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Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.
~ Darth Sidious's most famous quote.
Use your aggressive feelings, boy! Let the hate flow through you!
~ Darth Sidious to Luke.
Execute Order 66.
~ Palpatine ordering the death all of Jedis

Emperor Sheev Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious or simply the Emperor, is the main antagonist of the Star Wars franchise.

He is an immensely powerful Sith Lord and the ruler of the Galactic Empire, which he formed from the Galactic Republic, who was also the de facto ruler of the Separatists, which he used to give himself autocratic powers as Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. As the Dark Lord of the Sith, he plotted to overthrow the Jedi by manipulating the events of the Clone Wars to bring himself to rule the whole galaxy; thus posing as the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic throughout these events. He is the Jedi's archenemy expressly Yoda, and they were suspicious of him even just after Count Dooku's death when they were unaware that he was Darth Sidious. He is also later revealed to be the secret benefactor and de facto leader of the First Order, and that he is the paternal grandfather of Rey.

He was famously portrayed by Ian McDiarmid in the films and by Clive Revill and the late Marjorie Eaton in the original version of The Empire Strikes Back. In The Clone Wars, he was voiced by the late Ian Abercrombie and then Tim Curry, who also played It in the 1990s miniseries of the same name, Taurus Bulba in Darkwing Duck, Hexxus in FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Skullmaster in Mighty Max, Slagar the Cruel in Redwall and Von Talon in Valiant. In Rebels, he was voiced by Sam Witwer and McDiarmid later reprised the role for its fourth season.

Roles

He is the main antagonist of the Skywalker Saga, serving as the titular overarching antagonist of The Phantom Menace, the overarching antagonist of both Attack of the Clones and The Empire Strikes Back, the main antagonist of Revenge of the Sith, Return of the Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, and the unseen overarching antagonist of A New Hope, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

He also serves as the overarching antagonist of the 2003 animated Legends microseries Star Wars: Clone Wars, the 2008 animated standalone film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the latter's 2008-2020 animated TV series of the same name, the 2014-2018 animated TV show Star Wars Rebels and the 2021 animated webseries Star Wars: The Bad Batch.

He is also the unseen overarching antagonist of the 2009 videogame Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, the 2016 stand-alone film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and the 2019 videogame Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and the main antagonist of both the 2008 videogame Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and it's 2009 sequel's DLC The Battle of Endor.

He is also one of the two main antagonists (alongside Vitiate) of the Legends continuity, and also appears as the main antagonist, the overarching antagonist and/or a posthumous antagonist in various novels, comic books and videogames within both the Legends and Canon continuities.

Characteristics

Personality

Darth Sidious is reviled as the embodiment of evil in the Star Wars universe, being born as a power-hungry psychopath. Sidious is a cruel, extremely egotistical and a megalomaniacal sadistic dictator who seeks to become immortal and rule the whole galaxy as an unstoppable god, and unlike Darth Vader, he is portrayed as being irredeemable. He is also manipulative and incredibly intelligent, having played everyone during the Clone Wars as if they were mere pawns in a chess game. He was having to play both sides in the Clone Wars, using his charismatic charm to convince the Galactic Republic to establish the Galactic Empire, fooling many to make them see him as a benevolent senator and even succeeding in near eradicating the Jedi Order to take control of the galaxy. He's also very paranoid as he would raze cities or kill off populations cause he believes some might conspire against him.

Despite his arrogance, Sidious was highly intelligent, patient, and manipulative, possessing some sense of humor as shown by his laughter. He was also known to be treacherous and deceptive, as he would kill his allies or have them killed such as Darth Tyranus and Nute Gunray, as he had no desire to share his power with anyone, especially his apprentices. This was evident once more in Star Wars: Battlefront II, when he secretly engineered Operation Cinder, a top-secret scorched-earth policy directed against his own empire should he die - which happened at the hands of Anakin Skywalker - ultimate treachery to planets who remained loyal to the empire and made great sacrifices for his cause.

It did not matter to Sidious. In his eyes, Empire without him leading it was not worth existing. Unlike most of the other Sith Lords, he prefers using mental breaking and the Force over physical strength and he dislikes fighting with lightsabers, preferring this option only as a last resort or when he clearly had the upper hand. During the early parts of his plan, Darth Sidious preferred to speak to servants such as Lord Tyranus by a hologram. He gave orders for the Separatists' next move and then disappeared as quickly as he appeared.

After he had successfully gained full control of it, Darth Sidious turned the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire to restore the Sith Empire. He abandoned his public persona and openly became a tyrannical dark lord; despite this, he never revealed that he was the Dark Lord of the Sith to the public; as only his most trusted followers were (which were a few) aware of his Sith identity.

Darth Sidious was the only Sith Master/Dark Lord of the Sith in the history of the galaxy to achieve the ultimate goal of the Sith Order: to eradicate the Jedi Order and bring the galaxy under the rule of the Sith. When he was the Emperor, Sidious was apathetic to the well-being of his subjects, only caring to the extend of his control and power and provoking struggles for post between his subordinates. Because of that, the Rebellion gained more followers as the population was unsatisfied with the incompetence of the administration.

Sidious also greatly desired to become immortal; his master had once had the ability to keep others from dying using the dark side of the Force. Sidious learned this same ability and desired to use a similar power, if one did exist, to increase his lifespan so that he could rule the galaxy forever, with one such scheme involving the creation of a Force-made virus, called Project Blackwing. Besides, Sidious has a God complex, wanting to rule the Universe like a God by using Lothal Temple to have access to the realm of spacetime. He ultimately was worshiped by Exegol's inhabitants like such.

However, Sidious' searches for such secrets of the Sith were ultimately fruitless (as the Blackwing virus turned its hosts into undead zombies and had to be eradicated), and he never found a way to become immortal. Despite his desire for immortality, Sidious would anticipate the possibility of facing death, and in some cases, he is willing to forsake his own life by provoking any person to kill him in order to convert that person into the dark side and carry on his evil legacy.

Sidious does not show any true loyalty to his allies. He uses his allies to help further his cause, but disposes them, when he feels that someone better has come along, or that they no longer serve a purpose or usefulness in his grand scheme. When his first apprentice Darth Maul returns, Sidious shuns him as he already replaced him with Darth Tyranus as his apprentice, adhering to the Rule of Two despite his loyalty.

When Anakin defeats Tyranus, Sidious orders Anakin to kill him, as he desires to make Anakin into his next apprentice as Darth Vader. After realizing he no longer needs the Separatists, he instructs Vader to kill them. After Luke defeats Vader, Sidious attempts to convince Luke to kill Vader in order to take his place as the Emperor's next apprentice, as Luke became more powerful than his father.

Like most practitioners of the dark side of the Force, Sidious was susceptible to fear to the point of being paranoid. This paranoia was extensive to the point where he feared the power of other Force-users and had them hunted down and either killed or turned to his side as loyal servants. However, his paranoia was never extended to the point of being cowardly and pusillanimous, as he felt little fear and was more than willing to get into confrontations with exceptionally powerful opponents like Mace Windu and Yoda if necessary. Sidious' greatness weaknesses were his inability to understand good and love completely and his enormous self-confidence, as Vader betrayed the tyrant at the cost of all power over love for his son and galaxy peace. Indeed, Sidious was so deeply versed in the dark side that he became unable to see the light side in other peoples.

This is why he failed to see Luke when he was near the Death Star in a captured Imperial shuttle unlike Vader. Also, this prevented him to anticipate the latter's betrayal when he electrocuted Luke out of sheer spite; because he could only perceives the dark side in his apprentice and nothing else. Despite being extremely intelligent and calculating, Sidious's arrogance and self-confidence make him unable to learn from his mistakes. First, he underestimated Padmé, the Jedi and the Naboo natives. As a result, he lost Naboo and his first apprentice Darth Maul. However, his long-term plans were not damaged, and he has much time enough to learn lessons about that. But he continues to underestimate his opponents (Yoda surprises him and almost killed him and Obi-Wan Kenobi escapes his trap) which ends in the Rebellion. Faced with this, his arrogance prevails and he loses everything. Again, when he was resurrected, he again lets his arrogance get the better of him and severely underestimates Rey, which leads to his final demise.

Despite his evil nature, Sidious is a known patron of the arts; this was evidenced in the craftsmanship of his lightsabers, and the many statue and sculptures present in his office during his time as Chancellor. However, he abandoned most of his love of the arts when he became Emperor in favor of expanding his power. In addition, although Sidious openly acknowledged his being a Sith Lord he also did not consider himself evil, but rather thought of himself as a savior. Thus, one could argue that he considers him a being above good or evil. This consideration is implied when he tells Anakin that "good" is only a point of view. A socially Darwinistic person, Sidious believes evil is not actually malleable and is instead an abstract concept the weak use to label those stronger than themselves when threatened by them.

Sidious also has a strange relationship with Anakin, presenting himself as a grandfatherly figure to him and appearing to admire his endurance and killing power. This may be the only thing in Sidious’ emotional repertoire that even comes close to love. However, he was ready to get rid of him in order to bring Luke Skywalker, so his admiration is very limited. His relationship with his biological son is not well known, but the fact that his son abandons his last name and chooses a life of scavenger instead of one with his father strongly implies Sidious was a terrible father. He also served as a parent for Darth Maul, by kidnapping him to make him become a monster full of rage. But Sidious was also pragmatic, criticizing Vader to kill his men when they failed because it would create a risk of mutiny. He was also legitimately surprised by Tarkin, who blew up Alderaan, not because of any morality or guilt, but how incredibly stupid and illogical this decision was.

Following his revival, Sidious' mind became sharper as he was able to arrange the creation of Supreme Leader Snoke and the First Order as a means of restoring the Galactic Empire and to convert Vader's grandson Ben Solo into the dark side as Kylo Ren and manipulate him into doing his bidding, all behind the shadows. Upon learning that he had a granddaughter named Rey who would become very powerful with the Force, Sidious was determined to have her brought over and turned into the dark side to make her his new vessel for his soul, even ordering the deaths of Rey's parents when they refused to give Rey to him, killing his own biological son, as well as goading Rey into killing him so that he would possess her body. Also this time, Sidious made no efforts to hide his true identity, openly proclaiming himself a Sith.

In addition, his soul seemed to be greatly damaged of his previous death because he lacked his previous charisma, his manipulative tendency and his cunning side. Sending a message announcing he is back served absolutely to nothing and in addition, he does not bother to dissimulate his true intentions to Rey, telling her his true goal just after they met, although one could interpret he thought given Rey was part of his family, it was enough to convince her. However, he treated his men better this time. This is shown when he restored himself, by rallying his troops and making sure he does not touch them with his Lightning when he attacked theirs enemies. However, this is considered pragmatic in general as he could not allow himself to lose his army, needing it to rule over the galaxy again.

When it became clear to Sidious that Rey refused to embrace his legacy as a Sith, the Emperor was determined to kill his own granddaughter for her defiance, proving that even after experiencing death, he still selfishly desired the ultimate power to the point of destroying his own family bloodline. It was those very same traits of arrogance and selfishness that eventually led to Sidious' final downfall, as he underestimated Rey's true potential when she uses the combined strength of all the Jedi from the past (including Vader's) to finally destroy the Sith Emperor for good. This proves once and for all that Sidious is nothing more than a purely evil madman who only cares about himself. It also shows that he has little regard for other's skills as even after witnessing Rey's power, Sidious thought she would not be able to beat him because he had the power of all the Sith. Because of his acts, Sidious will always be remembered as a monstrous tyrant, and his name will likely be permanently disgraced as his granddaughter decided to adopt the name of Skywalker instead of Palpatine.

Biography

This section is too long. Visit here for more details: Emperor Palpatine's Synopsis on the Villains Wiki.

What Makes Him Pure Evil?

  • Even though he had an extremely poor relationship with his family (especially his father) and was the most hated member therefore being treated as an outcast by them, this doesn’t serve as a motivator for his crimes as he was already a spoiled, ambitious and malicious since he was kid even before he developed any kind of relationship with his family (hence the estranged relationship). It serves as deteriorating instead, since his personality becomes worse through time, which further cements him as antisocial since early childhood. Because of this he didn’t care about them and his actions went far past it as he murdered his own parents and siblings, including his family's two guards. His father did tell him that he should’ve killed him, but he is still far past it.
  • Even for a Sith (who can have some degree of humanity, redeeming traits, honor, values and loyalty to their masters), he is utterly and irredeemably evil and has none of those. Although he is sophisticated and polite, this is nothing more than a manipulation tactic to control those to further his own ends.
  • He had no true loyalty to his master Darth Plaguéis and used him to become a Sith Lord and killed him in his sleep right after he became a Chancellor, even though Plagueis completely trusted him just because he wasn’t useful for his plans anymore.
  • Unlike Darth Vader or even his own master, he is willing to kill his own minions even if they serve him well, as is the case of Darth Tyranus.
  • Adopted Maul to mercilessly torture and abuse him into becoming his ruthless apprentice.
  • Had his homeworld, Naboo, invaded by the Trade Federation as part of his plan to become Chancellor.
  • Manipulated Padmé Amidala into asking the Senate for a vote of no confidence, which leads to incumbent Chancellor Valorum getting removed from office and Palpatine replacing him.
  • Tried to have Maul take out a 9-year-old Anakin before deciding he would be of more use to him alive.
  • Lies to the Senate that he wants peace when really he wants the opposite.
  • Had Count Dooku create the clone army with chips making them turn on the Jedi and forcing them to carry out Order 66.
  • Orchestrated the Clone Wars, a galactic level war by taking control of two different factions to take control of the galaxy, which resulted in countless deaths.
  • Ordered the Zillo Beast killed when he found out its armor was unbreakable. Furthermore, he risked the destruction of the Senate building when he brought it to Coruscant.
  • Hired Cad Bane to kidnap sensitive infants by force for him to conduct illegal fatal experiments on them. When Ahsoka and Anakin went to save them on Mustafar, Sidious ordered the droids to erase all evidence including the infants.
  • Forced his new apprentice, Darth Tyranus, to kill his own apprentice Asajj Ventress out of fear that she was growing too powerful, threatening to kill him if he didn’t comply.
  • Murdering a total of 4 of Maul's Death Watch Guards, 2 of which simply for telling him to halt, and the other 2 for no reason whatsoever.
  • Fought and betrayed his former apprentice, Darth Maul, upon learning of his return and growing power which threatened to interfere with his long-term plans. In the process, Sidious murdered Maul's brother, Savage Opress, right in front of him before sadistically torturing him with his Force-lightning, while taunting him that he has other plans just for him other than death.
  • After betraying Maul he forced him to help him in a scheme to kill his mother, Mother Talzin.
  • Slowly corrupted Anakin Skywalker to turn against the Jedi and made the Jedi Council expel his apprentice Ahsoka after she was framed for bombing the Jedi Temple. He even managed to persuade Anakin to try to kill Obi-Wan Kenobi, a man who considered Anakin to be his honorary younger brother.
  • Once Fives, a clone trooper, learned of Order 66, Sidious had him drugged to the point of insanity and has him murdered in order to keep Order 66 a secret from the Jedi (who would be the victims of Order 66). He even revealed the truth about Order 66 just to mock Fives and provoke the trooper to attack him in order to make him appear insane.
  • Force-choked Tyranus from far away after he failed to keep further details of Sifo-Dyas' death from the Jedi.
  • Attempted to corrupt Yoda unsuccessfully by interfering with his trials on Dagobah.
  • Taunts Maul over the death of his mother.
  • Adhering to the rule of two, he instructs Anakin to kill Tyranus once his role was finished (even though Tyranus was nothing but loyal to Sidious), later renaming the former Darth Vader after Anakin was forced to join him due to betraying Windu in said Master's attempt to avenge Kolar, Tiin and Fisto, all of whom were killed by Sidious as well and having him murder all of the Separatist leaders after he'd taken control of the Senate. He also would've more than likely taken Padmé's life if Vader hadn't.
  • When Grevious showed concern over Dooku's death, Sidious mocked him and proudly told Grevious that Dooku was a necessary loss.
  • Ordered almost all the Jedi killed through Order 66, including the younglings, rather than persuade them to join the Sith as General Grievous had tried to do. This more or less reinforces Mace Windu's belief that there are people in the galaxy that are too dangerous to be kept alive.
  • Configuring Vader's suit to be extremely vulnerable to force lightning to ensure that he could easily kill Vader if he tried to defy him.
  • When Darth Vader used the Force on him in anger over Padme's death and the promise that Palpatine would save her, he brutally attacks Vader with Force-lightning. He then holds his lightsaber to Vader's throat, threatening to kill him if he ever touched Palpatine with the Force again.
  • Had the Inquisitors hunt down and murder the Jedi who survived Order 66.
  • Enslaved all non-human species in the galaxy.
  • Uses planet-destroying weapons such as the Death Star to spread fear in the galaxy.
  • Having multiple cities and populations razed or killed off out of paranoia that they might conspire against him.
  • In the Legends continuity, he had Bevel Lemelisk tortured to death to punish him for giving the Death Star a design flaw. He brought him back to life multiple times just to torture him to death again. This included having him fed to flesh eating insects.
  • Tried to kill Ahsoka and Ezra when they were in the World Between Worlds, trying to use them to get in so he could use the power to have control of time and reality.
  • Tried to prey off Ezra Bridger’s desire to be with his family. When Ezra refused to join him, Sidious ordered his guards to kill him so he can join his dead parents in death.
  • After Vader refused to kill both Luke and Padmé's body double, Sabé, Sidious punished him by attacking with him with Force-lightning. After, he took Vader's lightsaber to fight his two Royal Guards by himself, then proceeded to force choke Vader and dismembered three of his limbs. Sidious worsened his punishment by taking Vader back to Mustafar to relive the painful memories of his defeat against Obi-Wan, ordering him to rebuild himself without using the Force.
  • When Vader arrived on Exegol, he had his members of the Sith Eternal attack his broken apprentice, openly saying that any of them could potentially replace Vader and showing no care if his apprentice was defeated.
  • Lured the Rebel fleet to Endor as part of his plan to destroy the Alliance.
  • Attempts to have Luke kill his father to seduce him towards the Dark Side. When Luke refuses, Sidious sadistically tortures him to near death with Force-lightning.
  • He was planning to have all life in the galaxy eliminated with Operation: Cinder if he ever died.
  • Orchestrates most of the events that happened in the sequel trilogy, being behind the First Order and Supreme Leader Snoke.
  • Creates the Final Order to reclaim his rule over the galaxy by having them destroy any planet that refuses to bow before him.
  • Has Ochi kill his own son and his daughter-in-law once they refused to hand Rey over to him.
  • Tries to have the Final Order enslave the galaxy.
  • Attempts to have his own granddaughter kill him in order to force his spirit into her and take control of her body.
  • Drains the Force energy out of both Rey and Kylo Ren in order to restore his body, then attempts to kill Kylo Ren by sending him plummeting into a ravine.
  • Uses his Force Lightning to attack and disable the enemy fighters, presumably killing many of them in the process.
  • Attempts to kill his own granddaughter while sadistically mocking her weakness.
  • Succeeds in destroying the Skywalker bloodline.

Trivia

  • Alongside Tarkin and Orson Krennic, he is the one of the only two Star Wars Pure Evils to qualify as Pure Evils based on their actions in the films alone, as all the other Star Wars Pure Evils either do not appear in any of the films or do not qualify as Pure Evil based on their actions in the films, instead being ranked up to Pure Evil because of their actions in the novel spin-offs or tv series.
  • He is also the second Pure Evil villain of a film released by Disney in Winter 2019 that is the grandfather of the protagonist, the first being King Runeard.
  • Star Wars Resistance is the only Star Wars TV series that Darth Sidious does not make an appearance.
  • Palpatine ordering Count Dooku to have Jango Fett, the same mercenary who served as a model for an army of secret clones (at the time) assassinate a senator who would vote against an act which would allow the creation of this same army and that mercenary, who is recognized as the best in the galaxy, quickly neglects the job by giving it to a less qualified killer, and fails to cover his tracks, leading to the discovery of the army of clones by the Jedi was all planned by the Dark Lord of the Sith. The Jedi proposed to use the army and for that, they are described as thriving for war. The Separatist's War was the reason Sidious created to force the Jedi to use a army of slaves. Slavery is also against the principles of the Jedi and breaking that rule have broken the Jedi laws.
  • Throughout the expanded works, Palpatine often tries to justify his more heinous actions, such as the destruction of Alderaan to the rest of the galaxy or slavery to Darth Vader. This is, of course, all fake manipulation and a way to keep a good public image of himself in the mind of others.
  • His Angry Birds version who is portrayed by King Pig cannot qualify as it is a parody that isn't taken seriously, lighthearted and is played for laughs.
  • His LEGO version doesn't qualify, as it's also a parody that's played for laughs and even has some (if few) redeeming qualities.
  • His Family Guy version who is portrayed by Carter Pewterschmidt doesn't count, as it's an adult sitcom parody that isn't taken seriously, lighthearted as is played for laughs.
  • He has arguably the highest kill count of any Star Wars villain and character, due to orchestrating the Clone Wars and causing mass casualties across the galaxy, as well as causing Order 66 and vast other war crimes.
  • He is considered to be the most evil Star Wars character.

External Links

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Disney Canon
Movies
Emperor Palpatine | Grand Moff Tarkin | Orson Krennic

TV Shows
Emperor Palpatine | Dr. Nuvo Vindi | Wat Tambor | Grand Moff Tarkin | Pong Krell | Keeper Agruss | Gar Saxon | Captain Phasma

Books
Cornelius Evazan

Legends Canon
Durge | Cronal | Demagol | Haazen | Aleema Keto | Darth Krayt | Exar Kun | Vitiate | Onimi | Kul Teska |

Other Continuities
The Star Wars
Darth Vader (TSW)

Star Wars: Visions
Izuma

See Also
Disney Pure Evils

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