Darth Vader is often considered the greatest movie villain of all time. But that's pretty unfair since it was Emperor Palpatine, AKA Darth Sidious, who was really pulling the strings in the Star Wars universe. Palpatine was the genius behind the fall of the Jedi Order and the Galactic Senate. His brilliant schemes allowed him to infiltrate the highest organizations in the Galaxy and create multiple conflicts, in which he played both sides like a fiddle.
Palpatine also temporarily ended the historic struggle between the Sith and the Jedi. Not only was he able to do this because he was an adept tactician and manipulator, but also because of his immense knowledge and skills with the dark side of the Force. These abilities are just some of the most insane aspects of his anatomy.
As most fans know, Sheev Palpatine was trained by the legendary Sith Lord, Darth Plagueis. After learning everything he could from his alien master, Palpatine ended his life while he slept. This was the tradition of Sith masters and apprentices throughout history. Ironically, this tradition came full-circle as his own apprentice, Darth Vader, was the one to finally abolish him. Nonetheless, Palpatine probably could have taken out Vader if he was on his A-game. After all, Palpatine had some pretty impressive traits that Vader doesn't necessarily possess. It's one of the reasons why Palpatine is easily the strongest Sith Lord in all of the Star Wars sagas.
Here are the 20 Weirdest Things About Palpatine's Anatomy.
20 He Was Extremely Skilled With Force Lightning
Both Yoda and Obi-Wan warned Luke about the significant powers of the Emperor. The main Sith talent that he showed off in Return of the Jedi was his Force-lightning skills. It was the first time we had seen Force-lighting depicted on the big screen. Afterward, his character was pretty much associated with this particular ability.
Although he was far from the only Sith to have mastered this talent, Palpatine was extremely skilled in it.
The lightning bolts that he could fire from his fingertips could be used as a way to harm people and also end their lives. On one occasion, Palpatine used his lighting to damage the engine of a starship. This allowed him to pull it out of the sky with his telekinesis.
19 He Could Fight with Two Light Sabers
Before Revenge of the Sith came out, fans wondered whether or not Palpatine would ever wield a lightsaber. Luckily for them, they got not one, but two major Palpatine lightsaber battles in the film. His skills with a blade would also be portrayed in various Star Wars cartoons such as Star Wars: Rebels and The Clone Wars.
Much like Master Yoda, Palpatine's frail appearance merely hid his excellent talents as a lightsaber duelist. In fact, he's known as one of the best of all time. In various instances, he has battled multiple foes at once. Each time, he's showed just how aggressive he could be. He was also immensely skilled in Jar'Kai, the wielding of two lightsabers at once.
18 The Make-Up Process
Many performers aren't particularly thrilled when they have to sit through hours of make-up. The process can be really taxing and equally boring. Essentially, an actor has to sit still in the make-up chair for as long as it takes for the masterful artists to apply the necessary prosthetics and make-up that bring a character to life. One could imagine that the Darth Sidious make-up would take quite a while. However, Ian McDiarmid claimed to actually enjoy the make-up process. Being a classically trained theater actor, McDiarmid relished the opportunity to be made-up.
He also didn't mind sitting for hours in the make-up chair as he claimed he slept most of the time.
Luckily for us, he didn't put up a fuss. If he had, we may not have had a believable Emperor Palpatine.
17 He Could Produce A Dark Aura
The animated Star Wars series not only deepened the broader mythology of the story, but also the characters. Perhaps Emperor Palpatine benefited from this the most, as fans got to see some of the more unique things he could do. Among the abilities that Palpatine displayed on television was his ability to cast a Dark Aura. Dark Auras are a dark side power that very few Sith can produce. Palpatine was a notable practitioner of this skill.
Essentially, a Dark Aura is when a Force-user charges the air around them with malicious energy.
This charge causes anyone else in the facility to weaken. It slows their movements and damages them in other ways. Palpatine also uses this skill in the video game Star Wars: Battlefront 2.
16 He Could See Into The Future
Even Palpatine's biggest critics would admit that he was a master strategist. After all, he was able to manipulate almost everyone he came into contact with. Not only that, but he played both sides against one another. One of the reasons he was so good at this was because he could actually see into the future.
Although these Sith skills were far from precise, he managed to use them to his advantage. They allowed him to plan for practically any scenario. He believed that if he had more time to master this skill, he could see into the future with such accuracy that he would be virtually unstoppable. Luckily, Palpatine was unable to master this so he was unable to predict that Vader would eventually turn on him.
15 His fight scene struggles
Fans were surprised by how many action sequences Emperor Palpatine was involved in. This is because, up until Revenge of the Sith, we had only seen him shoot lighting from his fingertips. In Sith, Palpatine showed just how capable he was at fighting. This required actor Ian McDiarmid to leave his comfort zone. The actor revealed that he was fairly uncomfortable with handling a lightsaber. He hadn't had much fight training prior. Additionally, the actors he was sparing with, namely Samuel L. Jackson, were pros.
Due to McDiarmid's lack of skill, shooting these scenes was quite strenuous.
Luckily for him, much of these moments used both stunt doubles and CGI versions of him. Additionally, many of these action sequences were shot in an extreme close-up, masking much of their bodies.
14 He Was Adept In Sith Magic
Sith Magic was only accessible to those who had a connection to the dark side. It consisted of powers that seemed quite unnatural to that of the Jedi. Sith mysticism was significantly stranger than that of the Jedi. Thanks to his learned knowledge, and spending time with Darth Plagueis, Palpatine was adept in the art of Sith Magic.
Among Palpatine's many magical abilities, he could enter a world between worlds, due to an unknown ritual he had performed.
Sith Magic also allowed him to create energy fields that he could use to harm or bind his enemies. Sith magicians could also create illusions, control people like puppets, and heal those who have been gravely injured.
13 He Could Control Fire
Although most of the Star Wars novels are seen as "Legends" and no longer part of the official canon, some have told us things about a character that we never knew before. One of the things we learned about Palpatine was his ability to control fire.
In a battle scene depicted in James Luceon's Darth Plagueis novel, Palpatine managed to manipulate fire in order to take out Senator Pax Teem. Although he could have just used the Force to push the fire in Teem's direction, Palpatine actually caused the fire to grow. It then engulfed Teem entirely until there was no life left in him. These pyrokenetic skills weren't depicted in other Star Wars stories, but would have made Palpatine a formidable opponent.
12 He Was Nearly Immortal
Living forever seems to be a trait that many villains seem to desire. It was certainly true of Voldemort from Harry Potter, who wanted this more than anything. Similarly, the Sith tended to desire immortality. Although Anakin Skywalker wanted this power in order to stop Padme from passing, Palpatine wanted it for himself.
Due to his connection to the Force, it was entirely possible.
Although Yoda was an alien who, presumably, had a different lifespan than a human, the Force allowed him to live far longer than usual. The same is true for Palpatine. Although he wasn't entirely immortal, he wasn't far from it. The Force may have also been responsible for the fact that he was extremely powerful despite his frail appearance.
11 He Ensnared Yoda In A Dark Illusion
Casting dark illusions is a trait of Sith magicians. Not every Sith can do it as they have to be connected to Sith Magic. Emperor Palpatine was adept in Sith Magic so he was able to do this. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he was able to cast a dark illusion over Yoda with the help of his apprentice, Count Dooku.
A dark illusion causes the desired target to experience a series of hallucinations controlled by the caster. The power is accessed through an ancient Sith ritual. It required the blood of a Force-user and a Force-bond with the intended victim. It had to be compounded in a basin with Force-lightning. This ability proved to be very useful for Palpatine, although he didn't overuse it.
10 Sir Ben Kingsley Almost Played Him
Although Ian McDiarmid has all but become synonymous with Emperor Palpatine, the character was almost played by another actor entirely. This actor would be Sir Ben Kingsley.
The Gandhi and Iron Man 3 actor auditioned for the role of The Emperor for Return of the Jedi.
Clearly McDiarmid's audition worked better for the filmmakers. Sir Ben Kingsley would have been an interesting choice for the character, because he can handle almost any role he's handed. However, Ian McDiarmid made the character his own. It's hard to imagine anyone else playing Palpatine but him. Especially since McDiarmid has portrayed the character for so long.
9 He Was A Talented Alchemist
Another interesting ability that Emperor Palpatine had was a talent for alchemy; the ability to transform objects into other materials such as gold. Many members of the Sith practiced alchemy as it was seen as a sacred art. It's also used because it's a way of accessing immortality and reanimating those who have passed away. However, this process can go wrong really fast and lead to a virus that can spread rapidly.
Sith alchemy hasn't been shown a whole lot in Star Wars. Most notably, it's appeared in the animated shows, Clone Wars, and Rebels. Palpatine is the character most associated with the skill as he wrote a book on the subject: The Creation of Monsters. He was incredibly skilled at it and even used it to enter the world between worlds.
8 The story behind his voice
Although Star Wars was very much George Lucas' baby, he allowed some of the actors to play around and change things to their liking. When Lucas hired Ian McDiarmid to play Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi, he wanted the actor to replicate what the previous Palpatine had done in The Empire Strikes Back.
McDiarmid wasn't quite sure that the original voice was the right way to go.
Instead, McDiarmid came up with his own, iconic Palpatine voice. The director of the film, Richard Marquand wasn't happy with the voice but let McDiarmid play around with it on set as most of the dialogue would be redubbed in post-production anyway. Eventually, Lucas came to McDiarmid's aide, as he too was convinced that the new voice was the right choice.
7 He Could Have Been Anakin's Father
This particular entry is hotly debated in the Star Wars fan community. There's no legitimate proof that Emperor Palpatine was Anakin Skywalker's actual father, but it has been suggested. Most fans take the word of the movie; that Shmi Skywalker woke up one day pregnant with Anakin, even though there had been no father in the picture. Others insist that Palpatine used the Force to impregnate her from afar.
This theory makes sense for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Palpatine mentioned that his former master, Darth Plagueis, had learned how to create life with the Force. Therefore, he very well could have taught this power to Palpatine. Additionally, Palpatine had the power to see into the future. He could have used this to control the results of the prophecy in order to stop "The Chosen One" from taking out the Sith.
6 He's Voiced By The Same Actor As Darth Maul
As their faces aren't scene, many voice actors do multiple voices within the same universe. Although it's not always the case, it certainly is for Star Wars.
Sam Witwer, an actor best known for Being Human and Supergirl, not only voices Emperor Palpatine but his old apprentice as well.
Witwer first entered the Star Wars universe when he voiced Palpatine and Darth Vader's apprentice in the 2008 video game, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Clearly, the creators liked his work as they included his Palpatine in the Force Unleashed sequels as well as the Kinect Star Wars and Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out video games. Even though Witwer got his start with Palpatine, he's become more famous for voice Darth Maul in the Star Wars: Clone Wars series. He also voiced Maul in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
5 His relationship with Tarkin
Wilhuff Tarkin met a young Sheev Palpatine on the planet Sullust, while Tarkin was at the Sullust Sector Spacefarers Academy. At this time, Palpatine was secretly under the mentorship of Darth Plagueis The Wise. Seeing Palpatine's manipulation skills, Tarkin persuaded him to go into politics. He even helped Palpatine get into the Judicial Branch on his home planet, Naboo.
The pair had a very close friendship as they admired one another a lot. However, their relationship became confidential as Palpatine used his "ins" with the connected Tarkin to his advantage. Eventually, Tarkin would become Palpatine's right hand as he took over the Galactic Senate and formed the Empire. Clearly, Tarkin knew what he was doing when he got involved with him.
4 He Was Trained In the Force Late In Life
Very little is known about Sheev Palpatine's earliest years. In a way, it's good that we don't know too much as it makes the character more mysterious and intimidating. What is known is that he was born on the planet Naboo to a fairly influential family. Sometime during his youth, he was sought out by Darth Plagueis, who took him under his wing. Unlike how many of the Jedi, the Sith Lord Palpatine started his training relatively late in life.
He was around 17 years old when he first met Darth Plagueis.
Palpatine was far from the first Force-user to start training late in life. Both Luke Skywalker and Rey were similar. Although these three characters don't have a lot in common, they are all regarded as some of the most powerful Force-users.
3 He Was Originally Played By A Woman
George Lucas has a habit of going back and redoing things he doesn't like about his works. Some Star Wars fans don't like the changes and additions he made to the original trilogy over the years. On the other hand, some of these alterations actually improved the stories, visuals, and consistency within his universe. Since these changes have happened numerous times, some don't know what the originals actually looked like. One thing that fans may not have known is that someone else played Palpatine before Ian McDiarmid.
The character first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back and was played by a woman, Marjorie Eaton.
Although Clive Revill voiced the character, it was actually Eaton under all those prosthetics. Additionally, chimpanzee eyes were superimposed over hers in order to give the character a more frightening appearance.
2 He Was Voiced By Tim Curry
There have been a few actors who have lent their voice to that character of Sheev Palpatine over the years. One of these actors was Tim Curry, best known for Scary Movie 2, the original It, and Rocky Horror Picture Show. Curry has an incredibly iconic voice. He's portrayed characters in many animated shows such as Redwall, The Wild Thornberrys, Scooby Doo, Jumanji, The Net, and Gargoyles. Perhaps his most famous character he's ever voiced was, in fact, Palpatine.
Curry took over the role of Palpatine in 2012 for the hit-show, Star Wars: Clone Wars. Although his role on the show came to an end in 2014, he's widely considered one of the best performers for the character.
1 The actor Knew Very Little About Him
Fans love to complain that Supreme Leader Snoke wasn't given much of a backstory in the new Star Wars films, but the truth is, neither was Palpatine at first. In fact, Ian McDiarmid practically knew nothing about him when he signed on to play the character for Return of the Jedi.
Eventually, the character's dark history would be explored in the prequel trilogy, but until then, McDiarmid knew little.
He explained that he knew that the Emperor was very old and had immense power. Additionally, he knew that the character had taken control of the galaxy; but that was the extent of it. Little did he know that his character would go down as one of the most powerful and influential of all time.
What do you think is the craziest thing about Palpatine's anatomy in Star Wars? Let us know in the comments!