A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one refers to a popular reaction image macro from Star Wars I: A Phantom Menace.
The quote is a popular Prequel Meme, paired with a screenshot of the scene where Senator Palpatine is saying the line to Padmé Amidala.
Online, the image macro is used to express a pleasant astonishment.
The scene originates from the first Star Wars prequel, A Phantom Menace, which was premiered in the United States on May 16th, 1999.
The quote wouldn’t become a meme until after 2016, when Reddit’s r/PrequelMemes subreddit was launched, to collect all the memorable image macros from the Star Wars prequels.
“A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one” wouldn’t start appearing as a meme until 2017.
A separated clip of the scene was uploaded to YouTube on March 31st, 2017, by treynquil.
Like many prequel memes, “a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one” remains a popular reaction image format, appearing on sites like Reddit, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, just to mention a few.