- "Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen."
- ―Darth Sidious
Darth Sidious was a human male Dark Lord of the Sith who served as the last Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic and as the Emperor of the Galactic Empire. Sidious, born as Sheev Palpatine, was trained in the dark side of the Force by Darth Plagueis. Eventually, Sidious took on his own apprentice, Darth Maul, and killed his master. As he continued to train Maul, Sidious came into contact with Count Dooku of Serenno, a member of the Jedi Order, who helped further Sidious' plans. In his public persona, Sidious was the unassuming Senator Palpatine of Naboo, a position he used to manipulate galactic events to his own design.
Thirteen years before his Imperial ascent, Sidious engineered the Invasion of Naboo and used the political crisis as a pretext to being elected Supreme Chancellor by the Galactic Senate. With Maul's defeat at the hands of the Jedi, Sidious was in need of a new apprentice. Dooku left the Jedi Order and was bestowed the title "Darth Tyranus" by Sidious. Together, they formed the Confederacy of Independent Systems to spark a galactic civil war. As Chancellor Palpatine, Sidious was given sweeping central, emergency powers to handle the Separatist crisis, and he raised the Grand Army of the Republic to fight the Clone Wars. The clone troopers in the Grand Army had been secretly commissioned by the Sith, and each contained a bio-chip with a preprogrammed protocol to eliminate the Jedi, the sworn enemies of the Sith, when the order was given.
At the war's end, Sidious had gained almost total control over the Republic. With his new power, Sidious branded the Jedi as traitors and ordered the clones to execute Order 66, thus destroying the Jedi Order. With the Jedi destroyed, Sidious declared himself Emperor and transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire. Sidious also turned Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One, to the dark side and anointed him Darth Vader. Over the next several years, Sidious transferred the daily management of the Empire to a Ruling Council and spent much of his time in an ancient Sith shrine beneath the Imperial Palace, attempting to use the dark side to reshape the Force to his own ends.
Meanwhile, the Empire expanded across the galaxy, including the building of the Death Star to maintain order and act as a symbol of fear. However, the Rebel Alliance was formed to resist Sidious' rule, and the Death Star was destroyed by Luke Skywalker. Sidious tasked Vader, Skywalker's father, with either destroying or turning the boy, and Vader ultimately brought Skywalker before his master during the Battle of Endor. There, Sidious attempted to turn Skywalker to the dark side, but Skywalker refused. As Sidious attempted to kill Luke, Vader was redeemed and turned on his master, killing himself and Sidious in the process. Through redemption, Anakin Skywalker destroyed the Sith, while the Rebels successfully destroyed the Death Star II.
- "My mentor taught me everything about the Force...even the nature of the dark side."
- ―Palpatine to Anakin Skywalker
A human male, Sheev Palpatine was born on the planet of Naboo some 84 years before the Battle of Yavin. He embarked on a career in politics and ended up representing his homeworld in the Galactic Senate, noticing the fervent bickering and corruption that mired the Galactic Republic. At some point during his life, Palpatine assumed the name Darth Sidious when he became apprenticed to the legendary Sith Lord Darth Plagueis the Wise, who could allegedly influence the midi-chlorians to create life and prevent death. Unfortunately for Plagueis, Sidious killed his master in his sleep after being taught everything Plagueis knew about the dark side of the Force.
Keeping his Sith identity a secret from the public eye, Sidious took it upon himself to execute the Sith's long-percolating plan to supplant the Republic with a new Sith Empire, and destroy the Jedi Order. Seeking a Sith apprentice, Sidious travelled to the planet Dathomir and met with the Dathomirian Nightsister Mother Talzin. Intermingling his knowledge of the dark side of the Force with Talzin's knowledge of Nightsister magicks, Sidious promised to make Talzin his apprentice and right hand. However, Sidious betrayed Talzin and kidnapped her infant son, the Zabrak Nightbrother who would become his true Sith apprentice, Darth Maul. Sidious brutally trained Maul to be a weapon of the Sith, viewing Maul's prowess and combat abilities as an invaluable asset to his master plan.
As Sidious furthered Maul's training, he came into contact with Jedi Master Dooku, who had grown increasingly disgusted with the corruption found within the Republic. Sidious managed to lure Dooku to the dark side, and used him to further his own agenda.
War on Naboo
Invasion of Naboo
- "At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge."
- ―Darth Maul speaking to his master
Palpatine moved to seize power from Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum, who had virtually no political power and counted Palpatine as a close friend and ally, allowing for Palpatine to easily manipulate him. Through holographic communication, Palpatine conspired with Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray to blockade the planet Naboo in protest of the Senate's taxation of trade routes in outlying star systems. Driven to desperation by the inactivity of the Senate, Valorum secretly dispatched two Jedi Knights—Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi—as ambassadors to negotiate with the Federation's Neimoidian leaders.
Upon learning of the ambassadors' identities, Sidious ordered the immediate invasion of Naboo and execution of the two Jedi; when Gunray questioned the legality of such an action, Sidious simply stated that he would make it legal. The Neimoidians acted accordingly, but the Jedi survived the assassination attempt and escaped the Federation ship. After Palpatine terminated his communication with Gunray, Queen Padmé Amidala contacted him concerning the Federation's denial that the Chancellor had sent ambassadors to speak with them as promised. Palpatine feigned concern at this supposed revelation, but was cut off mid-sentence by the Trade Federation's communication blackout, notifying the Naboo to their invasion.
The Federation's droid army proceeded with their assault. Within a day, the army occupied the planet's capital city of Theed and its surrounding regions. Additionally, Amidala and her retinue were captured and presented with a treaty that would bring an air of legitimacy to their invasion. However, the Jedi arrived to rescue them, and they successfully evaded the blockade aboard the queen's starship.
The search for Queen Amidala
When Gunray informed Sidious of Amidala's failure to sign the treaty, the livid Sith Lord introduced them to Darth Maul, whom he dispatched to find and recapture Amidala. Due to Amidala's ship sustaining damage in the escape, the queen opted to land on Tatooine, an obscure desert world in the Outer Rim Territories, to repair the ship. Maul managed to ascertain the queen's location, and assured his master that his search on the sparsely populated world would be a short one. Sidious told him to move against the Jedi first, and then take the queen once they were dead. Maul left for Tatooine, but he failed to kill the Jedi or retrieve Amidala.
Valorum's fall and Palpatine's rise
- "Enter the bureaucrats, the true rulers of the Republic, and on the payroll of the Trade Federation, I might add. This is where Chancellor Valorum's strength will disappear."
- ―Palpatine to Queen Amidala
Despite these setbacks, Palpatine was able to convene with Amidala on Coruscant, where she intended to plead her case to Chancellor Valorum before the Galactic Senate. Bringing Amidala to his apartment for an audience, Palpatine told the queen that the senate was long past caring about the common good, while Valorum was essentially powerless against them. With both the Senate and Valorum closed off to her as options, Palpatine offered her two choices: she could move for a Vote of No Confidence in Chancellor Valorum, and push for the election of a more effective leader; or she could take the matter to the courts, which would take even longer. Desiring more immediate action to save her people, Amidala opted for the former.
During the awaited Senate session, Federation representative Lott Dod fervently objected to Palpatine and Amidala's statements, and moved for a committee to investigate their "accusations", while Vice Chair Mas Amedda kept Valorum shackled by procedure, forcing him to concede that the Federation was within their rights. Outraged, Amidala pushed for the Vote of No Confidence. Within moments, hundreds of Senators were arguing over Amidala's decision, leaving Valorum thunderstruck.
The sudden power vacuum led to Palpatine's nomination as Supreme Chancellor alongside Bail Antilles of Alderaan and Ainlee Teem of Malastare. When he announced his nomination to Amidala, however, the queen declared her intention to return to Naboo and reclaim it from the Trade Federation by whatever means she could. Palpatine made a show of concern and tried halfheartedly to convince her to stay on Coruscant. She left anyway, taking both Jinn and Kenobi with her for protection.
Battle of Naboo
- "Wipe them out. All of them."
- ―Darth Sidious to Nute Gunray
Sidious contacted the Nemoidians on Naboo, instructing them to kill Amidala upon arrival, and sent Maul to accompany them with orders to make certain the Neimoidians killed the queen, and that the Jedi fell by his own hand. Even while he managed the election on Coruscant, he made time to go over the Neimoidians' progress. Against his expectations, he learned that Amidala not only managed to escape Gunray's reach, but also forged an alliance with the Gungans and assembled an army in the planet swamp in preparation for a strike against the Federation occupation force. He doubted she would last even five minutes in such a contest, and gave his approval to Gunray's plan to meet the Gungans head-on.
Ultimately, Palpatine won the election for Supreme Chancellor. However, the Federation army was defeated, Gunray was captured by Amidala's forces, and Maul met his presumed death at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi, though not before striking down Qui-Gon Jinn, whose funeral Palpatine would later attend. Palpatine also learned that the Naboo owed their victory to the unexpected intervention of Anakin Skywalker, a young, freed slave from Tatooine who was highly attuned to the Force, fueling the belief that he was the Chosen One of Jedi prophecy who would bring balance to the Force. After much debate, the Jedi Council decided that Skywalker would be apprenticed to Kenobi as a Jedi. Palpatine personally congratulated the two Jedi during the celebration on Naboo, telling young Skywalker that his career would be watched with "great interest".
Over the next ten years, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine amassed a favorable reputation as a mild-mannered servant of the common good, and the public remained oblivious to his true, insidious persona. As Anakin Skywalker grew older, his relationship with Palpatine deepened; on many occasions, Palpatine lauded Skywalker as the most gifted Jedi he had ever encountered, one who would surpass even Yoda, the Grand Master of the Jedi Council. Skywalker, who grew increasingly frustrated with the strict lifestyle of the Jedi under his master Kenobi's guidance, admired Palpatine's praise and greatly took to his counsel. In truth, this was all part of Sidious' plan to gain Skywalker's trust and groom him into his new Sith apprentice.
With Maul's defeat, Sidious found himself in need of a new apprentice, and so he turned to Dooku to fill that role. Dooku left the Jedi Order, reclaiming his wealth and title as the Count of Serenno. With the turn of Dooku—anointed Darth Tyranus—the Sith orchestrated the death of Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas and took over his clientele for the commission of a clone army produced on Kamino; the event was subsequently covered up when Dooku erased all records of Kamino from the Jedi Archives. Subsequently, bounty hunter Jango Fett was hired as the clones' genetic template, and the clones were fitted with a bio-chip containing a protocol that would ensure their total obedience to Sidious when the time came for it.
The Clone Wars
Under Sidious' direction, Dooku rallied several thousand solar systems into declaring independence from the Galactic Republic, forming the Confederacy of Independent Systems with himself as its leader. Many commercial organizations—including the Trade Federation—pledged their droid military forces to this Confederacy. With civil war imminent and the Jedi's numbers too few to maintain galactic peace, the Senate pushed for a vote to create a Grand Army of the Republic.
Upon arriving in Coruscant to vote on the matter, Palpatine's successor as Senator of Naboo, former Queen Padmé Amidala, narrowly avoided an assassination attempt carried out by Zam Wesell on behalf of the vengeful Nute Gunray. Palpatine had the vote delayed and placed the senator under the protection of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, her old allies from the Battle of Naboo. After a second attempt on the senator's life was made, Skywalker was assigned to protect her back on her homeworld of Naboo. There the two secretly started to fall in love which, coupled with Skywalker's later discovery of his mother Shmi's death at the hands of Tusken Raiders, would bring the young Jedi ever closer to the dark side, and more vulnerable to Sidious' machinations.
However, when it was revealed that the Separatists were secretly building a battle droid army, Palpatine used the situation to have himself granted emergency powers from the Senate by Representative Jar Jar Binks. Palpatine feigned reluctance to accept this authority, promising to return it to the Senate once the crisis ended. His first act was to allow the use of the clone army, which was discovered by Kenobi on Kamino, to counter the Separatist threat; this resulted in the Battle of Geonosis, which served as the opening salvo of the Clone Wars. After clone template Jango Fett was killed and the Separatist partners escaped the battle, Dooku met with Sidious with not only good news that the war the Sith had been orchestrating had begun, but with plans for a Geonosian superweapon that may be of use for their future Sith-led regime. Sidious was pleased with these turn of events, and later with the leaders of the Senate oversaw the new Republic army marching towards war, while Skywalker and Amidala secretly wed on Naboo with their two droids C-3PO and R2-D2 as witnesses, which Sidious would later use as an advantage to lure Skywalker to become his next apprentice.
Chancellor at war
As the war got underway, Dooku crash-landed his ship on Vanqor and was captured by the Ohnaka Gang. Kenobi and Skywalker were sent to verify their leader Hondo Ohnaka's demand for a reward, and then sent Senator Kharrus and Representative Binks to deliver it. In any event, Dooku escaped.
Sidious paid the Cad Bane to steal a Holocron from the Jedi Temple's Holocron Vault, which when used in conjunction with the kyber memory crystal would reveal the location of Force-sensitive infants across the galaxy. He had Bane kidnap these children to his facility on Mustafar to commence the creation of an army of Force-sensitive spies, but the Jedi foiled Bane and rescued the younglings.
During the Battle of Malastare, the Zillo Beast was inadvertently awakened and Palpatine wanted the creature killed, but changed his mind when Doctor Sionver Boll and Skywalker pointed out the beast's indestructible hide could prove fruitful if analyzed. The Zillo Beast was instead rendered unconscious, and transported to Coruscant. It broke out of its restraints and rampaged through the Senate District before being killed with poison gas. Palpatine ordered Boll to clone the animal.
During the Senate hostage crisis, Cad Bane demanded Ziro the Hutt be released from prison in exchange for the hostages' release. Palpatine reluctantly complied after Skywalker was subdued by Bane's gang.
The following year, during the Battle of Sullust, Sidious ordered Dooku to dispose of his general Asajj Ventress, having become aware of her growing power. Dooku complied and ordered his troops to leave her to die during their retreat, but she survived.
Sidious ordered Dooku to ally with the resurgent Zygerrian Slave Empire, explaining past Sith Empires were built on the backs of slaves and their one would be no exception. They soon plotted for bounty hunters such as Cad Bane and Rako Hardeen to "kidnap" Palpatine during the Festival of Light on Naboo. Kenobi infiltrated the plot and helped the Jedi to prevent it, lulling them into a false sense of security. Dooku showed up the evening after the festival but was defeated and forced to flee.
The next year, Maul returned to the galaxy after a decade of hiding, with his brother Savage Opress now acting as his apprentice. The Jedi were concerned but Palpatine disagreed, convincing Yoda that the Separatists should be their concern and that Maul's vendetta was a private matter for Kenobi to resolve. When Maul seized control of Mandalore, the most powerful planet in the Council of Neutral Systems, Palpatine had his shuttle flown to Sundari, where he engaged the rival Sith Lords in combat. Sidious slew Savage and brought Maul to his knees, but chose not to kill him, foreseeing that his fallen apprentice could be useful.
Palpatine presided over the trial of Ahsoka Tano, who was accused of masterminding a bombing at the Jedi Temple. As he prepared to deliver the verdict, Skywalker interrupted with Barriss Offee, who confessed to the crime.
Manipulating two sides
When the clone trooper "Tup" killed the Jedi Master Tiplee during the Battle of Ringo Vinda, it threatened to expose Order 66. After Tup died, and Palpatine asked his body be taken to the Grand Republic Medical Facility for autopsy. Shaak Ti and Nala Se bought the rebellious clone "Fives" to Palpatine, who had uncovered the inhibitor chips implanted in each clone trooper, and believed them to be part of a Separatist conspiracy. Palpatine had his guards stage an attack, making Fives look insane and discrediting him. Palpatine then informed the Jedi that a parasite native to Ringo Vida was responsible for Tup and Fives's behavior, for which all of the clone troopers would be inoculated against.
During a diplomatic mission to Scipio, Senator Amidala learned from Rush Clovis that the InterGalactic Banking Clan had gone bankrupt. Palpatine told her to trust Clovis, while hiring the bounty hunter Embo to target them on the Clan's apparent behalf. Sidious and Dooku agreed to make Clovis the new head of the Banking Clan: the Muun government arrested the Core Five, and Clovis was elected by a Senate majority to replace them. Dooku blackmailed Clovis into raising the Republic's interest rates, and sent a fleet to blockade Scipio, to which Palpatine responded by sending a fleet commanded by Skywalker. As Scipio fell under the Republic's control and Clovis committed suicide, the Muuns ceded control of the banks to the Office of the Chancellor.
When Queen Julia of Bardotta requested assistance from the Senate regarding the disappearance of several Dagoyan Masters, Palpatine offered to send Bail Organa and Senator Amidala, but she insisted the aid of Representative Binks. Palpatine informed the Jedi Council, who deemed it unwise, so Master Windu volunteered to accompany him.
Palpatine was visited by Yoda when the Jedi discovered Sifo-Dyas's lightsaber at the location of a distress beacon: apparently, Sifo-Dyas had died on a mission to Felucia, but details were sealed by the Office of the Chancellor. Palpatine told Yoda to consult Valorum, while he went to berate Dooku via hologram over this loose end, ordering him to sort it out. Dooku prevented Kenobi and Skywalker from learning who killed Sifo-Dyas, but they still deduced the Sith were responsible for the creation of the clone army.
When Yoda entered the Valley of the Dark Lords on Moraband during a quest to uncover immortality, Sidious and Dooku sensed his presence and convened at the Works on Coruscant. Exploiting Dooku and Yoda's Force-bond, Sidious used a Balc incantation to cast a dark illusion to ensnare the Jedi Master. Using Sifo-Dyas' visage, he offered to reveal his identity if he would join him. But Yoda refused. The illusion then made it seem there in the Works pursuing the Sith Lords with Skywalker and the 501st Legion. As the illusion unfolded, Yoda refused to sacrifice Skywalker to pursue Sidious, and instead demonstrated he was willing to sacrifice himself to save the Chosen One. Sidious's illusion faltered: the Jedi Master won.
Meanwhile, Mandalorian super commandos broke Maul out of his imprisonment in the Spire on Stygeon Prime. Maul called on Mother Talzin for help after General Grievous defeated his forces at Zanbar, precisely what Sidious and Dooku wanted. Talzin foresaw this and ordered her son to draw the Separatists to Ord Mantell, where he defeated and captured Dooku. Maul contacted Sidious and informed him of their capture: the Sith Lord responded he should execute them, saying there were of no more use to him. Maul informed Dooku, goading him into allying with him.
Maul and Dooku flew to Dathomir, where Talzin intended to siphon Dooku's lifeforce to regain her physical body. Sidious and Grievous also arrived on the planet and attacked Maul and the Talzin-possessed Dooku. Talzin regained her physical body and fended off Sidious's lightning, sacrificing herself to allow her son to escape. Grievous plunged two lightsabers into her body, vanquishing Sidious's foe once and for all. Despite Maul's escape, Sidious was satisfied that the Shadow Collective had been destroyed.
Kidnapped by General Grievous
Nineteen years before the Battle of Yavin, General Grievous invaded Coruscant to help Sidious stage the kidnapping of his alter ego. Chancellor Palpatine was then rescued by Anakin Skywalker, who managed to kill Count Dooku in the process, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, who was carried on Anakin's back after being knocked out.
The seduction of Anakin Skywalker
Palpatine, in the meantime, began preparing for the war's end. Skywalker, who had just been hailed as a hero for killing Count Dooku and rescuing the Chancellor, began having visions of his wife dying in childbirth. Palpatine decided to use that to his advantage. Throughout the next few rotations, their relationship kept growing. Ultimately, Palpatine appointed Skywalker to be his representative to the Jedi Council.
Meanwhile, the Jedi began to distrust and resent the Chancellor's accumulating power and control. The Council, who was not happy with Skywalker's appointment, by one not of their order and denied him the rank of "Jedi Master". This turn of events simply furthered Palpatine's plans.
The Council however, decided to use this appointment as a chance to spy on Palpatine. Skywalker, who felt insulted by that demand, regretfully agreed and began to devote his time to getting to know the Chancellor better.
Some Jedi, such as Mace Windu, were concerned about their relationship, seeing that it could be dangerous putting the two together. Windu ultimately noted that the dark side of the Force surrounded the Chancellor.
At an opera show, Palpatine and Skywalker discussed the situation with Palpatine revealing to know that the Council wanted Skywalker to spy on him. At the same time, Skywalker, who was dealing with the fear of his wife's loss was beginning to distrust the Jedi Council. This allowed Palpatine to orchestrate Skywalker's downfall by telling him the story of his Master, "Darth Plagueis the Wise." According to the story, Plagueis was so strong in the Force that he could use it to "save the ones he cared about from dying." Skywalker, enthralled by the story, wished to know more about this power, asking him if he could learn it with Palpatine stating, "Not from a Jedi."
As the situation grew worse, Skywalker went to speak with the Chancellor regarding the Battle of Utapau. Anakin expressed his disappointment that he was not chosen for the assignment. Palpatine told Skywalker that the Council did not trust him and that the Jedi were plotting to take control of the Republic. Palpatine then revealed that he was trained in the ways of the Force, "even the nature of the dark side." This led to Skywalker concluding that Palpatine himself, was the Sith Lord the Jedi were hunting down. With this, Palpatine told Skywalker that he would teach him to save his wife from death. Skywalker, who desired to kill him, went to the Jedi Council with this Information.
Duel in the Chancellor's Office
Mace Windu, after learning about Anakin's claim went to confront the Chancellor along with fellow Jedi Council Masters Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar and Saesee Tin. Windu and the three other Jedi boldly ignited their lightsabers and declared that Palpatine was under arrest. Igniting his own crimson lightsaber, Palpatine lunged forward and slew Kolar, Tin and Fisto in mere seconds, leaving Windu to face the Dark Lord alone. Palpatine and Windu then engaged in a ferocious one-on-one duel. Palpatine had been winning at first, but ultimately Windu disarmed him, knocked him to the floor and prepared to kill him. Anakin, who managed to sneak his way into the building was asked to help him, but was told by Mace Windu that he needed to be killed. Skywalker told Windu that he had to stand trial, but was told that he was "too dangerous to be kept alive", and that he controlled the Senate and the Courts. Deciding that his wife was more important, he cut off Mace Windu's hand, giving Palpatine the opening to striking Windu with a full barrage of lightning, throwing him out the office window.
Skywalker, stunned by what he had done, ultimately kneeled before the Chancellor, agreeing to join the dark side on the condition that he be shown how to save Amidala's life. Palpatine bestowed on the young man the Sith name of Darth Vader. Palpatine instructed Vader to wipe out the Jedi, whom Palpatine believed were plotting to overthrow the Republic, as well as to wipe out the Separatist leaders on Mustafar.
Order 66 and rise of the New Order
Prior to the start of the war, Palpatine instructed Darth Tyranus, his apprentice, to have the clone army they created to have organic chips implanted in their brains. This would allow them to order the clones to do anything they told them to, in this case execute the Jedi. With one simple command, the clones would enter a trance-like state and perform whatever orders they were given.
When Skywalker was sent to kill the Jedi in the Temple, Palpatine also managed to contact the rest of clone troopers on various planets and commanded them to "Execute Order 66." Because of this, the clone troopers, who formed deep relationships with their Jedi Generals, turned against them and managed to wipe out most of the Jedi with the exception of a few, notably Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Kanan Jarrus.
Palpatine, meanwhile, addressed the Senate, accusing the Jedi of trying to kill him and overthrow the Republic. He ultimately announces the Republic's reorganization into the first Galactic Empire.
Fight with Yoda and birth of Lord Vader
With Kenobi and Yoda realizing what has happened, Yoda went to face the Emperor personally, while Obi-Wan heads to kill Anakin. Yoda surprises Palpatine who told him that his arrogance has blinded him and that his apprentice will be more powerful than both of them, while Yoda told Palpatine that his faith in Vader was a mistake along with his faith in the dark side. The two dueled in the Senate hall leading to a draw, which caused Yoda to go into exile.
Vader meanwhile, was badly injured and is nearly left for dead on Mustafar, and Palpatine ordered the clones accompanying him to prepare a medical capsule.
Skywalker was surgically reconstructed as a cyborg. There, Palpatine told him that he killed Amidala in his anger. With the last ounce of Anakin Skywalker gone, Palpatine's plan was complete and Darth Vader was officially born.
Age of the Empire
- "There is only one plan—one great design which shall govern the universe—mine."
- ―Darth Sidious
During his rule, Sidious sent explorers to unmapped regions of the galaxy to search for the source of the dark side, believing it lay there. These explorers built labs on distant moons and asteroids.
A new threat
With the Jedi mostly defeated, Sidious felt secure behind his huge galactic military and dominion over most of the known galaxy. Despite this, remaining Separatist holdouts and surviving Jedi would gnaw at his confidence of the longevity of his new Empire. Seeking to secure the center, the Emperor supported mass military excursions into the Outer Rim Territories in an effort to bring more systems under his fold. With his ultimate goal of bending reality into something of his own creation, an omnipotent Empire would allow all the galaxy's inhabitants to be held in his dark embrace. Despite the Jedi being all but extinct, Force-sensitive children were still being born across the galaxy. In an effort to combat this threat, Sidious created the Inquisitorius composed of Dark Side Adepts and commanded his apprentice, Lord Vader, to contact a Pau'an Inquisitor to hunt them down and destroy them if they did not serve the Empire.
The Emperor was contacted by Darth Vader after he had defeated the Rebel fleet in the Lothal system. Vader informed his Master that he had discovered that his former Jedi apprentice, Ahsoka Tano, still lived. The Emperor was pleased at the news as Tano possibly knew the location of other hidden Jedi, and capturing her would allow the Empire to find them and destroy them before they became threats. Although Vader was more interested in finding his former Master, Sidious told his apprentice to have patience and to send an Inquisitor to hunt down Tano and the other Jedi discovered on Lothal.
Galactic Civil War
The dissolution of the Senate
- "The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I have just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away. "
"That's impossible! How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?"
"The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station."
- ―Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin and General Cassio Tagge discussing the dissolution of the Senate.
Vader eventually found that the plans had been sent to Princess Leia Organa, the Imperial Senator for Alderaan and a suspected Rebel sympathiser. Although Vader failed to acquire the plans, he arrested Organa as a traitor and, as such, provided Sidious with the excuse he needed to dissolve the Imperial Senate. One of the last remnants of the Galactic Republic, Sidious had always planned to remove it but he needed to wait for the Death Star to be completed so that order could be maintained through fear instead of representation in the Senate. With the space station nearly completed and a Senator accused of supporting the rebellion, Sidious ordered the dissolution of the Senate. Legislative power was transfered to regional governors and select members of the Imperial military, such as Sidious's ally, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, allowing the Emperor to gain complete control over the Empire with no checks to his power.
The New Order in peril
- "We kept the skeleton of the Republic for nearly twenty years while the Death Star was constructed. Twenty years, my apprentice. All that planning is now a layer of dust orbiting around Yavin... Now, we no longer have the Senate to hold order. We do not have the Death Star to force it. Our greatest weapon is gone. Our production is in ashes. We are besieged. In all these years, we have never skirted closer to disaster."
- ―Darth Sidious to Darth Vader
Determined to prevent the destruction of his Empire, Sidious reorganized Imperial High Command by appointing General Cassio Tagge as Grand General with command of all military matters. Tagge had argued against the strategy of having the Death Star as the Imperial military's sole weapon, believing that the military was all that was needed to safeguard the Empire and that depending on a single weapon was inviting catastrophe. Vader, who had failed to protect either the Death Star or Cymoon 1, was demoted and ordered to serve under Tagge as the Grand General saw fit. The Emperor gave orders that the military was to focus its attention on the conquest of the Outer Rim until the time when the second Death Star was completed. Tagge and Vader begun targeting the pirates for destruction as well as cracking down on criminal elements which had gone unchecked in the past, such as the Son-tuul Pride.
The only ones spared the Empire's wrath were the Hutts, who had entered into an alliance with the Empire. Needing raw materials for Imperial military production and knowing that the Hutts could provide them for the right price, Sidious sent Vader to Tatooine to negotiate an aggreement with Jabba for their support in exchange for the Hutts being allowed to maintain their power base in the Outer Rim and the underworld. The destruction of competitors, such as the Son-tuul Pride, also allowed the Hutts to profit from the alliance as their position in the underworld fell to them.
"A great disturbance in the Force"
Three years after the Battle on Yavin, Emperor Palpatine's Empire had managed to gain a major victory by capturing the Rebel base on the ice planet of Hoth. However, something bigger was growing. He ultimately contacted Admiral Piett, telling him to have Darth Vader contact him immediately. Vader did as he was instructed and was told of his son for the first time. Vader however, had known of his son's existence since Cymoon 1.
Fall of the Sith
In the months after the showdown on Bespin, Luke Skywalker would continue to hone his skills in the light side of the Force, nonetheless Sidious still believed Luke liable to turn to the dark side.
In an attempt to gain a new Sith apprentice as well as end the Galactic Civil War, Sidious purposely allowed the Rebels to obtain the plans of the new Death Star under construction over the forest moon of Endor. Following the presumed destruction of a vast majority of the Rebellion in a doomed confrontation against an unknowingly armed and operational Death Star, Sidious planned on commencing the deployment of some of the largest invasion fleets known in galactic history to blockade the known rebel strongholds of Mon Cala and Chandrila until the Death Star II could destroy them, permanently ending the Rebellion and all those that would oppose his rule through sheer terror.
The Emperor, using the lack of progress in the stations construction as an excuse went to the second Death Star to oversee the defeat of the Rebellion and the fall of the Jedi Order, once and for all.
Meeting Luke Skywalker
While on the Death Star, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca stole an Imperial Shuttle and managed to sneak pass the shield and land on the Sanctuary Moon.
Vader, who had been told to dispatch the fleet to the moon and to remain on a command ship, sensed his son's arrival. Because of this, he journeyed to the Death Star, where he told the Emperor that he sensed Luke's arrival. Surprised that he was unable to sense it, he told Vader to go and wait for him, saying that he had foreseen Luke seeking Vader out and surrendering to him personally in a attempt to redeem his fallen father.
Once Luke did this Darth Vader brought his son to the space station and his master's throne room. The Emperor greeted Luke, dismissed the Royal Guards and removed his chains. Luke was told that the Emperor planned to turn Luke to the dark side and that all that has happened on the Moon was all his plan. The Emperor also managed to explain that his father was irredeemable and could never be turned from the dark side. Palpatine also had a surprise in store for the Rebels. When the Alliance Fleet arrived, the Death Star's superlaser was operational, contrary to what the Rebels had been led to believe. The Death Star was able to destroy several of the command ships, but the Rebels both on the surface and in space managed to press forward with their attack, as Lando was counting on Han to destroy the Shield Generator.
Luke was then manipulated by the Emperor, who told him of his friends' impending doom and Luke was told that he would soon become his apprentice. Luke at first resisted, but as the Emperor continued to taunt him, Luke grew angrier and then grabbed his lightsaber to strike the old man down. Darth Vader intercepted Luke's strike and the two began to engage in a duel much to the Emperor's delight.
Luke was first able to calm himself, refusing several times to continue fighting his father. Luke attempted to hide from Vader as their fight became more intense but Vader was able to sense his son's thoughts and learned that Luke had a sister. With this knowledge, Vader told Luke that if he did not turn to the dark side, perhaps Leia would. The threat of losing his sister enraged Luke and drove him to angrily attack Vader.
Although he nearly killed Vader and cut off his mechanical hand, Luke began to see what had happened and that he was dangerously close to becoming like his father was now; a slave to the dark side of the Force. Luke threw away his lightsaber and turned to face the Emperor. He told Emperor Palpatine that he would never turn to the dark side and that he was a Jedi, like his father before him.
Angered by this, Sidious unleashed Force lightning upon him, forcing him onto his knees and begging his father to help him. The Emperor then proceeded to torment Luke, remarking that his "Feeble skills are no match for the power of the dark side," and that Luke was weak and a fool. Meanwhile, Darth Vader watched his son struggling. Forced to choose between saving his son and obeying his master, he chose to save his son by grabbing the Emperor and throwing him off a ledge.
Badly damaged and with only minutes to live, the decision to save his son's life would cost him his own. Luke tried to convince Anakin to let him be saved by him, but Anakin told Luke that he already did and that he was right about there still being good in him, despite all that he had done.
Following his demise, the Empire attempted to suppress the true outcome of the Battle of Endor. In the Anoat sector, which was cut off from the rest of the galaxy by an Imperial blockade in the days following the attack, Imperial propaganda claimed that the attack on the second Death Star had failed and the rebellion was no longer a threat. Rumors of the Emperor's death were dismissed as treasonous fabrications. The Emperor also posthumously ordered Operation: Cinder, which called for the scouring of multiple rebellious worlds, including his own homeworld of Naboo. Months after Endor, dark side adherents such as the Acolytes of the Beyond would worship Vader and the dark side of the Force on planets across the galaxy such as Taris. 30 years after the Battle of Endor, Rey heard Palpatine's voice during a vision she witnessed upon touching the lightsaber that previously belonged to Luke Skywalker, and his father before him.
Personality and traits
- "We shall double our efforts."
"I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am."
- ―Commander Jerjerrod and Darth Vader
Prior to the creation of his Empire, Palpatine was careful to put on a charade, presenting himself as a grandfatherly gentleman and a servant of the public good. When in character, he always tried to avoid ostentation and often spoke of himself with great modesty. However, Palpatine was in fact a skilled manipulator and strategist, having orchestrated countless events in the galaxy, from the Invasion of Naboo to the Clone Wars, with the sole aim of increasing his own power. Even when something occurred that he did not initially plan for, the Sith Lord could rework his plans effectively.
After his ascension to Galactic Emperor, Palpatine renounced his public persona and started living as Sidious full-time. Freed from his gentle alter-ego, Palpatine demonstrated sadistic tendencies, nonetheless largely remained out of the public spotlight forcing body doubles and fake processions to go about their business on the Imperial Center in an effort to make it appear that the Emperor moved about in public. Wishing to rule his Empire for eternity, Sidious established Project Blackwing in an attempt to unlock the secrets of immortality through Sith alchemy, only to have the result end up in failure after its viral agent fell out of hand. Years later, immediately before his death at the hands of Vader, the Emperor smiled at the young Jedi as he prepared to finish him off, a trait exhibited throughout his life as he seemingly took pleasure in the pain of others. He was also noted for his lack of forgiveness. Darth Vader, who was known for murdering the officers who had failed him in cold blood, considered Palpatine to be even less clement than himself. According to Sosha Soruna, the reason Palpatine left his homeworld of Naboo relatively untouched during his reign was because he enjoyed tormenting the populace with the fact that he could destroy the serene beauty of the planet at anytime. In spite of his exceptional mastery of the dark arts, he was no less susceptible to fear, one of the primary emotions of the dark side, than any other Sith: after being attacked by a powerful Force push from Yoda, he displayed visible panic, attempting to flee rather than fight, and only confronted his opponent when he appeared to have no other choice.
Unlike his more conservative apprentice, Darth Vader, Sidious believed that progress was in no way contrary to the ways of the Sith. When Vader was presented to the cyborgs created by Doctor Cylo, he denounced them as abominations and heresy to the ways of the Force. However, Sidious claimed that he was merely an apprentice and was meant to learn what he knew, and that Sidious was meant to discover what there was to teach. He also dismissed Vader's hatred of technological superiority by replying that everything was of the Force.
Power and abilities
- "Do not underestimate the powers of the Emperor, or suffer your father's fate, you will."
- ―Yoda, to Luke Skywalker
As the reigning Dark Lord of the Sith in his time, Palpatine was a powerful Force-user. He was a practitioner of Force lightning, and was known to use this power both as a deadly attack, and as a means of torture. He was also 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 even lifting his finger when meeting face to face on the Second Death Star. On Mandalore, Sidious used telekinesis to strangle several Mandalorians to death and pin both Darth Maul and Savage Opress against a wall.
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. Furthermore, Sidious was able to conceal his inner darkness from the Jedi for many years before allowing himself to be discovered. His power was so great that he managed to cloud the Jedi's vision, making it exceedingly difficult to predict future events. The Dark Lord also possessed knowledge of Sith magic, allowing him to utter incantations in the Balc speech, as well as knowledge of the ancient Sith tongue. The Dark Lord was also adept in the use of mind tricks.
Despite his frail appearance, Darth Sidious was incredibly skilled in lightsaber combat, one of the greatest duelists of all time. As a result of his tremendous skill, he slew Agen Kolar and Saesee Tiin—who were considered to be two of the finest lightsaber duelists of their time—each with a single blow, and while also engaged with Mace Windu, he slew the formidable Kit Fisto only moments later. He also put up a ferocious fight against Mace Windu, but was eventually disarmed by the latter, though with extreme effort. Later on, Sidious held his own against Yoda in a lightsaber duel, but in the end he gained the upper hand over the Grand Master with his Force powers rather than his lightsaber. Though he seemingly outmatched Yoda, the match ended in a draw. Sidious had an extremely aggressive dueling style and augmented his swordplay by using Force-enhanced speed, which allowed him to defeat three experienced Jedi Masters at once with very little effort. His style was a combination of brutal aggression and lethal precision making him an almost unstoppable opponent. In fact, the only person known to have defeated him in a one-on-one duel was Mace Windu.
Although Sidious usually used only one lightsaber, he was also a master of Jar'Kai, wielding both of his lightsabers against Darth Maul and Savage Opress. Utilizing a ferocious yet fluid fighting style, Sidious fended off both brothers simultaneously, and though they put up a considerable fight, Sidious ultimately defeated them relatively easily, killing Opress and disarming Maul. Sidious could also utilize Form V.
Behind the scenes
The holographic image of the Emperor that briefly appeared in the original version of The Empire Strikes Back was played by Elaine Baker, then-wife of makeup designer Rick Baker. Her face was composited with the image of a chimpanzee for the eyes while the voice was provided by Clive Revill.
For the 2004 DVD release of the original trilogy, the scene in The Empire Strikes Back was re-shot with Ian McDiarmid replacing Revill as the Emperor, with new lines recorded for both McDiarmid and James Earl Jones (the voice of Darth Vader). The re-shoot was shot during the of the production of Revenge of the Sith.
George Lucas compared the story of Palpatine to "Caesar, Napoleon, and Hitler." The Hitler similarities are particularly evident from Palpatine's position as Chancellor and the use of emergency powers to cement his hold on the waning Republic.