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After a while, I ended up watching The Phantom Menace on TV the other night and spotted a curious issue in the third chapter of the opening crawl.

While the Congress of the Republic endlessly debates this alarming chain of events, the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two Jedi Knights, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, to settle the conflict....

It was Chancellor Finis Valorum who sent the two Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, to negotiate with the Trade Federation to end their blockade of Naboo. But why did he have to do it in secret? The Jedi were in fact common negotiators on behalf of the Senate, at least according to Wookieepedia:

As keepers of the peace, the Jedi Order undertook diplomatic missions on behalf of the Galactic Senate, and pursued interplanetary criminals across the galaxy.

Additionally, as soon as the Consular cruiser reached Naboo, the captain of the ship revealed they were carrying negotiators on behalf of the Chancellor.

Captain Madakor: With all due respect, the ambassadors for the Supreme Chancellor wish to board immediately.

Did Valorum try to conceal this mission of his from someone specifically? Is there a background story about him sending the Jedi ambassadors to Naboo in secret?

  • My first guess is that the only reason it was secret was so that he wouldn't be immediately sacked with yet another committee. – Radhil Jan 12 '18 at 20:45
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    The way I always read that was that he kept it secret from the senate in order to prevent them attempting to have a vote on whether to send them or not, and the inevitable delays that would incur. – Jules Jan 12 '18 at 21:22
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    He wanted to make sure someone asked this question so he could answer it immediately and rep cap again for 2,487th day in a row (or whatever). – Todd Wilcox Jan 12 '18 at 22:51
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    Everyone's always blaming me for things... – Valorum Jun 13 '18 at 14:21
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This was addressed in the film's novelisation. In short, the Chancellor has exceeded his personal authority in bringing the Jedi (who report directly to him) into a debate between two parties who have seats in the Senate.

The blockade had been in effect now for almost a month. The Republic Senate continued to debate the action, searching for an amicable way to resolve the dispute. But no progress had been made, and at last the supreme chancellor had secretly notified the Jedi Council that he had sent two Jedi directly to the ostensible initiators of the blockade, the Neimoidians, in an effort to resolve the matter more directly.

It was a bold move. In theory, the Jedi Knights served the supreme chancellor, responding on his direction to life-threatening situations. But any interference in the internal politics of the Senate’s member bodies, particularly where an armed conflict between worlds was involved, required Senate approval. The supreme chancellor was skirting the edges of his authority in this case. At best, this was a covert action and would spark heated debate in the Senate at a later date.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace - Official Novelisation

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    I was not disappointed your's was the first answer – NKCampbell Jan 12 '18 at 22:30
  • @NKCampbell - The film could have been clearer, but I suspect that elements like these were left intentionally vague so that people would debate and read the novels and etc – Valorum Jan 12 '18 at 22:52
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    Self-knowledge the first step to wisdom is. – Spencer Jan 12 '18 at 23:42
  • The expert's answer, thanks! The novelisations sure explain a lot. – Essen Jan 14 '18 at 17:41

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