"The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural." -Palpatine

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In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine, ruler of the Galactic Empire, was portrayed by Ian McDiarmid as a frail and withered old man but with some unspeakable power up his sleeve. This character had some of the best pieces of dialogue and became a classic screen villain – not an easy accomplishment, but a necessary one if you're the boss of Darth Vader!

Our friends at Sideshow Collectibles have released not too long ago their very own Emperor Palpatine 12" figure and his favorite piece of furniture: the Imperial Throne. This Palpatine, the first version from the original trilogy, comes in a standard version as well as an Exclusive version. The exclusive is limited to only 1,000 units, now Wait-Listed and sold for $94.99. It comes with an additional "grimacing" portrait so if that is something you find absolutely necessary, seek it out ASAP or get on that wait list and hope for the best! The standard Palpatine is still available for $89.99.

The Imperial Throne, classified as a 12 inch figure environment is also still available for $134.99 with an edition size of 2,500. And if you're one of those who bought the Emperor Palpatine but skipped the throne, I'm here to tell you that you really do need this thing. It's probably the ONLY Star Wars furniture you need, aside from Jabba's Throne. Okay we'll make that the 2nd most important piece of Star Wars furniture available then.

The packaging styles and designs of both pieces will be familiar for Star Wars collectors as they've been this way for the past few years. Emperor Palpatine comes in the standard box with opening flap revealing the figure. The sides of the box once featured unique photography but now are identical. The back of the box still shows many screen captures from the film and the inner flap still offers a background of the character inside. The 12" figure is safely contained within a plastic tray.

The box for the Imperial Throne is very sturdy and with a Styrofoam case protecting the throne inside.

The sculpts of both Emperor portraits are very well done and capture some pretty frightening likenesses. The caveat of course is that this figure relies very heavily on lighting to look exactly right. In the film, Palpatine is surrounded by darkness not harsh light. Looking at the figure in our typical light may prove difficult. In addition, Palpatine is so pale that he's extremely difficult to photograph since his robes are so dark, so apologies in advance for the crudeness of these photographs.

The included hands of Palpatine are well sculpted with his signature wrinkles. One left hand is sculpted in a pointing gesture, a right hand is in a standard grip pose, and there’s also a pair in Force Lightning position. All of these hands are great and only accent the pose you put Palpatine in.

The paint on Palpatine is rather difficult to judge because what we have to compare with is so vastly different than our conditions at home. I'll just say that the paint work is clean and effective, but I’m a little unsure with the tones and other details. I also feel that I don’t have enough evidence to support whatever claim I want to make so I suppose we’ll just leave it at that. We'll let the pictures do the talking.

Palpatine uses the Pro Body with over 30-points of articulation, which is absolutely more than enough than what is necessary for this character. But the articulation is certainly welcome since he is required to sit on his own throne.

Accessories! The Emperor comes with his robe with clasp (and adjustable hood), shoes, cane, two sets of swappable hands, and the 12 inch figure display with the Star Wars logo. If you get the exclusive, you'll have the additional swappable head. Sideshow's website lists "PANTS" as an included feature but I think my Palpatine missed his bus ride to the pants store - he's gone commando.

Now let's talk a little more about the Imperial Throne for a bit. It's an impressive piece, no doubt about it. But for $140, this is a really expensive accessory. It's sculpted of high-quality polystone and individually painted and finished.

The look of this thing is really amazing. It also features side-to-side swiveling capability for even more hours of playtime... or however long it takes you to decide on how to display your toys.

Being a Star Wars collector and fan, having an Original Trilogy Palpatine was an absolute must. Getting the throne is just the icing on the cake. I know that in this financial climate, $94.99 (or $89.99) and $139.99 is really difficult to do in one blow, but the longer you wait, the harder it will be down the road. The good thing about both of these items is that they are Gift Card eligible! If you scored a decent card at any of the conventions Sideshow attended, that would surely help out quite a bit. Either way, I recommend both items highly. I can't quite decide which portrait of Palpatine I prefer and I wish he came with some force lightning effects, but he doesn’t. So be it, Sideshow.

Words and Photography by David Yeh

Imperial Throne Environment Courtesy of Sideshow Collectibles