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Within Disney canon, what was the Emperor's plan in terms of maintaining his hold on the galaxy?

In Legends, we had stories in which there were clones ready to accept his essence upon the death of his body. Has anything similar been brought into the new canon?

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Yes, he intended to live forever and maintain his rule by "harnessing the full powers of the dark side".

According to the canon novel Tarkin, Palpatine planned to rule for "ten thousand years" by mastering the dark side and discovering its "final secrets":

But it was here that they would one day work together the way Sidious and Plagueis had to coax from the dark side its final secrets. In the intervening years he had actually come to appreciate Plagueis for the planner and prophet he had been. Such perilous machinations required two Sith, one to serve as bait for the dark side, the other to be the vessel. Success would grant them the power to harness the full powers of the dark side, and allow them to rule for ten thousand years.

Tarkin, p. 101

While "ten thousand years" isn't exactly forever, this isn't a number to be taken literally; the figure is a reference to Palpatine's own earlier promise to the Senate that the Empire would last ten thousand years and, out of universe, to Hitler's "Thousand-Year Reich". In any case, the Emperor planned to go beyond "mere immortality" and "reshape reality itself":

...he would not allow himself to be sidetracked from his goal of unlocking the secrets many of the Sith Masters before him had sought: the means to harness the powers of the dark side to reshape reality itself; in effect, to fashion a universe of his own creation. Not mere immortality of the sort Plagueis had lusted after, but influence of the ultimate sort. As his Empire swelled, bringing more and more of the outer systems into its fold, so too would his power unfurl, until every being in the galaxy was held captive in his dark embrace.

Tarkin, p. 242

It's not specified exactly how "harnessing the dark side" would allow him to do this, though (e.g. by transferring his essence to clones of himself or some other method).

One canon attempt to gain immortality was Project Blackwing. However, it failed and instead produced zombies.

  • nitpicking: the real life inspiration for the 10k years is probably the chinese phrase (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_thousand_years) – falsedot Sep 30 '16 at 22:08
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    @falsedot: With the empire being in part modeled after the nazi regime, are you sure it's not simply Hitler's thousand years taken to the next level? – O. R. Mapper Sep 30 '16 at 22:32
  • Qin Shih Huang Ti, the First Emperor of China, claimed his dynasty would rule for ten thousand years or ten thousand generations. And Chinese emperors ere apparently wished ten thousand years of rule. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_thousand_years – M.A. Golding Oct 3 '16 at 2:55

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