Darth Sidious, born as Sheev Palpatine, is the main antagonist of the Star Wars franchise. He was the Emperor of the Galactic Empire. He was the main antagonist of the original film trilogy serving as the overarching antagonist in The Empire Strikes Back and the main antagonist of Return of The Jedi. He was also the main antagonist of the prequel trilogy, serving as the main antagonist of it's first film The Phantom Menace, the overarching antagonist of it's second film Attack of The Clones and the main antagonist of it's third film Revenge of The Sith. He once again returns in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, as the main antagonist, and thus he becomes the true main antagonist of the entire Star Wars sequel trilogy.

He is portrayed by Ian McDiarmid in the feature films.


Darth Sidious in the Original Trilogy is an aged, pale-faced figure who wears dark robes. In the Prequel Trilogy, he looks like a kindly old man. He gains the aforementioned appearance in the Original Trilogy as a result of his own Force Lightning being redirected back at him by Mace Windu in their duel in the Chancellor's office on Coruscant in Revenge of the Sith. However, it's also implied in other sources that Sidious's disfigured appearance was in fact his true appearance caused by decades of usage of the Dark Side of the Force, and that his affable appearance was the result of a specialized form of alchemy known aptly as Mask.


In the films and the Expanded Universe, Sidious is portrayed as cunning and deceptive in manipulating people and events to achieve his goals. Sidious's principal desire is to have ultimate power. Sidious, in his public role as Palpatine, presents himself in public to others as a modest, polite, and harmless person. However behind this public persona, in reality he is a incredibly ruthless megalomaniac and callous psychopath.


He possessed several Force abilities, due to his being a Sith Lord. Two of which were demonstrated in the movies: He could summon Force Lightning to kill and/or torture his opponents, and he also utilized telekinesis, either as an offensive attack or simply as a means of displaying his power, the latter being most prevalent when he used the ability to remove Luke Skywalker's binders aboard the Death Star II while barely lifting a finger. He was also strongly implied to be one of, if not the most powerful Sith to have existed, with the Expanded Universe also giving him additional abilities. He also was skilled at using lightsabers.


The Phantom Menace

Insert Details Here

Attack of The Clones

Insert Details Here

Clone Wars Movie

Insert Details Here

Clone Wars Series

Insert Details Here

Revenge of The Sith

Insert Details Here


Insert Details Here

The Empire Strikes Back

the film he contacts Darth Vader via holographic communication and tells him of a "great Disturbance in the Force," and warns him that Luke Skywalker is becoming a threat. But Vader convinces the Emperor that Luke would be an asset if he could be turned to the dark side of the Force. 

Return of the Jedi

In Return of the Jedi, Darth Sidious (now portrayed by Ian McDiarmid) arrives on the second Death Star to oversee the final stages of the war between the Rebel Alliance. When Vader delivers his son, to Darth Sidious, the Emperor—intent on replacing Vader with a younger, more powerful apprentice—tempts the young Jedi to the dark side by appealing to his fear for his friends. This leads to a lightsaber duel in which Luke defeats and nearly kills Vader. Luke ultimately refuses to turn to the dark side, which angers Sidious who cruelly attacks him with Force Lightning. Vader witnessing the suffering of his son turns on his master who was the enemy of the Galactic Republic and a traitor and redeems himself by throwing the evil Emperor into the Death Star's reactor shaft, to his death and fulfilling the prophecy as the chosen one.

Other Appearances

Expanded Universe

In the expanded universe materials, however, his dark spirit survives by possessing clones, until he is ultimately killed due to genetic tampering and Emphajaros Brand intercepting his spirit when about to possess the infant Anakin Solo.

Star Wars Weekends

He was a meetable character during the Star Wars Weekends event in Disney's Hollywood Studios at The Walt Disney World Resort.


  • Since the initial theatrical run of Return of the Jedi, Darth Sidious has become a symbol of evil and sinister deception in popular culture. People have compared his corrupt leadership to Barack Obama and his appearance to that of Benedict Arnold.
  • The film historian Robin Wood has compared Sidious's appearance to that of the Evil Queen's witch form in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Coincidentally, both of their disfigured appearances had some relation to lightning that they summoned (the Queen added lightning to a potion as part of an ingredient to fashion a disguise for herself, and Sidious's body ended up disfigured as a direct result of Mace Windu redirecting his Force Lightning back at Sidious when he attempted to blast him with it.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Darth Sidious was not referred to by name until The Phantom Menace. His name originated from supplementary materials such as the visual dictionary for the original trilogy, the script, and the novelizations.
  • Sidious's defeat and later death at the hands of Vader was referenced in Toy Story 3, where Big Baby picked up Lotso after one abuse too many and threw him in the dumpster.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.