Aug 21, 2008

The Best All Time Movie Villains

The Best all time Movie Villains
Villain [Vil-uh n] – noun
1. A cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime; scoundrel.
2. A wicked or evil person; a scoundrel.

Hans Gruber, by Alan Rickman, Die Hard (1988)
“I’m about to teach the Nacatomi Corporation a lesson in the ‘real’ use of power."

Ah, remember the summer of 1988? Remember when terrorists came in and seized the Nacatomi Plaza and all but ruined Officer John McClain’s wife’s office Christmas party?

Who is he? Hans was an exceptional bank robber who was an allegory to 1988’s business climate. He assembled a gang of well-trained international terrorists. Hans was also very forward thinking as well. Hans was open to the idea of diversity way before it was popular. His crew even included a wise-cracking IT guy Theo… and this was in 1988! You might say he was the CEO of Robber Barons. Hans played a perfect allegory to the end of the Reagan Administration. It probably shouldn’t be a coincidence that Hans chose a big Japanese company to rob.

Evil? Hans was pretty evil – he ruined Joe Takagi’s suit and was going to blow up all the hostages, and by the time they had figured it all out, he’d be sitting on a beach, earning 20%.

The Plan: His crew would masquerade as a terrorist group while he was really just playing the pirate to the Nacatomi corporation’s bearer bonds. Hans was a late 80’s corporate raider, if you will. Buy playing up the terrorist image, he would force the LA Police Department to respond with overwhelming force – and, after he blew the roof when the FBI would obviously double cross him. He would simply slip away in the chaos. Hans was big into the planning and financing of the operation. Trucks, missiles, C4, and an ambulance aren’t procured the night before.
His downfall? Not counting on one brazen barefooted NY Cop crazy enough to take them on. Bonus – his death wasn’t an impalement – which is the leading cause of villain death (outside the Star Wars Universe anyway)– but his downfall was literal. He was thrown/fell off the Nacatomi penthouse suite. Shoulda’ brought his golden parachute, eh Hans?

9. Anton Chigurh, by Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men (2007)
“What's the most you ever lost on a coin toss?”

Who is he? Adapted from the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, he’s a contract assassin assigned to get some money back. He’s an allegory of death. A force so evil, so absolute, pretty much everyone who comes across him will die.

Evil? He’s so bad ass – he’ll even kill your wife after you’re long dead… just because he said he would. His preferred weapon tells you a lot about how evil he is: a captive bolt pistol.

The Plan? Anton and Death are walking together. Every choice you make leads you closer to him – not the other way around. However, there is the element of chance, which is noted by the nervous scene in a filling station… the idea of fate and circumstances add drama.

His downfall? Chance. And stop signs. But he’s still out there.

8. Nazis

Who? As long as there’s been a Nationalist Socialist movement in Germany, there’s been movie Nazis. They tangled with Rick Blaine in Casablanca, they’ve given something for Patton to shoot at, and then there are those damn Illinois Nazis.

But then there was Steven Spielberg. Spilebergo’s Nazi’s seem to have a little extra step in their jackboots. Well, more than the typical fanatical film Germans soldiers anyhow.

Spielberg uses Nazis the way Picasso uses blue. Nazi’s are in a wide range of his films including the Indiana Jones storyline, Saving Private Ryan, the Shoah Visual History Foundation and I’m fairly sure I heard that JAWS was a Nazi sympathizer. But for all-out Spielberg Nazi I point you to Ralph Fiennes as he received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his portrayal of Amon Goeth, a commandant of a concentration camp who kills indiscriminately.

Evil? You betcha’. Just look at their plan…

Their Plan? World domination and the eradication of everyone on the planet who doesn’t look just like them. Using gas, the blitzkrieg, V2 missiles, the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant.

Downfall? Arrogance and bad use of supply line management– oh fine, let's just say Indiana Jones kicked their ass. For more on the Downfall of the Third Reich I seriously suggest that you check your non-reading ass into a library.

7. Computers – specifically Skynet – Terminator Franchise (1984 +)

Oh, not Hal 9000? Not the Matrix? V_Ger? How about the WOPR from War Games? No. HAL was given bad orders. He was simply completing a mission. People got in the way. Same with V_Ger. The WOPR was too easy to hack. The Matrix wasn’t powerful enough to control it’s own Spyware: Agent Smith. No, Skynet, on the other hand, achieved clairvoyance and immediately “chose” to eradicate its maker.

Who? Skynet, on the surface is just another story about man vs. Machine. As you noticed from the list, it is a fairly recurring theme in literature. The Terminator turns into yet another cautionary tale about nuclear war designed to scare the beeJesus out of people. But Skynet is special. Why? It has unlimited UNDOs. It owns a time machine.

On top of that, here’s a machine, an Artificial Intelligence that has been given the gift of thought. It is life. And what is the FIRST thing this new life form does? It fires off nuclear missiles igniting Judgment Day.

The Plan? 1) Keep using the time machine until it gets everything just right 2) find Sara Connor. To accomplish these two tasks, it first manufactured the 600 series with rubber skin. It kept trying new versions until the remaining humans couldn’t distinguish a real human over the endoskeleton. Once it got the version update correct, Skynet's showed it's obvious sense of humor by manufacturing a Terminator with the exterior that mimics Action Star and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Neat plan.

Oh, and the “I’ll be Back” line? That’s another Skynet in-joke. If this model fails its mission, oh well. I’ll just shoot another version to 1990 and kill off the resistance leader when he’s just a dorky teenager. And if that doesn’t work? Uh... Wait, you said I’ve got unlimited undo’s, right?

Evil? That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead. And have I mentioned that one second after it came online it nuked the planet?
You still don't get it, do you? He'll find her. That's what he does. That's all he does! You can't stop him. He'll wade through you, reach down her throat, and pull her fugging heart out!

It's Downfall? Not understanding game theory. If the AI goes first, John Connor can just send another dude or a re-programmed Terminator after it. It’s a turn-based game. It's as if you're playing rock-paper-scissors and you have to go first. This is the insanity that caused the Terminator: The Sara Connor Chronicles to happen.

6 Aliens – Specifically – Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978.)

Who? Evoking a style of paranoia reflective of the general mistrust in post-Watergate America, these aliens are remorseless space plants. They’re quick and efficient.

Evil? They just want to co-exist with us… it’s okay. Get some sleep. Sleep . . . Sleep . . . and be born again into a world without fear and hate!

Their Plan? Float along space until they find a great place like Earth. Wait until someone falls asleep – and win.

Downfall? Uh… they – I mean WE won.

Runners up? The War of the World’s Martians (only the Orson Wells and the 1953 versions for consideration) were awesome– but they died of a cold. Sorry, if you can master long distance space travel, maglev heat ray tanks and didn’t plan on the common cold, you are bad at planning.

Also Ridley Scott’s Alien is really spooky and virus-like. It also looks like a dude’s wang. However, no one has ever explained how this virus like the Alien is maintained. What does it eat? It needs hosts to replicate, and it kills with that damn spooky second mouth… but I’ve never seen it eat. And if you lay a billion eggs, it doesn’t matter. Then what? That’s a pretty stupid life cycle. Not a good planners either.

And the aliens from Independence Day? They got hacked by a Mac laptop - in 1996! That's without Wi-Fi or an AirPort card... Lame! Epic Fail.

5. Michael Corleone by Al Pacino Godfather Part I & Part II (there might have been another one...? I'll get back to you on that.)
“Fredo, I know it was you.” [kiss of death]

Who? Veto’s youngest son, the one who was supposed to not get involved with the “family business.” He was supposed to have the American life. He even earned a Navy Cross. But, after an unfortunate toll incident, Michael was forced into a leadership position. He promises to make the family legitimate in five years. No, really. The character of Michael is said to be loosely based on real life mob boss Lucky Luciano.

Evil? While he was standing as godfather to his nephew, Michael had his brother-in-law Carlo killed… while simultaneously killing off Emilio Barzini, Philip Tattaglia, Carmine Cuneo and Victor Stracci. He also has Greene, Tessio, Fabrizio, and Rizzi popped too. Oh, and later he has his brother Fredo offed too.

The Plan? To make the family legit. But first, let's put a hit on...

Downfall? Pretending he was something he wasn't. He was his father's son, and he always was trying to escape that shadow.

4. Dracula – Bela Lugosi (1931)
“I never drink... wine."

Who? We all know Count Dracula. A centuries old vampire inspired by the 15th century Romanian Prince, Vlad III the Impaler. There have been thousands upon thousands of Dracula and vampire movies. Dracula has special powers – supernatural powers. He’s the anti-Superman. Plus he can make more vampires, and more vampire movies. Hell, while they were filming the Bela Lugosi version, at night they used the sets to film the Mexican version. I kid you not. Some circles believe that the Mexican one is even better!

Let’s concentrate on Bela’s version though. Dracula 1931 was not the original Dracula film. That honor goes to Count Orlock, played by Max Shreck, in Nosferatu. But Nosferatu was filmed without permission of Bram Stoker’s widow. She who had all the copies of the film destroyed. Bela owned the Hollywood Dracula. He played the part on Broadway, and gave the delivery like a walking corpse – which to this day is awesomely creepy.

Evil? Yeah. Dracula is a warrior at heart looking for love and killing everything that gets in his way.

The Plan? He’s got a plan. He's got a whole scheme going to set off to England to get John Harker's girl. He's a bat-turning, blood sucking bird dogger.

Downfall? He is much less powerful in daylight, though the sun is not fatal to him, as in later adaptations. He is repulsed by garlic, crucifixes, and sacramental bread or holy water. He can only cross running water at low or high tide. He is also unable to enter a place unless invited to do so; once invited, however, he can approach and leave the premises at will. And there's that whole wooden stick in his chest...

3. Doctor Hannibal Lecter
"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."

Who? Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs, 1991)
Before there was Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the gold standard of smart and evil movie villains were tied into the Bond franchise. Even serial killers were regulated to Halloween horror pictures and hockey masks. No Dr. "Hannibal the Cannibal" Lecter single-handedly changed the game. He's the Michael Jordon of movie villains.

And that similarity or comparison to MJ will come up again.

Evil?. The character is intelligent, a manipulator, a long term planner, and he's an absolute sadist! He's a damn cannibal. Do I have to explain how disgusting it is to eat another human being?

Here's another thing. He's a doctor, a psychiatrist. He has a nice soothing voice. He sets you up to feel comfortable. You can trust him. Then BLAM he's wearing your damn face!

The Plan? Other than to eat your brain while you're alive... I'd have to say longevity. He was voted the all-time movie villain in an American Film Institute poll, Thomas Harris' epicurean madman has been played by three actors: Brian Cox in the 1986 Manhunter (based on the novel Red Dragon), Gaspard Ulliel as the teen Lecter in this year's Hannibal Rising and Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and the 2002 remake of Red Dragon. He's starting to approach Dracula levels of books and movies... What's next? Son of Hannibal? Rise, Hannibal, Rise? Bride of Hannibal? Those are all plausible when you read them, aren't they?

Downfall? Longevity. Kind of a Catch 22, eh? He's fallen into the horror genre's trap of punch-lines and recurring frequency, he's lost his punch. And here's the MJ anollogy again. Top of the game - he's out to play baseball. Comes back, wins. Retires. Buys a team. Comes back. Then retires, again. Threatens to come back again. Doesn't. Tarnished. Hannibal, you just gotta chill for a bit, dude. That's why he's not on top of this silly little list.

2. The Joker – Heath Ledger, Dark Knight (2008)
“Why so serious?”

Who? The Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime, the Harlequin of Hate, and the Ace of Knaves. He’s the ying in Batman’s yang.

His origin? Well, actually, that’s a good question. With the exception of the Tim Burton Batman (1988) there really isn’t an origin story for the Joker. …and it’s been designed that way, by the Joker.

But here’s what the original comic book creator had to say about who came up with the Joker,
“Bill Finger and I [Bob Kane] created the Joker. Bill was the writer. Jerry Robinson came to me with a playing card of the Joker. That's the way I sum it up. [The Joker] looks like Conrad Veidt — you know, the actor in The Man Who Laughs, [the 1928 movie based on the novel] by Victor Hugo. [...] Bill Finger had a book with a photograph of Conrad Veidt and showed it to me and said, 'Here's the Joker'."
Evil? Heath Ledger said that he viewed that film's version of the Joker as a "psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.” So in a word, yes.

The Plan? Seemingly completely insane and even suicidal, and quick to tell you so, he plays the game a chaos personified. However, on the other side of the card, the Joker is meticulous at planning. Some of his schemes would take months if not years to fully flesh out and plan. His long-term planning and logistical functionality alone shows he’s not as nuts as he has you to believe on that caked on facial surface. But although he has laid fingerprints for the World’s Greatest Detective to reconstruct (which leads that Bat into an obvious trap) the Joker also shows malleability to change those long thought out plans in mid-stream. Effectively, he can turn his battleship on a dime. And that’s usually when a whole lot of people die. As he said himself, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.”

But what’s his long term goal? Who knows!? Not even the goddman Batman can figure him out – that’s what makes him so complex, so evil, and so damn interesting. It seems the only thing the Joker cares about is vindictive malice. You can't reason with or buy off a character like that. He's a real noodle-scratcher. Hell, even Iron Man doesn’t understand the Joker’s plot!
“My whole thing is that that I saw 'The Dark Knight'. I feel like I'm dumb because I feel like I don't get how many things that are so smart. It's like a Ferrari engine of storytelling and script writing and I'm like, 'That's not my idea of what I want to see in a movie.' I loved 'The Prestige' but didn't understand 'The Dark Knight'. Didn't get it, still can't tell you what happened in the movie… this is so high brow and so f--king smart, I clearly need a college education to understand this movie.' You know what? F-ck DC comics. That's all I have to say and that's where I'm really coming from." - Robert Downey Jr.

And the best part is, that spanning from Cesar Romero, to Nicholson, to Ledger, the character is consistently a nutjob with some kind of plan that takes a lot of work, but doesn't make a whole lot of sense... but it sure pisses off Batman though. And maybe that's all he's looking for? To piss off the Batman.

Downfall? Frankly, I’m not sure if he has one! Really. First off, he’s cheated death a lot. I mean a whole lot. Since he’s so closely tied to the mythos of the Batman, Joker has the benefit of getting a reboot every couple years. In the comics he’s always getting into some seemingly inescapable and lethal situation. Though he has been seen caught in explosions, been shot repeatedly, dropped from lethal heights, electrocuted, the Joker always returns. And if he’s not cheating death, the Batman just throws him in jail or Arkham Asylum. He escapes so often they might as well install a revolving door to his cell.

Some would say that the Batman NEEDS the Joker, and vice versa. Heath Ledger’s Joker even says something to this effect while he’s hanging upside-down waiting for some hostages to blow up.

Now I'm almost thinking this guy ought to rate him higher...

1. The Emperor – Star Wars Saga (1974 – Present) Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine
"In order to ensure the security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the First Galactic Empire! For a safe, and secure, society.”

Who? The mere fact that most stupid top 10 lists of the most evil villains place Darth Vader somewhere in their top three emphasizes exactly why Senator turned Emperor Palpatine gets the top spot here. He’s the ultimate behind the scenes guy! Palpatine’s plans and schemes represent the utmost political and martial power absolute, absolutely. Not just a world… his designs are the entire Star Wars galaxy as his puppet stage.

Ian McDiarmid was in four of the six Star Wars films; his first was Return of the Jedi when, 22 years before Sith was shot, he played Palpatine as 23 years older. Now that’s planning ahead. (Yes, yes. He also made a digital cameo in the re-imagined The Empire Strikes Back Super Extra Crazy Re-Release. Get off your chair.)

A major British stage actor of the past few decades, McDiarmid has a non-threatening disposition that possesses a magnificent vocal talent. Unlike a few of his English contemporaries, he actually understands how microphones work - and therefore doesn’t scream all his lines. Patrick Stewart, I’m looking right at you. He uses this voice talent to manipulate and pull the strings of both sides of galactic power – and does it so well that he eliminates the no-win scenario. He wins no matter what happens.

McDiarmid himself stated,
"Palpatine's an interesting character; he's conventional on the outside, but demonic on the inside — he's on the edge, trying to go beyond what's possible." McDiarmid added, "[Palpatine] is a supreme actor. He has to be even more convincing than somebody who isn't behaving in a schizophrenic fashion, so he's extra charming, or extra professional — and for those who are looking for clues, that's almost where you can see them."
He’s the ultimate politician.

The Plan? As much as you may hate and spit upon the Phantom Menace (1999) – the story is about Palpatine. The Emperor-to-be IS the Phantom Menace. If you break down the political spectrum of Episode One, you realize that Darth Sidious/Senator Palpatine of Naboo wins either outcome. Here’s how it plays out: If the ten Naboo palace guards, a whinny little kid and bunch of talking fish that breathe oxygen but live under water… (sigh) are able to beat the robots? The Senator wins, and a bonus, he is ‘elected’ as the Chancellor of the Republic. If the stupid robots somehow take Naboo while killing off everyone on the planet? Darth Sidious wins, and there’s a bonus of no more talking fish people. Neat.

In the course of his chessboard of Win, lots of people and materials get blown to bits. Awesome. That’s all win-win!

And in the process, he meets the most powerful wizard in the galaxy… Sorry, I mean Detective Monk Cop with a Lasersword. And double bonus, he’s just a little whinny ten year old kid without a moral compass.

By the second Episode, he’s got the entire Galaxy engulfed in a Civil War. Why? I’m not really sure. I mean if you break down the two sides of the argument, the Trade Federation wants to secede from the Republic. Again, why? It isn’t as if the Trade Federation wants to keep human slavery or are against Chancellor Palpatine’s insane 10.25% Republic Sales Tax… maybe they just don’t want to be around the talking fish people anymore? Racists.

Palpatine plays both sides. Chancellor Palpatine gets emergency Patriot Act-like powers to build up his protagonist public image (Lucas said he was going more for Hitler than George Bush, get off your chair again please.) in the Republic. But he’s also quarterbacking the other team. To put this in historical terms, he’s playing Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. I wonder if he ever messed up and wore the wrong hat when he was talking to one set of generals instead of the other. Maybe he’d have to put one on hold, put on the cloak, run back into the other room, there’s an awkward pause like, “hey, what’s going on in that other room that you keep running back to?” – It’d be kind of like a screwball comedy from the 30’s? Wouldn’t that have been funny? Seth Green, make it happen.

By the Third Episode, the war is winding down. Palpatine has manipulated that whinny little kid into a whinny young adult. He’s now a warrior who still has zero ability to make decisions about morality. Excellent.

That’s when things really start to go his way – the whinny kid offs his number two with a clean severance package.

Not long afterwards, we find out that Palpatine’s got superpowers! He’s a space wizard too! He shoots lightning out of his hands! Apparently he also cast a spell of stupidity over the super-smart detectives in cloaks with laser swords so that they couldn’t figure out that Palpatine was the bad guy. (And he lives next door to these guys!)

They finally figured him out, and he gets his face all messed up. That’s okay because he uses that to his advantage too. In the process he recruits the whinny kid, and sends him over to downsize some children.

He lays-off the Monk Cops and throws the Senate at a Muppet. By the time the dust settles he’s declared the Emperor and his third intern –er- Apprentice has been turned into a charcoal briquette.

No matter, he remakes him into the most iconic bad guy movie audiences have ever seen. The ultimate enforcer. Dick Cheney… er, Darth Vader. Sorry.

Everything is going well for Palpatine for about 18 years. He’s even eliminated the Senate. How? A public work project called the “Death Star”. In fact, just to show off how much power he has, he builds two of them.

But like all government projects, there are cost overruns, and the damn contractors left a two-foot exhaust port uncovered so that some rebel teenagers could toss photon torpedoes at it.

And of course, guess who finally knocks one in? It’s the whinny son of his Apprentice!

So Darth, Palpatine’s second in command, spends a fortune looking for his whinny kid. I mean if anything, it should have been the other way around, right? The whinny kid should have been looking for his deadbeat dad for back child support payments! In fact, the whinny kid didn’t even know Darth was his dad until he went and told him. What an idiot!

Palpatine realizes that his Number 2 isn’t working out, so now he has to make an appearance to get the second Death Star back on track. On top of that, he’s got a plan up his cloak to fix everything and wipe the floor with those damn meddling kids. He personally leaks the plans to this Death Star to the teenage rebels– and then pretends to leave the gate open.

Everything is going exactly to plan. His interview with the whinny kid isn’t working out – so he’s shooting lightning bolts at him– when out of NO WHERE, Darth suddenly develops a moral compass! To wit, Darth tosses Palpatine into a reactor shaft to his death. What a Bummer.

His Downfall? The Imperial Human Resources Department. Look, Palpatine has a terrible track record of hiring ineffective number 2’s and underlings. Palpatine went through two apprentices, and almost lost a third one due to complete incompetence. The only one that ever worked out for him he had cloned about a billion times to fill the ranks of his army.

Also, the Star Wars Universe is FULL of funny looking people and aliens from thousands of populated planets. You’ve got people who are walking carpets to teddy bears. Yet the military and government appointees are all aging white dudes with British accents. There’s little to zero diversification in his government’s hiring practices. What about all those bounty hunters, you ask? Contractors.

Although, there isn’t a whole lot of diversity in the Rebel Alliance either, which makes me wonder if they’re really just fighting a bunch of old white guys to replace them with their own white dudes? That sounds a lot like western government in action to me…
But by the sixth picture they at least added a slug and a squid to join in the battle.

Palpatine’s reign lasted longer than Ming the Merciless and Xenu, but not as long as Fidel Castro's.

That list, again:
1. The Emperor – Star Wars Saga (1976-present)
2. Joker – Heath Ledger, Dark Knight (2008)
3. Dr. Hannibal Lecter – Silence of the Lambs (1999)
4. Dracula – Specifically Bela Lugosi (1931)
5. The Aliens – Specifically – Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
6. Michael Corleone – Godfather I and II
7. Computers – Skynet (1984 - present)
8. Nazis - Specifically Steven Spielberg’s Nazi’s
9. Anton Chigurh - No Country For Old Men (2007)
10. Hans Gruber - Die Hard (1988)
*Also considered: Lord Voldemort, Nurse Ratched, Norman Bates, Norman Bates dead mother, Khan Noonien Singh, Mr. Potter, Zombies (nothing specific, just Zombies), Roy Batty, Frank Booth. These fine villains didn't make my list because they either died - fought little kids - or just weren't nearly as good at planning or not as spectacularly evil as the other ten.


Anonymous said...

Well played sir, very fine article. What about that fairy Kevin Spacey in Seven?

Capn said...

See number 3... also he died. Number 3 did not. Thanks for asking.

Capn said...

Also, someone posted something about the pod people and aliens - and had a problem with that... compared the aliens to bugs or wasps

- hey, anonymous, sorry, your comment was deleted when I joined all the parts into one post.

- hey person who thought that anonymous was an idiot, I agree and I'm sorry, your comment was deleted when I joined all the parts into one post.

Anonymous said...

No Freddy Krueger??! Dude, Lame!

Anonymous said...

A list of bad guys and not ONE Christopher Walken? You Fail

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


Good List. Like the honourable mentions--it really shows that you care about the reader, and prevents lots of superfluous posts.

Not that I am defending homicidal AI, or that I am one, but I thought Skynet freaked because the joint chiefs freaked, sort of a a justifiable self-defense deal. Guess that I should watch T1 again.

Helpful note:
Sarah Connor Chronicles ROCK!(with the sound off)

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Oh my, what a list bro, all the villains in this list are awesome, but I have my favorites like Dracula by Bela Lugosi, Hannibal Lecter by Anthony Hopkins, and the most significant in my life, The Emperor Palpantine by Ian McDiarmid, pure all this villains are pure evil, well maybe not Lecter he only want to clean the world of mediocre people.
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Anonymous said...

The year of the emperor is wrong. It´s neither 1974, nor 1976, it´s 1983.

ProFatJoe said...

Palpatine is my favorite movie bad guy, I wanted him to win but unfortunately his apprentice wasn't cool with killing his own son. Big surprise. Couldn't he get someone else to kill him? It's not like Luke was good at anything, the dude had minimum jedi powers and sucked at wielding a lightsaber. Besides who asks someone to kill his own son and expects him to actually do it?