Background information
Feature films Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Star Wars Rebels: The Siege of Lothal (voice only)

Television programs Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Star Wars Rebels
LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures
LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales
Video games
Park attractions
Actor Ian McDiarmid
Actress Elaine Baker (pre-1997 versions of Episode V)
Voice Clive Revill (pre-1997 versions of Episode V)
Ian Abercrombie (2008-2012)
Tim Curry (2013-2014)
Sam Witwer (2015-present)
Trevor Devall
Performance model
Character information
Other names Supreme Chancellor
The Emperor
Darth Sidious
Emperor Palpatine
Master (by Darth Vader)
Your Highness
Personality Well-meaning, grandfatherly, affable, responsible, reasonable, modest, honest, good-natured, unassuming, kind, cheery, loving (benevolent), a pitiful victim of a random act of violence while in reality he is power-hungry, murderous, angry, selfish, cunning, seductive and manipulative, evil
Appearance Slender, elderly, yellow/red eyes (blue in public persona), white hair (originally red), pale skin, wrinkled, black robes
Occupation Sith Master
Dark Lord of the Sith
Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic (formerly)
Emperor of the Galactic Empire
Alignment Evil
Affiliations Galactic Republic
Sith Order
Confederacy of Independent Systems
Galactic Empire
Goal To rule the galaxy and to prevent Anakin Skywalker fulfilling the Prophecy as the Chosen One(all failed)
Home Naboo
Friends Darth Plagueis (betrayed), Prince Hans
Enemies Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, Lando Calrissian, Ewoks, Mace Windu, Bail Organa, Anakin Skywalker, Wedge Antilles, Johnny 5
Minions Darth Maul, Count Dooku (formerly), Asajj Ventress (formerly), Darth Vader (formerly), Nute Gunray, General Grievous, Clone Troopers, Stormtroopers
Powers and abilities
Fate Gets thrown into the reactor of the second Death Star by Darth Vader after he tried to kill Luke Skywalker
Typical Saying "Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen."

Emperor Sheev Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious, is the main antagonist of the Star Wars franchise. He was the ruler of the galactic empire. He was the main antagonist of the original film trilogy serving as a minor 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 secondary antagonist of it's first film The Phantom Menace, the tertiary antagonist of it's second film Attack of The Clones and the main antagonist of it's third film Revenge of The Sith.

He is portrayed by Ian McDiarmid in the feature films.


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

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Attack of The Clones

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Clone Wars Movie

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Revenge of The Sith

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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, Palpatine (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 Palpatine, 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 Palpatine who 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, Palpatine 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 Palpatine'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 Palpatine's body ended up disfigured as a direct result of Mace Windu redirecting his Force Lightning back at Palpatine when he attempted to blast him with it, although it was heavily implied with the latter that the disfigurements were actually his true form being exposed).
  • Contrary to popular belief, Palpatine 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.
  • Palpatine'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.