|“||Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.||„|
|~ Emperor Palpatine|
|“||Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the dark side!||„|
|~ Emperor Palpatine taunting Luke|
|“||POWER! UNLIMITED POWER!!!!||„|
|~ Darth Sidious to Mace Windu|
Emperor Sheev Palpatine, also secretly known as Darth Sidious, is the main antagonist of the Star Wars saga, including the film trilogy and TV franchise; generally acting as the true main antagonist in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (as Darth Sidious) and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, the main, later secondary antagonist of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. He also appeared as the secondary antagonist (but the Bigger Bad) of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and the quarternary (but the Bigger Bad) antagonist of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
He was portrayed by Ian McDiarmid.
Early LifePalpatine was born on Naboo and very early on showed himself to be a violent, spoiled, and misanthropic sociopath who used his rich family's connections to get him out of trouble even when he indulged in reckless driving that hurt others and killed two people. Palpatine was expelled from one of the highest education in Naboo and possibly the entire galaxy. Palpatine also despised his father, whom he viewed as a weakling and a coward. This resentment would come to a head when Palpatine killed his entire family and in his later master's words "Baptized himself in the Dark Side". Palpatine subsequently became the apprentice to Darth Plagueis but betrayed him and killed him after he "became unnecessary" due to teaching Palpatine too much too quickly. It was during his apprenticeship to Plagueis that Palpatine took on his first apprentice Darth Maul, who he decided to take away and mercilessly abused and tortured in the name of turning him into the ultimate living weapon.
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
|“||Wipe them out. All of them!||„|
|~ Emperor Palpatine authorising the Battle of Naboo|
In Star Wars Episode I, Palpatine is the Phantom Menace. He is the titular main antagonist for most part of the film because he was the Phantom Menace (and, as Palpatine, a supporting protagonist). To carry out his 2,000-year-old plan to wipe out the Jedi for good, he sets up a war against the Republic as the leader of the Trade Federation with the name of Darth Sidious. When Palpatine eventually leads the Republic, he becomes a leader on both sides, ensuring that neither side gains enough upper hand to win the war. This, in turn, causes countless deaths of fighters in the Galactic War, including Jedi.
Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi arrive on the Trade Federation Control ship in order to negotiate, as requested from the Queen of Naboo. After their arrival, Darth Sidious interrupts their mission by ordering Viceroy Gunray to assassinate the ambassadors. When the Jedi escape, the Dark Lord has the viceroy end all communication in the Senate building.
As part of Emperor Palpatine's plan to become the new Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, he promises Queen Amidala that he will "end the corruption," as her people were suffering while the Trade Federation's control on the Naboo system increased. Delegates and other members of the Senate continued to argue, and even the Chancellor, failed to make any decisive action. During a Senate meeting, Amidala finally agrees with the senator to "call for a vote of no confidence" in Chancellor Valorum's leadership, and elect a new, stronger chancellor, to stop the tragedy.
After the defeat of the Dark Lord's possibly most loyal apprentice, Darth Maul, in a duel with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, he successfully becomes the new Chancellor of the Republic and also murdered his master Darth Plagueis shortly after, noting as he did that Plagueis was only his teacher, never his master. His future apprentice Darth Vader was a child at the time and the decision was made that he would be trained to become a Jedi. At that point, he officially controlled both sides of the war.
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
|“|| Count Dooku: I have good news for you, my lord. The war has begun. |
Darth Sidious: Excellent. Everything is going as planned.
|~ Count Dooku and Darth Sidious|
Sidious/Palpatine reappears as the secondary antagonist but the Bigger Bad.
In the second episode of the first trilogy, Palpatine plays a large role in starting a larger-scale war, the Clone Wars. Darth Sidious has his new apprentice, Count Dooku, unify the groups of Separatists to create a secret battle droid army, the largest in the galaxy. After Obi-Wan's discovery of the planet Kamino, an ocean-planet with a cloning facility holding thousands of trained human clones, Chancellor Palpatine is given immediate emergency powers in order to use the clone army against the Trade Federation.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
During the Clone Wars Darth Sidious plotted and masterminded many events and acts that led to him gaining more power. Darth Sidious first recruited the Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress to find Anakin and eliminate him but saw that she would fail and was only an instrument that would lead to the downfall of the Jedi.
Later Palpatine arranged a plot to recruit Jabba the Hutt to join the Separatists by kidnapping his son Rotta and framing the Jedi as the culprits. The plan eventually failed but the tide still turned in Sidious' favor as Jabba allowed the Republic to use the Hutt hyperspace lanes.
At another time Nute Gunray was captured by Senator Amidala and taken into custody to face trial on Coruscant for his war crimes. Palpatine praised the senator, but this angered the Dark Lord. Communicating with Darth Tyranus via hologram, Darth Sidious told him how dangerous this situation was as the weak-minded viceroy would likely slip vital information and retrieve him fast. Dooku told his master that he will send his apprentice Ventress who Sidious saw as useless but allowed him to proceed. Ventress successfully rescued Gunray without him telling the Jedi about his existence.
Darth Sidious' next plan would make a huge impact on the galaxy. Darth Sidious plotted to steal a Jedi holocron that contained a list of the galaxy's Force-sensitive children that he planned to kidnap and turn into his loyal spies. First the Sith Lord hired bounty hunter Cad Bane via hologram to steal a holocron from the Jedi Temple vaults with plans that he provided that allowed Bane to successfully steal the holocron. Next he required Bane to retrieve a memory crystal that would activate the information hidden in the holocron from a Jedi Master named Bolla Ropal in the Mid Rim. Cad Bane captured and tortured Ropal who eventually gave Bane the crystal and had Anakin open the holocron by threatening his Padawan Ahsoka who used the Force to open it.
Escaping from the Jedi, Cad Bane retreated to his hideout and contacted Sidious through holographic transmission and told the Sith Lord of his success. Darth Sidious next told Bane to kidnap four children from the list and bring them to Mustafar. Cad Bane only managed to kidnap two children before he was captured by the Jedi. The Jedi later reported to Chancellor Palpatine who discussed with Anakin if they found who was behind the plot. Anakin stated that a far more powerful being other than Bane or Dooku was behind the event and not suspecting Palpatine at all which satisfied the Chancellor.
On Mustafar, Darth Sidious observed the children through hologram using an astromech droid. Sidious told the nanny droids of the children's natural talent and how he would harness that power for his own needs. Looking into the future Sidious saw a vision of Force spies trained in the dark side that would appear in every corner of the galaxy doing his bidding. The nanny droid told the Dark Lord that the surgery would possibly kill them but Sidious cared nothing for the children and said that if the procedure failed he would lose nothing.
As the surgery was about to happen, an alert from a nanny droid told the Sith Lord of an incoming shuttle that was approaching and it did not belong to the bounty hunter. This surprised Sidious as he did not foresee this and ordered the droids to evacuate the children and destroy the facility to protect his identity and ended the transmission quickly. The Jedi rescued the children and thwarted Sidious' plans.During the Republic occupation of the neutral world of Mandalore, the Death Watch hoped to reclaim the planet from pacifists and join the Separatists cause once the planet was secured. Aboard a Separatist ship, Count Dooku contacted his Master that Death Watch was prepared to fight off the Republic forces when they arrive, and the splinter group will be viewed as saviors by the people. Darth Sidious expressed concern about possible interference by the Duchess Satine, but was assured by Dooku that a Death Watch assassin would take care of her, causing the Sith Lord to smirk.
Later in the war, Asajj Ventress grew stronger in the ways of the dark side of the Force. Through a hologram Darth Sidious accused Tyranus of wanting to overthrow him as Dark Lord which shocked his apprentice who stated his loyalty belonged only to his Master. Sidious then demanded proof and ordered him to eliminate Ventress which the Count sadly obliged to. After assuming success in the death of his former disciple, Dooku contacted Sidious of his apparent success. Satisfied, Darth Sidious praised his apprentice for once again proving his loyalty.
In a second attempt to invade Naboo, the Separatist launched an assault to conquer the planet. The Gungan Army fought against the droid army and Captain Tarpals battled General Grievous and subdued him at the cost of his life. From a secret headquarters hidden inside an ancient Naboo structure, Count Dooku received orders from Darth Sidious. The Sith Lord stated that Grievous is an integral part of his plan for the Clone Wars and told his apprentice to lure Anakin into a trap, capture him and arrange a prisoner exchange. Sidious assured Tyranus that Senator Amidala will agree to the terms.
Darth Sidious later had his apprentice kidnap an entire colony of people from the planet Kiros and sell them into slavery that would rebuild his Sith Empire. Aligning with the Zygerrians to resurrect the slave empire, the captured people were brought to the prison planet Kadavo to await processing. En route to Zygerria aboard his solar sailor, Count Dooku communicated with his Master. Darth Sidious lectured of how long Sith Empires have been built upon the backs of slaves and told his apprentice that to carry on this tradition millions of slaves will be required. Darth Sidious ordered Dooku to gain the Zygerrian Queen Miraj Scintel's cooperation or to end her rule if she fails to comply.
During the Banking Clan crisis, the banks had become bankrupt and Palpatine sent Padme to Scipio to deal with the matters. As the Dark Lord, Sidious hired bounty hunter Embo to originally assassinate the Banking Clan representative Rush Clovis but he managed to escape the planet with the aid of Padme and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. Embo contacted Sidious and was pleased to hear of the success and assured the bounty hunter that he would deal with them himself.
Later the Muun Nix Card contacted Darth Sidious and reported that Clovis had managed to escape with the evidence of the bank records. Sidious stated that Nix would be protected in the scandal. The Sith Lord later contacted Dooku on Serreno and devised a plan that would place Clovis in command of the Banking Clan as a puppet leader but first Tyranus had to entrap the senator.
After placing Clovis in office and framing him by aligning Scipio with the Separatists and massacring the Republic forces, the Senate called for an emergency session and the Chancellor launched a mercy mission. As Dooku was leaving the planet, Sidious contacted him with an update and told him that Republic forces were on their way. Tyranus informed his Master that the deception was complete. The Dark Lord stated because of the treachery, control of the banks would be placed in the hands of the Supreme Chancellor as Sidious cackled with delight.
In an unexpected turn of events, the long forgotten Sith Lord Darth Maul was discovered to be alive by the Jedi which reported back to the Chancellor startling Palpatine at this revelation. After the briefing, the Chancellor told the Jedi to ignore the Sith brothers and their focus should be on finding Dooku and bring the Clone Wars to an end then dismissed the Jedi from his office. As the Jedi left, Palpatine sat in his chair and smirked as he had plans for the rogue Sith in the future.
Later in the Chancellor's Office, Palpatine mediated and sensed the increasing power of the Nightbrothers on the planet Mandalore. Mas Amedda entered and was told to prepare the Chancellor's shuttle which Palpatine took to Mandalore in order to confront the brothers in his secret persona Darth Sidious. Upon arriving, a robed and hooded Sidious Force chokes two Shadow Collective members and rode a speeder to the royal palace where he confronted the brothers in the throne room. Sidious enters the throne room easily choking two guards to death and exchanges a few words with his former apprentice and looks at his brother, Savage Opress. Darth Sidious declared Maul a rival and Force pushed Maul and his brother into the wall windows cackling.
After releasing the brothers from his telekinetic grip, Maul and Savage ignited their lightsabers while Sidious summoned two from the sleeves of his robe to duel them. The battle moved from the throne room to the balcony where Savage pushed him off while Sidious Forced pulled Maul and Savage to the ground below. The Dark Lord Force pushed Maul to a wall briefly knocking him out while Sidious dueled Savage alone and in mere seconds impaled the Nightbrother in the chest killing him. As Maul rushed to his dying brother, the magicks left his body and Sidious cackled and told Maul the Rule of Two and leaped to the plaza below continuing their duel. Maul charged at Sidious with both his saber and the darksaber and after a brief duel, Sidious disarmed Maul and brutally battered him against the wall and ground. Broken and exhausted Maul begged for mercy and the Dark Lord replied there was no mercy and launched a barrage of Force lightning on his former apprentice. Darth Sidious cackled with glee as he tells the defeated Nightbrother that his plans don't involve killing him, but has other uses for him.
Near the end of the war, Darth Sidious faced some unexpected events. During a battle of the Ringo Vinda system, a clone seemed to have a mental breakdown and shot and killed a Jedi Knight for no apparent reason. The Separatist Admiral Trench saw the event and reported the betrayal to Count Dooku. On Serenno, Lord Tyranus made contact with his Master via hologram to report the clone incident. Sidious worried that it would expose evidence of the Sith Lord's secret programming and ordered Tyranus to seize the clone for examination.
As the Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine learned the clone trooper Tup died and another clone named Fives may have discovered the conspiracy. The Chancellor than suggested the clone be brought to Coruscant for medical attention which the Jedi reluctantly agreed to. Arriving at the medical station, the Jedi and the Chancellor met with the clone and asked if he could speak with Fives in private. Palpatine then framed Fives for an assassination attempt and issued a manhunt for the clone. Fives eventually was killed and died without spilling a word of the conspiracy. Later in his office, Palpatine told the Jedi that his personal doctors discovered a virus that Tup and Fives had inside of them from Ringo Vinda as the source of their mental breakdowns which the Jedi believed. Darth Sidious later made contact with his apprentice that protocol 66 has been undiscovered and the Jedi will soon learn of it as Sidious cackled.
Some time later, the Jedi discovered a shipwreck on the planet Oba Diah belonging to the Jedi Master who was killed long ago, Sifo-Dyas. Darth Sidious later learned the Jedi were looking into the investigation of Dyas and worried they would uncover secrets not meant to be discovered. Sidious appeared to his apprentice as a large hologram and demanded to know why the Jedi were sniffing around the loose end that is Sifo-Dyas. The Dark Lord demanded that Tyranus and the Separatists clean up the affairs lest their plans be threatened. Sidious made sure his apprentice understood what it meant if he failed by Force choking him through the hologram then ended the transmission.
During the conflict, Darth Sidious looked into the Force and saw Master Yoda was on Moraband, the ancient homeworld of the Sith, and summoned his apprentice back to Coruscant. In the LiMerge Building on the industrial side of the planet, Tyranus met with his Master and plotted to strike a devastating blow on the Jedi Order. In a ceremonial chamber with statues lining the room, Darth Sidious told his apprentice of Yoda's location and since Dooku was his apprentice, they have a strong bond through the Force that could be exploited. Sidious cut Dooku's hand and blood spilled into the altar filled with water as both zapped the water with Sith lightning while Sidious recited an ancient Sith incantation creating an illusion for Yoda on Moraband that would lead the Jedi into a trap.
In the illusion, Sidious appeared to Yoda as Sifo-Dyas in disguise and tempted the Jedi with the knowledge of Sidious' identity. Yoda refused and suddenly Sifo-Dyas transformed into a cackling Sidious and surrounded him with chains of energy. Forced into a deeper illusion, Yoda and Anakin Skywalker along with a squad of clones arrived at the LiMerge Building and confronted the Sith Lords. Anakin engages Dooku while Yoda confronts the hooded Dark Lord who escapes and Anakin kills Dooku by severing his head. Darth Sidious ignites his lightsaber and Yoda his and engage in fierce whirling duel. Anakin attempts to enter the duel but is blasted unconscious by Sidious' lightning. Sidious taunted Yoda stating if he lets Anakin die it thwart his plans of eliminating the Jedi Order yet the Jedi Master sacrificed himself saving Skywalker.
Yoda hurled his saber at Sidious and both plummeted to the ground below while Sidious cackled and when Yoda attempted to remove his hood, he found the robes to be empty.
Back on Coruscant, Darth Sidious emerged from the glowing sacrificial altar. The illusion had ended and failed to break the Jedi Master's spirit and the Dark Lord told Tyranus they would need more time to defeat Yoda and destroy the Jedi Order.
Towards the end of the Clone Wars, Darth Sidious watched through hologram a sparring session between Lord Tyranus and General Grievous.
Tyranus lectured Grievous of the importance of mastering his lightsaber skills and to ensure victory not be reckless. Appearing before them on a mechno-chair, Sidious praised Dooku's counsel and asked Grievous for the report from the front. The general told the Sith Lord that the Jedi forces are stretched thin across the Outer Rim which Sidious seemed pleased with. Darth Sidious then told both that the time to strike was now and to launch their final operation and asked Grievous if everything was ready for his "special mission" and Grievous affirmed the Dark Lord that everything is in place.
Striking a devastating attack on the Republic capital, General Grievous entered with the Droid Army and launched a full scale invasion of the planet. Grievous' mission was to capture the Supreme Chancellor who was protected by a squad of clone troopers and Jedi protectors. Through the whole pursuit Palpatine seemed calm and at times sarcastic. After disposing of the clones, Grievous chased the Jedi and Chancellor all through the city-planet until finally disarming the Jedi. Grievous captured Palpatine and seemed annoyed at his charismatic nature. The Chancellor later boarded a ship that took him to the Separatist flagship The Invisible Hand and placed in the tall spire tower of the ship and placed on a throne with shackles on the arm rests. Setting the events of the third film.
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
|“||Once more the Sith will rule the galaxy and we shall have... peace.||„|
|~ Darth Sidous to Darth Vader|
In Revenge of the Sith, when Emperor Palpatine revealed his true identity to Anakin Skywalker, Anakin turned him into the Jedi. But alas, Anakin realized he could not lose Palpatine as he thought he needed to learn the dark side power to "save" his wife Padmé. After Anakin betrayed the Jedi, the evil Sith Lord took Anakin as his own apprentice and gave him the title "Darth Vader". Palpatine, knowing the time had come, executed Order 66, which ordered his clone army to kill their Jedi commanders. Only a handful of a handful survived, one of which was Master Yoda. Yoda entered Emperor Palpatine's office, and the two began a battle. It ended with Yoda being forced to flee and Palatine leaving for the planet, Mustafar, where Anakin was battling his former master, Obi-Wan. When Palpatine arrived, he found Anakin's charred body lying next to a river of lava. Palpatine ordered his soldiers to transport Anakin to Courascant so that he could he repaired. On the large, city planet of Courascant, Palpatine oversaw the operation as Anakin was placed in the famous black armor of Darth Vader. With the Galactic Empire now in control, the two dark lords watched as their super weapon, the Death Star, was under construction.
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
|“||The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.||„|
|~ The Emperor to Darth Vader|
While the Emperor made no appearance in the Episode IV: A New Hope, he made a very short appearance in a hologram projection while communicating with Lord Vader. He told Vader to prevent the son of Anakin Skywalker, Luke, from becoming a Jedi, as he could become a serious threat. When Vader suggest turning him to the Dark Side of the Force, the Emperor agrees and orders Vader to capture Luke and bring the young Jedi before him.
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Palpatine reappears as the main antagonist. In the original trilogy, he didn't appear in person until the final film, Return of the Jedi, although at that time, he talked to Vader about a new enemy who was strong in the Force, Luke Skywalker, who was Vader's own son. In Return of the Jedi, Palpatine ordered Darth Vader to capture Luke Skywalker. After Luke defeated Vader in a duel, Palpatine encouraged him to kill Vader and become his new apprentice. When Luke refused, the enraged Emperor attacked Luke with Force Lightning, causing him horrible pain. The reborn Anakin Skywalker could not stand to see his son in so much pain, so he grabbed the Emperor from behind and hurled him down to his death at the bottom of the main reactor shaft, completely obliterating him in an explosion of dark energy. Unfortunately the wild lightning coming from the Emperor's hands while Anakin carried him eventually proved fatal to the cyborg.
Sidious is a complete megalomaniac, a person whose lust for power was so strong it wouldn't be satisfied until the entire galaxy was underneath his thumb. Sidious displayed psychopathic behaviourisms, he wore a metaphorical mask of normalacy, sympathy and benevolence as his public Chancellor Sheev Palpatine he was modest, calm, grandfatherly and humble but used Machiavellian tactics in politics.
In reality Palpatine proved to an underhand and master manipulator, possibly due to his time in politics. Sidious was a master of disguise and even faked his own kidnapping at the hands of Count Dooku and General Grievous so his true personality as the Dark Sith Lord would go undiscovered. Sidious was proven to be seductive as he was able to trick the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker into believing that it were the Jedi who were evil and even turned him into his apprentice Darth Vader.
In addition to being a master of manipulation, Lord Sidious was highly intelligent, nothing short of a genius, and an incredible strategist: he was capable of effortlessly manipulating situations throughout his life to his own advantage. He was also extremely exploitative, shrewd and incredibly devious, capable of outwitting any opponent with little or no difficulty.
Furthermore Sidious was a mostly callous and arrogant person, he carries many apprentices but does not care for them and only sticks with them for as long they are useful towards him and when they outlived that he merely throws them aside, an example of this would be when Skywalker was rescuing Palpatine and had Dooku at his mercy, Sidious persuaded him to kill Dooku which he did. On top of the Death Star, Vader was held at Lightsaber-point by his son and Sidious showed no concern of his death. He was extremely arrogant and overconfident to a fault, and did nothing for anyone but himself. His arrogance would ultimately lead to his downfall, at the hands of Darth Vader.
Sidious was intensely sadistic and cruel, known for even creating life forms for the sheer purpose of personally causing them pain. He smiled when Dooku was at Anakin Skywalker's mercy, sneered constantly whilst fighting with Savage Opress and Darth Maul, and laughed hysterically whilst duelling Yoda. He would become extremely reckless whilst experiencing this sadistic pleasure that proved to be his downfall, as shown in Return of the Jedi when he tortured Luke as opposed to simply killing him - which he was completely capable of doing - whilst completely ignoring Darth Vader, who managed to destroy him.
Sidious has also developed sever paranoia when his former protege Darth Maul had returned from the dead he saw him as a rival and sought to kill him. When he sensed that Dooku's protege Asaaj Ventress was becoming even more powerful, he ordered Dooku to eliminate her.
Powers and skills
In addition to being a genius, Sidious was incredibly powerful: he was arguably one of the strongest Force users to ever live. He was capable of manipulating entire starships with his telekinetic abilities, and easily hurled Senate seats at Yoda during their duel. He was also extremely proficient with Sith Lightning - his signature power - and could launch entire storms of electricity from his hands at opponents. However, beings like Yoda were capable of countering and even overcoming this particular discipline. He was an incredibly talented lightsaber swordsman, possibly one of the greatest swordsmen of his time, and in the Sith Order. He was next to unstoppable in a duel because of his extraordinary speed, dexterity, agility, and the fact that he would instinctively switch between lgihtsaber techniques to confuse and overpower his enemies. He, in one certain incident, killed three Jedi masters with one single stroke of his blade, and famously held his own effortlessly against Yoda himself. However, although he maintained the upper hand throughout the majority of his duel with Mace Windu, he was ultimately beaten by the Jedi warrior.
Palpatine made several other appearances in other TV shows. Some excamples are Family Guy (when Cleveland tried to kill Quagmire), and the Mad Scientist once played as Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars Robot Chicken special. When the developers made a Star Wars Family Guy special, Carter Pewterschmidt portrayed Emperor Palpatine, but he was instead known as Emperor Carter.
- Palpatine shares a strong resemblance to Count Dracula in 1992 Dracula film. He also shares a strong resemblance to the 2008 incarnation of Davros.
- In the original script of The Empire Strikes Back, Palpatine was named Cos Dashit, a puppet leader who was controlled by the Moffs. He had no connection to the Force at all. However, Lucas had replace him as the main mastermind of the Saga.
- Palpatine is considered to be one of the most evil villains ever.
- Since the first release of the films, Palpatine has became an iconic villain, along with Vader.
- Palpatine is the second most recurring villain of Star Wars, second only to Darth Vader.
- Emperor Palpatine is very similar to Supreme Leader Snoke as both have seduced people to the dark side and both are very powerful.