Darth Sidious and Sheev Palpatine are often known to be the same, but perceived in different ways. This is the tale of a true madman who thrived on having dual personalities. The power of a Darth hadn’t been exposed to the galaxy in over a thousand years, mostly because of the Jedi Order’s rein. But it wasn’t just his power that set him apart from other Sith Lords.
Darth Sidious was a master manipulator. He thrived on pulling the strings of society, along with an individual’s secret desires and passions. Mercy and forgiveness didn’t exist in his world, other than to be used as a tool. The Star Wars films lead one to believe that Darth Vader was respected and appreciated by Sidious. But this isn’t truly the case.
“Do not underestimate how much you disappointed me on Mustafar. I saved you, but you showed how much off the mark you fell,” states Darth Sidious to Darth Vader. “The dark side is strength. If they defeat you, they are stronger. If you defeat them, you prove you are. This is the way of the Sith. I named you Vader after you pledged yourself to the Sith. You proved yourself worthy of it then. I am certain you will prove yourself worthy now.”
The galaxy was nothing more than a board game to Palpatine, with Sith, Jedi, soldiers, and innocents being pieces to be moved around. From the demented ways they kept himself from becoming bored to his ultimate downfall, here are 25 crazy things you likely didn’t know about either Sheev Palpatine or Darth Sidious.
25 The Palpatine Sith Alchemy Mask
According to a comment made by Darth Sidious in the Revenge of the Sith novelization, the face of Palpatine might have been a mask all along. A Sith alchemist was able to reshape their appearance, altering the user’s face at a molecular level.
The Sith Alchemy Mask ability was created by Star Wars Roleplaying Game author Gary M. Sarli as a method of resolving the debate behind Palpatine's transfiguration during his duel with Mace Windu.
The story on their website, the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars Roleplaying Game, tells of Palpatine allowing himself to be devoured by a gargantuan Sith wyrm before killing it from within. This allowed him to readopt his amiable appearance, although it wasn't made clear whether this was the method he used to maintain his mask power.
24 Multiple Palaces And Secret Facilities Across The Galaxy
Most fans know of the LiMerge Building on Coruscant. It was here that secret meetings, the training of Darth Maul, and many other events occurred. Once taking the official position of Emperor, Palpatine created similar facilities that stretched across the galaxy.
He learned this technique from Darth Plagueis, who also had secret facilities and palaces littered throughout the known and unknown regions. The most famous hidden fortress belonging to Darth Sidious would be the planet Byss. This was where Palpatine had his personal palace, much like Vader had his on Mustafar.
Byss was one of the most heavily guarded planets in the galaxy
Byss was one of the most heavily guarded planets in the galaxy. It was here that captured AgriCorps workers and Padawan’s were held captive under the supervision of Sly Moore. Palpatine used the planet as a “paradise world,” suckering in the elite, ignorant, and gullible powers who would fund his pet projects.
23 The Untold Tale Of Palpatine’s Secret Lover
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Seen only a few times on screen in the Star Wars prequels, Sly Moore was a unique and powerful character who aided Darth Sidious in a variety of ways. While the rumors of her being Senator Palpatine’s lover have never been confirmed by Lucasfilm, her role in aiding his rise to power is canon, and largely untold.
Sheev kept his duel identities a secret from just about everyone (that included those who only knew him as Darth Sidious). Sly Moore however, knew of both. Palpatine used her to impersonate Darth Sidious (much like Padme did with her handmaidens) when he didn’t want to put himself at risk or needed to be in two places at one time. He also placed her as a senior administrative aide, alongside Vice Chair Mas Amedda.
Sly Moore also had the power to manipulate the minds of others.
22 Playing The Strings Of A Sith Master
Sheev was first introduced to Darth Plagueis while still a teenager. He hid his knowledge of Sith lore and pretended to be naïve about the workings of the dark side (never knowing who to trust). Plagueis believed the was recruiting an apprentice, but it was Palpatine who recruited a Master.
Darth Plagueis was powerful and wise. His libraries and collection of Sith artifacts were the largest known to anyone at the time. Palpatine wanted access to the information Plagueis had, so he played him like a fiddle.
Sheev knew he needed to do something on a grand scale to hook Plagueis, so he personally eliminated his own parents, siblings, and family guards. Then he made it look like an accident. Darth Plagueis was impressed and officially took Darth Sidious on as an apprentice.
21 Deviant And Demented Forms Of Entertainment Helped Pass Time
Emperor Palpatine was often bored. Once in his ultimate seat of power, Sidious needed various forms of entertainment to keep him feeling alive. During his Senator days, it was the Opera and the behind-the-scenes talks which took place there. In his personal time, he read dark and demented poetry, along with ancient texts.
The fights were brutal and demeaning
But the one form of entertainment often glanced over was his own personal gladiator games he created with Jedi prisoners. He would pit them against one another, telling them he would let the winner survive if they served him. The fights were brutal and demeaning, but they were a win-win for Darth Sidious.
He not only recruited talented force users to serve on his side (breaking them to their core), but tickled his fancies by manipulating and destroying his enemies in the form of a game.
20 Palpatine Knew Jar-Jar Binks Dark Secret
The conceptual design by George Lucas for The Phantom Menace was that Jar-Jar Binks was a Sith Lord in hiding (much like Palpatine). Ahmed Best, the voice actor for Jar-Jar Binks, has confirmed that Lucas changed the script following the Star Wars community’s reaction towards The Phantom Menace.
Jar-Jar Binks was played like all the rest
Yet despite the changes, Jar-Jar Binks remained a minor Sith Lord that Palpatine used to achieve his goals. George Lucas left Jar-Jar’s powers a secret to avoid any further backlash over his character, but still wove him into the story in a way where his powers were clear to the die-hard fans.
In the same way that Darth Sidious used Darth Maul, Count Dooku, Sly Moore, General Grievous, and Anakin Skywalker — Jar-Jar was played like all the rest. The most insane part to all of this is that Anakin should have fought and killed Jar-Jar, not Count Dooku (who was hastily added to cover plot holes by changing the script).
19 Darth Maul Was No Rookie Apprentice
The events of The Phantom Menace led one to believe that Darth Maul was a rookie apprentice. Darth Sidious had discovered Maul through the Nightsisters, searching for other evil-minded individuals to push his ultimate plan further into action. Darth Sidious saw something in Darth Maul that drove him to take him on as an official apprentice. He would train for three years before being sent into the “field.”
Like a child, Maul wanted to exert his newfound rage
Darth Sidious treated Maul unlike any of his other apprentices, like a father teaches a son. He took him to Malachor where a great battle was fought between Jedi and Sith. He forced him to breathe in the ashes of the fallen and experience their death first-hand.
Like a child, Maul wanted to exert his newfound rage and powers. Darth Sidious allowed him to run several errands and tasks, prior to the encounter with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan.
18 The Secret Tunnels Of Coruscant
As a Senator who needed to be two different people, Palpatine often had to travel in secrecy. Coruscant was littered with underground tunnels that had been known to be used as passageways for the planets underworld. Through Palpatine and Darth Sidious’ influence, the underworld eventually came under his control.
This allowed him an ample supply of mercenaries, crooks, and pawns to do his bidding — but it also gave him full access and control over the tunnels. Many he put out of commission, expanding upon them and using them for his own personal travel. He even had secret passages out, and into, the Galactic Senate Building and his personal office.
It would be the discovery of these tunnels, in which his reveal as both Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and Darth Sidious would become known to the Jedi Masters.
17 Not Just A Master Manipulator
Darth Sidious was more than just a puppet master, he was powerful and skilled as a fighter too. In Revenge of the Sith (much to the disgust of fans) he single-handily eliminated three master Jedi before taking on Mace Windu. He also purposely let Mace back him into a corner.
In single combat with Yoda, he outpowered the thousand-year-old Jedi while laughing the entire time. And it’s not just Jedi that he can beat. During Darth Maul’s rebellion stage with Savage Opress as his apprentice, Darth Sidious fought with both his lightsabers and defeated them at the same time.
Most often forget he also defeated the most powerful Sith Master of his time too. Darth Plagueis had survived countless attempts on his life, both as a manipulator and a fighter. But Sidious outsmarted and outpowered him in the end.
16 The Worst Mistake He Ever Made
Manipulating others leads to taking risks and cleaning up the mess when things don’t go according to plan. If Darth Sidious had one clear weakness, it was his pride. No matter how far he pushed the envelope, he always believed he could turn events to work in his favor.
Many believe Anakin shouldn’t have survived his battle with Obi-Wan on Mustafar. Padme dying while giving birth also seemed too convenient, which has led to a theory that Lucasfilm neither denies nor confirms.
Little did he know, but both decisions would become his undoing
The theory states Darth Sidious used the force to keep Anakin alive, which is why Sidious is so casual in his demeanor when he locates him. The theory also ties into Padme, in that he reached out through the force and pushed her into death. Therefore, none of the droids could explain why she was dying.
Little did he know, but both decisions would become his undoing.
15 A Secret Spy Organization
It seems laughable at first, but Palpatine literally created his own James Bond type of organization to protect his Empire. In Star Wars Legends, Sheev created a group called The Hand of the Emperor. Mara Jade, who would one day become the wife of Luke Skywalker, was at first a Hand. It was a Hand’s job to eliminate targets and spy on those Darth Sidious took an interest in.
In Canon, Senator Palpatine created the Imperial Royal Guard. While not as exciting as the Hand to the Emperor, the Red Guard was based on two ferocious and powerful organizations that had been around for centuries. The first was the Mandalore system, and the second was based on the group Death Watch. While perceived to provide protection, they often ran his errands and acted as spies.
14 The Secrets Of Eternal Life
Darth Plagueis was a Sith scientific genius. Whereas Palpatine was the face of political scheming, Plagueis was gifted in financial matters and science. It was because of these talents that Sheev Palpatine wanted him as a master. He owned ancient texts, Sith blueprints, and scientific studies that had been long lost to the rest of the galaxy.
Plagueis spent countless decades studying with live subjects
One such experiment was none other than eternal life. Plagueis spent countless decades studying with live subjects, attempting to do the impossible. Palpatine thought he was getting too close, plus he had his own agenda, which led to him eliminating his master without remorse.
However, if the partnership had continued, the likelihood of Darth Plagueis discovering the secrets to eternal life might have been achieved. But as any die-hard Star Wars Legends fan knows, Sidious succeeded (sort of).
13 Sick Methods Of Keeping Individuals In Line
Once achieving the position Emperor of the Galaxy, Sidious would often become bored. He dealt with this boredom by creating rivalries within his “own camp.” Some believe the Rebellion found its foothold, allowing them to grow and increase in strength, because of such rivalries.
Darth Vader was one who was constantly subjected to these “games.” There was always another apprentice in the wings that he would have to seek out and eliminate, or else be replace like yesterdays laundry. While these tasks made Vader stronger, they also led to the rebellious nature which proved to be Darth Sidious’ undoing.
But it wasn’t just Darth Vader that he picked on. Every individual involved with him was fighting for rank and survival, believing they were the best. This was done with the Inquisitors, Dark Jedi, bounty hunters, and even scientists.
12 Merely Chess Pieces In A Bigger Game
Darth Sidious thrived on manipulation tactics. The galaxy to him was nothing more than a chess board. Every individual who served within the Empire was a game piece, and all were expendable. Leaders like Grand Moff Tarkin and Thrawn seemed to operate under their own ambitions. But in truth, they were hand-picked for those positions because of their personal goals. One aligned with the other.
Grand Moff Tarkin and Thrawn seemed to operate under their own ambitions
This is how Sheev Palpatine played his chess game. Was it risky? Absolutely, but he never would have achieved all he did without taking those risks. In the end, a few of the risks he took would backfire and cost him his life (Vader’s obsession with Luke and essentially fueling the rebellion for personal amusement). But he knew that going in and still took the risk.
11 Mother Tazlin Was Supposed To Be An Apprentice
Mother Tazlin was the leader of the group called the Nightsisters. They specialized in Dark Force Magic, often being referred to as witches and sorcerers. Initially, Palpatine had his sights on her, believing he could manipulate her and the magic she possessed. But his initial recruitment attempts failed.
She offered him Darth Maul
Whether it was because she was on to him, or due to her own personal goals, the pact between the two was never formed. Instead, she offered him Darth Maul, a creation of the Nightsisters.
The Nightsisters were also responsible for creating two other apprentices. Savage Opress (also a creation) and Asajj Ventress, a Dathomirian female and Nightsister who was temporarily an apprentice of Count Dooku.
Ironically, it would be Darth Sidious who helps in eliminating her when the time was right.
10 Like Master, So Shall Be The Apprentice
Sheev Palpatine made plenty of excuses for why he despised Darth Plagueis. But the truth of the matter is that Hego Damask (Darth Plagueis) taught Darth Sidious everything he knows. From living a duel life to milking finances from the rich and powerful, Darth Sidious would become a mirror image of his former master and more.
Palpatine hated how Damask would keep secrets and knowledge from him. He almost threw a tantrum at one point, just to get his hands on ancient Sith lore and texts. Sidious despised how Plagueis treated him, knowing he was smarter and more powerful than Damask could ever dream of becoming.
And yet, Darth Sidious has every one of those traits towards his own apprentices. He treated Maul like a child, constantly demeaning and berating him. He kept secrets from Vader, and all those close to him. Every aspect of Hego Damask that Sheev Palpatine hated, he became.
9 Sidious Owned Two Of The Most Powerful Lightsabers During His Time
Always one to think ahead and prepare for the worst (except in The Return of the Jedi), Darth Sidious had two identical lightsabers he personally created. They were coated with an electrum-finish, making them strong and showcase worthy. Each contained an Aurodium crystal (which were rare and worth more credits than a smuggler could dream of). The hilt on each one was made from phrik and electrum.
Phrik had to be mined at Gromas, as it was a metallic compound that was nearly indestructible. Aurodium crystals were mashed with red Kyber crystals to give the lightsaber a red blade, but was also adjustable. As Emperor, he would coat one of his lightsabers with an unknown black material (supposed to be indestructible) that he likely discovered in the Outer Regions.
8 Secrets Make The Perfect Evil Villain
Sheev Palpatine knew the power behind keeping secrets even if this made him one of the loneliest individuals in the galaxy. Because Palpatine didn’t crave affection and personal relationships, he instead wanted unlimited power and the thrill of manipulating grand scale events. There were less than a half-dozen individuals alive at a time who knew Sheev Palpatine was also Darth Sidious. And vice versa.
Part of the reason he did this was for his own protection, but he also did it because he enjoyed the “state of mind” which comes from putting oneself in dangerous and impossible situations. Sidious would only reveal himself as “both characters” when it benefited him. Even after becoming Emperor, a majority of his Imperial army (and officers) never knew his dark secret.
7 One Last Middle Finger To The Jedi
Even before eliminating his master Darth Plagueis, the ultimate desire was the eradication of all Jedi. This had been the goal of the Sith since they went into hiding. To Sidious, the extinction of the Jedi was simply the beginning.
The powers which lay within became his
After order 66, Palpatine snubbed his nose at the Jedi one last time in a very public way. But in doing so, he also increased the power of the Sith. The Jedi Temple on Coruscant had been there for thousands of years. Within it and hidden underneath it, was countless Sith artifacts and an old Sith Temple.
Once the Jedi were out of the way, Sidious built his new Imperial Palace exactly where the old Jedi Temple once stood. In doing this, the public forgot about the Jedi, and the powers which lay within became his.
6 Throwing Out The Rule Of Two
The Rule of Two was created by Darth Bane following the New Sith Wars. It replaced the old practices of Lord Kaan's Brotherhood of Darkness, which promoted equality among Sith Lords. Bane felt this system had failed the Sith, and the only way to take back their power over the galaxy was through the Rule of Two.
The Rule of Two was no longer necessary
In playing the long-game this way, Darth Bane was correct, and it worked after many generations of failed attempts. Darth Sidious not only wiped out the Jedi, but reclaimed the title as ultimate Sith Lord. Because of this, the Rule of Two was no longer necessary. And Sidious took full advantage of it, by raising up an army of Sith tools that he used and disposed of like toilet paper.
5 Clone Army Schematics Came From Darth Plagueis Research
For decades, Darth Plagueis had researched and studied the means toward eternal life. One such branch of studies associated with it was the development of cloning. Many of the animals featured on Hego Damask’s private planet were clones. He considered them his children, helping to achieve a never-ending life for them.
Palpatine realized the potential and used Plagueis’ research to create what would become known as The Clone Army. While many other individuals played a part in making the clones a reality, it was Palpatine who brought the idea to fruition. He also created the funds necessary to make the project a reality.
Therefore order 66 was cleverly hidden from everyone. The number of individuals who knew about order 66 was most likely less than a handful. It would be the influence of the Jedi upon the clones (causing some to rebel) which eventually led to them being replaced.
4 Heart Of A Mad Man
Despite being a ferocious fighter and tactical genius, Palpatine was truly a madman. He found pleasure in torturing individuals, even those close to him. In combat, he could often be found laughing, seemingly enjoying himself like a kid at a carnival.
He threw most of the Sith legends out the window
He left Naboo untouched because he enjoyed messing with its people, knowing he could wipe the planet from existence. He also believed in self-preservation, despite putting himself in harms way for the thrill of how the events would play out. Nothing was taboo with Palpatine. He threw most of the Sith legends out the window, creating his own.
Mercy and forgiveness were tools he used to keep his servants in line, never once feeling empathy towards other life forms or beings.
3 Behind The Scenes Of The George Lucas Version
There are multiple versions of Sheev Palpatine and Darth Sidious. Some were written out in the Star Wars Legends books while others have been played out on screen. Some coincide with the overall cannon story while others are like something you’d find in a comic book. He’s also had several actors voice and play his part over the years.
Marjorie Eaton played the Emperor in Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Ian McDiarmid portrayed him in Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. McDiarmid later took on the role again in the three films of the Prequel trilogy and in the 2004 DVD release of The Empire Strikes Back. Ian Abercrombie and Tim Curry took over in Star Wars: The Clone Wars film and television show, with Sam Witwer currently playing him in Star Wars Rebels.
2 All Things Must Come To An End
Behind the demented personality and heightened madness, Palpatine knew he couldn’t trust anyone else with what he had built and accomplished. In his mind, it was better for the Sith if all traces of his creations were wiped from existence. Perhaps he didn’t want the failures of the future to be associated with his name and actions, or it could’ve just been his overly large ego.
Either way, Palpatine implemented a contingency plan if incase anything happened to him. Naboo was to be destroyed (something he had always wanted to do), along with his research facilities and palaces stretched across the galaxy.
Some believe the First Order was his ultimate plan, but this isn’t true. Palpatine was bent on letting no one else have as much power and control as he once held.
1 Darth Sidious Survived The Fall On Second Death Star
According to Star Wars canon, Darth Sidious died in The Return of the Jedi. But in Legends, his spirit survived. Clones were always a pet project of Palpatine’s, and he had a special clone made in secret. This clone was his eternal life plan.
Apparently, his spirit found its way back to the clone, or all his memories and knowledge was implanted into the clone (the details are a little fuzzy). Like a story out of a comic book, Palpatine came back to life and his first order was to create The Dark Side Elite.
The Dark Side Elite, also known as the Dark Side Warriors were seven Dark Jedi established by Emperor Palpatine during his return in several clone bodies. It would be Luke Skywalker once again, who would defeat the Dark Side Elite and Darth Sidious all over again.