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|“||Once more the Sith will rule the galaxy... and we shall have... peace.||„|
|~ Darth Sidious before rising to power, and one of his most iconic quotes.|
|“||Execute Order 66.||„|
|~ Sidious instructing the clones to kill all of the Jedi, and one of his most iconic quotes.|
|“||Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.||„|
|~ Emperor Palpatine to Darth Vader, and one of his most iconic quotes.|
Emperor Sheev Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious or simply the Emperor, is the main antagonist of the Star Wars franchise.
He is the immensely powerful Dark Lord of the Sith and master of Darth Maul, Count Dooku and Darth Vader who ruled over the Galactic Empire - which he formed from the Galactic Republic - in addition to secretly leading the Separatists, which he used to give himself autocratic powers as Supreme Chancellor of the Republic.
He plotted to overthrow the Jedi by orchestrating and manipulating the events of the Clone Wars to bring himself to rule the whole galaxy; thus posing as the Chancellor throughout these events. This worked successfully when Palpatine initiated Order 66 to wipe out the Jedi, who beforehand were suspicious of him even after Dooku's death when they were unaware that Palpatine was actually Darth Sidious.
Later on, Palpatine was revealed to not only be the secret benefactor and cause of the existence of the First Order, being the creator and puppeteer of Supreme Leader Snoke and having manipulated him as well as the events behind the organization all along but also the paternal grandfather of Rey. He is the arch-nemesis of Yoda.
He is the main antagonist of the Skywalker Saga, serving as the titular overarching antagonist of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, the overarching antagonist of both Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, the main antagonist of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker; and the unseen overarching antagonist of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.
He is also the overarching antagonist of the 2003 animated Legends microseries Star Wars: Clone Wars, the 2008 animated standalone film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the latter's 2008-2020 animated TV series of the same name, the 2014-2018 animated TV show Star Wars Rebels, the 2021 animated webseries Star Wars: The Bad Batch and the 2022 Disney+ live-action miniseries Obi-Wan Kenobi. He is also one of the two unseen overarching antagonists (alongside Supreme Leader Snoke) of the 2018-2020 animated series Star Wars Resistance.
He additionally serves as the unseen overarching antagonist of the 2009 video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, the 2016 stand-alone film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the 2019 video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order; the main antagonist of both the 2008 video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and its 2009 sequel's DLC The Battle of Endor, and the overarching antagonist of the 2017 video game Star Wars Battlefront II.
- In the saga films, he was most famously portrayed by Ian McDiarmid in the original, prequel, and sequel Star Wars trilogies, after previously being voiced by Clive Revill and portrayed by the late Marjorie Eaton in the original version of The Empire Strikes Back; McDiarmid returned to voice Sidious in the final season of Star Wars Rebels.
- In the opening scene of The Rise of Skywalker, he impersonates Darth Vader and Supreme Leader Snoke. While impersonating Vader, he was voiced by James Earl Jones, who also voiced Mara in Indiana Jones Adventure. While impersonating Snoke, he was voiced by Andy Serkis, who also played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mr. Grin in Stormbreaker, Spike in Flushed Away, Capricorn in Inkheart, and Ulysses Klaue in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he was voiced by the late Ian Abercrombie and then by Tim Curry, who also played Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Lord of Darkness in Legend, Wadsworth in Clue, Pennywise in the It television miniseries, Thaddeus E. Klang in TaleSpin, Taurus Bulba in Darkwing Duck, Hexxus in FernGully: The Last Rainforest, the Evil Manta in The Little Mermaid television series, Cardinal Richeliu in The Three Musketeers, Farley Claymore in The Shadow, Kilokahn in Super Human Samurai Syber-Squad, Drake in The Pebble and the Penguin, Dr. Anton Sevarius in Gargoyles, Long John Silver in Muppets Treasure Island, Simon Doonan in the Titanic TV movie, Maestro Forte in Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, Slagar the Cruel in Redwall, Dr. Slicer in Recess, Ben Ravencroft in Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost, Big Brother in Johnny Bravo, the Mouse King in Barbie in the Nutcracker, Professor Calamitous in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Scarlet Fever and Nick O' Teen in Ozzy & Drix, Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck in Monk, Belial in The Legend of Atlantis, El Maléfico in ¡Mucha Luca!: The Return of El Maléfico, Von Talon in Valiant, Anatoly Cherdenko in Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, Philippe in Barbie and The Three Musketeers and Billy Flynn in Criminal Minds.
- In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, he was voiced by Sam Witwer, who also voiced Galen Marek and Lord Starkiller in the same game, Starkiller and the Dark Apprentice in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Solo: A Star Wars Story, and portrayed Davis Bloome in Smallville, Neil Perry in Dexter, Mr. Hyde in Once Upon a Time, and Agent Liberty in Supergirl.
|“||POWER! UN-LI-MI-TED... POWWEEERRR!||„|
|~ Emperor Palpatine's intensive megalomania in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.|
At first, as Senator and then Chancellor, Sheev Palpatine appeared to be a kind, compassionate, friendly, well-meaning public servant who had the best interest for the Galaxy. However, this was nothing more than a public façade that he made up to hide his true nature as the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, He is actually a murderous, power-hungry, sadistic, treacherous, manipulative and arrogant psychopath whose only true goal is to take total control of the galaxy. Cold, dominant and heartless, those who weren't obedient to Sidious were destroyed, often tortured to death as Sidious never held true feelings or attachment towards anyone, not even his apprentices. Him enjoying killing his opponents in a slow and painful death with electrocution rather than a quick death as well as torturing anyone he deems fit, as seen with Luke and Savage, the brother of Maul, as well as the victims of Ryloth, shows his sadism. Palpatine even took his own time to watch Maul mourn his brother's death for nothing but his own amusement.
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 Nute Gunray, as he had no desire to share his power with anyone, especially his apprentices. This was evident once more in Star Wars: Battlefront II, when he secretly engineered Operation Cinder, a top-secret scorched-earth policy directed against his own empire should he die - which happened at the hands of Anakin Skywalker - ultimate treachery to planets who remained loyal to the empire and made great sacrifices for his cause. It did not matter to Sidious. In his eyes, an Empire without him leading it was not worth existing. Unlike most of the other Sith Lords, he prefers using mental breaking and the Force over physical strength, and he dislikes fighting with lightsabers, preferring this option only as a last resort or when he clearly had the upper hand. During the early parts of his plan, Darth Sidious preferred to speak to servants such as Dooku via 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 (which were a few) 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. When he was the Emperor, Sidious was apathetic to the well-being of his subjects, only caring to the extend of his control and power and provoking struggles for post between his subordinates. Because of that, the Rebellion gained more followers as the population was unsatisfied with the incompetence of the administration.
Palpatine 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. 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. Besides, Palpatine has a God complex, wanting to rule the Universe like a God by using Lothal Temple to have access to the realm of spacetime. He ultimately was worshiped by Exegol's inhabitants like such.
However, Palpatine' 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 to the dark side and carry on his evil legacy.
Palpatine does not show any true loyalty to his allies. He sees his allies merely as tools to help further his cause and disposes of them when he feels that someone better has come along or they no longer serve a purpose or usefulness in his grand scheme. When his first apprentice Darth Maul returns, Sidious shuns him as he already has Count Dooku as his apprentice. When Anakin defeats Dooku, Sidious orders Anakin to kill him, as he desires to make Anakin into his next apprentice as Darth Vader. After realizing he no longer needs the Separatists, he instructs Vader to kill them. After Luke defeats Vader, Palpatine attempts to convince Luke to kill Vader in order to take his place as Sidious' next apprentice, as Luke become more powerful than his father.
Like most practitioners of the dark side of the Force, Palpatine 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. Palpatine's greatness weaknesses were his inability to understand good and love completely and his enormous self-confidence, as Vader betrayed the tyrant at the cost of all power over love for his son and galaxy peace. Indeed, Sidious was so deeply versed in the dark side that he became unable to see the light side in other peoples.
This is why he failed to see Luke when he was near the Death Star in a captured Imperial shuttle unlike Vader. Also, this prevented him from anticipating the latter's betrayal when he electrocuted Luke out of sheer spite; because he could only perceive the dark side in his apprentice and nothing else. Despite being extremely intelligent and calculating, Sidious's arrogance and self-confidence make him unable to learn from his mistakes. First, he underestimated Padmé, the Jedi and the Naboo natives. As a result, he lost Naboo and his first apprentice Maul. However, his long-term plans were not damaged, and he had lots of time to learn lessons from that. But he continues to underestimate his opponents (Yoda surprises and almost killed him and Obi-Wan escapes his trap), which results in the Rebellion eventually gaining the upper hand. Faced with this, his arrogance prevails and he loses everything. When he was resurrected, he once again lets his arrogance get the better of him and severely underestimate Rey, which leads to his final demise.
Despite his evil nature, Palpatine is a known patron of the arts; this was evidenced in the craftsmanship of his lightsabers and the many statues 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 that he's a Sith Lord, he also did not consider himself evil, but rather thought of himself as a savior. Thus, one could argue that he considers himself someone who's above good or evil. This consideration is implied when he tells Anakin that "good" is only a point of view. A socially Darwinistic person, Sidious believes evil is not actually malleable and is instead an abstract concept the weak use to label those stronger than themselves when threatened by them.
Sidious also has a strange relationship with Anakin, presenting himself as a fatherly figure to him and appearing to admire his endurance and killing power. This may be the only thing in Sidious’ emotional repertoire that even comes close to love. However, he was ready to get rid of him in order to turn Luke Skywalker to his side, so his admiration is very limited.
His relationship with his biological son is not well known, but the fact that his son abandons his last name and chooses a life of scavenger instead of one with his father strongly implies Sidious was a terrible father. He also served as a parental figure to Darth Maul by kidnapping him at a young age to make him become a monster full of rage. But Sidious was also pragmatic, criticizing Vader for killing his men when they failed because it would create a risk of mutiny. He was also legitimately surprised when Tarkin blew up Alderaan, not because of any morality or guilt, but how incredibly stupid and illogical this decision was.
Following his revival, Palpatine's mind became 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 to the dark side as Kylo Ren and manipulate him into doing his bidding, all in 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 to make her his new vessel for his soul, 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 he would possess her body. Also, this time Sidious made no efforts to hide his true identity, openly proclaiming himself a Sith.
In addition, his soul seemed to be greatly damaged by his previous death, because he lacked his previous charisma, his manipulative tendencies and his cunning side. Sending a message announcing he is back served absolutely nothing, and in addition, he does not bother to dissimulate his true intentions to Rey, telling her his true goal just after they met, although one could interpret he thought given Rey was part of his family, it was enough to convince her. However, he treated his men better this time. This is shown when he restored himself by rallying his troops and making sure he does not touch them with his Lightning when he attacked their enemies. However, this was just being pragmatic as he could not allow himself to lose his army, needing it to rule over the galaxy again.
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 the 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 all the Jedi from the past (including Vader's) to finally destroy the Sith Emperor for good. This proves once and for all that Sidious is nothing more than a purely evil madman who only cares about himself. It also shows that he has little regard for other's skills as even after witnessing Rey's power, Palpatine thought she would not be able to beat him because he had the power of all the Sith. Because of his acts, Palpatine will always be remembered as a monstrous tyrant, and his name will likely be permanently disgraced, as his granddaughter decided to adopt the Skywalker name instead of his.
Powers and Abilities
|“||The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be... unnatural.||„|
|~ Emperor Palpatine describing the dark side of the Force.|
Darth Sidious was considered by many, including Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, to be the most powerful Sith Lord in history. His power and skill in the usage of the Force can only be matched, if not slightly surpassed, by Jedi Grand Master Yoda.
- Lightning: He was extremely skilled in using Force lightning, which he often used as his signature attack in the same way Vader had the Force choke as his signature ability. He 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.
- Dark Aura: 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.
- Telekinesis: 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 telekinetically choked Count Dooku from hundreds of light-years away during a holo-transmission. He also proved capable of effortlessly telekinetically overpowering both Ben Solo and Rey, deactivating their lightsabers and forcing them towards him while keeping them restrained.
- Foresight: 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.
- Mystical Persuasion: 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.
- Cerebrokinesis: He was also capable of telepathically communicating with Darth Vader over a distance of hundreds of light-years. Sidious 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.
- Animakinesis: Surprisingly, following his supposed death during the battle at Endor, using his mastery over the dark side of the Force, Sidious was able to bring himself back from the dead by transferring his spirit into a cloned body. Though it came with a price: His cloned body was unable to function as his original body, rendered him blind, being frail and he could only move with the help of machinery, as his immense power was so great that it nearly overwhelmed and left the body in a dying state.
- Power Absorption: With the ability of Force drain, he was able to drain the Force from both Rey and Ben, restoring his cloned body and becoming more powerful than ever; enough so that he was able to use Force lightning to nearly destroying the entire combined fleet of Resistance-allied ships that rallied in Exegol.
- Seven Forms: Despite his old age, Darth Sidious was immensely 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 his 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.
- Jar'Kai: Although Sidious usually only used 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 yet 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 in mere seconds and proceeded to duel Maul also using two lightsabers. With only a little bit more of genuine effort, Sidious ultimately overpowered Maul and disarmed him of his two lightsabers by forcing his blades down toward the hilts of Maul's blades and then forcing them apart.
- Genius-Level Intellect: Darth Sidious possessed a genius-level intellect; his intelligence and wisdom were rivaled only by Yoda, Darth Vader, and Luke Skywalker. 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.
- Master Tactician, Strategist and Leader: As the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, and later Emperor of the Galactic Empire, he was a brilliant tactician, strategist, and leader.
- Master Manipulator: He was master manipulator, as he was able to easily manipulate individuals directly or indirectly to achieve his goals. He orchestrated countless events in the galaxy, from the Invasion of Naboo to the Clone Wars, with the sole aim of increasing his own power. 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 his office window and lost on Coruscant. Since Sidious viewed the Sith's lightsabers as only existing to mock the Jedi's weapons.
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".
He is also briefly mentioned (though serving as the overarching antagonist) in the 2014 Disney special Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars and makes a cameo as a puppet in Darthenshmirtz's song.
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
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.||„|
|~ Darth Sidious, as Palpatine pretending to be Anakin's friend.|
|“||Welcome home, Lord Tyranus. You have done well.||„|
|~ Darth Sidious after Count Dooku returned.|
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
|“||You take care, Senator. The hutts are vile gangsters.||„|
|~ Palpatine warns Padme about the hutts.|
|“||Allow the Jedi their small victory, my friend. For the edges of this war, turn in our favor.||„|
|~ Sidious to Dooku, that the war will turn to their benefit.|
Son of Dathomir
|“||No matter how many times you fail, you never learn this lesson, Maul. There is only one plan—one great design which shall govern the universe—mine.||„|
|~ Sidious to Maul|
The Bad Batch
|“||Execute Order 66.||„|
|~ Sidious' message to Grey|
|“||Sidious: And the Jedi Rebellion has been foiled. The remaining Jedi will be hunted down and defeated! The attempt on my life has left me scarred and deformed.
Wrecker: You can say that again.
Sidious: But, I assure you, my resolve has NEVER been stronger! In order to ensure our security and continuing stability...
Tech: What is it?
Sidious: ...the Republic will be reorganized into the FIRST...
Sidious: ...GALACTIC EMPIRE!!!
Echo: Galactic Empire?
Sidious: For a safe and secure society!
[All the clones began cheering.]
Tech: Still don't think the wrecks are programmed?
|~ Sidious' Speech to all of the clones and citizens.|
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars Rebels
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
|“||The Emperor: There is a great disturbance in the Force.
Vader: I have felt it.
The Emperor: We have a new enemy: the young rebel who destroyed the Death Star. I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker.
|~ The Emperor to Darth Vader on Luke Skywalker.|
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker
The Emperor's laughs
The Emperor's theme
- Despite being the main antagonist of the Star Wars franchise, he plays a very little direct role, only being the main antagonist of Revenge of the Sith, Return of the Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, and the overarching antagonist of everything else.
- Historical leaders such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, Richard Nixon, and Alberto Fujimori served as the main influences for his character.
- Like Richard Nixon (how he is seen in the popular culture), Palpatine is a manipulative, paranoid liar. He represents subversion of democracy turned into tyranny much like Augustus or aforementioned historical leaders.
- Palpatine's main tactic (most seen in The Clone Wars) is pretending to be a fair voice of reason, forced to take extreme measures both by political circumstances and realities. In reality, he is generally the one who gives an extreme opinion who favors a voice on his agenda while silencing the moderates. This same strategy was widely used by Joseph Stalin when he came to power.
- It's said that in the original script of The Empire Strikes Back, Palpatine was named Cos Dashit, a puppet leader who was controlled by the Moffs and had no connection to the Force. The novelization of A New Hope even hinted at this plot point. However, George Lucas changed him into the main antagonist of the Star Wars saga.
- It should be noted, however, that in A New Hope, Grand Moff Tarkin stated that Palpatine had dissolved the Senate, something that the latter wouldn't be able to do had he been a figurehead, implying that the change occurred during the production of A New Hope, rather than The Empire Strikes Back.
- 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 went ahead due to 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 nor ever will be most likely.
- Since the first release of the films, Palpatine has become an iconic villain, along with Darth Vader. He's the most recurring villain of the Star Wars franchise behind Vader.
- Even though Emperor Palpatine is the overarching antagonist of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, his Sith persona was only actually seen in fifteen episodes out of one-hundred and twenty-one episodes total in the first six seasons: One episode of Season 1 (Cloak of Darkness), three episodes of Season 2 (Holocron Heist, Children of the Force and Duchess of Mandalore), one episode of Season 3 (Nightsisters), two episodes of Season 4 (Escape from Kadavo and Shadow Warrior), one episode of Season 5 (The Lawless), and seven episodes of 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.
- Prior to the release of The Rise of Skywalker, it was already theorized that Rey was related to Palpatine.
- In the PS2 and Xbox version of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, in an alternate ending of level 17, after murdering Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader takes over the galaxy by stabbing Sidious, who, unlike the films, apparently succeeds in killing Yoda who can't threaten the empire if alive. 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, Palpatine has a better relationship with his apprentice (at least before his betrayal) in the 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 psychologically, and made sure Vader's armor was made with painful outdated 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, 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 and Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith is seen enjoying Vader's pain.
- 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 makes it look that Anakin Skywalker's sacrifice was 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 also for being a contradiction to the eighth film's message of letting the past behind and to the sequels' theme that is more focused on the character development of Kylo Ren.
- Palpatine's return was J.J. Abram's idea as Colin Trevorrow's original script for Episode IX only had Palpatine appear in a hologram.
- From a certain point of view, Palpatine 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 the Emperor and thus Ben Solo sacrificed himself to revive her, vanishing into the Force as a consequence. As Ben was the last member of the Skywalker bloodline, if he was killed for good, Palpatine was successful in destroying Anakin Skywalker's lineage. However, as Rey ultimately disowns her lineage and adopts the Skywalker surname, 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.
- Though 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 one hundred and nineteen 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.
- Palpatine shares many traits with Satan. First, he is extremely good at lying, deceiving many really good people into following him in a scheme that ends up having him take over the government to usher in (what he claims to be) a utopia. Order 66 is inspired by 666 , the number of the Beast. In The Rise of Skywalker, the Satanic characteristics become even more pronounced. Palpatine's new base of operations, Exegol, is surrounded by a magnetic anomaly, full of black holes, and with a red color palette similar to the traditional hell of fire and brimstone. Exegol itself is a frozen desert world that is similar to the tundra, which may be reminiscent of the ninth circle of Hell as depicted in The Divine Comedy, a massive, cold lake of icy water on which Satan himself is imprisoned, in the same way that Palpatine is held back by his massive life support system. The planet is inhabited by several Sith cultists who revere Palpatine as a kind of evil deity, and Exegol's name shares a resemblance with Algol, a star system that is nicknamed "the Demon Star". In addition, creator George Lucas even says Palpatine is the Star Wars counterpart of Satan, while his actor Ian McDiarmid also suggested that Palpatine is actually more evil than Satan.
- Funny enough, McDiarmid once played the Devil in a stage adaptation of Paradise Lost, where the Devil was portrayed as a tragic villain with sympathetic and even redeemable qualities, which Palpatine does not possess.
- 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. Ironically, he is still more sadistic in the game than King Pig himself is in his universe.
- Darth Sidious is also called "Darth Swindles" when he reincarnates in Angry Birds: Star Wars games.
- In an ad for Angry Birds: Star Wars II, Ian McDiarmid actually reprised his role as Palpatine.
- Paradoxically, McDiarmid played the character at an advanced age when he was young, before playing the younger Palpatine in 1999, himself being fifteen years older.
- It was during the filming of Episode III in 2003 that Ian McDiarmid shot the scenes featuring the Emperor in the DVD version of The Empire Strikes Back, released in 2004.
- Despite being the main antagonist of the Star Wars saga, the only trilogy in which Emperor Palpatine interacted with all the 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 and Ben Solo 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 with had he not been stopped.
- The prequel trilogy is also the only trilogy where Palpatine appeared in all three movies. In the original trilogy, he first appears in The Empire Strikes Back as a hologram and later returns in Return of the Jedi. In the sequel trilogy, he is not seen until The Rise of Skywalker.
- Though Palpatine is the main antagonist of the franchise, he only appeared in six of the twelve movies. In the original trilogy, he makes his first appearance in The Empire Strikes Back and then returns in Return of The Jedi. He appears in all three movies in the prequel trilogy. In the sequel trilogy, he is not seen in The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi, although in The Last Jedi, he is mentioned by Luke, and then returns in The Rise of Skywalker. In the stand-alone films, he appears in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie and is mentioned in Rogue One and Solo.
- Much of Palpatine's return in The Rise of Skywalker carries elements from Legend stories such as Dark Empire, in regards to Palpatine resurrecting himself via cloning and Jedi Prince, in regards to Palpatine having a child and grandchild.
- In the case with Legends, a character named Triclops claimed to be the son of Palpatine, and his son, Ken, was Palpatine's grandson. It is not clear whether the relationship is between them is strictly biological or something else entirely, however.
- In addition to this, it is believed that Palpatine was in a sexual relationship with one of his loyal followers, Sly Moore, and that she may be in fact the biological mother of Triclops.
- Palpatine's theme somewhat sounds similar to Rey's, who is his granddaughter.
- He is the second undead in the franchise. The Geonosian Zombies are the first, possessed by neural parasites. In Palpatine's case, he was fried by the Death Star's Core after his former servant Darth Vader turned on him.
- Palpatine was destroyed by Force lightning that Rey deflected back at him. In a similar way, force lightning showed his true ugly face in Revenge of the Sith, the only difference being that it was Mace Windu that deflected it at him.
- In a cut scene in Return of the Jedi, Palpatine ordered Moff Jerjerrod to destroy Endor just if the generator of the shield was destroyed. Jerjorrod then protested that they have several battalions stationed there, but Palpatine simply responded: "You will destroy it." This is why the Death Star was facing Endor when it was destroyed by the rebels and it shows just how petty Palpatine is.
- When Palpatine fights against Yoda, he's destroying symbolically the democratic part of the Republic by throwing speakings pods at him.
- Palpatine's Fighting way is more fencing while the Jedi's is more basic sword fighting. This would explain why Palpatine kills three Jedi in seconds in Revenge of the Sith during his duel with Mace Windu.
- Chancellor Palpatine declares himself to be the Senate before his fight against Mace Windu and the other Jedi masters. The first thing we hear from the Emperor in A New Hope is he committed the Dissolution of the Senate. In addition to his deployment of the Death Star, which sparked a chain of events leading Luke to join the rebellion and ultimately redeem Darth Vader, Palpatine symbolically dissoluted himself.
- When Palpatine tells the story of Darth Plagueis to Anakin, he mentions that Plagueis' apprentice killed him in his sleep. Then he says that it's ironic and at this same moment, one can notice a smile on Palpatine's lips, subtly revealing he is the apprentice in question.
- Darth Sidious never takes his hood off. Not even when he turned out to be Supreme Chancellor Palpatine from the start. In fact, the only time the Saga portrays the transition between the two identities is when Palpatine gets disfigured by Force Lightning and puts on the hood after naming Anakin as Darth Vader.
- In The Phantom Menace, Palpatine was the titular Phantom Menace, operating everything hidden and being nearly assured to win. If the movies of the Skywalker Saga are watched from the first, everyone can see how Palpatine was cunning and intelligent and how he was planning everything. Nothing at all that the heroes could have done could have changed the result into something other than favorable for Palpatine except if they would capture Maul and bring him an injustice to testify for who he worked.
- If the Trade Federation succeeds in invading and taking control of Naboo, he has the vote of sympathy necessary to become Supreme Chancellor.
- If the Queen goes to Coruscant to plead her case before the Senate, the accusations become much more dramatic, the allies of the Trade Federation must intervene more brutally to inflict the damage, and Palpatine obtains a greater vote of sympathy.
- If the Queen returns to Naboo and wins the battle against the droid army, Palpatine yet gains sympathy.
- If the Queen was captured when she returned on Naboo, he would still get a sympathy vote.
- Palpatine ordering Count Dooku to have the same mercenary who served as a model for an army of secret clones (at the time) assassinate a senator who would vote against an act which would allow the creation of this same army and that mercenary, who is recognized as the best in the galaxy, quickly neglects the job by giving it to a less qualified killer, and fails to cover his tracks, leading to the discovery of the army of clones by the Jedi was all planned by the Chancellor. The Jedi proposed to use the army and for that, they are described as thriving for war. The Separatist's War was the reason Palpatine was created to force the Jedi to use an army of slaves. Slavery is also against the principles of the Jedis and breaking that rule has broken their morals, slowly turning them toward the Dark Side. It shows how meticulous Palpatine is.
- His last name, Palpatine, is derived from the Latin word "Palpitare", which means "to palpitate". His Sith name, Sidious, is the contraction between the two English words "insidious" and "seduce". His first name, Sheev, sounds similar to the word shiv, which is a type of knife. Seeing as Sidious is known for backstabbing his allies and minions, it's quite fitting.
- The personality of Palpatine embodies the elements of the Dark Triad, three personality traits known for having evil characteristics: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.
- Narcissism is characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance and self-promoting thoughts and behaviors among others. Palpatine is very narcissistic, because he boasts about his visions of the future, thinking he can predict everything. While it is true he is nearly omniscient, his belief of being always right proves to be his downfall, as seen with Luke and Rey. Also, Palpatine continually belittles his foes, a typical trait of narcissism. Narcissists often get angry and demonize people who do not agree with their ideas and beliefs.
- Machiavellianism is manipulating others for one own's goals without caring for the well-being of manipulated subjects. Palpatine is without any doubt a great master manipulator, as seen with his manipulation of Anakin Skywalker in order to turn him on the Dark Side of the Force. He successfully fakes friendship with a young Anakin, familiarizing himself with the boy's goals. He later becomes a father figure for Anakin when he is older and because of that, he succeeds in tempting him for more power and knowledge for allowing him to save Padmé. Anakin's feuds with the Jedi Council don't help matters, Palpatine being fully aware of that. He exploits it telling Skywalker the Jedi don't trust him. This causes Anakin to succumb to the dark side.
- For obvious reasons, Palpatine is a psychopath, a high-functioning example by the way. Palpatine has no true feelings or love toward anyone. He only values people if they are useful to him or not. He even tells to Darth Vader: "Do not hesitate, show no mercy." Clinically speaking, Palpatine has an antisocial personality disorder, psychopathy being a type of that disorder. This personality disorder is characterized by a lack of empathy, a trait Palpatine has because he has no empathy towards the family of billions of deaths caused by his machinations who caused a galaxy war, only to seize power. Palpatine, in league with his personality disorder, constantly betrays people while convincing them to be an ally.
- Some scientists have imagined the Dark Tetrad, by adding sadism with the three others. Palpatine corresponds very well at that, him being a sadist who enjoys slow torture with force lightning rather than quick lightsaber kills, as seen with Luke or Darth Maul.
- Emperor Palpatine is the only known Star Wars villain to have lived throughout the original trilogy (1977-1983), prequel trilogy (1999-2005), and sequel trilogy (2015-2019).
- He is also the only known Star Wars villain to have died twice.
- Ian McDiarmid was surprised when George Lucas approached him, sixteen years after Return of the Jedi, to reprise the role of Palpatine, as he had assumed a young actor would play the role in the prequel trilogy. In fact, Lucas first told him he would play a senator. McDiarmid discovered he was about to play Palpatine when he arrived on set.
- During Qui-Gon's funeral, Mace Windu and Yoda are talking about the Sith, and when Windu asks who was destroyed "The Master or the Apprentice", the camera cuts and pans to Palpatine, subtly indicating he is "The Master".
- In an early draft of Revenge of the Sith's script, Palpatine, at the same time revealing his true identity, would also have revealed himself as the father of Anakin. To make Shmi pregnant, he used the technique of his master, Darth Plagueis, using the Force to manipulate the Midichlorians to start the cell divisions that created Anakin, then he would even go as far as to call himself Anakin's father. This explanation was then deemed unnecessary by George Lucas and too reminiscent of the great twist of The Empire Strikes Back, so it was cut from the film.
- Ian McDiarmid claimed that George Lucas pushed through so many takes on the scene when Palpatine killed Mace Windu that his exhausted maniacal collapse at the end was genuine. Lucas was happy with the take and put it in the movie.
- During his period as the Chancellor, he used a strategy called the Perpetual war, which is well-known by political scientists. This strategy consists of maintaining a state of continual war with no foreseeable ending. Palpatine applies this strategy by coming to power through conflict with the Trade Federation, gaining greater privileges through the Clone Wars, and solidifying his position through the war on the Jedi.
- According to Ian McDiarmid, George Lucas originally presented the role to him only as of the Emperor's physical performance (similar to David Prowse as Darth Vader). This became evident to him when a producer told him that if he was able to get his voice close enough to that of Clive Revill (who portrayed the voice of the Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back) Lucas would allow him to voice him in the final cut of the film. However, McDiarmid felt that he could lead a stronger, more evil, and demonic voice for the Emperor as opposed to Revill's more aristocratic Emperor. Lucas, and even Steven Spielberg, were so impressed with his take that it ended up becoming a major characteristic of the character. In order to make the Emperor's voice, McDiarmid used a Japanese method of using the stomach to project his voice.
- In an interview with Josh Gad, Daisy Ridley revealed that Palpatine's relation with Rey was never properly planned and that it was an idea that she and J.J. Abrams went back and forth on, even during the filming of The Rise of Skywalker. She stated there were different possibilities as to who Rey's lineage was, with Obi-Wan Kenobi being considered at one point. It wasn't until the end of filming that it was decided she would be Palpatine's granddaughter.
- In an interview with Uproxx, J.J. Abrams himself suggested that Palpatine's relation with Rey was an early concept that he and Larry Kasadan worked on for The Force Awakens, stating "When Larry Kasdan and I worked on The Force Awakens, we didn't do it in the vacuum. We looked at what had gone before on purpose. We chose to tell a story relating to specific things, themes, and ideas that we had seen before, in order to start a new narrative. But we have looked at everything that has happened before to ask where it is all headed. So we had discussions about Palpatine's return at the time." However, neither this film nor the film that took place after it introduced any form of hints or references to it.
- His quotes "I am the Senate!", "Execute Order 66", "Do it", and "It's treason, then" have become popular internet memes.
- Star Wars Resistance and Star Wars Visions are the only Star Wars TV series that Emperor Palpatine does not make an appearance in.
- A recurring theme in every trilogy finale is Palpatine getting electrocuted by his own Force Lightning: in Revenge of the Sith, he fires the lightning at Mace Windu, but he deflects it back at him and deforms his face. In Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader carries Emperor Palpatine to the reactor shaft while he is still firing Force lightning; as a result, some of it ends up hitting both him and Vader. In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey slays him by deflecting the lightning back at him.
- Emperor Palpatine on the Pure Evil Wiki
- Emperor Palpatine on the Star Wars Wiki
- Emperor Palpatine on the Disney Wiki