Travis Bickle, Jedi Knight? Art by the great Phil Noto, of Black Widow fame, who’s also done his share of legit Star Wars comics in his time.

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I go all over. I take people to Tatooine, Nar Shadda. I take ‘em to Jakku. I don’t care. Makes no difference to me. I’m the Force’s lonely man.

Since I first saw Taxi Driver in a film class in the early ‘90s, I’ve wondered if the name “Palpatine” was George Lucas’s tribute to the character of Senator Palantine, and his way of paying homage to Martin Scorsese. Then again, there’s some evidence that “Palpatine” was coined by Alan Dean Foster, who ghostwrote the Star Wars novelization, and that the name of the future Galactic Emperor didn’t become official canon until the release of The Phantom Menace in 1999 (though by that point it had appeared in dozens of licensed books and comics). Taxi Driver came out while Star Wars was filming in 1976, so the timing is interesting; I have to wonder if either Lucas or Foster picked up the name from Scorsese’s movie, whether unconsciously or deliberately. They might have been thinking of the Palatine Hill of Rome, with its connotations of imperial glory and decline. (A palatine is a high-ranking court official, which would describe the erstwhile Senator of the Sovereign System of Naboo very accurately.)

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Either way, you gotta admit it’s a major upgrade from “Cos Dashit.”

In terms of fictional 1970s presidential candidates, I suspect the Republic could have done better by Hal Phillip Walker, if only because they desperately needed a third (or second, even) political party. Does Life Day smell like oranges to you?