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15 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Emperor Palpatine

Updated August 30, 2021 276 votes 41 voters 9.1k views15 items

List RulesVote up the most interesting things about Emperor Palpatine.

Darth Sidious. Sheev Palpatine. The Emperor. You know him. You love to hate him. You can't figure out why his mother would name him "Sheev." He is the great specter that hangs over the entirety of the "Skywalker Saga," but what do you really know about the guy? Sure, he loves flinging lightning around and he was responsible for turning Anakin Skywalker to the dark side of the Force, but what do you know about the man hiding his face beneath that black cloak?

Were you aware he kidnapped Force-sensitive children to use them for his own needs or kill them off? Did you know Ian McDiarmid wasn't the first actor to play him in a movie? Did you know Rey isn't the only orphan from Jakku with a throughline to him? All of that and more is waiting for you to scroll down below and ponder just what turned the man so evil in the first place. Vote up the most interesting things about Emperor Palpatine!

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    Palpatine Was Planning To Conquer The Galaxy For Decades

    Photo: Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Darth Sidious spent years laying the groundwork for his eventual rule. And though the man clearly was a mastermind of the highest order, the idea of causing the Republic to crumble from within originated with Darth Bane hundreds of years before Palpatine came to power.

    Bane created the idea of the "Grand Plan" where the Rule of Two was established, causing the Sith to become more and more powerful as apprentices were either replaced their masters by killing them or were killed off themselves. In addition to the Rule of Two, Bane figured the Jedi would have to be systematically weakened over time for the Sith to be triumphant. Palpatine took everything Bane established and ran with it. He tried to earn immortality with his Sith Master, Darth Plagueis. He took on a career in politics. He had various, secret underlings learning the ways of the Dark Side under his teachings.

    Darth Vader may be the most popular villain in the annals of Star Wars history, but Emperor Palpatine was the brains of the operation. It's why they brought him back decades after his death in Return of the Jedi to be the ultimate bad guy again in The Rise of Skywalker.

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  • 2

    Palpatine Had Numerous Clones And Was Constantly Searching For Immortality

    Look, the guy spent years scheming from the political background in order to take control of the entire galaxy. Is it any surprise that he was obsessed with searching for immortality? We're not talking about an "average Joe" over here. The man was an insane, power-hungry despot with a penchant for shooting lightning from his hands. According to the 2014 novel Tarkin, Palpatine and his mentor Darth Plagueis intended to use Darth Bane's "Rule of Two" to consolidate power and eventually controll all of creation for ten thousand years. Why ten thousand years? Who knows? But that was only the beginning.

    Palpatine prepared for his demise with a plan known only as "the Contingency." There were many steps to this plan, including "Operation: Cinder," but the most important aspect of it all involved the Sith Eternal and their cloning experiments. Dangerous cultists of the highest order, the Sith Eternal worshipped at the feet of Darth Sidious and followed each and every command from the man as if it were the word of a god. They spent years researching cloning technology and when Palpatine died on the second Death Star at the end of Return of the Jedi, his consciousness was saved by transferring it to a clone in a Sith Eternal base on Exegol.

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  • 3

    Palpatine And Tarkin Have A Long History Dating Back To Tarkin’s Days In Military School

    Photo: Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith / 20th Century Fox

    Even though Grand Moff Tarkin perished on the Death Star at the end of A New Hope, he has been a steady fan favorite since way back in 1977. Perhaps it is the stoic performance of the great Peter Cushing that gives Tarkin such staying power. Maybe it is his fantastic first name - Wilhuff - that makes him live on in the minds of Star Wars obsessives (it is just an incredible name, after all).

    Palpatine had an interest in the military career of Tarkin from the very beginning– he first met the young Tarkin while he was training at the Sullust Sector Spacefarers Academy. The future Emperor would push Tarkin into politics and closely supported him for years. Tarkin may not have been involved with the Sith, but Sidious found a kindred spirit in him. At one point during the Clone Wars, Palpatine even sent Dooku to try and bait Tarkin into supporting the Separatist movement as a loyalty test, which the man passed with flying colors. This would set him up to be a major player in the eventual Galactic Empire. Sidious and Tarkin would remain close up until the very moment of Tarkin's death years later. 

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  • 4

    Chancellor Palpatine And A Young Anakin Went Undercover To A Sleazy Bar On Coruscant

    Can we just say up front, does no one care that the creepy, hooded guy is hanging out with a young boy? Charles Soule's 2016 series Obi-Wan & Anakin shows that Palpatine's journey to turn Anakin Skywalker to the dark side started years before what we saw onscreen in Attack of the Clones, The Clone Wars, and Revenge of the Sith.

    During this jaunt, Palpatine begins to sow doubt in Anakin's mind about Obi-Wan, saying his teacher "still has much to learn" himself. Sidious ends up taking the young Anakin to Club Kasakar, highlighting the corrupt nature of senators who are there. When Anakin asks Palpatine why the Senate hasn't eradicated slavery throughout the galaxy, Sidious responds by showing him the greedy senators having a great time in the nightclub, making shady dealings, and profiting from the people they're meant to serve. And it probably worked too.

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