Prince Xizor (according to EU canon) was standing in the shadows during this scene. Yeah, okay… Apparently the Emperor had that much faith in Xizor to make an apparently casual call to Vader to discuss #1 priorities like capturing the one guy who could destroy them. “Oops… Xizor is still in the room. Forget what you just heard.” I am sure Steve Perry (no, not the singer from Journey) intended to show just how powerful Xizor was by the fact he already knew Vader was Anakin Skywalker. But, I find it a little forced.
I don’t feel that anyone other than Yoda, Obi-Wan, Vader and the Emperor were supposed to be aware of the relationship and background of Luke and Vader. That Xizor knows all about this, thanks to his extensive spy network and largely to his apparent awesomeness, just doesn’t feel like it fits with what was intended. Regardless of how Xizor found out, why would the Emperor let this slip in what had been written in Empire Strikes Back as a private conversation. Maybe Vader should have waved the Imperial bridge crew into the conference room to listen in, so that any who spend too much time on the internet would be able to make the Skywalker / Vader / Luke connection as well? I’m being silly now, I’m just saying that the scene feels like it undermines certain things that the Original Trilogy established… but that’s just me… fighting a losing battle.
Also, much of the book is written from Xizor’s point of view, and since he is written to be arrogant, I tire quickly of his high opinion of himself and his “cunning” schemes. As well as apparently being perfect, Xizor has the power to arouse “females” to have the uncontrollable desire to mate with him. This was obviously written back when bottled pheromone extract was a big business marketed to lonely men. I guess Xizor has the real deal, but here I’m arguing that the affects of chemicals won’t be exclusive to the opposite sex, for comedy’s sake at least.
Fortunately, the BMS version of Xizor is likely to be a LOT of fun and a lot more likable than the real thing.