So I was watching Return of the Jedi last night. It’s interesting watching something that was such a gigantic part of my childhood through the eyes of an adult. I still love the movies, don’t get me wrong, but it’s odd the things that I wonder about now that I’m a grown-up.
Throughout most of Return of the Jedi, the mighty, fearsome Emperor (it’s Senator Palpatine, spoilers!!) is sitting in a high tower in his cool chair, staring out of a window at the construction of the new Death Star and the ensuing battle that will take place over the moon of Endor. He has hatched a major, malicious plan to quell an entire rebellion and convert our hero Luke to the Dark Side of the Force.
The thing I noticed, though, is that he never appears to leave his futuristic Barcalounger. He just sits in that high-backed chair, staring out of that giant window just like most old people do. (“Hey — you kids! Get off my battle station!!”) There’s not even a side table to put a drink or some papers on. Just that chair. Doesn’t he have an office or anything? Where does he hammer out all of the intricate details of squashing a rebellious uprising? Where does he keep his copy of the plans to the new Death Star? Isn’t there a payroll of all the employees of the Empire somewhere? I mean, this is the guy that’s in charge of everything from the construction of a planet-sized Weapon of Mass Destruction to the vision of the entire known universe. Yet nary a Post-It note saying something like, “RE: Stormtrooper uniforms. Can we outsource to Dantooine??” or one of those “While You Were Out” slips with “D. Vader called @ 11:30; wants to know which moon he was meeting Luke on.”
In fact, it seems like most of the evil geniuses in movies just sort of hang out, sitting in their super-cool moving chairs. Never in a James Bond movie does an evil henchman enter the office of his leader only to have the leader say, “Wow..I am so sorry Steve. I’m just buried in this paperwork trying to figure out how to fund this gigantic shield that will block out the sun. Have you seen my calculator?”
I guess it’s just the sort of thing you let go when you watch a movie. If I can accept that every single character can understand Wookie, and the Wookie can understand them but for some reason they don’t choose to speak a common language, I can accept that somehow evil rulers get things done from the comfort of their cushie chairs without a pen or paper.
Or maybe I just have to become an evil genius myself to figure out how the whole system works…