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Who Is Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars?

Here's Everything That You Need to Remember About Palpatine Before Episode IX

STAR WARS EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES, Ian McDiarmid, 2002, Copyright 2002 Lucasfilm Ltd., courtesy Everett Collection

The first teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, aka Star Wars: Episode IX, ends with a familiar evil laugh that comes from one of the most notorious intergalactic villains ever: Emperor Palpatine. Also known as Darth Sidious or Sheev Palpatine, he more or less kick-started the Clone Wars and converted Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader all in the name of power.

So much of Star Wars lore is tied up in Palpatine's actions that it's mind-blowing that he'll play a role in the ninth movie. That said, the Star Wars films have been significantly spread out over the last four decades. It's been a minute since we've seen Palpatine, so just in case your memory of him is hazy, we've rounded up his most important moments all in one place.

His Rise to Power

Darth Sidious's story starts when he began training as an apprentice under Darth Plagueis, a Dark Lord of the Sith. Darth Plagueis teaches Palpatine the tricks of the trade when it comes to wielding the dark side of the Force. Palpatine's master was knowledgeable about the Midi-chlorians, which could prevent people from dying, but Palpatine himself would never learn his secrets (or so we think).

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Anyway, while he's training under Darth Plagueis, Palpatine's political career kicks off, and he eventually becomes the Senator of Naboo. As we learn in The Phantom Menace, the Sith manipulates Padmé and sneaks into the position of the Supreme Chancellor after a series of events. He eventually kills his Master in his sleep. His Sith apprenticeship remains a secret over time, and most people regard him as an honest public servant. As he rises to power, Palpatine slowly orchestrates a plan to install a Sith Empire and demolish the Jedi Order, grooming Darth Maul and Darth Tyranus.

The Clone Wars

For a decade or so, the Dark Lord and his cronies lay the foundation for the Clone Wars. When it was revealed that the Separatists were building a battle droid army, Palpatine uses his emergency powers and allows for the creation of the clone army in Attack of the Clones. The catch is that the clones would have biochips that would make them kill the Jedis.

Converting Anakin Skywalker

Palpatine keeps a close eye on Anakin Skywalker, a Force-sensitive freed slave who many believed to be the Chosen One. He develops a relationship with the young boy, often praising Anakin's accomplishments. Anakin eventually becomes his representative at the Jedi Council. Palpatine manipulates him, eventually revealing to Anakin his Sith ways and explaining to him Plagueis's death-escaping powers in Revenge of the Sith. Anakin has visions of his wife Padmé dying in childbirth so he becomes enticed with the idea of becoming Palpatine's apprentice to help her.

Anakin still lets the Jedi know, which leads Mace Windu to battle and disfigure Palpatine. But Anakin is desperate to help his wife, so he betrays Mace Windu and joins the Dark Side. Palpatine orders Anakin, now Darth Vader, to kill the Jedi and executes Order 66. He becomes the Emperor of the first Galactic Empire shortly after telling the Senate that the Jedi had been trying to kill him and take over the Republic.

Getting Betrayed by Darth Vader

In the original trilogy, Palpatine's mentioned in A New Hope when he has dissolved the Senate. He makes his first appearance in The Empire Strikes Back via a hologram, telling Darth Vader that Luke Skywalker is a threat to the Empire. Between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Palpatine plans to turn Luke with Darth Vader as he builds the next Death Star. But of course, the story ends with Darth Vader ultimately betraying his Master, pushing him into the Death Star reactor to save Luke.

Or does it? We'll have to see what happens in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker!

Image Source: Everett Collection
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