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"In the name of the Galactic Senate of the Republic, you're under arrest, Chancellor."
―Mace Windu, to Chancellor Palpatine, just before the duel[src]

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.[1]

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.


"I've just learned a terrible truth. I think Chancellor Palpatine is a Sith Lord."
"A Sith Lord?"
"Yes, the one we've been looking for."
"How do you know this?"
"He knows the ways of the Force. He's been trained to use the Dark Side."
"Are you sure?"
"Then our worst fears have been realized. We must move quickly if the Jedi Order is to survive."
―Anakin Skywalker and Mace Windu, upon learning Palpatine's personality.[src]
Palpatine and Anakin

Palpatine manipulates Skywalker

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 Kenobi currently fighting 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.[1]

Duel on Coruscant

Four Jedi Masters attempting to arrest a Dark Lord

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, Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar, and Saesee Tiin to arrest Palpatine, leaving Skywalker behind. The Jedi arrived into Sidious's private office, where Windu declared the Chancellor under arrest. When Windu 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.[1]

The duelEdit

"It's treason, then."
―Palpatine, seconds before the duel[src]

Darth Sidious forces Mace Windu back to the public office.

Accusing the Jedi of treason, Sidious ignited his lightsaber and jumped at the group. In a moment, Kolar was impaled by Palpatine through the abdomen. 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 the Dark Lord.[1]

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's 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.[1]

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. Sidious was at Windu's mercy, who held his blade to the Sith Lord's throat.[1]

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.[1]


Windu: "I'm going to end this, once and for all!"
Skywalker: "You can't. He must stand trial."
Windu: "He has control of the senate and the courts! He's too dangerous to be left alive."
Sidious: "I'm too weak. Oh. Don't kill me. Please."
Skywalker: "It is not the Jedi way. He must live!"
Sidious: "Please don't."
Skywalker: "I need him!"
Sidious: "Please don't!"
Skywalker: "NO!"
―Skywalker begs Windu not to kill Sidious[src]

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 Windu. Sidious claimed the Jedi were in rebellion, while Windu countered, declaring the ultimate defeat of the Sith.[1]


Mace Windu defending himself against Darth Sidious's Force lightning

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.[1]

Mace's Death

Sidious attacks the wounded and unarmed Windu.

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,[1] plummeting to his death.[6]

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, 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.[1]


"The attempt on my life has left me scarred and deformed. But, I assure you, my resolve has never been stronger."
―Darth Sidious[src]

The birth of the Galactic Empire.

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.[1]

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.[1]

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[src]

The earlier version of the scene had Skywalker present from the start.

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.

Original fight

George Lucas watching the earlier version of the scene

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[src]

The showdown was parodied in Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III, in which Palpatine rants about his deformed face.


Non-canon appearancesEdit


Notes and referencesEdit

Clone Wars
Galactic timeline

Previous: Separatist Crisis

Next: Campaigns of Saw Gerrera's Partisans · Early rebellion against the Galactic Empire · Jedi Purge · Ryloth insurgency

Battles of the Clone Wars
22 BBY Geonosis (I) · Antar 4 · Republic transport · Christophsis (I) · Teth (I) · Jabba's Palace (I) · Ziro's palace · Aargonar · Ryloth · Rugosa · Abregado · Ryndellia system · Kaliida Nebula (I) · Kaliida Nebula (II) · Mimban · Rishi moon · Falleen · Bothawui · Outer corridor · Skytop Station · Rodia (I) · Tranquility · Vassek 3 · Vanqor (I) · Florrum (I) · Quell · Maridun · Orto Plutonia (I) and (II)
21 BBY Nuvo Vindi's laboratory · Iego · Felucia (I) · Jedi Temple (I) · Devaron (I) · Glee Anselm · Rodia (II) · Naboo (I) · Black Stall Station · Mustafar (I) · Felucia medical station · Felucia (II) · Malastare · Zillo Beast incident · Cato Neimoidia (I) · Murkhana · Dorin · Geonosis (II) · Dantooine · TB-73 · Capture of Eeth Koth · Saleucami (I) · Republic cruiser · Concordia · Coronet · Plot to assassinate Satine Kryze · Endurance · Vanqor (II) · Florrum (II) · Mandalore (I) · Sundari docks · Kamino · Pantora · Senate hostage crisis · Teth (II) · Coruscant bombing · Confederate people
20 BBY Sullust · Serenno (I) · Devaron (II) · Toydaria · Mortis · Capture of Even Piell · Lola Sayu · Felucia (III) · Wasskah · Mon Cala · Naboo (II) · Aleen · Patitite Pattuna · Rescue of Adi Gallia · Umbara · Kiros · Zygerria · Kadavo · Carlac · Central Detention Center · Orondia · Serenno (II) · Theed · Dathomir (I) · Raydonia (I) and (II) · Onderon
Crucible · Obi-Wan Kenobi's fleet · Florrum (III) and (IV) · Unidentified planet · Aut-O's flagship · Abafar · Carida · Outer Rim spaceport · Cybloc transfer station · Florrum (V)
19 BBY
(Outer Rim Sieges)
Mustafar (II) · Nal Hutta · Jabba's Palace (II) · Mandalore (II)
Sundari · Cato Neimoidia (II) · Jedi Temple (II) · Republic military base · Capture of Ahsoka Tano · Jedi Temple (III) · Ringo Vinda · Tipoca City · Grand Republic Medical Facility · Level 1325 · Scipio (I) and (II) · Bardotta · Zardossa Stix · Oba Diah · Moraband · Utapau (I) · Anaxes · Yalvik Prime · Skako Minor · Mahranee · Haruun Kal · Raxus · Serenno (III) · Spire · Zanbar · Ord Mantell · Vizsla Keep 09 · Dathomir (II) · Rescue of Quinlan Vos · Separatist storage base · Vanqor (III) · Christophsis (II) · Jedi Temple (IV) · Kardoa · Mygeeto (I) · Lokori · Geonosis (III) · Coruscant · Mandalore (III) · Saleucami (II) · Kashyyyk · Utapau (II) · Mygeeto (II) · Felucia (IV) · Cato Neimoidia (III) · Kaller · Palpatine's office · Jedi Temple (V) · Order 66 · Mustafar (III)
Others Agamar · Akiva · Arkax Station · Grange · Hissrich · Hypori · Khorm · Merj · Phindar · Roche · Sarrish · Sedratis · Separatist cell · Slag's Pit · Tibrin · Thrugii asteroid belt · Unidentified planet · Unidentified sector · Vallt · Zequardia
Related topics and articles
Galactic Republic · Jedi Order · Sith · Confederacy of Independent Systems

Galactic Empire · Alderaan · Confederate–Republic peace initiative
Sundari (II) · Carida · Toydaria · Ilum

Battles of Order 66 and the Jedi Purge
Palpatine's office · Jedi Temple · Mustafar (I) · Galactic Senate · River moon of Al'doleem
Coruscant · Rescue of Caleb Dume · Stygeon Prime · Fort Anaxes · Lothal
Mustafar (II) · Republic medical station · Hammertown · Oosalon · Malachor

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