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|“||Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.||„|
| ~ Emperor Palpatine's most famous quote. |
|“||It is unavoidable. It is your destiny. You, like your father, are now... mine!||„|
| ~ Emperor Palpatine to Luke Skywalker.|
|“||Use your aggressive feelings, boy! Let the hate flow through you!||„|
|~ Emperor Palpatine.|
Emperor Sheev Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious or simply as The Emperor, is the main antagonist of the entire Star Wars franchise.
He serves as the main antagonist of both the original and prequel trilogies, as the overarching antagonist of both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, as the unseen overarching antagonist of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and as a posthumous antagonist in the sequel trilogy, where he will play an unconfirmed role in the third and final installment The Rise of Skywalker. He also appears as the main antagonist, the overarching antagonist, and/or a posthumous antagonist in several novels within both the Star Wars Legends continuity and the Canon continuity.
He is an immensely powerful Sith Lord and the ruler of the Galactic Empire, which he formed from the Galactic Republic, who was also the de-facto ruler of the CIS, which he used to give himself autocratic powers as Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. As the Dark Lord of the Sith, Sidious plotted to overthrow the Jedi by manipulating the events of the Clone Wars to bring himself to rule the whole galaxy; thus posing as the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic throughout the course of these events.
In the saga films, he was most famously portrayed by Ian McDiarmid, after previously being voiced by Clive Revill, and portrayed by the late Marjorie Eaton in the original edition of The Empire Strikes Back. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he was voiced by the late Ian Abercrombie, and later Tim Curry; who also played Hexxus in FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Ben Ravencroft, Drake, and many other villains. McDiarmid returned to voice Palpatine when he appeared in the final season of Star Wars Rebels.
At first, Palpatine appeared to be a compassionate, well-meaning and harmless individual. However, this was nothing more a public facade that he made up to hide his true nature as Darth Sidious, and as the Sith Lord he exposes it all. He is actually a very murderous, irredeemable, ambitious, power-hungry, ruthless, sadistic, psychopathic, egotistical and unpredictable individual. And as such, there was only one goal he had in mind to accomplish: total control of the entire galaxy. Cold and dominant, it is either obeyed or be obliterated with him.
Despite his arrogance, Sidious was highly intelligent, patient and manipulative, possessing some sense of humor. He was also known to be treacherous and deceptive, as he would kill his allies or have them killed, as he had no desire to share his power with anyone, especially his own apprentices, and unlike most of the other Sith Lords, he prefers using mental breaking and the Force over physical strength. During the early parts of his plan, Darth Sidious preferred to speak to servants such as Dooku by hologram. He gave orders for the Separatists' next move and then disappeared as quickly as he appeared.
After he had successfully gained full control of it, Darth Sidious turned the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire to restore the Sith Empire. He abandoned his public persona and openly became a tyrannical dark lord; despite this, he never revealed that he was the Dark Lord of the Sith to the public; as only his most trusted followers were aware of his Sith identity. Darth Sidious was the only Sith Master/Dark Lord of the Sith in the history of the galaxy to achieve the ultimate goal of the Sith Order: to eradicate the Jedi Order and bring the galaxy under the rule of the Sith.
Sidious also greatly desired to become immortal; his master had once had the ability to keep others from dying using the dark side of the Force. Palpatine/Sidious learned this same ability and desired to use a similar power, if one did exist, to increase his lifespan so that he could rule the galaxy forever, with one such scheme involving the creation of a Force-made virus, called Project Blackwing.
However Sidious's searches for such secrets of the Sith were ultimately fruitless (as the Blackwing virus turned its hosts into undead zombies and had to be eradicated), and he never found a way to become immortal. Despite his desire for immortality, Sidious would anticipate the possibility of facing death, and in some cases, he is willing to forsake his own life by provoking any person to kill him in order to convert that person into the dark side and carry on his evil legacy. Like most practitioners of the dark side of the Force, Darth Sidious was susceptible to fear to the point of being paranoid. This paranoia was extensive to the point where he feared the power of other Force-users and had them hunted down and either killed or turned to his side as loyal servants.
However, his paranoia was never extended to the point of being cowardly and pusillanimous, as he felt little fear and was more than willing to get into direct confrontations with exceptionally powerful opponents like Mace Windu and Yoda if necessary. Fear ultimately proved to be his weakness as it caused him to constantly plot and devise schemes against his enemies, which ultimately lead to the unexpected creation of the Rebel Alliance and the eventual downfall of his Empire, thus his own demise in addition to creating his would-be-killer, Darth Vader.
Despite his evil nature, he was a known patron of the arts; this was evidenced in the craftsmanship of his lightsabers, and in the many statue and sculptures present in his office during his time as chancellor. However, he abandoned most of his love of the arts when he became emperor in favor of expanding his power. In addition, although Sidious openly acknowledged his being a Dark Sider he also did not consider himself evil, but rather thought of himself as a savior.
According to Cory Barlog, a former LucasArts developer, George Lucas originally intended to reveal what exactly happened in Palpatine's life that turned him into the monster he later became in an unproduced live-action television show which never got ahead due budgetary concerns. Reportedly, Lucas wrote an episode which featured a once sympathetic Emperor Palpatine falling in love with a heartless woman who wronged him until causing him to become the ruthless tyrant he is shown to be in the films. Unfortunately, this story, as well its details, hasn't been released as of yet and thus it isn't currently considered canon.
Powers and Abilities
Despite his old age, Darth Sidious was immensely powerful and had an amazingly strong connection to the dark side of the Force, considered to be the most powerful Sith ever. His power and skill in the usage of the Force exceed that of Darth Vader after he was badly burned in Mustafar and Darth Tyranus and can only be matched, if not slightly surpassed, by Yoda.
He was extremely skilled in using Force lightning and was known to use this power both as a deadly attack and as a means of torture. On several occasions on Ryloth, he used bursts of lightning which not only killed numerous Twi'leks but badly charred and scorched their carapaces, which were tough enough to repel heavy blaster fire. On another occasion, he used the ability to damage a Twi'lek freighter's engines badly enough to pull it out of the sky with telekinesis. Sidious could use Force lightning in a number of creative ways, including striking multiple enemies at once, with the bolts jumping from one victim to the other, like a chain and imbuing the ground around a victim's feet with energy, effectively electrocuting them.
His Force lighting is powerful enough that even someone of Yoda's caliber had noticeable difficulty deflecting it using the Force. Another more obscure ability that he possessed was the power to produce a dark aura, a miniature storm of force energy that slowed the movement of, and tortured all caught within its radius. He was also highly skilled with telekinesis; during his duel with Yoda, he levitated several Senate pods simultaneously, including the one he was standing on, with great dexterity and accuracy. Likewise, he was skilled enough with telekinesis that he was also able to remove Luke Skywalker's handcuffs while barely lifting his finger when meeting face to face on the second Death Star.
On Mandalore, he casually telekinetically strangled two Mandalorians at once killing them, and easily pinned both Darth Maul and Savage Opress against a wall without them being able to break free before deliberately releasing them and later easily threw around Maul after disarming him telekinetically, He once also telekinetically choked Count Dooku from hundreds of light years away during a holo-transmission.
Darth Sidious was highly adept at foreseeing the future, often utilizing the power to see his plots to fruition, ensuring that all would proceed as he had envisioned. His accuracy with this power can only be rivaled by that of Yoda. The Dark Lord was also adept in the use of Force persuade, to the extent that he was able to take complete control of a subject's mind and force them to obey his commands. He was also capable of telepathically communicating with Darth Vader over a distance of hundreds of light-years. Palpatine also had a remarkably keen ability to sense the thoughts and feelings of others, including those of incredibly powerful Force adepts such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. On a related note, he was also capable of hiding his own thoughts and feelings from even such individuals as Yoda and managed to conceal his true dark nature from the entire Jedi Council for decades before deliberately revealing himself.
Despite his old age, Darth Sidious was incredibly skilled in lightsaber combat and an extremely gifted duelist. He was one of the greatest lightsaber duelists in the history of the galaxy. Sidious' lightsaber skills were such that he had mastered all the forms of lightsaber combat and could shift from one combat form to another fluidly and without effort. Sidious' technique and fighting style was a combination of brutal aggression and lethal precision, making him an almost unstoppable opponent.
Sidious' skills in Lightsaber combat allowed him to effortlessly kill Agen Kolar and Saesee Tiin with a single blow, who was among the best duelists of their time. He then swiftly overpowered and killed the formidable Kit Fitso while also engaged with Mace Windu. He proved capable of matching Windu in their duel and even initially seemed to have the upper hand, although he was defeated by the latter ultimately and loses one of 2 Lightsabers. He succeeds to kill Windu only because Anakin Skywalker intervenes. Sidious even managed to stalemate Yoda himself for an extended period of time before he was outmatched in their lightsaber duel.
Although Sidious usually used only one lightsaber, he was also extremely skilled in the art of Jar'Kai, evidenced when he used both of his lightsabers against Darth Maul and Savage Opress with tremendous skill and efficiency and using a ferocious, but fluid, fighting style, managed to duel both of them at once on equal grounds and ultimately managed to separate them. He then effortlessly killed Opress, who used a double-bladed lightsaber, in mere seconds and proceeded to duel Maul also using 2 lightsabers. Almost effortlessly, Sidious ultimately overpowered Maul and disarmed him of his 2 Lightsabers by forcing his blades down toward the hilts of Maul's 2 blades and then forcing them apart.
- Genius-Level Intellect/Master Tactician/Leader/Manipulator: Darth Sidious was amazingly intelligent; his intelligence and wisdom were rivaled only by Yoda, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. As the leader of the Sith Order, he was a highly skilled tactician and a very capable leader. He was very manipulative, as he was able to easily manipulate individuals directly or indirectly to achieve his goals. Sidious even managed to manipulate and deceive Anakin Skywalker, a genius in his own right, into becoming his apprentice and turning him against the Jedi Order.
Darth Sidious' valued weapon and possession were his two red-bladed lightsabers, whose hilts were inlaid with gold-colored Electrum metal and made of Phrik alloy, making them indestructible, even to other lightsabers. The weapons bore the same appearance to one another save for one being coated in an unknown black alloy. Being a patron of the arts, the lightsabers were elegantly crafted with an artisan's skill and were small enough that they could be easily hidden up his sleeves. While in office as Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine/Sidious always kept one of his lightsabers hidden inside a Neuranium statue on his desk in his office in case of emergencies. Both lightsabers were utilized together once in his duel on Mandalore against his former apprentice, Darth Maul, and Maul's brother, Savage Oppress.
- First Lightsaber: Darth Sidious built his first red-bladed lightsaber during his apprenticeship under Darth Plagueis. It would remain in his possession until his death, but what happened to it after Sidious' death is unknown.
- Second Lightsaber: At some point, Darth Sidious had built a second red-bladed lightsaber. It would remain in his possession until his duel against Mace Windu when it was kicked out of Palpatine's office window. Since Sidious viewed the Sith's lightsabers as only existing to mock the Jedi's weapons, following Order 66, Sidious carried no lightsaber (including his remaining lightsaber) and preferred to use the Force as his weapon.
Darth Sidious made several other appearances in other TV shows. Some examples are Family Guy (when Cleveland tried to kill Quagmire), and the Mad Scientist once played as Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in the Star Wars Robot Chicken special. When the developers made Family Guy episodes based on the original trilogy, Carter Pewterschmidt portrayed The Emperor, but he was instead known as "Emperor Carter".
- Historical leaders such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Julius Caesar, and Richard Nixon served as the main influences for his character.
- 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 replaced him as the main mastermind of the Saga.
- In the Blu-ray commentary to Return of the Jedi, actor Ian McDiarmid noted that when George Lucas first approached him to play the Emperor he had just finished playing Lucifer in a stage version of John Milton's Paradise Lost. McDiarmid noted ironically that Lucifer (as depicted in the play) was more sympathetic and had more redeeming qualities than Palpatine.
- Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine is often considered one of the most evil villains in television and film history - as his reign of terror in addition to his tyrannies have led to billions of casualties and the destruction of countless planets, thus devastating the galaxy altogether.
- Since the first release of the films, Darth Sidious has become an iconic villain, along with Vader. He is also the second most recurring villain of Star Wars, second only to Vader.
- Even though Darth Sidious is one of the main antagonists of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, his Sith persona was only seen in 17 episodes out of 121 episodes total. Sidious was only seen in hologram in 1 episode in Season 1 (Cloak of Darkness), 3 episodes in Season 2 (Holocron Heist, Children of the Force and Duchess of Mandalore), 2 episodes in Season 3 (Nightsisters and Ghost of Mortis, the latter as a future vision to Anakin), 2 episodes in Season 4 (Escape from Kadavo and Shadow Warrior), 2 episodes in Season 5, including Revival where he smiles after learning Maul's survival, implying his identity (and the other one being The Lawless), and 7 episodes in Season 6 (The Unknown, Orders, An Old Friend, The Rise of Clovis, Crisis at the Heart, Voices and Sacrifice, the last one that served the series finale until new episodes were announced.
- He is portrayed by King Pig in Angry Birds: Star Wars and its prequel, where he retains his Force lightning from before, and when it is activated, he targets the area you tap. Also, as Darth Vader kills the latter quickly when they find that Sidious was the man called Palpatine, he and Mace Windu don't get a chance to duel at all.
- Darth Sidious is also called "Darth Swindles" when he reincarnates in Angry Birds: Star Wars games. Ironically, he is still more sadistic in the game than King Pig himself is in his own universe.
- In the PS2 version of Revenge of the Sith, in level 17 Vader takes over the universe post stabbing Sidious. In the vs mode in said game, Windu fighting Vader on the Death Star implies Windu lived in place of Vader's former master and took Vader's life.
- A new poster for The Rise Of Skywalker was released showing Palpatine in the background.
- Palpatine did not make an appearance near the beginning of his respective series until The Empire Strikes Back.