We first hear of the Emperor's mysterious return from death in the opening crawl. Sidious has made a public transmission which has terrified the galaxy.

Now I'm aware of the well-established principle that the villain has to give a speech announcing his fiendish plans in advance to all and sundry - it's an essential part of how any self-respecting evil person tries to take over the world.

I'm also aware that for Sidious's original plan to work that he had to draw out Kylo Ren to Exegol, which means revealing himself to some people at least.

However, he didn't have to make an announcement to the whole freaking galaxy. Why throw away the element of surprise? We see that the Resistance are able to discuss the transmission and formulate a plan about how to confront him, which ultimately leads to the destruction of the whole fleet of Star Destroyers.

His strategy would undoubtedly have been more effective if nobody knew he was alive apart from Ren (and perhaps a few trusted First Order generals). That, after all, was the default position - everyone assumed he'd died when the Second Death Star was destroyed.

Did he have a reason for throwing away the advantage of surprise and making his return public?

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    I was tempted to put "everyone assumed he'd died when the Second Death Star was destroyed, including the writers of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi" but that would maybe be too much sass. – The Dark Lord Jan 3 '20 at 20:06
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    Because he's a schmuck – Valorum Jan 3 '20 at 20:12
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    There's a certain irony about Lord Voldemort asking about how Emperor Palpatine cheated death, and then questioning his methods to stage a comeback. – Machavity Jan 3 '20 at 21:15
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    Spoilerous title? – Rand al'Thor Jan 3 '20 at 21:30
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    @Randal'Thor - It was in the trailer, all of the advance marketing and in the opening crawl. It ain't a spoiler – Valorum Jan 3 '20 at 21:36

Palpatine wanted the galaxy back under his thumb. Remember, this is the man who built not one, but two Death Stars and presumably had something to do with Starkiller Base, before

he built an entire fleet of Death Star destroyers, because surely the rebels can't stop them all.

As to

His strategy would undoubtedly have been more effective if nobody knew he was alive apart from Ren (and perhaps a few trusted First Order generals).

Not really. Let's say he just launched his Final Order ships. Can you imagine how much time and effort you'd have to expend to get them to listen?

FINAL ORDER: Surrender in the name of Emporer Palpatine!
PLANET: Wait, isn't he dead? I mean, he'd be stupid old by now...
FINAL ORDER: We have a planet destroying superlaser--
PLANET: Are you sure it isn't that Snoke guy or Kylo... whatever his name was?
FINAL ORDER: ... Just shoot the laser

You're going to have to break a few eggs planets to get the message across, while hoping your ships don't have a fatal flaw that a small, rag-tag bunch of ships can exploit. No, better to heed the words of the late Grand Moff Tarkin

TARKIN: Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station.

Palpatine already had a reputation. Announcing your return is a great way to start off in rebuilding that fear.

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    I'll make the same point as I made to Darth Tyler. Fear is good tool for forcing weak adversaries into submission but it also inspires strong adversaries to bind together and fight all the harder. Alderaan shows that he doesn't have an issue with blowing up planets. And much easier to enforce compliance after the Resistance and the Jedi have been taken care of. – The Dark Lord Jan 3 '20 at 21:14
  • I tend to agree that Fear is a poor tool, but so is building increasingly ridiculously powerful superweapons to try and stamp out what little resistance there is. I mean, when I realized what the Last Order fleet was I facepalmed just a little... Regardless, fear is the Sith way – Machavity Jan 3 '20 at 21:19
  • Isn’t it Final Order not Last Order? Or is that a joke? – TheLethalCarrot Jan 3 '20 at 22:35
  • @TheLethalCarrot I guess it is Final Order – Machavity Jan 3 '20 at 22:43
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    @The Dark Lord There's no real strong adversaries left by the time ol' Palpy announces his return. The First Order has control of most of the Galaxy and most people are too scared to fight back, the Resistance's largest warships have been wiped out and they're left with small Corvettes and frigates, and the entire New Republic fleet is gone. In terms of conventional warfare, he has absolutely nothing to worry about. – Gremer Jan 5 '20 at 6:21

Palpatine has always used fear to rule the galaxy. That was the whole point with the Death Star. Planets obey the Emporer or they get destroyed. If people heard that the most dangerous man in the galaxy was coming back for revenge then Palpatine hoped they would be too scared to disobey him. This backfired, of course. But, it is part of his character.

  • People would've been more afraid if the Resistance was wiped out and the last of the Jedi with them. Why not accomplish his main purpose first before scaring people into compliance? – The Dark Lord Jan 3 '20 at 20:21
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    @TheDarkLord it could be that the Resistance and the last of the jedi were numbered among who he wished to scare into compliance too. – anon Jan 3 '20 at 20:31
  • I said Palpatine was using strategy. I never said it was good strategy. But, I think he timed his announcement with the completion, or near completion, of his fleet. In his message, Palpatine threatens to unleash his fleet. I think he assumes the Resistance or somebody would try to stop him. Then, he would use his fleet to blow them up. Classic Return of the Jedi. – Darth Tyler Jan 3 '20 at 20:32
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    @DarthTyler Makes him a pretty slow learner, really. He spent 30 years plotting his return and a few days later he was dead again. – The Dark Lord Jan 3 '20 at 20:35

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