- "In the name of the Galactic Senate of the Republic, you're under arrest, Chancellor."
- ―Mace Windu, to Chancellor Palpatine, just before the duel
With the Clone Wars reaching its end and the revelation that Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine was secretly Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith, Mace Windu and fellow members of the Jedi Council engaged Palpatine in a lightsaber duel in the Chancellor's office on Coruscant. Palpatine quickly killed Jedi Masters Agen Kolar, Saesee Tiin and Kit Fisto, but had an extended confrontation with Windu. The duel lasted until Windu disarmed the Chancellor and knocked him to the floor.
As Windu held the Chancellor at bladepoint, he was interrupted by the arrival of Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker; although Windu had told Skywalker to remain at the Jedi Temple, he was seduced to the Chancellor's office by the promise that Palpatine could use the dark side of the Force to save his wife, Padmé Amidala, from dying in childbirth, an event Skywalker saw in a vision. Ignoring Skywalker, Windu declared Palpatine and the Sith as a whole defeated, to which Palpatine responded by firing Force lightning at the Jedi Master. Windu managed to block the streams of electricity and deflected most it back into Palpatine's body, disfiguring the Sith Lord in the process.
Skywalker attempted to convince Windu to arrest the Sith Lord, as he at first intended, but Windu had realized that Palpatine controlled the Senate and the judicial system, and would most likely be acquitted no matter what. Stating that Palpatine was just too dangerous to be left alive, Windu prepared to kill him, while Skywalker desperately claimed that doing so was not the Jedi way and finally blurting out "I need him!" When Windu tried to make the killing blow, Skywalker lashed out at him, severing his lightsaber holding hand and allowing Palpatine, who was feigning helplessness, to kill the Jedi Master.
In the aftermath of the duel, Skywalker pledged his loyalty to Palpatine and became a Sith Lord called Darth Vader. The Jedi attempt on his life allowed Palpatine to execute his plan to seize full control over the galaxy. He branded the Jedi as traitors and issued Order 66 to the Grand Army of the Republic, leading to the destruction of the Jedi Order. Shortly thereafter, he declared himself Galactic Emperor and transformed the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire, which ruled the galaxy for over two decades.
- "No, no, you will die!"
- ―A hooded figure attacks Mace Windu as witnessed in Yoda's vision.
A version of this showdown was foreseen by Jedi Grand Master Yoda during his trial in the Cave of Evil on Dagobah near the end of the Clone Wars. Among other visions, Yoda saw a hooded figure slay Jedi Masters Agen Kolar, Saesee Tiin, and Kit Fisto in quick succession. Soon after, he witnessed the same hooded figure assault Mace Windu with a torrent of force lightning.
- "He won't give up his power. I've just learned a terrible truth. I think Chancellor Palpatine is a Sith Lord."
- ―Anakin Skywalker, to Mace Windu
Not long after the Battle of Coruscant, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker began experiencing visions of his wife, Padmé Amidala, dying in childbirth. Disturbed, Skywalker sought the advice of Master Yoda; however, Yoda advised him to "let go of everything he feared to lose" which simply served to frustrate Skywalker, as he did not understand what Yoda was trying to say. Palpatine invited Skywalker to a show at the Galaxies Opera House under the pretense of providing him with intelligence on the location of General Grievous. While they sat in Palpatine's private box, he told Skywalker of a Sith "legend", "The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise," emphasizing that Plagueis had discovered way to use the dark side to influence midi-chlorians, an ability which could be used to both create life and cheat death. Aware of Anakin's plight, Palpatine planned to use this revelation as bait to draw Anakin to the dark side. Anakin, desperate for a way to prevent his prophetic visions from coming to pass, questioned Palpatine on how one might learn Plagueis's technique, but Palpatine simply told him that it was impossible to learn it from a Jedi. Later, in the Supreme Chancellor's office, after Skywalker told the Supreme Chancellor about Obi-Wan currently fighting General Grievous, Palpatine finally revealed himself to be Darth Sidious, a Dark Lord of the Sith. Skywalker was torn between his desire to learn Sidious's power and his duty as a Jedi to turn him in.
Skywalker initially thought to kill Sidious on sight, as another part of his duty to the Jedi was to eliminate the Sith, but as Palpatine was his friend, and had implied killing him would turn Skywalker to the dark side, he did not. After leaving the Chancellor's office, he went to the Jedi Temple and informed Mace Windu of Palpatine's true identity as a Sith Lord. In response, Windu took a squad of fellow Jedi Masters including Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar, and Saesee Tiin to arrest Palpatine, leaving Skywalker behind. The Jedi burst into Sidious's private office, where Master Windu declared the Chancellor under arrest. He angrily responded Windu when the latter mentioned the Senate will decide his fate that he was the Senate, to which Windu was quick to object by reminding him that he wasn't yet.
- "It's treason, then."
Accusing the Jedi of treason, Sidious ignited his lightsaber and jumped at the group. In a moment, Agen Kolar was impaled by Palpatine through the abdomen. Saesee Tiin attempted to strike the Dark Lord from behind as Kolar fell, but was cut down as Sidious swung around to slash him across the torso. With half his opponents dead, Sidious immediately engaged Fisto and Windu. Fisto managed to fend off Sidious's initial strikes, but he was cut down mere seconds after the fall of his two compatriots. His entire strike force destroyed, Windu was left alone to contend with might of the Dark Lord.
Sidious drove Windu back along the corridor to his public office, where Windu managed to pull Sidious into a bladelock. As their battle took them towards the center of the room, Anakin Skywalker's Jedi airspeeder touched down outside. He had meditated on his thoughts in the Council Chambers, and the young Jedi felt as though he could not bear to let Sidious meet his death at the hands of the Jedi; at least, not before teaching Skywalker the secrets of Darth Plagueis to save Amidala from death.
As Skywalker sped through the halls of the Senate Office Building, Sidious unleashed a rapid series of fruitless attacks against Windu, and was driven back into the office by Windu's steady offensive strikes. Windu guided the battle across the office towards the bay window, which was quickly shattered by their missed strikes. As they moved out onto the wind-blown ledge, the duelists engaged in a brief flurry of bladework, but Windu managed to end the bout with a swift kick to the Sith Lord's jaw. Sidious was thrown off balance, staggering back and dropping his lightsaber as he flailed for balance before retreating against the window frame. Darth Sidious was at Master Windu's mercy, who held his blade to the Sith Lord's throat.
At that moment, Skywalker appeared, convinced that only the power of the Dark side could save his wife's from the end seen in his visions.
- "Anakin. I told you it would come to this. I was right. The Jedi are taking over!!"
- ―Palpatine, to Anakin Skywalker
With Sidious disarmed, Windu declared again that the Dark Lord was in Jedi custody. However, having arrived too late to see the Sith Lord's intent, Skywalker saw only a helpless Chancellor cowering before Mace Windu. Sidious claimed the Jedi were in rebellion, while Windu countered, declaring the ultimate defeat of the Sith.
In response, Sidious hurled Force Lightning at the Jedi Master, forcing him to deflect it back at the Dark Lord. The redirected current hit Sidious, deforming his face hideously. He called out to Skywalker for help while Windu told him not to listen to the Sith Lord. The electrical current continued to ravage the Chancellor's body, and Skywalker's conflict reached its peak as he watched his friend suffer. Eventually, the lightning subsided to leave Palpatine pretending to be exhausted, lying on the floor. The Chancellor began begging for mercy, saying he was too weak to continue fighting.
After the Sith Lord stopped his barrage of lightning, Windu announced that he had no choice but to kill Sidious, as he saw him as too great a threat to keep alive. Skywalker pleaded with him to spare Sidious, saying that the best course of action was for Sidious to stand trial, but Windu refused, believing that Sidious's influence would sway the Court's ruling in his favor. Skywalker further pressed by saying that killing Sidious in cold blood was not the Jedi way. But, ignoring Skywalker, Windu raised his blade to deliver the killing blow. Skywalker, reacting in a moment of despair, cut off the unsuspecting Windu's sword hand. Seizing the opportunity, Sidious immediately ceased feigning weakness and unleashed a withering barrage of Force lightning at the helpless Jedi Master. After torturing him for a few moments, Sidious used the Force to blast Windu out of the broken window, plummeting to his death.
Skywalker, after witnessing Sidious kill Windu, fell to his knees in shock at his unwitting participation in the Jedi Master's murder. Sidious congratulated him, telling Skywalker that he was fulfilling his destiny and that he would help him find the secrets to saving Amidala's life. The Dark Lord then admitted in a round-about way that cheating death was a power only his Master had achieved, revealing he did not actually know the secret to stopping death. However, Skywalker, blinded by his need to save his wife, evidently did not realize this. Though his loyalty to the Jedi lingered somewhat, he believed that his role in Windu's death precluded any chance of his returning to them. He resigned himself to his fate and knelt before Sidious, swearing to be his Sith apprentice.
Though horrified at what he had done, and what he was becoming, Skywalker knew there was no turning back from his dark path, so he pledged to Sidious that he would do whatever Sidious asked in return for his assistance in saving Amidala. Sidious named his new apprentice Darth Vader and tasked him with the storming of the Jedi Temple. Furthermore, Sidious issued Order 66 to every clone trooper in the Grand Army of the Republic; the clones were ordered to eliminate their Jedi Commanders and Generals, and marked all Jedi as enemies of the Republic, beginning the Jedi Purge.
Vader stormed the Temple, leading the 501st Legion and proceeded to kill nearly every Jedi within its walls. The Temple was set ablaze while all of Galactic City watched. Shortly thereafter, Sidious traveled to the Senate Rotunda and told the Senate of the "Jedi Rebellion" and his actions against it. Furthermore, under the false pretense of better security, Palpatine delivered a speech that declared that the Republic was no more, and in its place was a new Galactic Empire.
Behind the scenesEdit
- "This is where he makes the pact with the Devil. This is the very Faustian pact of trying to do something that he shouldn't be doing."
- ―George Lucas in the Revenge of the Sith commentary
This lightsaber duel appeared in the film version of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. This duel explains some—until then—unknown aspects of the Star Wars Universe. It explains how Darth Vader, an antagonist from the original trilogy, joined the Sith and why Palpatine's face is deformed in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Ian McDiarmid, the actor who portrayed Palpatine, did not enjoy filming these scenes. As a Shakespearean actor, filming high-speed sword fighting did not appeal to him. He had only about five days to learn the choreography his stunt double would not perform from the stunt coordinator, Nick Gillard. As an older man, he was not as dexterous as his opponents and, occasionally, he would be hit over the day's filming. McDiarmid did, however, have some respect towards Samuel L. Jackson's abilities. The film's producer, Rick McCallum, was worried about how the scene would turn out because of this, but was very happy with the final result. On the other hand, Windu's actor, Samuel L. Jackson, had been waiting for this scene since he was hired. One of the requests he made during negotiations for the part was for his character to die spectacularly at the end.
According to the screenplay of Episode III, the Chancellor's Rodian aide originally had a cameo appearance before the Jedi entered Palpatine's office. This was either dropped or never filmed. Furthermore, the screenplay stated it was Windu who was being forced onto the ledge after the window was broken, which contradicts the novelization. The screenplay also indicates Windu attempted to defend himself with his remaining hand after he was betrayed by Skywalker.
In Popular CultureEdit
- "Oh, my God! I look like I have a scrotum for a face! What am I supposed to call myself? Darth Syphilis?! If you'd made up your mind five seconds earlier, we could've ruled the galaxy and maybe I could've gotten laid one more time before I die!"
- ―Lament by Palpatine in Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III
The showdown was parodied in Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III, in which Palpatine rants about his deformed face.
- Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Ghosts of Mortis" (Vision to Anakin Skywalker)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Voices" (Vision to Yoda)
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (First appearance)
- Tarkin (Mentioned only)
- Thrawn (Mentioned only)
- Darth Vader 6: Vader, Part VI (Indirect mention only)
- Battlefront: Twilight Company (Indirect mention only)
- Aftermath: Empire's End (Indirect mention only)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ Kanan 1: The Last Padawan, Part I: Fight
- ↑ Ahsoka
- ↑ Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Voices"