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Palpatine addressing the Senate.
Palpatine as Emperor aboard the second Death Star.

Palpatine is a male film character who features in Star Wars.




Sheev Palpatine was the supreme ruler of the most powerful tyrannical regime the galaxy had ever witnessed, yet his roots were extremely humble, traced back to the peaceful world of Naboo. Before his rise to power, Palpatine was an unassuming yet ambitious senator in the Old Republic. Palpatine saw the Republic crumbling about him, torn apart by partisan bickering and corruption. All too common were those unscrupulous senators taking advantage of the system, growing fat and wealthy on a bureaucracy too slow to catch them.

However, Palpatine was also, secretly, a Dark Lord of the Sith named Darth Sidious. As Sidious, he long plotted the destruction of the Jedi and conquest of the galaxy. To carry this out, as Sidious, he contacted the Trade Federation and manipulated them into blockading Naboo in protest of government measures.

As Senator, Palpatine's moment of opportunity came as a result of the trade embargo. Naboo's planetary leader, Queen Amidala, rushed to Coruscant for Palpatine's aid. Together, the two pleaded to the Senate for intervention, only to see their request stalemated by Trade Federation filibustering courtesy of Lott Dod. Frustrated by the government's inability to do anything, Queen Amidala acted upon Palpatine's suggestion, and called for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum.

Valorum was voted out of office, and Palpatine was soon nominated to succeed him. The crisis on Naboo created a strong sympathy vote, and Palpatine became Chancellor. He promised to reunite the disaffected, and bring order and justice to the government.

At the same time, he dispatched Darth Maul to destroy two Jedi (Qui-Gon Jinn, and Obi-Wan Kenobi), but Maul was killed. In the ensuing years, Palpatine seduced Count Dooku to the Dark Side, making Dooku his new apprentice, and manipulating him into later creating a civil war that would ensure Palpatine's power would continue to grow. He also took an interest in Kenobi's Padawan, Anakin Skywalker.

During his tenure as Chancellor, the Republic continued to be mired in strife and chaos. A decade after his nomination, Palpatine's chancellery was faced with the challenge of a popular Separatist movement led by Count Dooku. Many in the galaxy feared that the conflict would escalate to full-scale warfare, but Palpatine was adamant that the crisis could be resolved by negotiation.

The Separatists didn't agree. Upon the discovery of a secret army of droids, it became apparent that the Separatists were on the verge of declaring war against the Republic. To counter this, the Republic needed a military, and Palpatine required the authority to activate the Republic's newly forged army of clones. To that end, Senators loyal to Palpatine motioned that the Chancellor be given emergency powers to deal with the Separatist threat.

With spoken regrets, Palpatine accepted the new mantle of power. He promised to return his absolute authority to the Senate after the emergency subsided. What no one realized was that the galaxy would undergo further upheaval, and that a state of crisis would ensure Palpatine's authority for decades. Palpatine instituted a military build-up unprecedented in galactic history.

At the climax of the Clone Wars, Palpatine was taken hostage by General Grievous and was rescued by Obi-Wan and Anakin. In the battle, at Palpatine's insistence, Anakin killed a defeated Dooku. The Senate voted to continue the war, allowing Palpatine to stay in office even further past his term's end, and he continued to use the Senate and the Courts to grant himself more power. The Jedi grew cautious of Palpatine's intentions, especially when Palpatine insisted Anakin be his personal representative on the Jedi Council.

The Council then ordered Anakin to spy on Palpatine, much to Anakin's objections. However, Palpatine knew this, and began to plant ideas in Anakin's head that the Jedi were out to overthrow both him and the Senate. He then told him an ancient Sith legend of a Sith Lord named Darth Plagueis who could create life and save those he cared about from dying, playing on Anakin's fear of Padme dying. Later, he revealed himself to Anakin as a Dark Lord of the Sith.

Anakin reported back to Mace Windu that Palpatine was a Sith, and Mace took three Jedi to arrest Palpatine. Palpatine slew the three Jedi, but Anakin arrived (despite being ordered to remain at the temple) as Mace was about to slay Palpatine. At first, Anakin tried to convince Mace to spare Palpatine (while Palpatine's face was being deformed by his own dark energies being deflected back at him), but Mace swung his lightsaber. Anakin sliced off Mace's hand, and Palpatine destroyed him with Force Lightning.

Palpatine then played on Anakin's new fear of the Jedi, saying that the Jedi would kill them if they did not act fast- that they would seize control of the Republic and destroy democracy and liberty. Anakin agreed to become his new apprentice, and was dubbed Darth Vader. Palpatine sent Vader to the Jedi Temple with a small army of Clone Troopers to kill all the Jedi there, while Palpatine activated Order 66, ordering all Clone Troopers to kill any Jedi they were serving in the conflict with.

After the Jedi massacre, Palpatine sent Vader to Mustafar to kill the Separtist leaders (having had them gather there as Darth Sidious). Before the Senate, he declared the Jedi traitors, vowing they would be hunted down and defeated. To further safeguard peace and security, Palpatine declared the Republic the first Galactic Empire.

Yoda later confronted Palpatine and the two battled in the Senate Chambers, but Yoda was unable to defeat the Sith Lord and fled. Palpatine, sensing Vader was in danger, flew to Mustafar to recover his new apprentice after Vader had been defeated in battle by Obi-Wan. Having lost his arms and legs, and burnt beyond recognition, Vader was quickly brought by Palpatine back to Coruscant. Vader was outfitted with artificial limbs, and a black armored life support system and breathing mask. Upon coming to, Vader asked for Padme, only for Palpatine to inform him that in his rage, Vader killed her. Resigned to his loss, Vader served Palpatine faithfully from that point forward.

Galactic Emperor

During the Galactic Civil War, Palpatine ruled with an iron fist. He disbanded the Imperial Senate, and passed control down to the regional governors and the military, authorizing the construction of the first deadly Death Star, placing it under the command of his loyal supporter Grand Moff Tarkin. Much to the Emperor's consternation, the vast weapon ship was destroyed and Tarkin with it by the forces of the Rebel Alliance, the biggest thorns in his side.

During the Hoth campaign, Palpatine expressed to Vader his concerns over Luke Skywalker, a young Rebel powerful in the Force. Vader suggested that the two convert the youth to the Dark Side, an idea the Emperor seconded after giving it careful thought.

The Emperor was a crafty individual, planning events far in the future, using the Force to foresee the results. Palpatine allowed Rebel spies to learn of the location of the second Death Star being constructed at Endor, and foresaw their strike team and fleet assault. Palpatine crafted an elaborate trap that was to be the end of the Rebellion. He also concentrated on converting Luke Skywalker to the Dark Side of the Force, even at the expense of sacrificing Vader. In the Death Star, high above the Battle of Endor, Luke refused the Emperor's newfound Dark Side power, and so Palpatine used his deadly force lightning to attack the young Jedi.

Luke almost died in the assault, but his father, Darth Vader, returned to the Light Side of the Force, and hurled the Emperor into the Death Star's reactor core, killing him.


In reality, Palpatine had somehow had survived his perceived death on the Deathstar and retreated to the hidden Sith world of Exegol that was located deep within the Unknown Regions. Once there, he bid his time in secret and built his forces for his eventual return. During this time, the Galactic Empire had collapsed and a New Republic had arisen to replace it. In this time, Palpatine had created a being named Snoke who was dispatched as his herald into the wider galaxy. He was then used to reform the remnants of the Empire into the First Order that came to oppose the New Republic.


Personality and attributes

During the Old Republic, he was known to the public as Palpatine but was secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious.

It was revealed that he had a son who fled the influence of Palpatine and came to marry a woman with the pair having a daughter together named Rey.

Upon being inducted into the Sith order, he came to be the apprentice of the Sith Lord Darth Plagueis. He came to learn all of his masters secrets whereupon Darth Sidious killed him in his sleep.

Powers and abilities

As a Sith, Palpatine was a powerful user of the Force and tapped into the power of the Dark Side of the Force.

With its power, he could project powerful Force Lightning against his enemies.

Initially, he kept a hidden red lightsabre that he could unveil and use in battle.

Following the Clone Wars, he reformed the Republic into the first Galactic Empire with himself as its complete ruler. By his side were the red-robed Royal Guard who served as his bodyguard detail and always accompanied him.

After his death, he came to assemble a powerful military force known as the Final Order that was built in secret. This consisted of legions of Sith Troopers and a fleet of new Star Destroyers.

Through his creation Snoke, he came to indirectly control the First Order that had formed from the remnants of the Galactic Empire.


  • The Emperor was created by George Lucas where he made his first appearance in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Many fans have given Palpatine the first name "Cos," but this is not reflected in official material. It came from an earlier script which his name was "Cos Dashit."

Alternate Versions

  • In the Star Wars Legends continuity, Emperor Palpatine featured in the setting of the alternate universe that was the former Star Wars Expanded Universe.

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In other media

Video games

  • In Star Wars: Empire at War, the Emperor appeared in the strategy video game where he was voiced by actor Nick Jameson.
  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the Emperor appeared in the setting of the video game where he was voiced by actor Sam Witwer.
  • In Star Wars: Battlefront, the Emperor was a playable character in the games multiplayer mode who could be accessed after the player picked up a hero power-up. Access to the character allowed two players to select playing as his Royal Guard who had advanced abilities compared to ordinary soldiers.
  • In Star Wars Battlefront II, the Emperor appeared as a playable character in the 2017 games multiplayer mode where he was voiced by actor Sam Witwer.


  • Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back:
  • Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi:
  • Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace:
  • Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones:
  • Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith:
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
  • Star Wars: Rebels:
  • Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker' :

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