Funnily enough, the last 3 posts have just summed up my theories on the missing links in the films, namely that Sidious is Sifa Dyas, and that Palpatine learns his powers from a holocron (possibly one that Dyas left for him on purpose). Palpatine may still be a clone of Dyas, but under those circumstances, would not the jedi council have notced that this senator looked remarkably like a jedi master who "died" only a few years before?
Perhaps we cannot truely evaluate the first movie until ep3 has been released, after if you had seen the first film wouldn't the emperor or Vader come off as being kinda, well, shallow characters? Perhaps an equivalent to Maul from that film would be Tarkin - whose only real purpose was to stand around...look menacing...and say "You may fire when ready". He didn't even get a cool fight scene at the end, he just got blown up :>
(OTOH - I liked him because he had style and character, I think Maul had the style of a fluffy purple donkey in a sombrero. Character makes as much of the...um character as does looking like a big red meanie)
Again I apologise for sounding hostile, I suppose I was feeling a little hostile. My fault.