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Do It, Do It Now! Read This ‘Star Wars’ Emperor Palpatine Breakdown

5 Minute Read
Nov 16 2023
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Sith Lord, Clone enthusiast, and lightning-fisted ruler of the entire Galaxy—Sheev Palpatine was one busy Emperor.

Emperor of the entire galaxy and master of Darth Vader himself, Palpatine is one of the most important characters in Star Wars. But where did this Sith Lord come from and how was he able to rise to power?

Early Life

The Emperor was born to a noble family on Naboo in 82BBY under the name Sheev Palpatine. He was raised in culture and education with respectable social and political connections. Mixed with his natural knack for manipulating people, Sheev was a natural for a life of politics and the Dark Side alike.

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Under unknown circumstances, Sheev became apprenticed to Darth Plagueis and took on the name Darth Sidious. He learned about the Dark Side of the force, picking up skills from his master, collecting Sith art and artifacts from around the galaxy, and looking for the secret to eternal life. At the same time, supported by the influence and guidance of Plagueis, Palpatine began to grow into political power, little by little.

A Life of Politics

Between the aid of his Sith master and the noble history of his family, Sheev Palpatine found a relatively easy path to a career in politics. He became senator of his homeworld, Naboo, and then senator of the Chommell Sector, letting him represent thirty-six planets. He also took this opportunity to begin collecting future allies such as Wilhuff Tarkin. Palpatine’s long-term goal was to create a new Sith Empire and destroy the Jedi Order. And the Republic was a stepping stone to that goal.

Keeping his identity as Darth Sidious a secret, Palpatine traveled to Dathomir to seek out an apprentice of his own. Even as an infant Maul caught his eye for the child’s inability to control his fear or temper. He has the child removed from his mother’s home and beaten until the child struck out with the Dark Side. This was when Sidious swept in and officially declared Maul his new apprentice. But with an apprentice of his own, the rule of two was broken. Palpatine murdered his own master in his sleep, ensuring his own position as the Sith Master.

While he wasn’t training Maul or plotting the Republic’s eventual fall from the shadows, Sheev Palpatine played the part of a dedicated senator and civil servant. He worked closely alongside Padme Amidala from Naboo and sometimes even cooperated with the Jedi. His seniority and experience gave him many opportunities to have his advice heeded and his opinions matter on the Senate floor.

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Rise of the Empire

After Obi-Wan Kenobi seemingly killed Maul, Palpatine began looking for a new apprentice. And perhaps the most influential in his rise to power was Count Dooku. Though Dooku was a former Jedi and apprentice to Palpatine, he was a leader in the Separatist army. Meaning that Palpatine had a fair amount of influence across the entire galaxy and could lay the groundwork for his own takeover from multiple directions at once.

But Dooku wasn’t Palpatine’s end goal as an apprentice and he eventually found a potential one in Anakin Skywalker. The Jedi apprentice had been taken into the order too old and had too many emotional attachments by Jedi standards and it made him an easy target. In addition, his inability to become a Jedi Master in his own right despite his obvious skill made Anakin disillusioned with the Jedi order and an easy target for Sith corruption.

As Palpatine worked to ease Anakin into the idea of learning Sith skills and eventually joining the Dark Side completely, he also ramped up efforts to assume more and more Republic power; eventually taking wartime executive powers, and finally claiming the title of Emperor of the newly formed Empire with Anakin’s new persona, Darth Vader, by his side.

The Empire and Its Fall

Emperor Palpatine ruled his newly formed Empire with an iron fist. There were semblances of government and representation with a senate and local governments, but many were too afraid to actually fight the Empire or Palpatine. This was a time marked by military force, propaganda, and state-mandated participation in Imperial events. For those with power, it was a fine time to be a citizen of the galaxy. But for many, there was conscripted service, poverty, and violence.

For some time the Rebel Alliance grew throughout the Empire, but there wasn’t a real threat for nearly two decades. Once the Rebels were able to steal the plans to the Death Star and destroy the Empire’s first planet-ending battle station, the odds seemed to turn around. Finally, in 4 ABY Darth Sidious was killed by his own apprentice, Darth Vader, when his body was thrown into the second Death Star‘s reactor shaft shortly before the second battle station was destroyed.

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Legacy

Unfortunately, after his demise, Palpatine managed to live on in a sense. He was able to send his consciousness to a cloned body created by secret Sith loyalists. But these clones were weak, rotting, and temporary. He was unable to leave Exegol, remaining trapped there for years, slowly working to dismantle the New Republic and get his revenge from afar. He eventually landed on the slightly more useable body that he would refer to as “Snoke” and built the First Order. Though this form too was eventually destroyed and the Emperor (supposedly) vanquished for good by Rey.

How Did Palpatine Become Evil?

In 65 BBy when Palpatine was about seventeen years old he met Hego Danmask. This Muun businessman was secretly the Sith Lord Darth Plagueis. Over time, Danmask warmed Palpatine up to the idea of the Dark Side. He slowly manipulated him until Palpatine was willing to kill his father and join Plagusis as his apprentice, Darth Sidious.

Who Killed Emperor Palpatine?

Palpatine has been killed, resurrected, and killed a number of times throughout the Star Wars saga. Most of these times are in the no-longer-canon Legends books. But within the current timeline, there are just two notable Palpatine deaths. He was first killed by Darth Vader in 10 ABY when he was thrown down a reactor shaft on the second Death Star during the Battle of Endor.

The second was after Palpatine had returned as ‘Snoke’ and was killed by Rey.

How Did Palpatine Return?

Somehow.

What is your favorite Palpatine moment or quote? Is he your favorite antagonist in Star Wars? Who, if anyone, do you think had more influence in the galaxy than Sheev Palpatine? Let us know in the comments!

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May the Force be with you, adventurers!

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