No character is more evil in Star Wars than Sheev Palpatine. Practically all of the evil that occurs in the original trilogy, prequel trilogy, and the stories that take place in between the two series can be traced back to Palpatine and his ruthless schemes to wield unlimited power.
As the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, Palpatine was an inherently manipulative and selfish individual. At the end of the day, there is no one he cared about more than himself and everything he does goes back to his quest for ultimate power. Naturally, he made plenty of enemies on this journey, in particular select individuals who he couldn't stand and despised with every fiber of his being.
He couldn't do everything alone, though, and at times even he needed to rely on others. It is with these individuals that Palpatine formed close relationships, or at least as close as an individual like Palpatine can be with another person. The people he grew closest with were those who he entrusted his greatest secrets to, the ones he depended on for essential tasks. It was often in his nature to eventually betray these individuals -- especially those serving as an apprentice -- but that doesn't negate the fact that for a time, he was close to them in his own way.
Let the hate and anger of the dark side flow through you as we explore the 10 Star Wars Characters Emperor Palpatine Is Close To (And 10 He Can't Stand).
20 Close To: Grand Moff Tarkin
Even when the Galactic Republic still existed, Palpatine was already grooming the leaders of what would one day become his precious Galactic Empire. Palpatine recognized that Wilhuff Tarkin was a brilliant strategist and he was not afraid to be ruthless. Palpatine helped Tarkin swiftly rise through the ranks of the Republic. In return, Tarkin helped Palpatine in many matters, such as preventing an investigation from Supreme Chancellor Valorum -- a move that undermined Valorum's leadership and brought Palpatine another step closer to replacing him as Supreme Chancellor.
This close relationship led to Palpatine promoting Tarkin to the position of Grand Moff, making him one of the most high ranking and powerful figures in the Empire. Much to the chagrin of Orson Krennic, Palpatine's trust also ensured that Tarkin was one of the central figures involved in creating the Death Star and later implementing it against an unprepared galaxy.
19 Can't Stand: Yoda
Yoda was a constant thorn in Palpatine's side. The Jedi Order was always the greatest threat to Palpatine's ruthless schemes and Yoda was the most troublesome of all, as he was the wisest and most powerful of all the Jedi. Even after Palpatine's brilliant execution of Order 66, Yoda still found a way to survive and returned to Coruscant to confront Palpatine. While Yoda was unable to defeat Palpatine in combat, Yoda did survive their fight. He escaped and went into exile.
Most things seemed to go Palpatine's way in the coming years, however, as the Galactic Empire took firm control of the galaxy and the Jedi Order became relics of the past. Yet, Palpatine knew Yoda was still out there somewhere, knowledge that frequently unsettled Palpatine since his work to exterminate the Jedi Order remained unfinished.
18 Close To: Mas Amedda
Some fans might just think of Mas Amedda as the blue guy who stood next to Palpatine throughout the prequel trilogy. Mas Amedda was actually far more than this, though, as he became aware that Palpatine was Darth Sidious and became integral in helping Palpatine form the Galactic Empire. He manipulated Jar Jar Binks -- while representing Naboo in Senator Amidala's absence -- into granting Chancellor Palpatine Emergency Powers.
In the earliest days of the Death Star project during the Clone Wars, Amedda helped oversee the project and put Orson Krennic in the pivotal role of making the superweapon a reality. He also stood by Palpatine after the Galactic Empire was officially formed. Palpatine made Mas Amedda his Grand Vizier. Amedda chaired the Imperial Ruling Council and carried out Palpatine's wishes on a bureaucratic level, especially as Palpatine became less and less of a public figure over the years.
17 Can't Stand: Mother Talzin
As one of the few individuals Palpatine ever feared, Mother Talzin was a rare individual. Since she was the leader of the Nightsisters -- a group of Force-sensitive witches on the planet Dathomir -- Palpatine recognized the danger of her formidable and mysterious powers. He even considered making Talzin his first apprentice, but instead abducted her son Maul to be his apprentice.
From this moment on, Talzin despised Palpatine and planned to enact revenge. Throughout the Clone Wars, Talzin worked tirelessly to destroy Palpatine. Recognizing that she'd grown far too powerful and become a serious threat to his plans, Palpatine concocted a plan in which he'd draw Talzin out and defeat her once and for all. In the Son of Dathomir comics, Palpatine worked with Count Dooku and General Grievous to free Maul from captivity, which brought Talzin out into the open. Palpatine let Maul escape so he could destroy Talzin.
16 Close To: Darth Plagueis
Palpatine may have taken the life of his master in the famous Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise, but he was quite close with his teacher before that monstrous betrayal. They were close enough that Plagueis taught Palpatine everything he knew, the two of them forming plans to replace the Republic with a Sith Empire, all the while trying to uncover the secrets of immortality.
Even though Palpatine was responsible for the demise of Plagueis, in his own way, Palpatine revered his master. He respected and admired Plagueis for his ambition and the invaluable knowledge and power he'd passed down. For a Sith and individual as selfish as Palpatine, his training and feelings toward Plagueis may actually be the closest he ever was with anyone, twisted as it may be.
15 Can't Stand: Mon Mothma
Palpatine had plenty of reason to despise Mon Mothma since she was the leader of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, more commonly known as the Rebellion. What particularly alarmed Palpatine was how Mon Mothma left the Senate and publicly denounced him to the entire galaxy. For close to two decades, Palpatine and his Empire had ruled the galaxy with an iron fist, the Senate acting as little more than a facade of democracy in a ruthless dictatorship.
Mon Mothma had the audacity to challenge that status quo when she abandoned that Senate and publicly decried Palpatine for what he really was, which was a bold move that led to the official formation of the Rebellion. She proved that Palpatine wasn't untouchable and action could be taken to take a stand against him in the fight to restore justice to the galaxy.
14 Close To: Grand Admiral Thrawn
Emperor Palpatine's original interest in Thrawn related to the Unknown Regions. Palpatine grew increasingly obsessed with the Unknown Regions and felt that Thrawn was crucial to exploring that part of space and combating the threats that lurked there. Over time, Thrawn became far more than that to Palpatine, though. Thrawn's tactical brilliance allowed him to rise through the Imperial ranks at a remarkable pace. Palpatine was particularly impressed by how Thrawn squashed revolts against the Empire, which led to the Emperor granting Thrawn the rank of Grand Admiral.
As he grew to trust Thrawn further, Palpatine gave him increasingly important assignments, such as working with Darth Vader in the novel Thrawn: Alliances, destroying the Rebellion's secret base on the planet Atollon, and capturing Ezra Bridger in one last attempt for Palpatine to gain access to the coveted world between worlds.
13 Can't Stand: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Palpatine couldn't stand Obi-Wan Kenobi since he was a positive force in the life of Anakin Skywalker, an individual Palpatine was working so hard to turn to the dark side and make his new apprentice. Even after Anakin turned to the dark side, became Darth Vader, and the Jedi Order was nearly wiped out by Order 66, Obi-Wan continued to ruin Palpatine's plans. Obi-Wan managed to not only survive Order 66, but also confront Anakin in a duel where he severed most of Anakin's limbs and served the newly anointed Darth Vader a humiliating defeat.
Obi-Wan continued to haunt Palpatine for nearly two decades as his survival not only meant that the Jedi Order lived on, but also that someone who could defeat Darth Vader still lived.
12 Close To: Darth Maul
While Palpatine and Maul eventually became enemies, at one point, they were quite close. Palpatine took Maul as a child. For many years, he trained Maul and molded him into becoming his Sith apprentice. In a sense, Palpatine raised Maul and entrusted a great deal of knowledge to him.
Maul was aware of intimate details in his master's plans, even things that were years away from happening like the Clone Wars. As part of his plan to become Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine unleashed Maul in The Phantom Menace, revealing to the Jedi that the Sith were not extinct. Palpatine and the Jedi believed that Maul perished at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Naboo. Maul miraculously survived and reclaimed power years later, even building a criminal empire during the Clone Wars. Palpatine had moved beyond Maul, though, and his former apprentice was now just an enemy, one that Palpatine even used as a pawn to destroy Maul's mother.
11 Can't Stand: Ahsoka Tano
During the Clone Wars, Palpatine was already taking many steps to push Anakin Skywalker towards the dark side. As an apprentice of Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano unintentionally impeded Palpatine at times since her character and relationship with Anakin pushed him to become a better person. Yoda knew he was helping both Anakin and Ahsoka when he paired them together, but unfortunately, even she wasn't enough to prevent Anakin's ultimate fall to the dark side.
Even years later, when Anakin had been Darth Vader for quite some time and Palpatine had a firm hold over the galaxy, Ahsoka proved to be a major impediment to his plans yet again. As shown in season 4 of Star Wars Rebels, Ahsoka played an active role in preventing Palpatine from controlling the world between worlds, a mystical plane connected to all time and space. Palpatine likely would've become truly invincible if he'd come to control the world between worlds.
10 Close To: Gallius Rax
Gallius Rax was far more than his rank of Fleet Admiral in the Galactic Empire. In the event of Emperor Palpatine's demise, Rax was ordered to take control of the Empire and dismantle it from within, an act known as Operation: Cinder. Palpatine was a firm believer that his Empire should not outlive him. If Palpatine perished, his Empire needed to perish as well, and he was close enough with Rax to entrust this vital task to him.
After Darth Vader ended Palpatine's life aboard the second Death Star, Rax followed Palpatine's wishes and began implementing Operation: Cinder. Chuck Wendig's Aftermath novel trilogy follows Rax operating from the shadows as he followed Palpatine's orders, albeit with a few twists.
9 Can't Stand: Mace Windu
Jedi Knights existed to serve the Galactic Republic, and as such the Jedi felt it was their duty to serve the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic. Mace Windu was not blindly loyal, though, and was a strong believer in the democratic ideals of the Republic. He didn't outright defy Palpatine until Anakin revealed his discovery that the Supreme Chancellor was a Sith Lord, but Windu did question Palpatine throughout the Clone Wars.
He was concerned over Palpatine's growing power in the Republic. Palpatine was even interfering with the operations of the Jedi Order, as he essentially forced them to place Anakin on the Jedi Council, all of which made Windu wary that Palpatine would insist on staying in power. Windu's concerns went from annoying to downright threatening just when Palpatine was on the verge of executing Order 66 and officially forming the Galactic Empire. Along with three other Jedi Masters, he confronted Palpatine and attempted to arrest him on the charge of being a Sith Lord.
8 Close To: Count Dooku
Palpatine ultimately betrayed Count Dooku in favor of a younger, far more powerful apprentice in Anakin Skywalker. Before that, though, he worked closely with Dooku. A former Jedi Master, Dooku joined the dark side and became an apprentice to Palpatine. As part of their plan to have the Sith rule the galaxy again, Palpatine and Dooku worked together in order to create the Clone Wars. Dooku led the Separatist movement, while Palpatine led the Republic, the two of them constantly orchestrating events so that the Jedi Order would ultimately be destroyed and the Galactic Empire would rise.
Dooku knew of Order 66 long before it happened. He supplied the Kaminoans with the inhibitor chip implanted into the clone troopers that would initiate Order 66. Dooku helped Palpatine bury the truth when clone trooper Fives nearly uncovered the inhibitor chip secret towards the end of the Clone Wars.
7 Can't Stand: Asajj Ventress
Even though Count Dooku was Palpatine's apprentice, he also took some dark side apprentices of his own, the first and arguably most powerful being Asajj Ventress. Since she was a useful figure in facilitating the Clone Wars, Palpatine tolerated her existence for a while. Eventually, though, he grew concerned with how powerful she was becoming in the Force and if she and Dooku would work together to overthrow him.
He commanded Dooku to eliminate Ventress not just because of her growing prowess in the Force, but also to determine whether Dooku was still genuinely loyal to his master. Dooku proved that he was when we he left Ventress to her demise during the Battle of Sullust. However, she managed to survive Dooku's betrayal. Palpatine still got his way eventually, however, as Ventress lost her life to Dooku in the novel Dark Disciple.
6 Close To: Sly Moore
Along with Mas Amedda, the Umbaran female Sly Moore is the other character audiences could always count on seeing by Palpatine's side in the prequel trilogy movies. Like Amedda, Sly Moore was also one of the few who knew that the Supreme Chancellor was Darth Sidious.
As his senior administrative aide, she not only stood by his side when he addressed the galaxy from his podium in the Senate Chamber, but she also guarded his darkest secrets and helped his schemes come to fruition, particularly in transforming the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire. In Legends, there were rumors that Sly Moore was romantically involved with Palpatine. After Palpatine declared himself Emperor, some even called her "Queen of the Empire."
5 Can't Stand: Cham Syndulla
When the planet Ryloth fell under Imperial occupation, Cham Syndulla responded by creating the Free Ryloth Movement to strike back against the Empire. The novel Lords of the Sith tells the tale of Cham's boldest move when he enacted a plan to take the lives of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. Cham wanted to take out both of them while they traveled to Ryloth aboard Palpatine's Star Destroyer.
Cham and his operatives actually managed to obliterate the Emperor's Star Destroyer, but not before Palpatine and Vader escaped, only to find themselves stranded on Ryloth and still hunted by the Free Ryloth Movement. Despite many close calls, Palpatine and Vader managed to survive the attack on their lives. Most of the individuals who dared to strike against the Sith Lords lost their lives, though Cham Syndulla lived to fight another day.
4 Close To: Yupe Tashu
When Emperor Palpatine arrived aboard the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi, he was accompanied by a group of strange looking individuals. These were the Emperor's advisers, a small and elite group obsessed with the dark side and dedicated to serving the Emperor. Many of these individuals are assumed to have lost their lives when the second Death Star exploded, but one adviser who survived at the time was Yupe Tashu, as he was not aboard the battle station.
In the aftermath of Palpatine's demise, Tashu tried to keep the Emperor's vision alive by leading the Imperial Future Council. During the Battle of Jakku, Tashu sacrificed himself while wearing Sith artifacts in a vain attempt to bring his beloved Palpatine back to life.
3 Can't Stand: Ezra Bridger
In the final episodes of Star Wars Rebels, it was revealed that Palpatine sought to enter and control the world between worlds, a mystical plane connected to all time and space. With the help of Ahsoka Tano, Ezra stopped Palpatine from accessing the world between worlds a first time.
Later on, Grand Admiral Thrawn brought Ezra before a hologram of Palpatine in the guise of the kindly man he appeared as in the days before he declared himself Emperor. Palpatine promised to bring Ezra's deceased parents back to life, the price being that Ezra would open the portal to the world between worlds. Tempting as the offer was, Ezra saw through Palpatine's manipulation and refused. With his last chance to access the world between worlds gone, Palpatine ordered the Imperial Royal Guards and Stormtroopers on Lothal to terminate Ezra for good.
2 Close To: Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker
While Darth Vader would end up being the one to take his master's life, he and Palpatine were close in the years leading up to this betrayal. Their relationship began long before Anakin became Vader. Palpatine acted as a mentor and father figure to Anakin as he became a Jedi Knight. Anakin confided a great deal to Palpatine, even telling him about things like his slaughter of the Sand People on Tatooine.
After Anakin's humiliating defeat at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar, Palpatine saved Anakin's life through the cybernetic Vader suit and kept him on as a right-hand and apprentice. The Sith generally didn't tolerate failure or weakness, yet Palpatine looked past those factors. It was partly practical, as he knew he wouldn't find an apprentice as powerful any time soon, but also because he was close to Anakin in his own twisted way. Palpatine continued to rely on and trust Vader more than any other in the years of the Galactic Empire.
1 Can't Stand: Luke Skywalker
Emperor Palpatine was always able to look beyond the present and see a bigger picture. After Luke Skywalker destroyed Palpatine's precious Death Star, both Darth Vader and his master learned everything they could about the Force-sensitive pilot. Eventually learning of Luke's identity and abilities, Palpatine resolved to make the young Skywalker his most powerful apprentice yet, a replacement even greater than Darth Vader himself.
This plan backfired fatally, however, as Luke refused to turn to the dark side, refused to slay his father, and declared himself a Jedi Knight. The Emperor retaliated with Force lightning, but Luke's agony and the remarkable faith he'd placed in his father were enough to convince Darth Vader to end the life of Palpatine once and for all. While Vader ultimately defeated the Emperor, it was only made possible through Luke, whose actions sealed Palpatine's doom.
Who else was Emperor Palpatine close to and who else couldn't he stand in Star Wars? Sound off in the comments!