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

15 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Emperor Palpatine

Over 500 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of 15 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Emperor Palpatine
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Vote 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!

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

  • 1
    383 VOTES

    After Order 66, Palpatine Converted The Jedi Temple Into The Imperial Palace

    When Palpatine wrestled control of the galaxy away from the Republic and wiped out the Jedi Order, he converted the Jedi Temple into the Imperial Palace. Nothing says "I've effectively conquered you" than turning a massive religious monument of your enemies into the structure that houses your sizable throne. Donning the former temple with the Imperial Crest proved to be the icing on top for Sidious. The real twist lies in the fact that the Jedi built their Grand Temple over the ruins of a Sith shrine around 5000 BBY.

    383 votes
  • 2
    343 VOTES

    Ian McDiarmid Was In His Thirties When He Portrayed Palpatine In 'Return of the Jedi'

    Ian McDiarmid Was In His Thirties When He Portrayed Palpatine In 'Return of the Jedi'
    Photo: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi / 20th Century Fox

    Underneath all that makeup, Ian McDiarmid was a relatively young man during his first portrayal as the big bad of the Star Wars franchise. It's hard to tell with all the vamping and cackling, but that was a guy in the prime of his life! It turns out giving a dude some yellow contacts and rotting teeth making him seem much, much older than he is. Casting McDiarmid as the Emperor in the early '80s would come in handy when bringing the character back for the prequel trilogy in the late '90s/early-00s and he convincingly played a younger version of Palpatine just about to take over the galaxy.

    343 votes
  • 3
    262 VOTES

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

    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. 

    262 votes
  • 4
    213 VOTES

    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.

    213 votes
  • 5
    252 VOTES

    Palpatine And The Sith Eternal Found Luke’s Severed Hand And Researched Cloning On Exegol

    Palpatine didn't think like your normal person. To be fair, you can't become Emperor of the known universe by thinking like a normal person. Life just doesn't work that way. Still, the Sith Lord was more than just an outside-the-box thinker... the guy had the severed hand of Luke Skywaker from The Empire Strikes Back just sitting in a jar on Exegol! That is not normal behavior! That being said, imagine the potential of an army of twisted Luke Skywalker clones. A clone army has been done before, quite famously with the Clone Wars kind of being a big deal. 

    If that failed, they could've used midi-chlorians for Luke's hand for other experiments, not unlike Doctor Pershing's work with Grogu's blood on The Mandalorian. Regardless, spending an insane amount of resources on cloning research on Exegol ended up working out in the end for Palpatine, as he was able to return from the grave for The Rise of Skywalker, but that doesn't make it any less insane. 

    252 votes
  • 6
    260 VOTES

    Palpatine Kidnapped Maul From A Tribe Of Force Sensitive Witches When He Was A Child 

    During Maul's early childhood, Sidious became allied with Maul's mother, Mother Talzin, over their shared ventures of studying the dark side. Whenever Sidious came to visit, Maul would hide as his fantastic instincts told him to be afraid of the man.

    Eventually, Sidious would take Maul from his home planet, Dathomir, at a young age and train the boy to be his apprentice in the dark side of the Force. This training began with devastating abuse in the form of regular beatings and starvation to break the boy's spirit. Maul would find his way back to Dathomirend up being a crime lord post-The Phantom Menace, shirking his destiny as the underling of Darth Sidious.

    260 votes