Chancellor Valorum is one of the lesser known Star wars characters, but his fall into the hands of then-Senator Palpatine would have enormous consequences for the entire galaxy. Valorum was a benefactor who eventually became entangled in the bureaucratic intricacies of high-stakes politics, and all suffered as a result.
What most Star wars fans are not aware of how rich Valorum’s story is as a character. His family’s legacy goes back a thousand years in the history of the republic, which is what made his spectacular fall such a watershed moment in Star wars lore. The compounds are difficult to spot unless they are pointed out.
He was a native of Coruscant
Finis Valorum was born in the year 82 BBY (before the Battle of Yavin) on Coruscant, to great prosperity. His family had been involved in galactic politics for generations, and Valorum was brought up to appreciate the finer things in life, including expensive possessions.
As a native of the capital of the Galactic Republic, Coruscant, Valorum had to rely heavily on advice when it came to solving the various problems plaguing the rest of the galaxy. Despite this, he still had a Coruscant mentality when it came to things like slavery that took place on the outer fringes.
His family heritage
Valorum’s family had a rich senatorial history, with his ancestor Tarsus Valorum having achieved the most during his tenure as chief chancellor. Born over 1,000 years before the Battle of Yavin, Tarsus was elected to office in the midst of the new Sith wars, which brought a supposed end to the Sith order.
This victory enabled Valorum to decentralize military power in the republic while dissolving the Jedi Army of Light. The result was a thousand generations of relative peace, even as the Sithers went into hiding and began secretly planning their revenge.
He has a story with Tarkins
During his time in politics, Valorum clashed with his rival Ranulph Tarkin, cousin of future Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin during the rise of the galactic empire. Relations were particularly tense when Tarkin pushed for increased militarism in the republic, which Valorum strictly protested against.
Later, a conflict known as the Stark Hyperspace War broke out, during which time Tarkin tried to push for a large republic military to protect his worlds. When the war ended, Valorum was elected supreme chancellor with the support of the Tarkin family, provided they posthumously appoint Ranulph a hero from this war.
He relied too much on diplomacy
Unlike the power-hungry Palpatine, Chancellor Valorum believed that the path to conflict resolution was solely through diplomacy. As such, he remained an ardent opponent of an army of a republic, citing the lack of need in the absence of ancient galactic conflicts.
This, however, secretly caused his support to fall, leaving an opening for Naboo Senator Palpatine to begin constructing a conflict that would necessitate the creation of a great army of the republic. Once the events were set in motion, they were virtually impossible to stop.
It was rumored that he was a womanizer
Filandery and femininity are nothing new to corrupt bureaucrats and politicians, and it was suspected that Valorum also participated in it. Although not explicitly confirmed, Valorum was known to have close relationships with several women, including his own help, and a Jedi master known as Adi Gallia.
After being ousted from politics, Valorum was reportedly keeping company with a young blonde woman, suggesting he was up to his old tricks. This remains speculative, but not unheard of for a person in his position.
His relationship with Palpatine
According to the reference book Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to CharactersSenator Palpatine of Naboo was considered one of Valorum’s closest political friends and a member of his trusted circle. It must have come as a surprise then that Palpatine betrayed him the way he did.
In fact, this was not surprising. By pretending loyalty and friendship, Palpatine was able to manipulate Valorum while keeping an eye on his political actions. From there, he was able to counter as needed, set himself up as a replacement, and remove one of his last few obstacles to complete power.
Join the Refugee Aid Movement
After his no-confidence motion and subsequent dismissal, Valorum gave up essentially his entire political career and resigned. He decided to dedicate his retirement years to joining the Refugee Relief Movement, a nonprofit organization with the original intention of helping the poor underclass on Coruscant.
Later, the movement would grow in both scope and operation during the separatist crisis, in which Valorum spearheaded the migration of refugees to Alderaan, which would later be wiped out by the empire’s first Death Star.
A betrayal centuries along the way
Valorum’s dismissal from office was not just an act of 4D chess, but rather a thousand-year-long betrayal on the way. It was Finis Valorum’s ancestor Tarsus who helped abolish the Sith Order, leading to centuries of freedom and galactic prosperity. Meanwhile, the Sith were forced underground, with Darth Bane adopting the Rule of Two amendment to their codex.
When the time came to reveal his plot, Palpatine was very pleased to see the whole Republic turn on Valorum. He had secretly weakened the chancellor’s political influence for years before driving him into humiliation. This was a symbolic victory for Sith, and the first indicator that things were beginning to turn in their favor.
He was modeled after Bill Clinton
According to George Lucas, the character of Chancellor Valorum was modeled after US President Bill Clinton, a man he thought was good-natured but “besieged”. This was confirmed in 1998 The star was an insider interview with the experienced character actor Terence Stamp, the actor who portrayed Chancellor Valorum in Phantom threat.
Stamp noted that Lucas’ comments about Bill Clinton came before his now infamous scandal, which led to his trial. Although his inclinations were never mentioned in The phantom threat, tips would be dropped in subsequent subordinates Star wars material.
The ‘Valorum’ character in the original manuscript
There are many fascinating differences between the original Star wars script and the final draft, to the point where it almost feels like a whole other story. Ironically, Valorum’s name appears in this rough draft as a completely different character.
In the original draft, Prince Valorum was actually a knight of Sith who assumed the role of the Darth Vader character. Valorum is depicted as a pragmatic gray area character who is not necessarily good or evil. Conversely, Vader’s character was a military general who lacked strength and was more of a stand-in for Grand Moff Tarkin.
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