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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.|
|“||Long have I waited... for my grandchild to come home. I never wanted you dead, I wanted you here... Empress Palpatine. You will take the throne. It is your birthright to rule here... it is in your blood... our blood.||„|
|~ Palpatine reveals his new goals to his granddaughter Rey.|
Emperor Sheev Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious or simply The Emperor, is the main antagonist of the Star Wars franchise.
He serves as the main antagonist of the Skywalker Saga; the overarching antagonist of the 2008 animated stand-alone film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, its 2008-2014 animated TV series of the same name, and the 2014 animated TV series Star Wars Rebels; and the unseen overarching antagonist of both the 2016 stand-alone film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and the 2019 video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
He also appears as the main antagonist, the overarching antagonist, and/or a posthumous antagonist in several novels and comic books 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 these events. He is the Jedi's archenemy and they were suspicious of him even just after Count Dooku's death when they were unaware that he was Darth Sidious.
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, Pennywise the Clown, 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, those who weren't obedient to Sidious were destroyed as Sidious never held true kindness to anyone.
Despite his arrogance, Sidious was highly intelligent, patient and manipulative, possessing some sense of humor as shown by his laughter. He was also known to be treacherous and deceptive, as he would kill his allies or have them killed such as Count Dooku and Viceroy Gunray, as he had no desire to share his power with anyone, especially his 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 confrontations with exceptionally powerful opponents like Mace Windu and Yoda if necessary. Sidious's greatness weakness was his inability to understand good completely as Vader betrayed the tyrant at the cost of all power over love for his son and galaxy peace.
Despite his evil nature, he was a known patron of the arts; this was evidenced in the craftsmanship of his lightsabers, and 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. Thus, one could argue that he considers him a being above good or evil.
Following his revival, Sidious's mind became more sharper as he was able to arrange the creation of Supreme Leader Snoke and the First Order as a means of restoring the Galactic Empire, and to convert Vader's grandson Ben Solo into the dark side as Kylo Ren and manipulate him into doing his bidding, all behind the shadows. Upon learning that he had a granddaughter named Rey who would become very powerful with the Force, Sidious was determined to have her brought over and turned into the dark side; even ordering the deaths of Rey's parents when they refused to give Rey to him, killing his own biological son, as well as goading Rey into killing him so that she will continue his Sith legacy. When it became clear to Palpatine that Rey refused to embrace his legacy as a Sith, Sidious was determined to kill his own granddaughter for her defiance, proving that even after experiencing death, he still selfishly desired for ultimate power to the point of destroying his own family bloodline. It was those very same traits of arrogance and selfishness that eventually led to Sidious' final downfall, as he underestimated Rey's true potential when she uses the combined strength of the deceased Jedi spirits (including Vader's) to finally destroy the evil emperor for good. This proves once and for all that Palpatine is nothing more than a purely evil madman who only cares about himself. It also shows that he might even have little regard for others skills seeing as even after seeing Rey's skills Palpatine most likely thought he was better than everyone else in the galaxy.
Powers and Abilities
|“||The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be... unnatural.||„|
|~ Darth Sidious describing the Dark Side of the Force|
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 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.
Surprisingly, following his supposed death during the battle at Endor, Palpatine was able to use the Force to revive himself through his great mastery over the dark side of the Force along with the knowledge on how to cheat death by manipulating the midi-chlorians, though it came with a price: rendered him blind, his body being frail and he could only move with the help of machinary. He would later use these skills to hide himself from public while creating the First Order as a means of rebuild his empire under the shadows. With the ability of Force drain, he was able to drain the Force from both Rey and Ben, restoring his body and becoming more powerful than ever.
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 before resorting to the force.
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. As mentioned above, his respect for the arts resulted in him becoming an expert craftsman. He designed his lightsabers with little if any help from others. He was also smart enough to create Snoke, have him create The First Order, and trick everyone before showing himself. This is despite him still recovering from the injures sustained after Vader's betrayal.
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 and lost on Coruscant. 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.
- His family (Legends)
- Darth Plagueis (His master)
- Savage Opress
- Four Mandalorian super commandos
- Count Dooku (Not committed though ordered by Palpatine)
- Agen Kolar
- Saesee Tiin
- Kit Fisto
- Mace Windu (With help from Anakin)
- Most of the Jedi Order (Not committed though ordered by Palpatine)
- The Separatist Council (Not committed though ordered by Palpatine)
- Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader
- His son
- Rey Palpatine (Later revived)
- Ben Solo/Kylo Ren (Indirect, gave his life to save Rey)
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".
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
|“||What is it? (Daultay Dofine: This scheme of yours has failed, Lord Sidious. The blockade is finished. We dare not go against the Jedi.) Viceroy, I don't want this stunted slime in my sight again! This turn of events is unfortunate. We must accelerate our plans. Begin landing your troops. (Nute Gunray: My Lord, is that legal?) I will make it legal. (Gunray: And the Jedi?) The Chancellor should never have brought them into this. Kill them, immediately. (Gunray: Yes-yes, my Lord, as you wish.)||„|
|~ Sidious ordering Viceroy Gunray to execute Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.|
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
|“||You don't need guidance Anakin, in time you will learn to trust your feelings. Then you will be invincible. I've said it many times, you are the most gifted Jedi I've ever met. I see you becoming the greatest of all the Jedi. Even more powerful than Master Yoda.||„|
|~ Palpatine ACTING as Anakin's friend|
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
|“||How unfortunate that you are attempting to deceive me. (Maul: Master?) You have become a rival!||„|
|~ Palpatine upon seeing that Maul was training Savage Opress as his Sith apprentice, indicating that Maul has become a rival as Dark Lord of the Sith.|
|“||Remember, the first and only reality of the Sith... there can only be two. And you are no longer my apprentice. You have been replaced.||„|
|~ Palpatine reminding Maul of the Rule of Two and that he was replaced as his apprentice by Count Dooku.|
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker
- 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.
- Historical leaders such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Julius Caesar, Richard Nixon and Alberto Fujimori 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. The novelization of A New Hope even hinted at this plot point. However, George Lucas had replaced him as the main mastermind of the Star Wars saga.
- 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 that featured a once sympathetic Palpatine falling in love with a heartless woman who wronged him, which caused 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.
- Since the first release of the films, Darth Sidious has become an iconic villain, along with Darth Vader. He's the most recurring villain of Star Wars behind Darth 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.
- In the PS2 version of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, in an alternate ending of level 17, after killing Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader takes over the universe by stabbing Sidious, who unlike the films, apparently succeeds in killing Yoda. In the vs mode in said game, Windu fighting Vader on the Death Star implies Windu lived in place of Kenobi and ultimately takes Vader's life. Of course, this version of the events is not canonical either for the Legends and Canon continuities.
- In an ironic way, Darth Sidious has a better relationship with his apprentice (at least before his betrayal) in the new Canon continuity unlike in the Legends continuity. In the Legends continuity, Sidious didn't continue Vader's training following his defeat on Mustafar, took any opportunity to torture him physically and physiologically and made sure Vader's armor was made with painful outdate technology to punish him for his failure to kill Obi Wan; whereas in the Canon continuity, Sidious often provided Vader with advice and details about the Sith he didn't understand, didn't belittle him too much and allowed him to modify his armor if he wanted. That being said, his crimes and level of heinousness remain mostly the same anyway.
- While Emperor Palpatine was brought back to life both in the Legends and Canon continuities, his return in both universes of the Star Wars franchise was met with controversial reactions. In regards to his return in the Legends continuity on the Dark Empire comic book series, many authors of the Expanded Universe criticized his return as they deemed that it make it look that Anakin Skywalker's sacrifice pointless and was further criticized by fans after the prequel trilogy stated that Anakin was destined to destroy the Sith as the Chosen One, even though Dark Empire was published long before the prequels were made and George Lucas himself proposed the idea. That said, Lucas initially loved the series and considered it the closest thing that resembled the then unplanned sequel trilogy, but he later stated that the saga's story ends in Return of the Jedi for him. In regards to his return in the Canon continuity on The Rise of Skywalker, some fans dismissed his return as a way to "save" the sequel trilogy after the polarizing reception of The Last Jedi and and a contradiction to the eight film's message of letting the past behind and that the sequels' theme is more focused on the character development of Kylo Ren.
- However, in comparison to his return in the Dark Empire comics, Emperor Palpatine's return in The Rise of Skywalker was much better received, with some fans deeming him as a way to tie in with the original and prequel trilogies on the final chapter of the Star Wars saga. Even fans who disliked the sequel trilogy were intrigued upon the announcement of Palpatine's return, with some saying that this the sole reason they are going to see the film. Nevertheless, George Lucas still didn't approve the Emperor's return as he always said that the Emperor died for good in Return of the Jedi, aside from that Lucas disliked the sequel trilogy for not following his ideas.
- From a certain point of view, Darth Sidious did win at the end of The Rise of Skywalker by destroying the Skywalker family, given that Rey had to sacrifice her life to destroy Sidious and thus Ben Solo sacrificed his own to revive her, becoming one with the Force. As Ben was the last member of the Skywalker bloodline and never had descendants, even if he was killed for good, Sidious was in some ways successful in destroying Anakin Skywalker's lineage. However, as Rey ultimately disowns her birth surname and adopts that of the Skywalkers, it can be argued that the Skywalker family's legacy will live through Rey and the actions of their members will always be remembered by all in the galaxy, whereas no one will remember Palpatine in a positive way and all will repudiate him and his legacy for his heinous actions.
- Although Palpatine never succeeded in becoming immortal, it should be noted that while he didn't live for long like Yoda or Maz Kanata, he did live long for "human" standards. He is confirmed to have been born eighty four years before A New Hope, so Palpatine was at least 120 years old when he was finally killed in The Rise of Skywalker.
- Some have speculated Palpatine created Anakin Skywalker given that the final issue of the Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith comic book series seemed to suggest that Palpatine was behind Anakin's mysterious conception. Indeed, George Lucas originally intended to reveal in Revenge of the Sith that Palpatine or Darth Plagueis manipulated the midi-chlorians to conceive Anakin, so in some ways, Palpatine could be considered Anakin's father. The idea was dropped from the final cut, and Lucasfilm has affirmed since then that this isn't the case.
- Ian McDiarmid, Palpatine's actor has claimed Palpatine is worse than Satan, seeing as moral agency issues prevent Satan from fitting pure evil Palpatine's probably worse.
- Darth Sidious 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 universe.
- In an ad for Angry Birds: Star Wars II, Ian McDirmand actually reprised his role as Palpatine.
- Despite being the main antagonist of the Star Wars saga, the only trilogy in which Emperor Palpatine interacted with all three protagonists was the prequel trilogy, whose protagonists were Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padmé Amidala. In the original trilogy, Palpatine just interacted with Luke Skywalker but not with Leia Organa and Han Solo, while in the sequel trilogy, Palpatine just interacted with Rey but not with Finn and Poe Dameron. In both cases, however, his actions would have ended with the lives of the protagonists whom he didn't interact had he not been stopped.