- "Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen."
- ―Darth Sidious
Darth Sidious, a Force-sensitive human male, was the Sith Lord who served as the last Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic and the first Emperor of the Galactic Empire, and was the last reigning Dark Lord of the Sith under Darth Bane's Rule of Two. Sidious, born as Sheev Palpatine, was trained in the dark side of the Force by Darth Plagueis. Eventually, he 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 former 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 chose Dooku as his new apprentice, and bestowed upon him the title "Darth Tyranus." 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 all but extinct, 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—Skywalker having slain Dooku at Sidious' urging. Over the next several years, Sidious transferred the daily management of the Empire to the Imperial 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 and constructed the Death Star to maintain order by inspiring 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 him, 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. While Sidious had been defeated, the Empire would for many years attempt to maintain the charade of his survival, while struggling to fill the void left by his absence.
Early life and political career
- "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 to a very influential family on the mid-rim world of Naboo some 84 years prior to the Battle of Yavin. As far as anyone knew, Palpatine had no family of which to speak. At some point, during his youth, he met Darth Plagueis, a Dark Lord of the Sith, who took him as an apprentice with the name of Darth Sidious. As Sidious, he learned all his Master knew about the dark side of the Force, and all the Sith of Darth Bane's lineage had learned about the Force. He was also made aware of Plagueis's discovery of the secret to eternal life: his Master had learned to manipulate the midi-chlorians, and prevent people from dying. Plagueis's obsession with extending his own life eventually passed to Sidious, but he later admitted that he had never been able to learn his Master's secrets. In his public persona as Sheev Palpatine, he embarked on a career in politics and eventually, with the aid of his Master, ended up representing his homeworld in the Galactic Senate. With his rise to power guaranteed and his Master's instruction complete, Sidious killed Plagueis in his sleep, betraying him just as Sith apprentices in the past had always done with their Masters once their training was completed.
Once elected as Senator for Naboo, he quickly joined Chancellor Kalpana's ruling party, and noticed the fervent bickering and corruption that mired the Galactic Republic. He began to establish relations with those who'd become his future collaborators, such as Wilhuff Tarkin. The duo met for the first time when Tarkin was still a cadet of the Sullust Sector Spacefarers Academy. Taking an interest in the younger man, Senator Palpatine resolved to help him to join the Judicial Department, according to Tarkin's desire, but advised him to also consider a political career. In the following years, their relationship became more and more confidential. Palpatine often lauded Tarkin for his talents and skills and remarked they were very similar: they both came from planets at the edge of the galaxy, but destined to have great repercussions on the galactic history. Tarkin eventually became one of the few people who called Palpatine by his first name.
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 traveled 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, one of the most respected and powerful Jedi of the Order. A political thinker as well as a Jedi, he had grown increasingly disgusted with the corruption found within the Republic. Gradually, 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.
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 Neimoidians 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 the Jedi 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.
Galli and the Contingency
- "You will go back to Jakku. The spot there in the dirt where my droids were operating is precious. Not just to me, but to the galaxy at large. It is significant... You will go back there and you will monitor my droids excavating the ground. Then I will send more droids and they will build something there below the ground. I want you to guard this space. Can you do that?"
- ―Palpatine's first order to Galli
In 30 BBY, Palpatine and his Adviser Yupe Tashu traveled to the barren Inner Rim planet of Jakku, which lay at the edge of the Unknown Regions. After landing his yacht Imperialis in the Plaintive Hand plateau, Tashu ordered a detachment of six droids to begin excavating. The yacht soon left offworld but a local twelve-year old boy named Galli sneaked aboard the Imperialis. Palpatine sensed his presence and gave the boy the choice of dying or serving him. Palpatine then instructed Galli to return to the excavation site and guard it from any intruders. He stressed that intruders should not be allowed to taint the site and ordered Galli to kill them. Palpatine then introduced himself on a first-name basis as Sheev.
For the next ten years, Galli guarded the Plaintive Hand excavation site. In 20 BBY, Palpatine returned and invited the boy aboard the Imperialis this time as a guest of honor. By that stage, work on the Jakku Observatory had been completed. Using a game of Shah-tezh as an illustration, Palpatine explained that his future Galactic Empire could not be allowed to outlive its Emperor should he die prematurely. To demonstrate his seriousness, Palpatine Force choked Galli. He tasked Galli with executing his secret Contingency plan and inducted the boy into Imperial service. Galli subsequently joined the Naval Intelligence Agency as a Commander and adopted the name Gallius Rax.
Laying the foundations
- "I want you to know that there is always a place for you with me. Once your training is complete, of course."
- ―Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to Anakin Skywalker
As Anakin Skywalker grew older, the relationship between Palpatine and the young Jedi greatly deepened. On many occasions the Chancellor attended the boy's training at the Jedi Temple expressing appreciation for the progress reached by the young Padawan in lightsaber combat. He could notice that he was deeply conditioned by his emotions and he asked Master Mace Windu to send Skywalker to him, saying he could help with the boy's formation.  When Skywalker arrived, accompanied by his Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, Palpatine asked to be accompanied for an errand in the lower levels of Coruscant. Master Kenobi reminded him that Anakin was not yet a Jedi and that they could face dangerous situations, but Palpatine seemed not too worried about it. So, disguised as travelers, the duo reached the Level 2685 a place in which Palpatine, according to what he said to Anakin, often went when his duties permitted it, to try to do some good. Eventually they came to the Club Kasakar.
There, Palpatine expressed some form of envy in the life of young Jedi Padawans, that was already decided from an early age, in difference with his political life, one of troubling choices and difficult decisions. He also explained that the Club was full of Senators. In particular, he pointed out Senator Colandrus, a Tarsunt who often went there for gambling. While the Tarsunt senator was betting at a game table, Palpatine said that Colandrus was corrupt, but there were no proofs of it. Inspired by that unflattering description Anakin used the telekinetic Jedi power to rig Colandrus' last dice, making him lose large sums of money. Hearing the disguised Palpatine laugh at his misfortune, Colandrus sicced his bodyguard on him, but the Chancellor defused the situation by explaining that "his son" had just made a joke, and promised that they would leave at once. Still unconvinced, Colandrus nevertheless allowed the cloaked nuisances to go freely. 
Once the duo returned back to the Chancellor's office, Palpatine "apologized" to Anakin for involving him in a Senate matter. Anakin said the Jedi could arrest Senator Colandrus, but Palpatine replied that the Jedi weren't required to obey him because if they did, he would be like a dictator and that wasn't his wish. He also told the boy not to talk about what had happened to them with his masters and further asked if Anakin was happy in the temple. When the Padawan answered positively, Palpatine felt the truth of it through the Force. Eventually, Palpatine thanked him for his decisive role in the Battle of Naboo, and said there would always be a place for Anakin near him, and that he could make extraordinary use of a young man like Anakin.
The Clone Wars
- "I love democracy... I love the Republic. The power you give me I will lay down when this crisis has abated. And as my first act with this new authority, I will create a Grand Army of the Republic to counter the increasing threats of the Separatists."
- ―Palpatine upon receiving his emergency powers at the beginning of 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 on the planet Tatooine, would bring the young Jedi ever closer to the dark side of the force, and even more vulnerable to Sidious' deceptive 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 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, while the Senate was considering deregulating the banks to increase funding for the war. Palpatine was soon informed by Amidala that the Separatist Senate, led by Mina Bonteri, was considering peace negotiations. Dooku had the central power distribution grid bombed, and then staged another attack on the Confederacy, which killed Bonteri and was blamed on the Republic, dashing any hope of peace. A bill for more clone troopers was soon passed: Palpatine told a disappointed Amidala that with more troops, perhaps the war would end more quickly.
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.
Return of Darth Maul
- "Maul was trying to build an army of pirates."
"So let him. Let him play the rebel. They're just petty crooks. It is of no relevance to the Senate compared to the Separatist threat."
- ―Palpatine to Obi Wan's concerns
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. Sheev had his guards stage an attack, making Fives look insane and discrediting him. He 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 Padmé 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. Palpatine 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 that they were 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 and Obi-Wan Kenobi, with the Chancellor convincing Skywalker to kill Count Dooku after Kenobi was knocked out during the fight.
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, 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
- "In the name of the Galactic Senate of the Republic, you are under arrest, Chancellor."
"Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?"
"The Senate will decide your fate."
I AM the Senate!"
"It's treason then..."
- ―Mace Windu to Palpatine moments before their intense duel
Mace Windu, after learning about Skywalker's claim went to confront the Chancellor along with fellow Jedi Council Masters Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar as well as Saesee Tiin. 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, Tiin 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. Though Palpatine initially had the upper hand, Windu eventually disarmed him, knocked him to the floor and held him at blade point. Palpatine attempted to blast Windu with Force lighting, but Windu managed to deflect it back into Palpatine, hideously disfiguring the Sith Lord in the process. 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 Palpatine had to stand trial, but Windu claimed that he was "too dangerous to be kept alive", and that he controlled the Senate and the Courts. Deciding that his wife's survival was more important than his loyalty to the Jedi Order, Anakin intervened, cutting off Mace Windu's lightsaber arm and giving Palpatine the opening to striking Windu with a full barrage of Force lightning, throwing him out the office window.
Skywalker, stunned by what he had done, ultimately knelt 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 had instructed his apprentice, Darth Tyranus, to implant the members of the clone army they created with organic chips in their brains. This would allow them to order the clones to do anything they told them to, with the the ultimate goal of executing the Jedi. With one simple command, the clones would enter a trance-like state and perform whatever orders they were given.
When the newly-anointed Darth Vader was sent to kill the Jedi in the Temple, Palpatine contacted the clone troopers on various planets and commanded them to execute Order 66. Because of this, the clone troopers, who had 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 announced 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 went to Mustafar to kill Anakin. Yoda surprised 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
After the creation of his Sith Empire, Palpatine established himself in the old Jedi Temple on Coruscant, transforming it into the Imperial Palace. The Jedi had built the palace atop an ancient Sith shrine, in order to neutralize and cap the dark power that sprang from its depths. Palpatine entrusted the reopening and restoration of the ancient temple to droids under the the supervision of 11-4D, a protocol droid that once belonged to Darth Plagueis. 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.
Mission to Ryloth
An official visit
Five years after the end of the Clone Wars, Cham Syndulla, a war hero who liberated Ryloth from the Separatist forces during the war, organized and led the Free Ryloth movement in order to liberate his homeworld once again, this time from an Imperial military occupation. In order to cope that "terrorists", Emperor Palpatine summoned the Senator of Ryloth, Orn Free Taa to Coruscant for making him part of his plan. He ordered the Twi'lek to accompany him and his right-hand man, Darth Vader, for an official visit to Ryloth. Once Emperor Palpatine dismissed Taa, Vader asked him why he couldn't simply wipe out the Senator along with his entire staff, in which the two Sith suspected there were one or more traitors, who provided aid to the terrorist movement. But the Emperor wished to find the roots of the treachery, eliminate them and make of it an example for the entire galaxy. Eventually he ordered Vader to inform the Moff of Ryloth, Delian Mors, of the arrival of Senator Orn Free Taa, but not of the two of them.
Assassination attempt on the Defiance
While on the way to Ryloth aboard the Star Destroyer Perilous, Palpatine instructed the ship to stop at the Denon system for a meeting on the training cruiser Defiance with several Imperial Navy chiefs to discuss a realignment of the Imperial Naval Academy. Palpatine ordered Darth Vader to oversee training exercises conducted by Commandant Pell Baylo while Palpatine was in his meeting with the naval chiefs. During one such exercise, Baylo set a hyperspace route that would have crashed the Defiance into Christophsis's sun. Cadet Rae Sloane and Darth Vader uncovered this assassination attempt and redirected the Defiance. Baylo confronted Palpatine, accusing the Galactic Empire of being a hostile force that had taken over the Galactic Republic. Vader killed Baylo, which upset Palpatine, who wanted Baylo to suffer as the Defiance was decommissioned and turned into "cafeteria trays". Instead, the Defiance was renamed Obedience, and Palpatine and Vader re-boarded the Perilous and continued on their way to Ryloth.
The fall of the Perilous
The two Sith and Senator Taa came to the Ryloth system aboard Perilous. When the ship exited from the hyperspace, they found themselves in the middle of a minefield: Syndulla was waiting for them. The Twi'Lek wished to eliminate them to strike at the heart of the Empire. When the shields submitted, Emperor Palpatine remained on the bridge, while Vader took off with his fighter leading a squadron to deal with a swarm of vulture droids. The former Separatist fighters released thousands of explosive buzz droids which further damaged the Star Destroyer. Vader returned aboard the Perilous where he meet the Emperor and Senator Taa. Because he suspected there was a traitor in the Senator's staff, Palpatine ordered to isolate them in their own quarters.
In the meantime, a Twi'Lek task force reached the ship disguised as a repair team and placed explosive charges in the hyperdrive chamber, to trigger a chain reaction. Darth Vader pursued them, but they managed to escape, so he reached the Emperor, and they took off with his shuttle and shortly before the Perilous exploded. Once in space, the fugitive task force searched for the Imperial shuttle and caught up with it. Vader Force-choked the resistance pilot of the pursuing ship through the shuttle viewport. In a desperate attempt to get free from Vader's grasp and to kill both him and the Emperor, the Twi'Leks rammed the stolen starship into the Imperial shuttle, critically damaging the latter. Vader attempted to regain control of the shuttle while Sidious remembered they had already been in situations like this. Thanks to the piloting skills of Vader the shuttle crash landed on Ryloth's surface, in the middle of a forest.
Isolated on the planet
Once on the planet surface, Sidious chastised Vader for the landing, saying he believed his mind was elsewhere, and that thanks to him there were four corpses on the ship. He asked his apprentice what he was thinking about and he answered it was his past, a thing that the Emperor considered a form of weakness. Vader apologized with his Master and opening the passenger compartment realized there were only three dead, and three survived, Sergeant Erstin Deez of the Imperial Guards, its commandant, a guard and another guard in a state of unconsciousness. When the Emperor realized the knocked out guard didn't properly strap into his seat during the landing, he ordered the commandant to kill him for his stupidity.
The foursome exited in the night, and while the two guards who survived were checking the survival kits, Vader asked his Master if he was testing him. Sidious answered they were always being tested, and they must pass all tests to gain strength and power. Meanwhile, the guards had activated the generator and the communication array to call for help. At that moment the Sith sensed that two Twi'Lek ships were approaching and prepared themselves for a confrontation. The Twi'lek rebel's ships fired upon them, while Vader, immersed in the Force, deflected the laser beams with his lightsaber.
The captain suggested to take cover in the woods, but the Emperor refused and instead, removed his cloak, and ignited his lightsaber. The two Sith spun their red blades, turning every shot back at the ships. When the enemy ships engines were hit and began to explode in flames and smoke, Sidious unleashed a bolt of Force lightning on their hulls and then, with the Force, drove one of the ships to the ground, while Vader did the same with the other. The two freighters exploded, and Vader sent Deez to check for survivors. They realized the rebels had jammed the communication network and that they were hunting for them.
They walked for a long time into the depths of the forest. Sidious went forward in the darkness seeing through the Force while testing Vader's loyalty once again until he decided to stop for a while. While the guards were eating, the two Sith began to meditate. The Emperor sensed his apprentice's murderous feelings towards him. When Vader ended his meditation, Sidious told him what he had sensed, but the former Jedi pledged his loyalty to his Sith Master. At that moment, the guards, whom the Emperor had sent away, had returned, pursued by a horde of lyleks. The Emperor remained calm, sending torrents of Force lightning against the predators, and began to advance back-to-back with Vader, their lightsabers ignited.
While Vader and the royal guards held back the advancing lyleks with their weapons, Sidious used the Force to topple trees over the advancing lylek horde. Through the Force, Sidious sensed a tunnel a hundred meters away. The four retreated into the tunnel with the lyleks in pursuit. This tunnel turned out to be the home of the lylek horde, and the four Imperials were forced to fight through hundreds of the creatures. The royal guards used their blasters and grenades while the two Sith Lords used the Force and their lightsabers to fight through the horde.
As they waded deeper into the cave, Sidious realized that the lyleks were herding the intruders towards their queen. At Vader's instigation, the four resolved to kill all their opponents with the Emperor activating his red blade. After a fierce battle with the lyleks, Sidious and Vader found themselves back to back. When Sidious asked his apprentice whether he had ever toyed with the idea of letting his Emperor die to fulfill his own ambitions, Vader admitted he had entertained such thoughts but reassured his master it was only for a moment. Sidious accepted Vader's loyalty and the two joined forces to tackle the lylek queen.
Following a savage battle, Vader managed to kill the queen; scattering the remaining lyleks. However, the royal guard captain was killed, leaving only Sidious, Vader, and Sergeant Deez. Based on their battle with the lyleks, Master and apprentice quickly surmised that Cham and his rebels were trying to kill them to bring about the Empire's destruction. Having triumphed over the lylek horde, the three Imperials found an opening at the end of the tunnel which led back to the forest.
Death and Fate
While Sidious and his companions were traveling through the forest, they encountered a young Twi'lek girl named Drua. Sidious made a move to kill her, but Vader blocked his master's death blow and convinced Sidious that she could lead them to a settlement where they could contact reinforcements. Drua led them to her village, which was home to escaped Twi'lek slaves. When the village head Narmn asked for their identities, Sidious introduced himself, Vader, and Deez as "Krataa", "Irluuk", and the Sergeant. Sidious and Vader alone knew that their pseudonyms stood for "death" and "fate."
Sidious warned Vader that his act of mercy towards Drua would cost both her and her fellow villagers their lives. Vader then managed to win over the villagers by offering to repair an ancient communications device. Once Vader had fixed the machine, Sidious ordered Deez to contact Moff Mors; whom he knew to be loyal. After reestablishing contact with the two Sith Lords, Mors took steps to eliminate the Imperial traitor Colonel Belkor Dray, who was secretly aiding Cham's rebels. She foiled Belkor's plot to order V-wing fighters to strike Drua's village and the massed Free Ryloth forces in a nearby quarry. After executing Belkor, Moff Mors sent her forces to rendezvous with Sidious and Vader at the Twi'lek village.
Cham's forces, unwilling to harm the villagers, fired warning shots so that the villagers would flee the scene of the upcoming battle. The villagers reacted by fleeing to a nearby mine shaft, a sanctuary in time of danger. However, Sidious, Vader, and Deez stood their ground at the center of the village. Before Cham's forces could launch their attack, Moff Mors' forces arrived in two transport vessels and trapped the rebel fighters. With many of the Free Ryloth fighters killed, Cham narrowly managed to avoid capture at the hands of Vader. Under the orders of Sidious, Mors's Imperial forces massacred the surviving Free Ryloth fighters. Following a brief exchange with Cham's lieutenant Isval, Sidious ordered Vader to execute her and then afterward, the surviving Twi'lek villagers hiding in the mine shaft as well, in order not to leave any witnesses. After a brief moment of hesitation, Vader complied with his Master's orders and massacred the villagers.
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.
During the fifteenth Empire Day, celebrating the anniversary of the Empire's rise to power, the Emperor invited Lothal governor Arihnda Pryce to celebrate with him on Coruscant. After the Inquisitor's death, at the hands of Kanan Jarrus and his Padawan Ezra Bridger, the Emperor dispatched his apprentice to Lothal as an "alternative solution" to the growing rebel problem. 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 Obi-Wan Kenobi, Sidious told his apprentice to have patience and to send an Inquisitor to hunt down Tano and the other Jedi discovered on Lothal.
In 2 BBY, the Emperor promoted the Chiss Imperial Navy officer Thrawn to the position of Grand Admiral for his role in suppressing the rebel insurgency in the Batonn sector. Later, the rogue Senator Mon Mothma incurred the Emperor's wrath when she denounced him as a liar and condemned his complicity in the Ghorman Massacre. As a result, Mon Mothma was designated a traitor and Imperial forces were dispatched to hunt her down. Despite the efforts of Grand Admiral Thrawn to trap Mon Mothma and the Spectres in the Archeon Nebula, Hera Syndulla managed to deliver Mon Mothma safely to Dantooine where she gave a speech urging the galaxy to rise up against the Empire.
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.
Four years after the reveal of a united rebel front on Mustafar, the rebels had reorganized themselves into a larger and more organized movement known as the Alliance to Restore the Republic, or the "Rebel Alliance". Striking from a hidden base, the Rebels orchestrated strike after strike against Sidious's regime. Although these strikes were no more than a nuisance to the Empire, a major defeat eventually saw the loss of a complete technological readout of the Death Star, the Empire's ultimate weapon which had been under construction for nineteen years. This loss, as the space station neared completion, was a bitter, and potentially fatal, blow to the Emperor's long-term plans. In order to deal with the problem, Sidious sent Vader to find the Death Star plans.
Vader eventually found that the plans had been sent to Princess Leia Organa, the Imperial Senator for Alderaan and a suspected Rebel sympathizer. 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 transferred 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
Despite Sidious's careful planning for seizing complete power over the Empire, his plans were jeopardized when the Rebel Alliance succeeded in destroying the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin, killing Tarkin and most of the Empire's high-ranking officers. The only survivors were Sidious's apprentice, Darth Vader, who had failed to defend the space station and General Cassio Tagge who had been sent to investigate Princess Leia Organa's claims about an active Rebel base on Dantooine. The Rebels' victory at Yavin was followed by another victory on Cymoon 1, where a Rebel team destroyed the Empire's main production facility, Weapons Factory Alpha. Several other assaults by Rebel forces, such as the bombing of a supply base on Imdaar and the shipyards at Kuat, harassed the Empire in the weeks following the Death Star's destruction. In addition, the aftermath of the Death Star's destruction saw a rise in pirate activity against Imperial supply convoys as the galactic government was no longer seen as invulnerable. The Empire's hold over vital worlds also began to slip; one of the worlds which began to question Imperial domination was the mining world of Shu-Torun. Ruled by a mercantile nobility called the ore-dukes, Shu-Torun provided important materials the Empire required for its construction projects, including the development of the second Death Star, and the Emperor constantly demanded higher tithes, especially in the aftermath of the Battle of Yavin. Opposing this unsustainable increase, the Ore-dukes convinced their aged King to rebel against the Empire.
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 agreement 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.
When Shu-Torun rose up in open rebellion against the Empire following Darth Vader's brutal suppression of an assassination attempt made against him by the King, Sidious sent his apprentice back to the mining world with a large military force at his command. His orders were to end the Ore-dukes' rebellion and preserve the Imperial-backed government led by Queen Trios, whom Vader had placed on the throne after her father's treason.
Eliminating the competition
- "I was intrigued by the scientists. What could they achieve if unfettered by the hypocritical morality of the Old Republic? We would see. For is it not my duty to chart the possibilities? [...] Cylo grew powerful. His tendrils were deep in Tarkin's Initiative. His cancer was one with its flesh. If I simply tore him free, I would risk a schism of the Empire's great minds. While the Death Star was being constructed, that was unthinkable. After its destruction, it was even more so. I had to make him overplay his hand."
- ―Darth Sidious to Darth Vader about Cylo
In the aftermath of Darth Vader's failure to prevent the Death Star's destruction, Sidious was approached by one of the scientists involved in the Tarkin Initiative: Doctor Cylo. One of the specialists who had saved Vader's life after sustaining his fatal injuries on Mustafar, Sidious had kept him on and funded his research into upgrading organic species into cybernetically-enhanced subjects. Cylo believed that organisms could only survive by adapting with technology, and eliminating weaknesses. He also believed that, in the new world he foresaw, the Force would be rendered obsolete. Although Sidious dismissed these thoughts by saying that everything was of the Force, he was curious to see what these scientists could do unconstrained by the presence of the Old Republic or the Jedi.
During the twenty years which had passed since the end of the Clone Wars, Cylo had worked to create several subjects which possessed the best genetic and cybernetic upgrades that he could provide, preparing them as potential enforcers for the Empire. With Vader's disgrace clear and the Emperor's need for strong elements to prevent further damage being done to the Empire, Cylo suggested that he replace his apprentice with one of his subjects. Vader's role would be reduced to a ceremonial one, while the doctor's subjects would enforce Sidious's will throughout the galaxy. Intrigued by Cylo's proposition, Sidious agreed to provide his subjects with a chance to impress him.
However, unbeknownst to the scientist, the Emperor had come to believe that Cylo had grown too powerful as a result of his involvement with the Tarkin Initiative. He could do nothing about it because of the doctor's connection with several of the Empire's greatest scientific minds, and removing him could cause a splint among them. When Cylo presented him his plan however, Sidious knew that he could cause him to overplay his hand which would make him a traitor to the Empire. Knowing that Vader would be the perfect foil to Cylo's subjects, the Emperor made sure the two men met. The day he informed Vader of his punishment for his failure at the Imperial Palace on Coruscant, he also summoned Cylo for a private meeting. When his apprentice asked who the scientist was, Sidious refused to answer him, leading Vader to conduct his own investigation into the Emperor's secrets.
After Vader's hired bounty hunter Black Krrsantan successfully apprehended Cylo in his fourth body, he revealed under torture the location of his secret research base. The Sith Lord made his way to the base where he began an assault to find his potential rivals and destroy them. However, Cylo-IV's death at the hands of Vader's torture droid 0-0-0 had not killed the scientist: having recreated himself as an immortal system, whenever one of Cylo's bodies died, another was activated on board his research base. Cylo-V had guessed that Vader had discovered the location of his base and that he would be coming when he was activated. As such, he contacted the Emperor so that he could give him a demonstration of his subjects. Sidious arrived as Vader was about to kill the scientist. Only his intervention saved Cylo-V from suffering his predecessor's fate. With all the elements for his plan to begin, the Emperor demanded Cylo start the presentation.
As they fought with Vader, Cylo presented to him the subjects that he had been working on over the past twenty years: Aiolin Astarte and Morit Astarte, twins born to a family which had supported the Separatists during the Clone Wars, who had been upgraded genetically and cybernetically to possess abilities similar to the Jedi and Sith of old without having to use the Force; Tulon Voidgazer, a genius scientist involved with high-level R&D development before she was upgraded with a cloud of drone-droids, connected directly to her brain, who allowed her to see and fight through them; Commander Karbin, a Mon Calamari veteran of the Clone Wars who had spent eighteen years on life support after his ship crashed, and who had been upgraded into a model resembling the late General Grievous and trained in lightsaber combat. Finally, Cylo had created a system which could possess various hosts, tested on a Trandoshan, and remove any traits the Emperor would not desire, such as pain and emotions. Sufficiently impressed, Sidious demanded a real demonstration of their abilities. Vader and the subjects began to fight to the death against one another, and the Trandoshan was killed by Morit before the Emperor called a stop to the fight. He announced that he would find a use for every one of them, but that only one would win a place as his enforcer. The sole rule he established was that they not kill each other; or make sure if they did that he not find out. As he made to leave, the Emperor called Vader to speak to him privately.
A worthy apprentice
- "Do not underestimate how much you disappointed me on Mustafar. I saved you, but you showed how much off the mark you fell. [...] The dark side is strength. If they defeat you, they are stronger. If you defeat them, you prove you are. This is the way of the Sith. I named you "Vader" after you pledged yourself to the Sith. You proved yourself worthy of it then. I am certain you will prove yourself worthy now."
- ―Darth Sidious
At the Emperor's directive, Cylo's subjects were placed at Grand General Tagge's disposal, while the doctor acted as a consultant for the military. The rivalry between them and Vader eventually led to the confrontation with the Rebel Alliance on Vrogas Vas. As a result of Karbin's manipulation, Vader crashed on Vrogas Vas when he confronted three Rebel squadrons. One pilot chose to crash his X-Wing into Vader's TIE fighter to bring him down. On the surface, Vader confronted a large force or Rebel soldiers assembled by Leia Organa to eliminate his threat. The confrontation culminated in a battle between the Sith Lord and Karbin which resulted in the latter's death. The Rebellion suffered important losses on Vrogas Vas, and Karbin's disappearance led the Emperor to search for him. Vader eventually made his way to Coruscant where he presented his Master with Karbin's corpse. Although Sidious was annoyed that his apprentice had violated his rule, he was impressed when Vader challenged him to provide him with another way to prove himself worthy of his trust. The Emperor gave his apprentice command of the military force he was sending to Shu-Torun to preserve Queen Trios's hold on the throne. However, he also sent Cylo and his remaining subjects, apparently on Grand General Tagge's request. Before Vader left the Imperial Palace, Sidious warned him not to disappoint him, as he relied on him more than he let on.
Vader's campaign on Shu-Torun was a success, and the rebellious Ore-dukes were brought down. In the middle of the battle, Cylo attempted to have his rival killed by forming an alliance with Baron Rubix, the leader of the Shu-Torun rebels. Vader evaded the trap and, with the help of a dying Aiolin Astarte who had been betrayed by her brother, secured the proof needed to prove the doctor's treachery from her memory circuit. Once Vader's business was concluded on Shu-Torun, he informed the Emperor of Cylo's betrayal, and told him that he had fled with his remaining subjects. Pleased that his plan had worked, Sidious summoned Vader to him on the shipyard where the Executor-class Star Dreadnought Executor was being built. There, the Emperor revealed his fear of Cylo's growing influence to his apprentice, the doctor's role in rebuilding him, and the purpose of the contest for his position as an enforcer. Vader recognized that, should one of his rivals had been the last one standing, the Emperor would be having the same conversation with them. However, he declared that he had succeeded and that he represented the strength of the dark side. Sidious was pleased with his apprentice's success and ordered him to find Cylo and destroy him.
"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
- "I'm looking forward to completing your training. In time, you will call me master."
- ―Emperor Palpatine to Luke Skywalker
Whilst on the Death Star, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca managed to sneak past 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 an attempt to redeem his fallen father.
Shortly after Skywalker and the rebel strike team landed on Endor, the Emperor summoned his secret protege Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax for a secret meeting aboard his throne room on the second Death Star. Sensing a shatterpoint approaching, Darth Sidious warned Rax that it may soon be time to implement the Contingency. He then ordered Rax to take the Super Star Destroyer Ravager into the Vulpinus Nebula and hide until the events of this shatterpoint had resolved. He also told Rax that there would be others he had to call to his side.
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. Sidious 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.
- "If you will not be turned, you will be destroyed!"
- ―Emperor Palpatine to Luke Skywalker
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 were 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.
With his armor badly damaged by the Emperor's lightning, 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. With his death, Anakin had fulfilled the ancient prophecy as Qui-Gon Jinn had foreseen thirty-six years earlier.
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 the planet Taris. On the other hand, Imperial generals like Jylia Shale called their former Emperor a "decrepit old goblin who believed in the 'dark side' of some ancient, insane religion."
While searching the Hall of Imperial Register on Coruscant in 5 ABY, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane discovered that the Emperor's personal Super Star Destroyer Eclipse had mysteriously disappeared instead of being destroyed by the New Republic as reported in the Imperial charts. She also found an image crystal showing a still image of Palpatine and several Imperial Royal Guards, stormtroopers, and officials including Wullf Yularen, Dodd Rancit, Terrinald Screed, Grand Vizier Mas Amedda, and Gallius Rax. Rax had since risen to the rank of Fleet Admiral and was Sloane's secret puppet-master. Following the Attack on Chandrila, Rax brought the remnants of the Empire to Jakku.
Though Rax claimed that he was testing the resolve of the Empire before a showdown with the New Republic, Rax secretly intended to carry out the Contingency. The Contingency involved orchestrating a battle between the Imperial remnants and the New Republic fleets and destroying the two belligerents by detonating Jakku's core. The Jakku Observatory contained a deep borehole which led to the planet's core. Rax planned to pour various Sith artifacts into the borehole in order to activate the planet's self-destruction. In secret, Rax had arranged for himself and several "worthy" Imperials including Brendol Hux, his son Armitage Hux, and a contingent of child soldiers to flee into the Unknown Regions. Sloane managed to stop Rax's plan to destroy Jakku with the help of the rebels Norra Wexley and Brentin Lore Wexley. Despite perishing on Jakku, Rax succeeded in fulfilling his master's orders to bring about the collapse of the "Old Empire."
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, though a very few people knew he was a Sith, such as his apprentice Darth Vader and some of his Royal Guards, while Wilhuff Tarkin only suspected it. Freed from his gentle alter-ego, Palpatine demonstrated sadistic tendencies, but 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.
Due to his Sith philosophy, Sidious was unwilling to let anyone else inherit the Galactic Empire in the event of his death. Using a game of Shah-tezh as an illustration, Palpatine believed that the Empire's sole purpose for existence was to protect his own life and well-being. He believed that the Empire was a failure if it failed to live up to this purpose. Even before the formation of the Empire, Sidious had prepared for this fate by formulating a Contingency plan. The Contingency involved luring the Empire to the barren Inner Rim planet of Jakku and detonating the planet's core; destroying both the planet and the orbiting Imperial and enemy fleets. The key to the Contingency was the Jakku Observatory (which concealed a borehole that penetrated the planet's core) and Gallius Rax, a native of Jakku who rose to become Counselor to the Empire. As the Contingency showed, Sidious was willing to risk the lives of countless subjects to prevent the Empire from outliving him. Sidious also regarded Rax as a confidante and allowed him to address him as Sheev Palpatine.
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 incredibly powerful in the Force. He was a master 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, he 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, which was vital to his plot to overthrow the Republic. 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 Force Persuade.
Despite his frail appearance, Sidious was incredibly skilled in lightsaber combat, being 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 Nautolan 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 forced the Grand Master to flee with his Force powers rather than his lightsaber. 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 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 Savage and disarming Maul. He could also use Form V. Prior to the Battle of Endor, Sidious sensed a shatterpoint looming and warned Gallius Rax to be ready to execute the Contigency.
Behind the scenes
The holographic image of the Emperor that briefly appeared in the original version of The Empire Strikes Back was portrayed by experienced actress Marjorie Eaton, with test shots done by actress Elaine Baker. The mask worn by Eaton was sculpted by Phil Tippett and applied by Rick Baker, Elaine's husband. Eaton's face was then composited with an image of a chimpanzee for the eyes and the voice was provided by Clive Revill.
In the next movie, Return of the Jedi, the role was to be played by veteran thespian Alan Webb, who was 75 at the time. However, as filming was about to commence, Webb fell ill due to the record cold England was experiencing at the time. He wrote a letter to director Richard Marquand, saying he was very sorry, but he felt the part was too big for him. Webb would die not long afterward, on June 22, 1982. With filming behind schedule, Ian McDiarmid was drafted in as a late substitute.
McDiarmid ended up playing the elderly Emperor Palpatine of the Return of the Jedi, the younger Palpatine of The Phantom Menace, and the middle-aged Palpatine of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
For the 2004 DVD release of the original trilogy, the scene in The Empire Strikes Back was re-shot with Ian McDiarmid playing the Emperor, with new lines written and recorded for both McDiarmid and James Earl Jones who provided the voice of Darth Vader. This re-shoot was shot during the production of Revenge of the Sith, which McDiarmid had a starring role in.
Star Wars creator George Lucas compared the story of Sidious to real life individuals such as "Caesar, Napoleon, and Hitler." The Adolf 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.
In the non-canon LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, Darth Sidious was voiced by Trevor Devall. In the first season, Palpatine/Sidious and Darth Vader learned about the history of a powerful lightsaber called the Kyber Saber, which was made out of several kyber crystals. However, the Jedi Master who crafted the sword had deemed it too dangerous and destroyed the lightsaber before scattering all of the crystals throughout the galaxy. Seeking to destroy the galaxy in one blast, Darth Sidious attempted to collect all of the crystals. He and Vader dispatched the Sith agent Naare to recover the Kyber Saber crystals. However, Naare's mission was complicated by her encounter with the Force-sensitive Rowan Freemaker and his family. In an attempt to gain the crystals, Naare pretended to be a Jedi and offered to train him in the ways of the Force. Despite Sidious' efforts, the Sith Lord failed to take the Kyber Saber from Rowan, who managed to destroy the weapon.