it that, in order for me to not have to repeat the same points each time, I've decided to make this blog I can refer to whenever someone proffers the opinion that Luke Skywalker by himself defeated, or is more powerful and capable on the whole, than the Reborn Emperor Palpatine in the sixth and final issue of Dark Empire. Suffice to say I believe any such notions are most often founded in an erroneous or cursory reading of the comic and possible ignorance regarding the supplementary material, all of which I intend to rectify and shed a light on herein.

I will be funneling my interpretations through a series of filters, starting with the source of highest canonicity, the comic, followed by its sole adaptation in the form of the audio drama, and finishing off with the supplementary material such as the endnotes, sourcebooks, and author commentary. The reasoning behind my hierarchy of evidence is rooted in DarthAnt66's "Consideration Temple of LFL Fact," found in his Canon and Considerations blog, which I believe to be a sound guideline. It consists of five pillars determining the worth of a source or a claim, with visibility being the chief pillar elevating the comic over any other source as Dark Empire is among the most recognized EU works ever, whereas relatively few people have ever touched a Star Wars sourcebook in their lives, and likewise only a small number of people have heard of the audio drama; even in secondary sources, it's practically never mentioned and all attention is given to the comic. I would also nominate clarity, with a small, personal addendum, as an additional reason to view the comic more highly: each source that comments on an existing source is another person's reading, and therefore a distortion, even if in only a small way, of that original source. You can liken it to the accuracy between a historical document versus actually being there in person to witness the events, which occasionally results in cases of broken telephone, creating the mistakes we frequently see in secondary sources. In that respect, original narrative sources (i.e. the stories themselves) should axiomatically be higher than secondary sources like reference books and such, and among those narrative sources the one that came first should hold sovereignty over its adaptation(s), in this case the comic triumphing over the audio drama, though another pertinent example would be the films and their various adaptations.

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis ArdWXAX

Secondary sources also have their own hierarchy for me. Sources which "specialize" in Dark Empire such as the endnotes, the eponymous Sourcebook and Handbook, I value more than sources which treat Dark Empire as merely one story among the vast wealth of material included in them, like The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, The Official Star Wars Fact File, or Star Wars Insider, as I've noticed those types of sources tend to have far more errors than sources with a focused topic. LFL has also decreed author commentary is superseded by the published material, hence why authorial intent ranks last for me. Leland Chee says he does not have any notes on authors' intent [1]; Sue Rostoni clarifies "anything authors speculate about, or anyone else for that matter, is not canon until it is in print" [2]; and even the most lenient answer by Pablo Hidalgo states "A storyteller's intent should be considered, but people change their minds all the time, so the text itself is the most solid thing to go off." [3] And while Matt Martin didn't work on Legends, he echoes the same sentiment in saying "You shouldn't take anything anyone says on social media as gospel", that "No random statements by creators are canon in and of themselves" "so nothing is 'true' until it's told in official storytelling," and that "the facts are in the publishing itself." [4][5] However, Leland Chee has stated an author's thoughts on a subject they wrote about are "as official as it's going to get" insofar as no published material comments on it. [6]

To conclude, I will condense and summarize the key takeaways in an easily digestible manner. The end result will be the most detailed and in-depth explanation of the final battle of Dark Empire ever compiled.


THE COMIC -- STAR WARS: DARK EMPIRE #6 - THE FATE OF A GALAXY

Author: Tom Veitch | Release Date: 1992

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(open the images in a new tab to view them in more detail)

Most of the relevant information is contained in these pages. The first and second pages are straightforward enough: in response to Luke's defiance to serve him, Palpatine proclaims his life to be forfeit and engages him in a lightsaber duel wherein both combatants press the other at points, with Luke ultimately emerging triumphant in the end by cutting off Palpatine's hand. The misinterpretation happens when people isolate this page from the rest and apply Luke's victory over Palpatine in a lightsaber duel to all facets of combat. Yes, I believe Luke's victory to be legitimate, even accounting for the assistance of Leia's battle meditation (you can see her glowing on the first page's fourth and fifth panels as well as the second page's third panel, and on the third page she states she has already joined her Force power to Luke's with the narration stating she's continuing to "unlock unexpected resources in Luke," though Vima-Da-Boda in Empire's End clarifies her application was only elementary [Link]), but Palpatine is a more formidable Force-user than he is a lightsaber duelist by orders of magnitude. Not that he is inept with the blade (another common misconception regarding his Dark Empire iteration, but that's not the subject of this blog); rather the power he can express through his defective clone vessel is notably limited when it comes to those bodily manifestations - such as the physical augmentation of strength, speed, reflexes, etc. - compared to other ways he can channel the dark side.

Indeed, the third page contains Palpatine's infuriated remark that Luke has failed to comprehend his power. His entire aspect crackles with lightning, and the narration notes that the Force storm tearing through the Alliance fleet and rending the fabric of reality is his rage taking form: an external manifestation of Palpatine's dark side anger. On the fourth page Palpatine labels the earlier lightsaber bout as him simply indulging in a "Jedi dueling game," and declares Luke and Leia will now witness his true potency: far from mere a physical being to be vanquished in a duel, Palpatine exists as an energetic incarnation of the dark side itself. He raises his hand at the twin Jedi and threatens to annihilate them with Force lightning, daring them to try whatever attack or defense they please, for against his might it will all be for naught.

In this moment, Luke has the advantage of a lightsaber against Palpatine's severed hand - he is facing an unarmed opponent, literally, against whom he has just demonstrated greater Force augmentation and precognition - yet he turns off his weapon, backs away, and tells Leia they can stop him together by combining their strength. If Luke were Palpatine's senior in Force power or mastery, he would not have shied away from his Force lightning; if Luke's lightsaber were of use against Palpatine's powers, he would not have sheathed it; if Luke were Palpatine's superior in all-out combat, he would not have retreated from his unarmed enemy and implored his sister for aid. Yet Luke does all of these things, so what does that tell you about his and Palpatine's power levels relative to one another? It tells you Luke is blatantly no match for him on his own, something compounded by the fact that Palpatine's full power isn't even brought to bear here: he is threatening Luke and Leia with Force lightning while simultaneously maintaining, controlling, and growing a Force storm that he has funneled "all his hatred" into that is obliterating dozens if not hundreds of frigates and capital ships outside, contains more power than a medium star and the power to destroy the entire surface of the moon - only a vast, vast minority of his strength is being used to subdue to Luke and Leia.

The narration in the following panel states Leia's conjoining with Luke "continues to unlock unexpected resources" within him, and the pair close their eyes and feel Master Yoda's words echo in their minds: "Try not. Do or do not... There is no try. My ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it and makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us... Luminous beings are we... Not this crude matter-- Feel it you must. Feel the flow. Feel the Force around, everywhere, waiting to be felt and used." Of note here is the fact that only Luke has ever heard these words; Leia never met the sagacious Jedi Master, yet his wisdom is echoing in her mind as well as her brother's, exemplifying their mutual union. They reach beyond merely each other, however - they harness "the power of luminous beings" to combat Palpatine, referring to Yoda's words quoted in the previous three speech panels. The pair expand past their physical outlines to touch the Force that everywhere around them and has always been everywhere around them, waiting to be felt and used. It's a state of communion with a holy power far greater than either of them could achieve individually, a power that from the implications in the comic alone could be taken to mean the Force in its totality (the ancillary material ratifies this interpretation).

Despite this beatific might now raised against Palpatine, the narration on the fifth page makes an effort to emphasize the reason he is vulnerable to it is not necessarily because he is innately subordinate to Luke and Leia's apotheosized strength, but because he has funneled "all his hatred" (and thus nearly all of his power, as the two are inextricably linked) into his Force storm, and is consequently "caught off-guard" by the wave of life energy surging through him. The comic also heavily implies light side energy is fundamentally anathema to Palpatine's nature, as seen by his hand being mysteriously burned by a bright light when he touches Leia's stomach with her unborn child within it; Leia's light is treated as an antidote to the Emperor's darkness in Luke's case well. [1][2] Despite this, all Luke and Leia's combined attack does is separate him from his power and rage; it's his own Force storm, now without Palpatine's will to control it, that undoes him. Luke and Leia, despite their enlightenment, then flee from the rampant storm rather than attempt to tame it, and Luke remarks what ultimately defeated Palpatine was himself.

The final page summarizes the events: Luke concedes his inferiority to Palpatine on his own merits, and confirms the unity of many Jedi were needed to triumph. Leia concurs that two Jedi are more powerful than one, but she also reveals that the unborn Anakin Solo was also joined with them.

-- -- --

All of that is solely from the comic, with no additional commentary from secondary sources, and we still have the following:
  • Lightsaber duels are games to Palpatine. His full power is the Force storm.
  • Luke retreats before Palpatine's crackling energy even though he has a lightsaber and Palpatine is unarmed. On page two, panel one he is close to Palpatine, but on and page three, panel two he is by Leia's side, yet in both panels his lightsaber is still in its sheathing phase, indicating he must have retreated very quickly.
  • Luke implores Leia for aid and doesn't try to fight Palpatine when he is wielding merely Force lightning and an infinitely greater portion of his power has been channeled into the Force storm outside.
  • Palpatine is caught off-guard and is at fractional strength when Luke and Leia's life energy attack hits.
  • Luke and Leia harness the Force in its totality and yet do not even destroy Palpatine. They only separate him from his power.
  • Luke and Leia flee from Palpatine's true power, the Force storm. In their empowered state they can do nothing against it.
  • Luke concedes he could not have defeated Palpatine alone. Palpatine conquered himself.

So, how does one who has actually read the comic (read, as in, consumed, processed, and comprehended the text and the visuals, and their meaning) come to the conclusion Luke "beat" Palpatine in anything other than a playground game? It doesn't matter if you think DE Luke is more powerful than Yoda or weaker than Ahsoka Tano - where you hold the character is irrelevant to this particular discussion -, the claim that Luke defeated Palpatine is just a nonentity, and I entreat anyone who disagrees to challenge my reading of the comic on its own grounds.

THE AUDIO DRAMA

Author: John Whitman | Release Date: 1994



Star Wars: Dark Empire audio drama internet transcript wrote:
LUKE: NO!!! I made a mistake! I thought I had to save the galaxy alone. All by myself. But the way of the Jedi is not a solitary path.

LEIA: (gasps suddenly) The Holocron!! Luke, the Holocron told me to "join with my brother!"

LUKE: (realizing) Yes. The Force binds us. Brings us together. Many people are fighting this war---together!! Our ally IS the Force! Through the strength of the Force, your shroud of evil has been lifted from my mind!

Sound: The Emperor's own lightsaber activates.

EMPEROR: So be it. Through the power of the Force, you will DIE!!!

Sound: The Emperor lunges at Luke--who activates his own lightsaber and blocks the blow!! A vicious duel ensues between the two. Both grunt and yell as they lash out.

LEIA: Be careful, Luke! The Force is strong.... they're both moving so fast, I can hardly see them.... I feel waves of power.... the Dark Side and the Light...But...I feel...the Light...is winning!!

Sound: One blow finally lands---and something thuds on the floor as both lightsabers deactivate!

EMPEROR: NNAAAAARRRGGGHHH!!!! MY HANDD!!! YOU'VE CUT OFF MY HANNNDDDD!!!!!!

LUKE: Now, "Your Highness," we will escort you to the Alliance base, where you will surrender the Galaxy to the New Republic!!

EMPEROR: (long pause) Look at you. Don't think I don't know your plan.

Sound: A far-off roar begins in the far distance...the same noise that spirited Luke away from Coruscant.

EMPEROR: The Dark Side has you. You intend to rule the Galaxy in my place. But.... utter imbecile that you are.... you have still failed to understand MY POWERRRR!!!!!!

LEIA: (hearing the noise) What's happening?!

EMPEROR: Watch the viewscreen!! And listen as your friends die!!!!

Sound: The sound becomes louder...and moving lower.

LUKE: He's created another storm!

LEIA: It's descending on Pinnacle Base, consuming all the ships in its path! (rushes to the comm console and activates the comm) Mon Mothma, can you hear me?!

MON MOTHMA: (on intercom, shouting to be heard) Princess Leia, there's an energy storm! It's suddenly taken over the planet!! We have 12 ships lost already!!! All our hands have been lost--we're being wiped out!!!

HAN: (on intercom) LEIA!! LE-

Sound: Ominous static.

LEIA: (tightly controlling her anger) You're going to SLAUGHTER all those people!!

EMPEROR: Yes. Did I not warn you? I've played your Jedi dueling games long enough. Now, you will experience my full potency. I live as energy!! I AM THE DARK SIDE!!!!

LUKE: What have you done....? The power you've unleashed.... even you can't control it!

LEIA: But we can, Luke. We can do it. That's what the Holocron meant. Let me add my power to yours.

EMPEROR: Yes. Waste your time on stupid Jedi tricks. The storm will crush your Rebel base to dust.

LUKE: (echoing) Leia....

LEIA: (echoing) I'm here, Luke.

LUKE: (echoing) Concentrate...

LEIA: (echoing) I'm trying.

EMPEROR: What are you doing?

LEIA: (echoing) Luke, I feel the Force!

EMPEROR: (realizing at long last) NO!!!

LUKE: (echoing) Yes. It's surrounding the Emperor. Cutting him off from all the power he poured into the storm....

EMPEROR: Fools!!! If you destroy me, the Dark Force will crush you as well!!!!

LUKE: (echoing).... trapping him in his own dark hatred!!

EMPEROR: NOO!!! NNNNOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Sound: The energy storm drowns out the Emperor's dying scream...drowns out everything...

SCENE 4-17    INT. COUNCIL CHAMBER

MON MOTHMA: The storm! It's reversed course!

HAN: It's heading for the Emperor's ship!! (hits intercom frantically) Leia! GET OUT OF THERE!! LEIA!!!!

Sound: Groundshaking noise as the storm obliterates the Emperor's flagship...and fades into silence.

MON MOTHMA: Scanners? This is Mon Mothma--report!!

SCANNER OFFICER: No sign of...anything!

HAN: No sign of?! What do you mean?!?

SCANNER OFFICER: Sorry, General Solo. The Emperor's ship, it's...it's just gone.

HAN: (voice about to break) No....oh, no....

THREEPIO: (likewise) Oh, dear. The Princess! Master Luke!!

CHEWBACCA: ROARS IN ANGUISH.

HAN: (hits intercom) LEIA!!!

Sound: Static on the comm channel. A long, breath-holding silence. And then.....

"This is the...(static).....ase, do you copy? (crackle) This is the (buzz) ....do you copy?"

HAN: Leia.....?

LEIA: (on comm) Perk up, flyboy!!

HAN: Leia!!

LUKE: (on comm) Don't forget about me!

THREEPIO: Master Luke!!

SCANNER OFFICER: We've got 'em, sir! A small shuttle just coming into viewscreen!!!

Sound: The Council Chamber explodes with jubilant cheers. Every voice is raised in celebration.

SCENE 4-18    INT. SHUTTLE COCKPIT

LUKE: Clear the way, Pinnacle Base. We're coming home! (turns off comm)

LEIA: The last of the great storm is fading, Luke. Vanishing into the void.... taking the Emperor with it!

Music: The last minute of the End Theme starts up, quietly at first...

LUKE: One Jedi cannot conquer the galaxy alone. I guess we proved that. But together, we were a Jedi fire that outshone his evil.

LEIA: Two are more powerful than one. Three are more powerful than two.

LUKE: What??

LEIA: I felt another join us, Luke. My third child. He's going to be a very great Jedi.

LUKE: Your child? (happiest we've heard him) This is the beginning, Leia. I feel it. Great things are coming!! The Jedi Knights WILL rise again!!!

Music: End Theme hits full volume, on through the closing credits.

The only other version that we have of this fight is the audio drama. This adaptation follows most of the same beats as the original comic, but also contains slight differences, and adds new information that complements the comics. In this version the Emperor has mentally enslaved Luke and turned him into a mindless puppet who has even forgotten his own name, but Leia's ability to counteract Palpatine's darkness is also emphasized more in that she's able to reach out to Luke and pull him back from the abyss, helping him remember himself despite Palpatine's best efforts to expunge Luke's mind.

The duel between Luke and the Emperor is timed as roughly 25 seconds long from the first lightsaber strike at 2:25:52 to Palpatine's scream at 2:26:17. Both men exert themselves judging by their grunts, and move almost faster than Leia's visual perception can keep up. Instead she mainly perceives the duel through their Force auras emitting waves of light and dark side power, respectively, and towards the end she senses Luke's light is overcoming the Emperor's darkness, supporting the reading that Luke is more powerful in the Force than Palpatine in terms of its bodily applications.

The Emperor then summons his Force storm and, like in the comic, Luke exclaims Palpatine cannot control the chaos he has unleashed but, contrary to the comic, Leia is the one to suggest that she and Luke join their powers instead of him, and also claims that together they can control the Force storm. The subsequent Force harmony is evidently observed by the Emperor as he comments on it, so the comic's phrasing "caught off-guard" may be a bit misleading in its suggestion that Palpatine isn't focusing on what his opponents are doing when the attack washes over him, and could rather be taken to mean he is merely surprised by the particular Jedi technique they employ against him (though the comic's implied causation between Palpatine's power having been gone forth into the Force storm and his vulnerability to the Force harmony isn't affected). Luke also states that while Palpatine's connection to this storm is cut, he is also trapped inside his own darkness, indicating the Force harmony encases the victim in a literal barrier of light side energy that prevents the in- or outflow of dark side energies. However, Leia's claim that she and Luke can control the storm isn't expounded upon, and it seems contradicted by the comic given there Luke states there isn't much time before the storm hits the ship and they both flee.

Everything else in the audio drama is largely to the same as in the comic, and the details that are omitted can be ascribed to the differences between visual and auditory mediums.
[hideedit]


Last edited by Master Azronger on September 19th 2023, 2:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Empty Re: The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis

September 15th 2023, 3:16 pm
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THE SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL

Most of the supplementary material affirms my interpretations above, although some naturally contradict it as well as the primary source material at large. Here I will go over each secondary source that has meaningful commentary on the battle, listing key insights as bullet points (so I will not be factoring into my analysis sources such as The Essential Guide to Warfare which merely states that "The Emperor died aboard the Eclipse at Da Soocha"). In the concluding section I will meld all the sources together with the primary material to form a cohesive and unified picture of the battle.

--- --- --- --- ---

The endnotes for Star Wars: Dark Empire #6 - The Fate of A Galaxy
Author: Tom Veitch | Release Date: 1992

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

A Jedi's lightsaber is a wonderful weapon, and in the hands of a fully-trained Jedi Knight, it is even a match for the technology of modern warfare. Using only a lightsaber, Luke Skywalker was able to deflect the cannonfire of an AT-AT Imperial Walker back on itself, disabling the Walker.

But as they grew older, and wiser, the greatest Jedi - beings like Master Yoda - seldom, if ever, were known to use the lightsaber. Many a young Jedi has asked his Master about this. And the old Masters were quick to respond: Because a Jedi's strength - all his strength - flows from the Force. And the more a Jedi learns to use the Force, the more he joins himself to that luminosity that is the very nature and substance of the Force.

Gently, persistently, Master Yoda tried to move Luke through the rigors of physical combat to the highest levels of Jedi training. But Luke, impetuous, willful, full of youthful hunger for action, seemed to never hear what Yoda tried to tell him.

He has paid a great price for his heedlessness. But from the consequences of experience, he has also learned a great lesson.

Here at last, at the terrible moment when he and Leia confront the untrammeled power of the most sinister agent of the Dark Side, Luke is compelled to find and take hold of those resources that were known by Master Yoda - and by the greatest Jedi of old.

The key to Luke's turning is the moment when he and Leia realize the Emperor is no longer defined by his physical form, but has become a chaotic nexus of dark energies that swell and burst open the fabric of space, tearing apart everything in the vicinity, human and machine.

Nothing can match such dark power...nothing except these twin Jedi joined in birth and now joined to the greatest strength of the Jedi - the power of luminous beings.

For one long extended moment, Luke and Leia are united to the Force in all its intensity, and the Force flows through them like a tidal wave of light.

This is the unquenchable light of the Jedi, the ultimate reality on which their way is founded. This is the principle from which the Jedi derived their very existence and went on to become the maintainers of peace and justice during the time of the Old Republic.

Before such clarity and power, the cataclysmic rage of the Emperor cannot stand.
  • The lightsaber is superfluous next to the Force. All of the Jedi's strength flows from the Force. The rigors of physical combat are on a distinctly lower level than that higher Jedi training, which is what Yoda and other greatest Jedi adhered to.
  • At first Luke was impetuous and willful, and refused to listen to what Yoda was trying to tell him. He has paid a steep price for his heedlessness.
  • But now, upon realizing that Palpatine is a chaotic nexus of dark side energies that tears apart everything in the vicinity, human and machine, Luke reaches a turning point and is compelled to take hold of those resources that were known to Yoda and the greatest Jedi of old.
  • Nothing can match Palpatine's power. Luke would have been torn apart had he stepped near, explaining why he backs away to Leia's side. This is true even while the vast majority of Palpatine's power has been funneled into the storm. Using only a tiny portion of his power, Palpatine's mere presence can disintegrate Luke.
  • Only Luke and Leia joined to to the Force in all its intensity. The tidal wave of light that washes over them is the ultimate reality and principle from which the Jedi derived their very existence 25,000 years prior.


The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Screenshot_20221109_220438

THE LIMITATIONS OF THE DARK SIDE ARE KNOWN

The Dark Side power has always been exploited by the infinitely murderous, infinitely grasping few, to the detriment of many. Seduced by violence, each Dark Side magician is convinced that to curse, to annihilate, and to unleash unspeakable energies of physical destruction is the supreme gift of the Force.

But in fact, as the greatest Jedi Masters have known, such powers are a kind of chimera, because they can only threaten "this crude flesh." Yes, such powers can inspire fear and obedience in the weak-minded. But such powers cannot touch the brightness that surrounds us and binds us together...the brightness to which the Jedi, as luminous beings, are forever joined.

Luke often wondered what happened to Ben and Yoda, when they passed out of this universe and their physical bodies simply vanished, leaving only heaps of empty robes behind.

How could such a marvel be?

Now, as the flood gates of the Force open in him, Luke begins to understand how such things are possible. The Force itself, beyond the physical outlines of the body, is not only a Jedi's greatest ally, but unshakable luminous reality.

And the Force, in all its intensity, belongs to no single entity - but to all.
  • The dark side can only touch the physical. The true strength of the Force is the power of luminous beings, to which all Jedi are forever joined. The dark side cannot touch the true Force.
  • The flood gates of the Force open within Luke. He understands how Obi-Wan and Yoda could simply vanish and leave behind a bundle of robes: it is because the Force exists beyond the physical outlines of the body; in all its intensity, the Force is the Jedi's unshakeable reality that not only the Jedi, but all beings, are part of.

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Screenshot_20221109_221210

THE JEDI KNIGHTS MUST RISE AGAIN

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Master Yoda - even Luke and Leia's father Anakin Skywalker - have all disappeared, gone from the Galaxy. Mysteriously, for reasons known only to themselves, they no longer appear to Luke, or offer him guidance.

And yet...there's a feeling...a sense of hidden nearness...as if they are watching him, sometimes frowning, sometimes nodding their heads. Others too - untold thousands of departed Jedi - are with them.

Luke feels a unity among the Jedi, reaching beyond "this crude flesh," stretching back 25,000 years and more, to the beginning of the Jedi Knights. It is as if the attention of the departed Jedi can never be fully turned away from the Galaxy, until the great crimes of the Empire are finally undone.

No, Luke Skywalker is not alone, not by a long shot. And he is not without resources: after all, he and Leia have recovered the Jedi Holocron. The Holocron, a long-lost Jedi wisdom source, contains a trove of histories, teachings...and Jedi secrets.

Didn't Ben tell him that if the Holocron could be found, it would help re-estiblash the Jedi Knights? Could it be possible that the Holocron will lead Luke and Leia to other Jedi?
  • Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin have all vanished from the galaxy, but Luke feels they are always near and watching him. Thousands of Jedi, stretching back to the founding of their Order 25,000 years ago. There is a unity among them that reaches beyond the boundaries of the flesh. Their attention cannot be turned away from the galaxy until the crimes of the Empire are finally undone.

-- -- --

The opening crawl of Star Wars: Dark Empire II #1 - Operation Shadow Hand
Author: Tom Veitch | Release Date: 1994

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

In a final confrontation with the Emperor himself, Luke and Leia joined together as Jedi in the Force. Enveloped in light, the Emperor fell victim to his own cataclysmic dark-side energy!
  • Luke and Leia, through the Force, joined together and became one.
  • The Emperor's downfall to his own Force storm is attributed to him being enveloped in light.

-- -- --

Star Wars: Dark Empire Sourcebook
Author: Michael Allen Horne | Release Date: 1993 | Some information repeated nearly verbatim in Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi Companion (George R. Strayton, 1996)

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis DE_Luke_stats

(only typing the combat relevant stats; if you wanna see everything, look at the scan or go to the source yourself)

Luke Skywalker

DEXTERITY 3D+2
Blaster 6D+2, brawling parry 6D+2, dodge 8D+2, melee combat 5D+2, melee parry 10D+2, lightsaber 11D

KNOWLEDGE 3D
willpower 8D

STRENGTH 3D+2
Brawling 6D+2, climbing/jumping 7D+2, lifting 6D, stamina 8D+2

Force Skills:
Control: 13D+1
Sense: 11D+1
Alter: 10D+2
These are only some of the powers that Luke has so far demonstrated

Force Points: 6
Dark Side Points: 6
Character Points: 33


The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis DE_Sheev_stats

(only typing the combat relevant stats; if you wanna see everything, look at the scan or go to the source yourself)

Emperor Palpatine

DEXTERITY 2D+1
Blaster 8D+1, brawling parry 8D, dodge 10D, lightsaber 13D, melee combat 9D+2, melee parry 9D+1, running 7D

KNOWLEDGE 4D+1
scholar: Dark Side Lore 15D+1, scholar: Jedi lore 14D, scholar: lightsaber histories 14D, willpower 13D

STRENGTH 3D
Brawling 8D, climbing/jumping 7D+1, lifting 7D, stamina 9D

Force Skills:
Control: 15D+2
Sense: 17D
Alter: 15D+1
(Palpatine has spent decades studying the most arcane and esoteric Jedi disciplines. It is believed that he has mastered nearly all the known powers, previously unknown powers, and devises new ones at his pleasure)

Force Points: 40
Dark Side Points: 50
Character Points: 85
  • For those who care, the Dark Empire Sourcebook gives Luke worse stats than Palpatine in nearly all combat-relevant categories, even in things like unarmed brawling and blaster-wielding. His lightsaber and physical stat is also nearly always lesser, and his Force stats are far inferior.
  • Palpatine gets a way more flattering description of his Force mastery than Luke does.

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Part of the inherently corrupt nature of Palpatine's life force causes his new clone bodies to decay at a greatly accelerated rate. As his bodies age, he finds himself having to expend greater numbers of Force Points and Character Points to avoid having his body consumed by his own corruption.
  • Palpatine's life force is "inherently corrupt," meaning "existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute," synonymous with "intrinsic," "innate," and "inborn."

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Force_Harmony

Force Harmony

Control Difficulty: Difficult, modified by proximity
Sense Difficulty: Difficult, modified by relationship
Alter Difficulty: Moderate
Required Powers: Life detection, life sense, projective telepathy, receptive telepathy
This power can be kept "up."

Effect: This allows several wiling Jedi to manifest the power of the Light Side. As long as this power is held up, it bathes the users in the celestial illumination that is the Light Side. It can act as a shield against the powers of the Dark Side, giving an extra 5D for each Force user involved to resist the effects of powers called upon by Dark Side servants. Note that +5D may appear to be an immense bonus, but since this power must be kept up, the Jedi calling upon the power is suffering a 2D penalty simply for calling upon this power. One can only link as many Force users as the initiator of the power has control or sense dice, whichever skill is lower.

For example, if Leia used Force harmony, since her control is 5D+1 and her sense is 4D+2, she would only be able to link a total of four people (including herself).

When acting as a shield against the Dark Side, if both the control and sense rolls exceed the success roll of the Dark Side power used (if the power requires multiple skill rolls, the highest roll), then the Dark Side power is interrupted. All "up" powers are interrupted as if the user were stunned. It does not cancel out the presence of the Dark Side, but it can distract its servants and make their actions more difficult.
Example: Leia and Luke Skywalker try to disrupt Palpatine's Force storm, which is destroying the Republic's fleet. Palpatine is in the room with them. Luke and Leia and Leia's new child are related by blood and are all strong with the Force. Leia spends a Force Point and links Luke and the child with the Light Side; her control roll is 47 and her sense roll is 36. She successfully uses the Force harmony power, giving everyone a +5D against the effects of any Dark Side powers. If both of these rolls exceed Palpatine's highest skill roll when he summoned the Force storm, then Palpatine's control over the Force storm is severed.
  • In the D6 system, Force harmony is designated as "difficult" in the control and sense spheres, and "moderate" in the alter sphere. This refers to the baseline difficulty of using the power - proximity and relationship are listed as modifying variables for control and sense, respectively, that make the usage either easier of harder.
  • The power can be "kept up," meaning that once activated, it does not require additional Force energy to maintain it; the only penalty exacted is upon the initial activation. In game terms, this means a single skill roll from Leia is required, whereas powers that cannot be kept up require a new skill roll each round. Force harmony is a binary on-and-off switch.
  • The function of Force harmony is to serve as a shield against the powers of the dark side. Rather than a mere passive defense, however, it can be turned on the opposing darksider to interrupt their use of the dark side, distract them, and make all of their actions more difficult, as if they were stunned. In game terms, this requires the initiator of the Force harmony to roll higher numbers for control and sense than whatever was rolled for the dark side power by its summoner.
  • Therefore, in game terms, Leia would have rolled higher control and sense numbers for the Force harmony than Palpatine would have for the Force storm.


The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Create_Force_Storms

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Unknown

Create Force Storms

Control Difficulty: Heroic
Sense Difficulty: Heroic
Alter Difficulty: Heroic. Modified by proximity. Modified by size of storm desired. +5 for 100 meters or less, +10 for 100 meters to one kilometer, +15 for a base of one kilometer, and +2 difficulty for every kilometer diameter in size. Modified by damage: +5 per 1D of damage. Must make Heroic rolls for each successive round to control the storm. Must make a Very Difficult roll to dissipate the storm.
Required Powers: Hibernation trance, life detection, life sense, magnify senses, receptive telepathy, sense Force, telekinesis, farseeing (see Dark Force Rising Sourcebook), projective telepathy, instinctive astrogation (see Galaxy Guide 9: Fragments from the Rim), rage
Warning: Force storms are immensely destructive and violate the laws of nature. A Jedi using this power automatically gains a Dark Side Point.
Effect: This is perhaps the single most destructive Force power known. This power allows the Jedi to twist the space-time continuum to create vast storms of force. The power also allows limited control of these storms. Capable of creating annihilating vortices, the storms can swallow whole fleets of spaceships or tear the surfaces off worlds.

Use of this power requires the focusing of hate and anger to an almost palpable degree and there is considerable danger involved. Some are able to create Force storms, but fail at harnessing what they have foolishly unleashed. Often, those who fail to control the storm are themselves consumed and destroyed. If the user is destroyed, the storm dissipates within minutes.

When the Force user attempts to create a Force storm, the Jedi must determine the diameter and the amount of damage (the damage dice are capital scale). If the Jedi fails any of the rolls, the storm is summoned with the desired damage, but it attempts to consume the summoner. The summoner can attempt unusual maneuvers with the storm, such as to create a vortex to draw unwary victims to a specified point, at a +10 to difficulty.
  • In the D6 system, Force storms are designated as "heroic" in all three spheres of control, sense, and alter in terms of baseline difficulty - the highest possible. Furthermore, the alter difficulty is modified by the storm's proximity, size, and damage, which must be decided by the user before the conjuration occurs. This only adds to the difficulty, especially in Palpatine's case given the ludicrous size and destructive potency behind his creation.
  • The user must make heroic rolls each successive round in order to continue controlling the storm; in lore terms, maintaining control of the storm continuously consumes the caster's resources.
  • In the comic, Palpatine is directing the storm to consume the New Republic fleet and to descend on Pinnacle Base on the moon below, furthering its proximity from himself and thus presumably making each new roll more difficult.
  • This is not elaborated on in the game rules, but in the comic Palpatine is actually increasing the size of the storm over time: (refer to the comic scans above) on page three it devours a Nebulon-B frigate (300 m in length) and several smaller Republic ships, and overall appears to only be roughly 1.5 to 2 km in diameter; but on page five it is wider than the Eclipse (17.5 km in length), making its diameter anywhere between seven to fifteen times bigger than on page three (cf. the endnotes calling Palpatine a "swelling" dark side nexus and The Comics Companion saying the storms "threatens to consume all of space"). The act of increasing the storm's size would presumably add to the difficulty with each successive roll.
  • This is not elaborated on in the game rules either, but on page three the storm actually splits into three, with two smaller storms going in separate directions. Controlling these on top of the primary storm would presumably add to the difficulty with each successive roll.
  • Lastly, the damage modifier in Palpatine's storm is tremendous. In order to consume the Eclipse, it would have to be able to penetrate its shielding, which is superior to that of the Executor's. The Executor's shields have power equivalent to that of a medium star and can tank three ISDs ramming into it at near-lightspeed, causing them to disintegrate on impact.
  • All of this is going on with Palpatine's Force storms while he is simultaneously threatening to obliterate Luke and Leia with regular Force lightning, and it's why Palpatine is uniquely vulnerable to Luke and Leia's Force harmony, which only has to overcome the initial summoning roll when the storm was much smaller, closer, possibly less destructive, and hadn't yet split off into multiple parts.

-- -- --

Star Wars Handbook 3: Dark Empire
Author: Peet Janes | Release Date: 2000

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Emperor Palpatine was very proud of his ability to create and control the hyperspace wormholes, but his pride would get the better of him. After Luke revealed his standing with the light side of the Force, Palpatine's anger was immeasurable. In a last-ditch attempt to stab at his enemies, Palpatine evoked another hyperspace wormhole over the Rebels' Pinnacle Moon base. But the combined burst of energy from Luke Skywalker, Leia, and he unborn child sent the Emperor reeling, and his creation, without anybody to control it, went rampant. The wormhole tore into Palpatine's flagship and the sent he Emperor reeling into oblivion.
  • The Force storm is described as "a last-ditch attempt to stab at his enemies" on Palpatine's part, which some have historically interpreted to mean Luke had Palpatine beat on all fronts. However, an alternate interpretation is far more reasonable here: in lieu of "stab at his enemies" being taken to mean physical harm, it's more likely it refers to Palpatine's desire to wound them emotionally by targeting the New Republic fleet, and it's "a last-ditch attempt" because Palpatine has  already tried to violate Leia's pregnancy, taunted her with his brother's conversation, tried to make Luke kill his sister, but ultimately failed to permanently corrupt him. After all, the storm isn't even targeted at them, but their friends. It's simply Palpatine being a dick as usual, like when he intentionally prolongs Luke's torment in Return of the Jedi despite it serving no practical purpose, and as such this line doesn't contravene the power dynamic proposed in my analysis of the comic.
  • The Force harmony is described as "a combined burst of energy" between Luke, Leia, and Anakin Solo, and it sends the Emperor "reeling" (i.e. "lose one's balance and stagger or lurch violently"). As a result, the Force storm goes "rampant" (i.e. "flourishing or spreading unchecked," synonymous with "uncontrolled").

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Leia_lightens_Luke

Han and Leia went to Byss to convince Luke to leave, but instead found their friend and brother locked in the grip of the dark side. However, Leia's presence gave Luke the power to break his ties to the Emperor. Knowing that Palpatine would be able to detect his deceit, Luke hid the master control bodes to Palpatine's newest weapon, the World Devastators, within the circuits of R2-D2. Luke, Han, and Leia then departed Byss, or so Han and Leia thought. Luke's presence turned out to be nothing more than an illusion, for Luke had to remain behind and finish one final task: the destructions of Palpatine's clone chambers. Luke knew that without the clones to inhabit, Palpatine's spirit would be consigned forever to the void. But Palpatine was able to transfer himself at the last moment. Within a new clone body, the Emperor was more powerful than ever. After a brief lightsaber battle, the Emperor subdued Luke and broke his will.
  • Leia's presence gives Luke the power to break the Emperor's dark side grip.

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Together, they would go to Leia Organa Solo, who held the future of the Jedi within her womb, and crush the Rebellion once and for all. Above Pinnacle Base, Leia shuttled over to the Emperor's flagship to attempt to collect her brother. Brother and sister fought briefly, but once again, Luke's spirit was lightened by Leia's presence. Telling Palpatine that within the dark-side power he had also discovered despair and sadness, Luke struck out at the Emperor's clone. But the Emperor's power was vast, and once again, he unleashed an energy storm, spawned by dark-side anger. But the Emperor's will could not stand against brother and sister united by the power of the light, and the energy storm turned to consume the Emperor's flagship. Escaping at the last moment, Luke and Leia watched as Palpatine was consumed by his own dark power.
  • Leia's presence once again lightens Luke's spirit and gives him the power to break Palpatine's dark side grip.
  • Palpatine's will cannot withstand Luke and Leia's might when united by the power of the light side. As a consequence, the Force storm turns on its maker.
  • Luke and Leia escaped "at the last moment."

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

But Palpatine could not foresee the strength of the light side as Leia finally got through to her brother and pulled him out of the darkness. Together, and with a third Force wielder stirring in her womb, Luke and Leia were able to overcome the Emperor with light-side energy, cutting him off from the dark side and the malevolent energies he had spawned. Finally, the Emperor was consumed by his own hyperspace wormhole.
  • Luke, Leia, and Anakin Solo are able to overcome Palpatine with light side energy.
  • Palpatine is cut off from the dark side as well as the Force storm.

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Anakin_amped_the_twins

When Leia next saw her brother again, his plans for the destruction of Palpatine had failed, and Palpatine now resided in one of his own clones, much younger and stronger. Above the Rebel Pinnacle Base, the Emperor's Eclipse Star Destroyer appeared out of hyperspace. Palpatine broadcast to the surface: he wanted Leia, and he wanted his holocron. After that, he was prepared to discuss a truce with the Rebels. Leia could not resist her final opportunity to rescue her brother. Indeed, her words swayed him, and turned on the Emperor. In his anger, the Emperor loosed another energy storm on the Rebel fleet. But Palpatine's dark-side powers could not stand against Luke and Leia's powers together - augmented by the Force-storm child in Leia's womb. Bathed in light-side energies, Palpatine lost control of the energy storm outside. Leia and her brother escaped from Palpatine's flagship as it was consumed by the energy storm.
  • The unborn Anakin Solo augments Luke and Leia's powers.
  • Palpatine's dark side powers can not stand against Luke and Leia's augmented powers together.
  • Palpatine loses control of the Force storm as a result of being bathed in light side energies.

-- -- --

starwars.com: "The Dark Empire Saga"
Author: Unknown | Release Date: 2000 | [Link]

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Palpatine had become such a creature of the dark side that its powers consumed him. It constantly fed at his core and withered his flesh. The very power that cemented his rule over the galaxy threatened his life, and so he ingeniously tuned to technology to cheat death.
  • Palpatine is "such a creature of the dark side" that he ravaged by it from within. The phrasing, to me, suggests the article is speaking qualitatively rather than quantitatively, though of course the degree of Palpatine's Force power is a factor in his bodily deterioration, too, per other sources.

-- -- --

A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Second Edition
Author: Bill Slavicsek | Release Date: 1994

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

One year later, Luke decided that the best way to defeat the reborn Emperor and resolve the galactic conflict was by learning the Emperor's darkest secrets as his protégé. In the end, he was forced to battle a young clone of the Emperor filled with the undying evil of the ancient Palpatine. The Emperor defeated him in lightsaber combat, but Leia came to her brother's aid. Luke learned that the way of the Jedi is not a solitary path. With the power of luminous beings, the brother and sister unleashed the Force upon the dark nexus that was Palpatine - together conquering his evil with a Jedi fire that outshone the dark side. Now it falls to Luke to help the Jedi order rise again. [HE, DFR, LC, DE]
  • Luke and Leia unleash the Force on the Emperor with the power of luminous beings. This is undoubtedly referencing the comic's quotation of Yoda's words, and as such could indicate the Force in its totality.
  • Their Jedi fire outshines the dark side.

-- -- --

A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Third Edition
Author: Bill Slavicsek | Release Date: 2000

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image
The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Eclipse
The reborn Emperor ordered the construction of a seventeen-and-a-half-kilometer-long Super Star Destroyer to serve as his personal flagship. The huge solid-black vessel was designed to inspire dread and hopelessness in every opponent. Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa Solo combined their Force energy to stun the Emperor long enough for his own Force storms to consume the vessel.
  • Luke and Leia combine their Force energies.
  • The Emperor is stunned long enough for his Force storms to consume his ship.
  • Force storms is written in plural, which may be a reference to the other, smaller storms that split off from the main one.

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Shortly thereafter, pregnant again, Leia faced the crisis of the cloned Emperor and Luke's slide toward the dark side. Leia and Luke were able to overcome the clone's dark-side powers, and they gained the Jedi Holocron in the process.
  • Luke and Leia are able to overcome the Emperor's dark side powers.

-- -- --

The Star Wars Encyclopedia
Author: Stephen J. Sansweet | Release Date: 1998 | Some information repeated verbatim in The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

That wasn't the Emperor's end. Six years later, from the Emperor's secret citadel and cloning chambers on Byss, came a cloned Palpatine. For a brief period, Luke Skywalker accepted the cloned Emperor's training in the dark side, but finally the combined Force power of Luke and his sister Leia Organa Solo proved enough to kill the clone.
  • Luke and Leia's combined Force power proves enough to kill Palpatine. Though obviously the context is omitted here, and one has to look to the primary source to see how they achieved this.

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Pregnant again, Leia faced another major crisis: Her brother seemed to have become corrupted by the dark side of the Force, thanks to the teachings of the cloned Emperor Palpatine. He tried to corrupt her, too, but she escaped with Palpatine's Jedi Holocron. Later she rejoined Luke and together they overcame the clone's dark-side power. Han and Leia's third child was named Anakin, after the great Jedi her father once had been.
  • Luke and Leia together overcome Palpatine's dark side power.

-- -- --

The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
Authors: Stephen J. Sansweet, Pablo Hidalgo, Bob Vitas, Daniel Wallace, Mary Franklin, Josh Kushins, Chris Cassidy | Release Date: 2008 | Some information repeated verbatim in the old starwars.com databank (2001 - 2011) [Link]

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

But the Eclipse was stopped over the Pinnacle Moon when Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa Solo joined Force energies and engulfed Emperor Palpatine in a wave of life energy. The action stunned the Emperor, causing him to lose control over the mighty Force storms he had summoned. As Luke and Leia escaped from the ship, the storms consumed and destroyed the vessel. A second Eclipse-class ship, the Eclipse II, was destroyed when the Galaxy Gun accidentally obliterated the Emperor's homeworld on Byss.
  • Luke and Leia join their Force energies.
  • Their wave of life energy stuns the Emperor, causing him to lose control over the Force storms.
  • Force storms is written in plural, which may be a reference to the other, smaller storms that split off from the main one.

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Hypers10

hyperspace wormhole This unpredictable natural phenomenon suddenly connected distant points of the galaxy by creating hyperspace tunnels. These wormholes produced vast amounts of energy in the form of violent storms. Great disturbances in the Force could sometimes trigger a wormhole. Emperor Palpatine's clone discovered how to create and control these storms and evoked one at the Rebel Alliance's Pinnacle Moon base. But a combined burst of enery from Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo, and the unborn Anakin Solo sent the Emperor reeling; his creation, without anyone to control it, went wild. The wormhole tore into the Palpatine's flagship, the Eclipse, and dispatched the Emperor to oblivion.
  • A combined burst of energy from Luke, Leia, and Anakin Solo sends the Emperor "reeling" (i.e. "lose one's balance and stagger or lurch violently").
  • Without the Emperor's control, the Force storm goes "wild"

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Skywalker to was too enmeshed in darkness to successfully rebel against his Master. Although he sabotaged some of Palpatine's military ventures - namely those involving immense war factories called World Devastators - he still could not draw himself from the pall of the dark side. It was his sister, Leia Organa Solo, who gave him the extra strength he needed. With her presence, the two Skywalker twins were able to remporarily repulse Palpatine.
  • Leia's presence gives Luke the strength to pull himself out of darkness and allows them to repulse Palpatine.

-- -- --

Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Characters
Author: Andy Mangels | Release Date: 1995

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

For a short time, Luke Skywalker accepted training under the Palpatine clone, intending to destroy the dark side from within. Palpatine guarded against that destruction, and actually succeeded in bringing Luke over to the dark side, for a time. Finally though, Luke and Leia's combined strength helped defeat the reborn Emperor.
  • Luke and Leia's combined strength is what defeats the Emperor.

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

The clone tried to corrupt Leia as well, knowing that her Force powers, and those of her children, were strong indeed. Her will was stronger, though, and she escaped, taking Palpatine's Jedi Holocron with her. Later, she returned to Luke's side, and joined her will with his to defeat the cloned Emperor.
  • Leia joined her will to Luke's in order to defeat the Emperor.

-- -- --

Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
Author: Bill Smith | Release Date: 1996

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

The Eclipse was stopped over the Pinnacle Moon when Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa Solo joined Force energies to engulf Emperor Palpatine in a wave of life energy. This action stunned Palpatine, forcing him to lose control over the Force storms he had summoned. As Luke and Leia escaped from the Eclipse, the storms consumed and destroyed the vessel.
  • Luke and Leia join their Force energies to engulf Palpatine in a wave of life energy, which stuns Palpatine and causes him to lose control over his Force storms.
  • Force storms is written in plural, which may be a reference to the other, smaller storms that split off from the main one. However, multiple storms are also said to consume the Eclipse despite only the main one doing so in the comic, so it may simply be an error or imprecise language.

-- -- --

Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons
Author: Daniel Wallace | Release Date: 1998

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Planets_and_Moons_Force_storm

Leia did so, knowing that this was the only way she could save her brother. Aboard the Eclipse she broke the dark side grip that was holding Luke in bondage. Enraged at her success and defiance, Palpatine conjured up a hideous Force storm that threatened to consume the orbiting New Republic fleet.

Joining their powers, brother and sister Jedi created a wave of life energy that repelled the unnatural Force storm and turned it back on its maker. Luke and Leia escaped on a shuttlecraft as the implacable tempest devoured the Eclipse.
  • Luke and Leia join their powers to create a wave of life energy.
  • The wave is said to repel the Force storm and turn it back on its maker. It's imperative not to arrive at a too straightforward interpretation here, as per the comic the twins evidently do not "repel" (i.e. "drive or force (an attack or attacker) back or away") the storm and turn it on Palpatine by attacking it directly, but by severing Palpatine's connection to it; they therefore indirectly "drive it away" from the New Republic fleet it was munching on. The last sentence even calls the storm "implacable" (i.e. "unable to be stopped; relentless"), meaning the source is definitely not saying Luke and Leia have any control over the storm.

-- -- --

Star Wars: The Essential Chronology
Authors: Kevin J. Anderson, Daniel Wallace | Release Date: 2000

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Seeing no other choice, Organa Solo went to the Emperor's ship - but she defied him and still tried to bring Skywalker back to the light side. The Emperor forced the two of them to duel, but Organa Solo managed to break the hold of evil. Instead, Skywalker finally turned on Palpatine.

As they battled with lightsabers, the desperate Emperor sensed defeat. He summoned up a huge Force storm, far more powerful than the one that had swept Coruscant. But this time, when Skywalker and his sister turned their combined resistance against him, Palpatine could no longer control what he had unleashed. As brother and sister fled, the Force storm consumed the gigantic black ship and, presumably, all that remained of the Emperor.
  • The Emperor is desperate during the lightsaber duel with Luke and senses his defeat as it's about to happen.
  • Though the source implies causation between the Emperor's desperation as he senses his impending loss and the act of him conjuring the Force storm, there's nothing strictly saying he began its creation during the duel itself. The sound effects in the audio drama make it clear the Emperor initiates the process only after he has been disarmed by Luke.
  • The Emperor's desperation isn't to be taken as indication he could only have beaten Luke via the Force storm, since, as I explained in my analysis of the comic, the storm isn't even directed at Luke and Leia but the fleet outside; Palpatine is confident he can destroy the twins with just Force lightning. Rather, I don't think the desperation should be taken to denote anything other than the obvious: he knew he was about to lose the lightsaber duel.
  • The Force storm over Da Soocha V is far more powerful than the one Palpatine conjured over Coruscant.

-- -- --

Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Characters
Author: Daniel Wallace | Release Date: 2002

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

After the fall of Grand Admiral Thrawn, Palpatine contacted his various Imperial fleet commanders, receiving their renewed pledges of loyalty and launching a stunning attack from the Deep Core. Even when the fleet's factions turned on one another, Palpatine allowed it as a way to exterminate the weak. Luke Skywalker went to Byss to stop the Emperor, and instead joined his cause, hoping he could defeat the dark side from within. Skywalker fell so far he nearly became the new Vader, but his sister Leia Organa brought him back to the light. The Emperor died aboard his flagship the Eclipse when brother and sister turned Palpatine's all-consuming Force storm back on its maker.
  • Luke and Leia turn the Force storm back on its maker. Once again, a straightforward interpretation is an erroneous one, as the comic blatantly tells Luke and Leia turn it on Palpatine by severing him from it, rather than controlling it directly themselves.

-- -- --

Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
Author: W. Haden Blackman | Release Date: 2003

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

The Eclipse could have enabled the clone Emperor to crush the New Republic if not for the efforts of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa Solo. While over the Pinnacle Base, Emperor Palpatine began generating devastating Force storms. In order to stop the Emperor's advance, Luke and Leia combined their own Force energies. The Jedi overwhelmed Palpatine, and the Force storms raged out of control. Luke and Leia escaped, but the Force storms destroyed the Eclipse.
  • Luke and Leia combine their Force energies in order to stop the Emperor, overwhelming Palpatine and causing the Force storms to "rage out of control."
  • Force storms is written in plural, which may be a reference to the other, smaller storms that split off from the main one. However, multiple storms are also said to consume the Eclipse despite only the main one doing so in the comic, so it may simply be an error or imprecise language.

-- -- --

Star Wars: The New Essential Chronology
Author: Kevin J. Anderson, Daniel Wallace | Release Date: 2005

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Leia boarded the Eclipse, but defied the Emperor and tried to bring Luke back to the light side. Her efforts allowed Luke to break the hold of evil, and they both turned against Palpatine. The desperate Emperor summoned up a huge Force storm, but he could no longer control what he had unleashed. As brother and sister fled, the conflagration consumed the gigantic black ship and, presumably, all that remained of the Emperor.
  • The Emperor is desperate and summons the Force, but can no longer control his creation. This paragraph in general frames Palpatine in a very bad light by glossing over nearly all context from the comic. The Emperor isn't desperate because he seemingly can't beat Luke and Leia, and he doesn't lose control over the storm on his own but by being caught off-guard by the twins' Force harmony and being blinded to his own power.

-- -- --

Star Wars: Jedi vs. Sith - The Essential Guide to the Force
Author: Ryder Windham | Release Date: 2007

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Leia Organa Solo discovered the existence of Jedi Holocrons during the events of Palpatine's resurrection, six years after the Battle of Endor. After being captured by Palpatine and detained at his citadel on the planet Byss, Leia escaped with a Jedi Holocron - by all appearances a milky jade crystal block - that Palpatine claimed had been given to him by an aged Jedi Master. Subsequent research eventually determined that the Jedi Master was Ashka Boda, who was slain by Palpatine during the Jedi Purge at the end of the Clone Wars.

This Holocron's primary hologrammic gatekeeper was the Jedi Bodo Baas, who'd served in the Adega system six hundred years earlier. Via the Holocron, Bodo Baas revealed many details of the history of the Jedi, including the saga of Exar Kun and his contemporary, the Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma, who also turned to the dark side. Shortly after Leia first activated the Holocron, Bodo Baas recited a prophecy that had been written by his own Master a thousand years earlier:

A brother and sister born to walk the sky,
But reckless brother falls in Dark Side's eye!
Jedi sister carries hope for her future in her womb.
Only she can save the Skywalkers from certain doom!
A Jedi-killer wants to tame her.
Now the Dark Side Lord comes to claim her.
She must battle join against this thief,
Or the dynasty of all the Jedi will come to grief!


Leia had no reason to doubt the veracity of the prophecy, for it described her then current circumstances: Palpatine, the "Jedi-killer," wanted to convert Leia and her expected child to the dark side, while Luke Skywalker had embraced the power of the dark side in an effort to conquer Palpatine. Fortunately, Luke eventually realized that he could not defeat Palpatine alone, and the Dark Lord ultimately failed to seduce Leia or any of her children. Because the Holocron contained other prophecies as well as seemingly infinite data about the Jedi, its value was incalculable.
  • Stated plainly: "Luke eventually realized he could not defeat Palpatine alone."
  • The context here indubitably refers to the sixth and final issue of the comic, as Leia listening to the prophecy happens literally moments before the Eclipse appears in the system and Leia makes the decision to board Palpatine's flagship [1][2] - and Luke "eventually" realizes he cannot defeat Palpatine by himself.

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The Official Star Wars Fact File #105
Author: Chris Spitale | Release Date: 2003

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image
The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

SIMPLE DEMAND

The Emperor's demands were simple - hand over Leia Organa Solo and then a truce would be discussed. Incredibly, Leia opted to go to the Emperor. She went alone, armed only with her lightsaber. The Emperor, unable to touch or affect Leia or her unborn child, called on his new apprentice to turn Leia to the dark side. Brother and sister drew lightsabers, but the battle was won with words.
  • Palpatine is unable to touch or affect Leia or the unborn Anakin and has to call on Luke to convert her.

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

CURSE YOU, JEDI!: The Emperor revealed his plans to possess Leia's unborn child, but he was bathed in light side energy when he tried to touch her.
  • Attempting to touch the pregnant Leia causes the Emperor to be bathed in light side energy

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

FAMILY STAND

The reborn Emperor tried in vain to convince Luke that his destiny was to be a Dark Jedi. Luke could be strong, stronger than his father, whom the Emperor described as a 'sick man in an iron mask'. Luke shrugged off the last of the Emperor's words, and with them the last of the dark side shroud that had enwrapped him. Now Luke and Leia stood against the Emperor united.

The Emperor attacked Luke, intent on destroying him. Luke was too strong for him this time and struck off his hand. Now the Emperor focused his great rage and fear into an immense Force storm that began to engulf the New Republic fleet. However, the Emperor had critically misjudged his foes.

Uniting their powers, Luke and Leia wrapped the Emperor in the light side of the Force and cut off his links to the dark side. Surrounded by life energy, the Emperor lost control of his Force storm, and it devoured his flagship and his body. Once again, his evil spirit was without form.
  • Luke is too strong for the Emperor in a lightsaber duel.
  • The Emperor feels fear at Luke outdueling him, which is only natural: he was afraid to confront Darth Plagueis and Yoda in a duel as well due to the uncertain outcome. Moreover, Luke notes right before that Palpatine feels fear even at his moments of darkest triumph. [Link]
  • Luke and Leia unite their powers to wrap the Emperor in the light side. Caged in life energy, he loses control of the Force storm.

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

HE'S GOING TO BE A VERY GREAT JEDI: During her and Luke's Force battle with the Emperor, Leia felt extra power emanating from her unborn child.
  • Leia feels additional power emanating from Anakin Solo during the Force harmony.

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

JOINING FORCES: Having lost a hand in a lightsaber duel with Luke, the Emperor unleashed a Force storm on the New Republic fleet. Luke and Leia united to combat his dark side power and wrapped the Emperor in light side energy, destroying him and his flagship.
  • Luke and Leia wrap the Emperor in light side energy.

-- -- --

The Official Star Wars Fact File #120
Author: Chris Spitale, Jane Irene Kelly | Release Date: 2004

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

GONE FOR GOOD

His body mortally wounded by Han Solo, Palpatine tracked down the Solos and desperately sought to transfer his fading essence to the infant Anakin Solo. He was blocked and absorbed by the dying Jedi, Brand, who promises that he and all the other Jedi spirits would ensure the dark sider never returned - a fate Palpatine had feared above all others. The Emperor's reign was over for good.
  • Brand promises Luke that every Jedi spirit in history would prevent Palpatine's return from the Netherworld. This is a reference to his dialogue in Empire's End #2 where he says the same, on top of that the Force itself would make sure he never resurrected again. [Link]
  • This can be connected to the comic's endnotes' commentary that Luke feels a unity of thousands of Jedi spirits stretching back to the foundation of the Jedi Order, and that their attention cannot be turned away from the galaxy until the Empire's crimes are undone.

-- -- --

The Official Star Wars Fact File #125
Author: Chris Spitale, Jane Irene Kelly | Release Date: 2004

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Only two examples of the Eclipse-class Super Star Destroyer were ever produced - Eclipse and Eclipse II. The first was destroyed when Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa combined their Force powers to defeat the Emperor at the battle of Pinnacle Base, releasing a storm of light-side energy that destroyed the flagship. The second and last Eclipse-class Destroyer came out of hyperspace shortly after the final demise of its evil master, on a collision course with the Emperor's 'Galaxy Gun'. The catastrophic meeting of Palpatine's last two superweapons resulted in their mutual destruction, not to mention the terminal shattering of the Emperor's throne world, Byss.
  • Luke and Leia combine their Force powers in order to defeat the Emperor.
  • They release "a storm of light-side energy that destroys the flagship." This account differs from all others and is in irreconcilable contradiction with the comic. It's especially perplexing when the full page shows the Force storm consuming the Eclipse in the background [Link], yet somehow this glaring error found its way into the text.

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Force_sensitivities

WE CAN STOP HIM: Only two Eclipse-class Super Star Destroyers were ever built. The first was destroyed at the Battle of Pinnacle Base when the twins Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa combined their force sensitivities to overwhelm Emperor Palpatine's dark-side powers. The second met its end much later when it clashed with another of Palpatine's superweapons, the dreaded 'Galaxy Gun'.
  • Luke and Leia combine their Force-sensitivities to overwhelm Palpatine's dark side powers.

-- -- --

Star Wars Insider #130: "A Certain Point of View: Family Tradition"
Author: Jason Fry | Release Date: 2011

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image
The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

The family bonds that are so impoartant in Return of the Jedi are further explored in Dark Empire, the 1991 Dark Horse comic series written by Tom Veitch. Luke's need to understand why Anakin fell leads him to confrotn Sidious, reborn through Force sorcery - and like Anakin, he is ensnared. In Dark Empire, Luke is saved by his sister's love, rather than by his father's: Leia joins her Jedi powers with Luke's, and Sidious' destructive Force storm washes over the Skywalker twins, rebounding on its creator and destroying him.

It's a deepening of Return of the Jedi's lesson. That moment bonds Luke and Leia together as Skywalkers and saves them, as the climax of Return of the Jedi bound Luke and Anakin and saved them. Once again, the keys to the Skywalkers' victory are love and family.
  • Luke and Leia combine their Jedi powers.
  • Sidious's Force storm washes over them and rebounds on its creator. This is another account that stands in complete opposition to the events of the story. In the comic Luke and Leia flee from the storm before it catches up to them, with Luke even remarking "There's not much time! Run for it!", and the pair escape "with seconds to spare."
  • The keys to the Skywalkers' victory are love and family. The Emperor could not have been overcome with brute strength.

-- -- --

Star Wars: Comics Companion
Author: Ryder Windham, Daniel Wallace | Release Date: 2006

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Luke chooses not to accompany his friends. Determined to bring an end to the Emperor's body-hopping, Luke tries to terminate all of Palpatine's clone hosts. He is too late. Beaten in battle by a fresh Emperor clone, Luke is taken to the New Republic's temporary base aboard Palpatine's flagship Eclipse.

In orbit above Da Soocha 5, the Emperor forces Luke and Leia into a terrible duel. Unleashing the full power of his hatred, he conjures a Force storm that threatens to consume all of space, including the New Republic fleet.

SPOILER!
Who dies? The Emperor, again, when Luke and Leia turn the Force storm on its maker. Palpatine returns in a new clone body for Dark Empire II.
  • Luke and Leia turn the Force storm on Palpatine. Once again, the context is omitted here, and the way the twins turn the storm on Palpatine is not by controlling it, but rather by severing the Emperor's connection to the storm and allowing it to run wild.

-- -- --

Star Wars: Galactic Files
Author: Unknown | Release Date: 2012

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis S-l1200

DARK LUKE SKYWALKER

FORCE POWER: 10
INTELLIGENCE: 8
DIPLOMACY: 5
STRENGTH: 8
SPEED: 8
FIGHTING ABILITY: 9


The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis S-l1200

CLONE EMPEROR

FORCE POWER: 10
INTELLIGENCE: 9
DIPLOMACY: 5
STRENGTH: 9
SPEED: 8
FIGHTING ABILITY: 9
  • For those who care, Galactic Files gives DE Luke and DE Palpatine equal stats in Force power, diplomacy, speed, and fighting ability, but Palpatine is one point greater in intelligence and strength, making him inferior to Luke in nothing and superior him in overall stats.

-- -- --

"Exclusive: 16 pages of Dark Empire author Tom Veitch’s new Star Wars book!"
Author: Star Wars Interviews 1, Tom Veitch | Release Date: 1989 (story treatment), 1990 (correspondence between Tom Veitch and Timothy Zahn), 2020 (interview) | [Link]

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Q: So Dark Empire was still at Marvel at that point?

TOM: Yes it was. Archie Goodwin was our editor and we were tolling. ...But then a curious chain of events began.

Bantam decided to keep Zahn in the dark about the existence of Dark Empire until he had finished plotting Heir to the Empire. My suggestion that we collaborate on the post-ROTJ timeline fell on deaf ears.

Indeed, when he turned in his own synopsis for Heir to the Empire, he was apparently unaware that the comics project even existed. Then, once his synopsis was approved, somebody got the idea of asking him to critique the story treatment I had written for Dark Empire.
  • Timothy Zahn was asked to critique the story treatment for Dark Empire.


The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

Q: Did Tim Zahn have any more complaints about Dark Empire?

TOM: A few. One thing he didn't like was my statement that "the power of all the Jedi who have gone before is focused in Luke Skywalker." ...Now, I can see how one could argue with that statement. But Tim's critique was, I thought, curiously out of touch with the nature of both the Force and the Jedi. He said: "Knowledge of the Force is a highly individual and personal thing, coming from one's OWN talent and efforts to develop that talent. To say that dead Jedi can pass on their power is to infinitely cheapen the concept, reducing it to little more than a spiritual bank account with transfer privileges..."

Q: And you disagreed?

TOM: I certainly did. Here's my full response, which was passed to Tim. I'd be happy to argue it here, if you life:

MY RESPONSE TO TIM

Now Tim doesn't like the idea of "the power of all the Jedi who have gone before" being focused in Luke. I think it follows logically from the fact, shown in the films, that the Jedi don't break off communication when they die. There would be a tremendous need, among the fallen Jedi, to right the great wrong done to the Company. They wouldn't just drift off to the Elysian Fields (as Zahn shows Obi-Wan doing in his plot outline).

Thus the idea of focusing on Luke, the last of their kind - the last hope for the Jedi.

I disagree that knowledge of the Force is merely "a highly individual and personal thing", a kind of talent that one develops. Indeed, we know the Force is "an energy field created by all living things that binds the universe together". The Jedi Knights were trained to tap into this collective energy, and use it in combat or for other magical purposes.

Yes, that takes a certain talent and skill - and an individual relationship to this vast well of power... But the ultimate talent for using the Force not from the ego or "one's own efforts", but from "letting go" the ego's need to control. The Force then "becomes strong in you", suggesting a kind of mystical sharing, through feeling - a conscious relationship to this collective and all-pervasive energy.

I think it's Tim who misses the mark and reduces knowledge of the Force to a "highly individual and personal thing, coming from one's OWN [his caps] talent and efforts to develop that talent." He would (it seems) reduce what is essentially an Eastern idea to the ordinary Western struggle for heroic identity.

Needless to day, Tim's idea contradicts the way Luke learned to let go of the need to control and to "feel the Force" in the very first Star Wars film.
  • In that story treatment was written "the power of all the Jedi who have gone before is focused in Luke Skywalker."
  • In Zahn's critique of Veitch's story treatment, he did not like this idea because he believed that "knowledge of the Force is a highly individual and personal thing, coming from one's OWN talent and efforts to develop that talent." Veitch disagreed, citing the films themselves and their Eastern inspirations as evidence for his position that the presence of dead Jedi does not leave the galaxy, and that them quite literally passing their power onto Luke follows logically from this fact.
  • While we do not have the full story treatment to view for ourselves, we can still deduce Veitch meant for all the Jedi's power to be focused in Luke in the combative sense because he says in his response to Zahn that "The Jedi Knights were trained to tap into this collective energy, and use it in combat or for other magical purposes," and he is specifically taking issue with Zahn's proposition that one's use of the Force is contingent on one's personal talents. He says "the ultimate talent for using the Force not from the ego or 'one's own efforts', but from 'letting go' the ego's need to control. The Force then "becomes strong in you", suggesting a kind of mystical sharing, through feeling - a conscious relationship to this collective and all-pervasive energy." This very lesson is the one Luke learns in the final battle of Dark Empire, and this very dichotomy is present in his struggle against Emperor Palpatine.
  • Even if you do not accept the story treatment, Luke channeling all the Jedi is still deducible from the endnotes. Luke and Leia harness the Force in all its intensity, which belongs no single entity but to all, and is the luminous reality to which all Jedi are forever joined. Luke feels thousands of Jedi, including Anakin the Chosen One, near him; their attention cannot be turned away until Palpatine's crimes are undone.
  • Only this, and nothing else, can "match" Palpatine's "dark power."

The Final Battle of Dark Empire - The Definitive Analysis Image

LIGHT MIND / DARK MIND

TOM: At the time I sent in my original proposal, I didn't quite know how the story would end, except that Luke and Leia would overpower the Emperor by joining their minds in the Force. Tim had a problem with that, of course. He said my idea was "an insult to the Star Wars philosophy". He said that the idea that Luke and Leia would use mental power to destroy the Emperor was "completely and absolutely WRONG." [his caps]

Q: Weird.

TOM: Well, I think he might have misunderstood what I wrote in the proposal, about "whole areas of the dark mind falling to the light side of the Force..." I also said that at that moment "everything Luke has learned about the dark side is transmuted and turned against the Emperor."

Q: He must have missed the word "transmuted".

TOM: I don't know. He accused me of violating the code of the Jedi by "tampering with the very soul" of the Emperor - as if Palpatine had a soul!
  • According to Zahn, Luke and Leia join their minds in the Force and overpower the Emperor using their mental power.
  • In the story treatment was written "whole areas of the dark mind falling to the light side of the Force." Sadly, we don't have the full context, but I'd presume it refers to what is happening to the Emperor upon coming into contact with Luke and Leia's Force harmony: his dark mind is being overloaded by something completely alien and incomprehensible to it, and so he is partly being "forced" into "falling" to the light side. I'd say this is likely considering Zahn's accusation that Veitch was "'tampering with the very soul' of the Emperor." Given the limited context, though, I may be totally off here.
  • In the story treatment was also written that "everything Luke has learned about the dark side is transmuted and turned against the Emperor." Essentially, Luke's mastery of the dark side he attained under the Emperor's tutelage is being harnessed for light side purposes and included in the Force harmony used against Palpatine.
  • Given Zahn states he'd be "happy to argue it here" and cites verbatim his old response to Zahn from 1990 in an interview in 2020, it's clear all of the above remained his opinion through the decades, and that it is essentially the underlaying intent behind Dark Empire and its final battle.
  • Though never published, the story treatment is still what the script for the final comic was based off of, and they are both by the same author.

CONCLUSION

In a mortal body, Palpatine is a stupendously skilled lightsaber duelist and radically powerful in his physical output, but it is possible to overcome him in this domain conventionally by one comparable or superior in these attributes, such as when "Luke was too strong for him" in their final duel. However, "the Emperor is no longer defined by his physical form, but has become a chaotic nexus of dark energies that swell and burst open the fabric of space, tearing apart everything in the vicinity, human and machine." Lightsaber fights are just "Jedi dueling games" to him, and his true nature is to "live as energy," so even though Luke outfences him, the Emperor is able to quite literally tear him apart with ordinary Force lightning, Luke's lightsaber being of no use against his unarmed adversary. In a very real sense, the Emperor is not defined by his physical loss to Luke in a duel, but by the bursts of dark power he can unleash when he unveils his true state of being as a sentient dark side nexus.

Due to the Emperor's frail (relative to his Force reserves) body, he can only manifest his true potency externally by ripping apart space-time to generate a Force storm via a hyperspace wormhole, which compounds the shown disparity between the Emperor's lightsaber prowess and Force strength, as well as the shown disparity between himself and Luke. As a baseline, creating a Force storm requires "the focusing of hate and anger to an almost palpable degree" and Palpatine's creation contains "all his hatred." Keeping it under control and directing it is a constant drain on his Force reserves, and on top of that he is splitting off mini storms from the main one to pursue their own targets, and the primary storm he is continuously swelling to larger and larger proportions, going from around two kilometers to ten kilometers in diameter in a little under two minutes. At it's zenith, the Force storm has more power than a medium star, more power than a Star Destroyer crashing into a target at near-lightspeed, is able to "tear the surfaces off worlds," and may have grown astronomically to "consume all of space." Compared to the effort of creating, and perpetually sustaining, enlarging, and controlling something like that, the energy allocated to dealing with Luke would be paltry indeed, yet still enough to utterly destroy the Jedi. Based on this alone, the difference between Luke and the Emperor in overall Force power, even conservatively, may be as high as ten or twenty times. Potentially even over a hundred depending on how far one wishes to go with this.

"Nothing can match such dark power." The only exception is "the power of luminous beings," which refers to "that luminosity that is the very nature and substance of the Force," "the Force in all its intensity," "the brightness that surrounds us and binds us together," "the unquenchable light of the Jedi, the ultimate reality on which their way is founded," "the principle from which the Jedi derived their very existence and went on to become the maintainers of peace and justice during the time of the Old Republic." This power "belongs to no single entity - but to all," representing "not only the Jedi's greatest ally, but their unshakeable luminous reality," something "to which the Jedi, as luminous beings, are forever joined." Indeed, "as the flood gates of the Force open in him," "beyond the physical outlines of the body," "Luke feels a unity among the Jedi, reaching beyond 'this crude flesh,' stretching back 25,000 years and more, to the beginning of the Jedi Knights," "untold thousands of departed Jedi." Their attention "can never be fully turned away from the Galaxy, until the great crimes of the Empire are finally undone," and they, as well as the true, luminous Force they embody, combine their efforts to bind Palpatine in the Netherworld upon his final demise. They don't just show up to aid Luke here out of nowhere either - Palpatine's coming has been written in the annals of time, and from the realms of the Force beyond time every Jedi spirit who has ever existed since the dawn of their Order has been waiting for him, waiting for the apocalyptic battle of the end times, the Ragnarök of Star Wars.

"For one long extended moment," "Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa Solo join Force energies," "join wills," "unite their powers," "combine their Force sensitivities," and are "united to the Force in all its intensity," "augmented by the Force-strong child in Leia's womb," "and the Force flows through them like a tidal wave of light," and "the power of all the Jedi who have gone before is focused in Luke Skywalker." By contrast, "Palpatine had become such a creature of the dark side" that his life force is "inherently corrupt," and as such pure manifestations of the light and life energy are anathema to him, like when attempting to violate the bond between mother and child by laying his hand on Leia's pregnant stomach caused him to be "bathed in light side energy" which burned his hand, leaving him "unable to touch or affect Leia or her unborn child" - think of the classic weakness vampires have for sunlight. In general, the dark side, for all of its capacity "to curse, to annihilate, and to unleash unspeakable energies of physical destruction," "can only threaten 'this crude flesh'" and "cannot touch the brightness that surrounds us and binds us together." So if merely touching a pregnant woman generates such an averse reaction in Palpatine, imagine what damage being struck by the most powerful expression of the light side possible, while being "caught off-guard" due to having channeled the vast majority of his power into the Force storm, would do. "With the power of luminous beings, brother and sister Jedi press the Force around the dark nexus that is Emperor Palpatine," and "everything Luke has learned about the dark side is transmuted and turned against the Emperor"; they "engulf Emperor Palpatine in a wave of life energy," and "wrap the Emperor in the light side of the Force," causing "whole areas of the dark mind to fall to the light side of the Force." Still, rather than destroying him, they merely separate him from his great rage, and the Force storm outside, "without anybody to control it" goes "rampant" and "wild," turning on Palpatine and consuming his flagship and body, although his spirit survives the ordeal to haunt the heroes for a while longer. Notably, in spite of their elevated state of being, Luke and Leia have to flee the oncoming death storm, "escaping at the last moment" "with seconds to spare."

tl;dr: Palpatine is dozens and possibly hundreds of times more powerful than Luke. It requires three Skywalkers joined together to the luminous Force that surrounds and binds together all of time and space, including the combined strength of every Jedi who has ever lived, to separate a tiny fragment of Palpatine's full strength from the vast majority of his power while he's caught off-guard and uniquely vulnerable to their particular method of attack, and even in their oneness they are unable to halt his Force storm. Outiside of possibly the Ones and other weird entities, he's probably the strongest Force-user of all time.

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