Star Wars: 25 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Palpatine
Star Wars would never be the same without the insidious nature of one man: Sheev Palpatine. Not only did he expertly manipulate the senate, but he also turned a powerful Jedi Knight, dismantled the Jedi Order, and took over the galaxy. As far as Sith Lords go, he was an ambitious man as his decisions changed the face of the galaxy forever. Throughout Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the prequels in particular, fans got to watch how Palpatine tricked everyone and became the most powerful man in the galaxy. While the story focuses a lot on Anakin Skywalker, it is also his story. It's fascinating to watch him and Skywalker evolve into the big, menacing bosses of the empire. Furthermore, Palpatine was the single Sith that destroyed the entirety of the Jedi Order, hundreds of brave warriors with good intentions. Even though he had apprentices and underlings, succeeding in his wicked plans are what ended their organization.
Despite the way the prequel stories illuminate Darth Sidious' work, character, and history, he's still a fairly mysterious man as a lot of the information about him gets warped and mis-remembered. After all, he's a man who keeps his knowledge very close to his chest for good reason. The one time he trusted someone to follow his orders, he got tossed down into the core of the second Death Star. No matter how many facts about him people get wrong, though, Palpatine remains a fascinating Sith Lord, and it is only with some good research that he becomes all the more interesting. Here are 25 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Palpatine:
25 He Had Multiple Apprentices At One Time
While it's fairly common for a Force master to train many students, none do it quite like Emperor Palpatine. After all, there is a Sith rule that there can only be two at any time: master and student. Therefore, each time he's done with an apprentice, he has them discarded.
Many fans thinks he breaks this rule all the time, but he only grooms his next apprentice while he still has his current one (the second he's ready to teach, he discards the last). For that exact reason, Count Dooku had to be eliminated before he could take Anakin Skywalker under his wing.
24 He, Vader, And Luke Would Have Worked Together
Darth Sidious makes his interest in Luke joining the Dark Side clear. He's powerful, he already has control over his father, and his strength could help tighten his rule on the galaxy. However, some fans might misinterpret this to mean that Sidious wanted Vader and Luke to join him in a Sith trio to rule the empire.
On the contrary, if Luke agreed to Sidious' offer, he probably would have discarded the aging Vader in favor of his son. Instead of an old robot, he'd have a young, fresh face to be his right hand and would have been happy to trade one Skywalker in for the newer model, not keep both around.
23 The Emperor Was An Iron Fist Dictator
While the Emperor definitely ran a tight ship, he wasn't nearly the iron-fist dictator he can seem to be on screen. From the Empire's perspective, he manipulated a bunch of people into thinking this was how things should be and what was best for them. After all, he does have enough people to man all his ships, the Death Star, and fill his armies. They may not be bad people, but they believe in him.
Furthermore, the Emperor is the figurehead and master-planner. All of his iron-fist aspects are done and decided by Darth Vader, his warped and violent apprentice.
22 No One In The Senate Knew His Plans
Throughout the prequel films, it seems Senator Palpatine perfectly dupes the entirety of the Senate. He convinces them to give him more power and make him Chancellor, something he only has sinister intentions with. While he plotted, the Senate participated none the wiser.
However, this isn't true. Palpatine had connections in the Senate that assisted in his rise to power. Some were oblivious (like a certain Jar Jar Binks), but others knew what they were doing. For example, Wilhuff Tarkin was assisting Palpatine in his plans in exchange for high rank and favor when he took over the galaxy. He would eventually be better known as Grand Moff Tarkin, commander of the first Death Star.
21 His Subjects Disliked Him
From the rebel perspective, Palpatine's rule seems totalitarian; however, throughout his life, he hasn't been a bad politician. When he was just a senator from Naboo, he was beloved by the people that elected him. Similarly, as Chancellor, many people trusted and believed in him.
Things changed when he became Emperor, but that didn't mean his people disliked him, though. While some definitely felt oppressed and rebelled, others weren't bothered or were convinced order helped make the universe better. Many people still willingly joined his armies and fleets, while some were duped into thinking the order of the Empire was the best thing to ever happen to the galaxy.
20 Darth Sidious Had No Human Emotions
From the original trilogy of Star Wars films, it's easy to see Darth Sidious as a soulless figure under some dark robes, but as more stories, films, and shows have come out, there's a lot more to him.
Chancellor Palpatine struggles with anger, envy, and angst almost at all times. He's angry with anyone who gets in his way, envy seeps through him whenever he meets someone who has more power or control, and worst of all, his worries permeate through his relationships and makes them self-destruct. Granted, he deals with these emotions through violence, but he still has them.
19 He's Really Old
Palpatine isn't exactly a handsome man, especially for fans who only knew him from the original trilogy. For many decades, his age seemed ambiguous, with many people assuming he had lived decades longer than he should have.
Instead, any nosy fan will have quickly learned that the Sith Lord was actually only 84 at the time of his passing. Still old, but not nearly as old as his body would suggest. It puts a new light on how hard he worked to seem ageless and wise, but was really just an old man in a dingy robe.
18 Emperor Palpatine Never Went On Missions
By the time Darth Sidious was wheedling his way through the senate, it seems like he doesn't do much action himself. He may have power, but he prefers to let his minions do all the work, and for the most part, that's true.
However, Emperor Palpatine isn't a stranger to danger and hard work. One of his most dangerous situations was getting trapped on Ryloth with Darth Vader and having to fight his way through its peril. Though old and used to executive work, Darth Sidious was no slouch as he helped get them through the troubling mission. Furthermore, if he can take on Maul and Opress simultaneously, he doesn't need to prove his mission-ready worth.
17 His Most Powerful Attack Was His Force Lightning
Emperor Palpatine is most iconically known for his Force Lightning, a power known to fry Jedi Masters and give him the upper hand. When that lightning started to impact Luke Skywalker, the pain was nearly unbearable.
Though the lightning is flashy and impressive, it is hardly his strongest ability. As Palpatine shows in the prequels and the animated Clone Wars series, his lightsaber mastery takes precedence. Not only can he go toe-to-toe with Yoda, but he can also fend off two strong opponents easily. No matter his age, he is one of the strongest Force bladesmen to ever live. That's much more powerful, ultimately, than some bolts of lightning.
16 He Needed Bodyguards
For royal guardsmen, the Imperial Royal Guard is pretty impressive. As expert fighters in dark red robes, they follow Emperor Palpatine wherever he goes and could intimidate any opponent.
The funny part is, though, Palpatine doesn't really need them. While elderly, the Sith Lord has shown time and time again his own battle prowess. He defeated old apprentices, Jedi Masters, and even took on Yoda. Sure, he wasn't in tip-top shape by the start of A New Hope, but for almost anything coming at him (other than Luke Skywalker or a flipped Darth Vader), Palpatine doesn't need the Royal Guard.
15 All His Moves Are Rationally Calculated
When it comes to masterminds, few are as calculating and “long-game” as Emperor Palpatine as he concocted a war across the galaxy simply to gain complete control with little political resistance.
However, not everything Palpatine does is so calculated. If it were, he wouldn't have gotten so close to being caught. For example, he would have been more successful in dealing with Luke Skywalker personally instead of gleefully enjoying pitting father against son. Or, similarly, he wouldn't have risked so much of his army and his apprentice while trying to defeat Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon. As calculated as he was, his temper and glee in puppet-mastering made him vulnerable.
14 Senator Palpatine Represented Coruscant
For any fan just casually watching the Star Wars movies, they may think Sheev Palpatine's deep political involvement would mean he's a politician from Coruscant. However, he's actually the Senate representative from Naboo, just like Padmé eventually is. That makes the first film even more startling, considering how quick he was to desecrate his own home planet.
Meanwhile, it seems that Naboo's purity and good will does pull a lot of weight in the Senate, so that could have helped his rise to power and influence. It's easy to forget he's from humble Naboo when he's such a manipulative pro-politician.
13 Darth Plagueis, His Master, Created The Sith
From just the films, and the way Chancellor Palpatine talks about Darth Plagueis, it's easy to think his old master started the Sith. After all, the Dark Side of the Force always existed, but the Sith were a specific order of the Dark Side.
Though Plagueis was wise, he wasn't the one who started it all. That would be Darth Bane, who created all of the Sith practices and started the cycle. Plagueis did seem to be a very powerful Sith, though, so it's no surprise Palpatine held him in particular reverence, even if he was the one who ended him.
12 Palpatine Was The Only One Able To Execute Order 66
When the Kamino people created the Clone Troopers for the Republic, they had a hidden danger to them. If told to execute Order 66, they would turn on their Jedi leaders and destroy them. Though it seems like a serious, dangerous oversight, this order was not coded to a specific voice or rank as all someone had to say was “execute Order 66.”
This is how Chancellor Palpatine got his countless Clone Troopers to turn on the Jedi at a moment's notice. However, the wrong order number could have gotten people hurt and exposed Order 66 for what it was.
11 Whether The Emperor Ever Cared About Count Dooku As An Apprentice
Darth Sidious was always good at ditching his apprentices, but there was never one quite as expendable as Count Dooku. Unlike many of Palpatine's disciples, Dooku was the first to do most of the leg work in turning toward the Dark Side. He wasn't a child prodigy or a formidable foe, just a disgruntled Jedi Master.
Furthermore, Sidious only really took Dooku as his apprentice when Darth Maul suddenly perished. He was a quick, easy, lucrative choice for the rising Emperor as he had money, power, and political sway. However, that never meant Sidious cared much about training him. He was swift to dispose of Dooku the second he thought Anakin Skywalker was ready to turn.
10 He Masterfully Manipulated Anakin Skywalker
While Emporer Palpatine is an expert manipulator and intelligent puppet-master, he didn't get to flex those skills on Anakin Skywalker. Though some fans blame Sidious for influencing Skywalker, it was Skywalker himself who was willing to be swayed.
Between his unvalidated raging emotions, private marriage, and countless doubts he hid from everyone, he was a prime target. If anyone of the Light Side had taken more time to soothe and encourage him, he would have just as easily been brought back over. Instead, only Palpatine took the time to mentor young Anakin and that's how he got his powerful and dangerous Lord Vader.
9 After Plagueis' Passing, He Honed His Sith Powers Alone
Darth Sidious was the apprentice of Darth Plagueis The Wise, a man desperate to find immortality. Between Plagueis and Maul, the Emperor makes it sound like he spent his time honing his skills and plotting alone, but he didn't do that at all.
For fans of any animated Star Wars series, in Star Wars: Rebels, it's revealed that Darth Sidious trained with Mother Talzin, a Dathomir Witch, to exchange knowledges in the force. He promised to make her his new apprentice, but instead, Sidious took her son and tricked him into being his loyal follower, Darth Maul.
8 Palpatine Made Anakin Slay Dooku
In the beginning of Revenge of The Sith, Obi-Wan and Anakin track down Count Dooku, who “took” Chancellor Palpatine. When Dooku knocks Obi-Wan out, Anakin is alone, fighting the Sith Count. At one point, he gets the upper hand and Palpatine encourages Skywalker to slay Dooku, which he does.
However, some fans would say that Palpatine made Anakin do this, but that's untrue. Without Darth Sidous' influence, Anakin was still a tumultuous, troubled young man. He already had it in him to want to end Dooku's life for all of his atrocities, such as losing his hand and the threat he posed to Padmé. Any of these memories could have lead him to the same decision.
7 Darth Sidious' Reign Ended With His Passing
Though Emperor Palpatine fell to his doom, it didn't end the echoes of his empire across the galaxy. The rebels won the day, but clearly, that didn't stop the leftover imperials from causing havoc.
For example, villains like Admiral Thrawn would hardly stop their machinations just because Darth Sidious was gone. After all, the remnants of the Empire birthed the New Order and took over the galaxy with just as much of a fury. They even modeled their Starkiller after his Death Star and eliminated whole solar systems instead of just one planet. That's real post-mortem influence.
6 Palpatine Never Anticipated His Own Demise
With a master obsessed with immortality, one might think Palpatine was similarly fascinated. However, Palpatine was far more in tune with mortality and instead, created safe guards for his passing. For example, in the campaign for Star Wars: Battlefront II, imperial soldiers are still getting orders from robotic messages from the Emperor, demonstrating that he was prepared for his eventual loss and wanted his empire to live beyond him.
The Emperor's true oversight was believing that his manipulations were stronger than Anakin Skywalker's emotions, but they never have been. In the end, those emotions were all Palpatine had to control him, and in the face of letting either his own son or Palpatine perish, it was easy for him to choose.
5 He Consistently Followed The Rules Of The Sith
As the leader of mostly all living Siths in the prequels and original trilogy, Darth Sidious is the fans' window into the rules of the Dark Side. Through him, Darth Plagueis was revealed along with the “rule of two.” However, despite being the expert on Sith ways, Palpatine isn't the best at exactly adhering to them.
Though he technically follows the rule of two himself, he doesn't care if his apprentices take students of their own. He just sees those Sith (like Ventress or Grievous) as highly trained disposables. Furthermore, he may never overlap his apprentices, but he definitely starts preparing new ones before the old ones leave him.
4 Darth Maul Chose To Be His Apprentice
When fans first meet Darth Maul, he's a mysterious apprentice skulking after Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan in their quest to protect Queen Amidala. Despite having an awesome aesthetic, people don't know much about him.
However, through Disney's animated Star Wars: Rebels series, fans have gotten to know Darth Maul a little better. They also learn that he was easily the least willing of Darth Sidious' apprentices. After all, the second Palpatine was done training with Maul's mother, Talzin, he took the baby and tricked him into becoming his disciple. For a long while, he followed the Sith Lord blindly, but only because he knew no better.
3 The Jedi Never Saw It Coming
The reason Palpatine's machinations were so effective was because the Jedi Order didn't have time to respond. Their soldiers suddenly flipped, the senate wasn't there to help them, and they were swiftly ended.
However, it wasn't like the Jedi didn't have clues that they were in danger. Throughout the prequels and the Clone Wars animated series, Yoda, Mace Windu, and other Jedi can feel a darkness closing in on them. Yoda even takes time to look into it and knows the Sith are on the move. In theory, they should have spent much more time investigating that, but they chose to focus elsewhere.
2 George Lucas Modeled Darth Sidious After A Notorious Leader
Throughout the Star Wars series, fans drew a lot of parallels between The Empire and the Hitler Regime. After all, the officer uniforms are very similar to the latter's wardrobe, foot soldiers are both called Stormtroopers, and their ideals have a lot of similarities. People even see connections between Palpatine and Hitler himself.
However, despite all the similarities, George Lucas says he modeled Palpatine after a very different leader. His political actions that build his character were in fact made to mirror Richard Nixon. This makes sense, since the film came out around the Vietnam War and many people were against Nixon's decisions.
1 Senator Palpatine's Republic vs. Separatists Plan Wasn't Very Bright
One of the most infamous prequel gripes is Palpatine's galactic civil war plan. After all, he very quickly has a lot of power in the Senate and also complete control over the Separatists. What's the point of pinning two armies against one another when you own both?
However, war wasn't the point of Palpatine's machinations. The point was to get the galaxy in such a state of disarray that he could easily remove the Jedi Order and replace it with his own Empire. The people would be so desperate for peace and order again that a lot of unpleasant things could fall through the cracks. Yes, it was a chaotic plan, but it was very effective.
Did you notice any other myths about Palpatine in the Star Wars Universe? Let us know in the comments below!