nkeago, I enjoyed your Mace/Yoda banter, but I have to correct you on something. We are not “led to believe” that Palpatine and Sidious are the same person. They ARE the same person. Palpatine is his given name, Darth Sidious is his Sith name, just as Darth Vader is Anakin’s Sith name. Additionally, Palpatine/Sidious is also the Emperor from the original trilogy, but it sounds like you already knew that.
As far as cloning goes, you are actually on to something. At one point during his reign as Emperor, Palpatine will set up a secret citadel on some hidden planet. There, he trains students in the use of the Dark Side of the Force, but never enough so that they're as powerful as he or Vader. Also, in that citadel he has clones of himself made, hoping (in his old age) that he can find a way to transfer his sentience, etc into a younger stronger version of himself.
When Vader picks him up and throws him into a power core at the end of Jedi, Palpatine gets the extra incentive he needs; he dies only for a few moments, and then his essence is transferred into on of the clones in this citadel.
So, if they decided to make the next three movies (eps 7, 8, and 9) they would be about: Luke's establishment of a new Jedi Acadamy and Leia's introduction to her training; Han and Leia's children (Jacen and Jana) and they're training as pilots and in the Force; AND the return of the emperor and Luke's temporary conversion to the Dark Side of the Force.
One of the intresting things to note is that while Jedi of the Old Order could apparently not have any attachments, Leia begins her training after she is already married. I assume the change is for two reasons: first, the last time they enforced this rule, they wound up with Vader who wiped out most of the Jedi; and two, at this point Luke is one of the only Jedi left, so he's pretty much gotta settle for a less than perfect situation.
DAMN I am a nerd. Hope someone found this interesting.