Sheev Palpatine is widely regarded as the most sinister villain within the Star Wars franchise. As a functioning madman, thriving on manipulation and chaos, he helped to bring the Sith back into power over an entire galaxy. However, that’s just a footnote for all he created and accomplished.
Living a life as two individuals, Palpatine tugged on the strings of a society that had grown complacent and content under the rule of the Republic Senate and the Jedi Order. With an ego the size of his Empire, Palpatine created a galaxy in which he was the true puppet master.
“Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. Your friends, up there on the sanctuary moon, are walking into a trap, as is your rebel fleet. It was I who allowed the alliance to know the location of the shield generator. It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best troops awaits them.”
However, not every decision of his had a negative effect, depending on which point of view one wishes to perceive them through.
From wiping out millions of beings to saving Anakin and creating the fan favorite Darth Vader, here are the 8 Worst (And 7 Best) Things Palpatine Has Ever Done In Star Wars.
15 Worst: Disposing Of Family Members
Sheev Palpatine despised his father, viewing him as weak. Palpatine on the other hand, desired power so much that as a tween, he was secretly studying Sith lore. His desires caught the attention of Darth Plagueis (publicly known as Magister Hego DamaskII), which presented Sheev with an opportunity.
Keeping his Sith studies a secret, Palpatine viewed his relationship with Plagueis as a student recruiting a master. Desiring to impress him, Sheev terminated his entire family and guards while aboard his father’s ship. He then crashed it to make it look like an accident.
His actions and coverup work were so skillfully done that Plagueis accepted Palpatine as an apprentice. For Sheev, it was a win-win. He could access the power of the Sith while increasing his own political standing off his family name and fortune.
14 Best: Ending Internal Fighting Between Clans And Species
A silver lining towards the establishment of Palpatine’s Empire was the elimination of internal fighting between clans and species throughout the galaxy. In establishing his dominant reign, Sheev brought order to the planets.
He accomplished this by first causing massive amounts of chaos between certain species, eliminating those which he felt wouldn’t serve his ultimate goals. Once certain species and clans had been taken care of, he swooped in like an artificial savor, creating peace — albeit a false one dominated by his superior rule as Emperor.
One thing that the Republic could never get right, was establishing a sense of peace across the galaxy-- even with the Jedi Order assisting them. Humans fought non-humans, and species battled for resources and planet domain due to the open-minded attitude of the Republic Senate.
13 Worst: Slavery Across The Galaxy
Prior to the rise of the Empire, there were laws and restrictions on slavery. Planets that kept it around were often only found within the Outer Rim. Palpatine changed all of this by passing the bill known as Imperial Decree A-SL-4557.607.232.
This new law stated that citizens across the entire galaxy could now be enslaved as punishment for crimes against the civil order. Sheev had a distaste for Non-humans, so he was quick to round them up (along with his human critics) as slaves to work on his pet projects like his ultimate superweapon.
Palpatine essentially wiped out all the Geonosians while favoring Wookiees for physical hard labor, Kaminoans for their cloning skills, and Twi'leks for deviant and menial work.
At one point, he even ordered the 501st Legion to sell Nosaurian women and children at a slave market on Orvax IV as part of the planets so called "cleansing."
12 Best: Ditching The Rule Of Two
The Rule of Two was initially established by Darth Bane a thousand years before Palpatine was born. Its purpose was to reduce the amount of infighting between Sith, allowing them to regain power one day from the Jedi. Generations would pass and the Rule of Two would become the norm.
However, Darth Sidious knew his Sith history and believed the Rule of Two had its limitations. Confident in his own abilities as a fighter and manipulator, he sought multiple apprentices. Once the Jedi were practically eliminated, he increased his numbers with loyal dark force spies, apprentices, and terminators.
Because of this, Star Wars fans were introduced to characters like Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, General Grievous, Asajj Ventress, and the Inquisitors. In legends, there was Mara Jade, Lumiya, Cronal, and even Luke Skywalker.
11 Worst: The Creation Of A Clone Army
Upon becoming Darth Plagueis’ apprentice, Palpatine discovered that Plagueis was attempting to unlock the secrets of eternal life through Sith Alchemy. After removing his master from the picture, Palpatine used his studies and schematics to create a Clone Army with the help of the Kaminoans.
Being the master manipulator that he was, no one in the entire galaxy suspected him as the creator. He used the Clone Army as a secret means to eliminate the Jedi Order from existence, and to recruit humans into his army once his Empire had been established. Without the Clone Army, much of Palpatine’s plans might have never come to fruition.
In Star Wars Legends, Palpatine even created clones of himself. That way, if he was to perish unexpectedly, his spirit would be reborn into a younger clone body — giving himself eternal life.
10 Best: His Secret Romance With Sly Moore
Often thought of as only a Star Wars Legends story, Sly Moore is a part of the Disney Canon. While their romance remains unconfirmed by Lucasfilm, there is a deleted scene from The Revenge of the Sith that gives this theory a solid foundation.
Prior to Anakin walking in to join Palpatine at the opera, Sheev is seen sitting next to Sly — laughing and sharing what seems to be an intimate moment between the two.
Sly Moore had the ability to manipulate the minds of others, making her extremely valuable towards his rise in power. Palpatine placed her as a senior administrative aide in his cabinet, and she can be seen standing next to him in several scenes from the Prequels.
She also acted as a double for Darth Sidious, allowing him to be in two places at once while keeping his duel identity a secret from just about everyone.
9 Worst: Gladiator Style Fights For Entertainment
Palpatine thrived on putting himself in dangerous situations, using himself as bait on the front lines. For him, it was a high like none other. After establishing a firm hold across the galaxy as Emperor, Palpatine often became bored. To pass the time, he used captured Jedi and other force wielders in his own personal gladiator style fights.
A group of Jedi would be pitted against each other, with the promise that the winner would be granted a chance of survival. The only catch was that the survivor needed to pledge loyalty towards Palpatine by becoming his servant.
He would then pit his newfound servants against his established ones, causing turmoil in his own camp. Palpatine did this for entertainment, but also as way to ensure that only the strongest members of society were serving his Empire directly.
8 Best: Saving Anakin Skywalker
In The Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine is seen coming to Anakin’s aid on Mustafar following his defeat against Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, the novelization of the movie hints that Palpatine played a larger role in Anakin’s survival, along with Padme’s untimely passing.
The fan theory produced from novelization states that Darth Sidious used the force to keep Anakin alive until he could arrive on Mustafar. This is why Palpatine is so casual in his demeanor once finding Skywalker.
It also states that he used the force to aid in Padme’s failing health. George Lucas has never confirmed this theory due to its effect on his overall story, but Lucasfilm hasn’t denied it either.
Once Darth Vader discovered his son (Luke Skywalker) had survived, his loyalty towards Palpatine wavered. This one minor misstep would eventually lead to Darth Sidious’ demise.
7 Worst: Bringing The Sith Out Of The Shadows
Because of the internal fighting amongst the Sith back in the day, the Jedi Order established a firm hold over the Republic. For generations, the Sith hid in the shadows, dreaming of the day when they would once rule the galaxy again.
Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious were a team unlike any Sith lords prior. Plagueis had unlimited financial resources and connections while Palpatine held a seat on the senate as a senator from Naboo. Through tedious planning, the pair began a process that would eventually lead to the elimination of the Jedi Order.
On their own, this goal could have never been accomplished. However, it came to fruition faster thanks to Palpatine’s cunning and twisted mind. He took what he and Plagueis started, kicking events into high gear after the elimination of his master.
6 Best: The Rise Of Tarkin and Thrawn
Palpatine’s desire for power gave rise to the infamous Grand Moff Tarkin and Grand Admiral Thrawn. These two characters are known for their cunningness as Imperial Fleet leaders and for being tactical geniuses.
For Palpatine, those who served him were merely pieces in a chess game. He used them solely to his advantage and had no problem sacrificing them to gain an upper hand over his opponents.
Grand Moff Tarkin is known amongst fans as the one in charge of Palpatine’s secret superweapon, while Grand Admiral Thrawn has had his story rewritten into two novels and the Star Wars Rebels television series.
Without these two fascinating characters, the Galactic Empire wouldn’t be what it is today. Much like Darth Vader, they caught the hearts of the fandom while increasing Imperial rule across the galaxy.
5 Worst: Treatment Of Those Who Were Loyal To Him
Palpatine cared only for himself. Everything he did was to establish his dominance and reign over the galaxy. Even being a Sith Master was just another tool to help him achieve his goals.
Because of this mentality, those who served under him were constantly subjected towards humiliation and degradation, while always having to fight for their survival.
During Darth Maul’s training, he took him to the planet Malachor, where a great battle had been fought generations ago between the Jedi and Sith. He made Maul breath in the ashes of fallen Sith, forcing him to experience their deaths to increase his hatred of the Jedi.
He did similar things to Darth Vader too. Vader constantly was pitted against other so-called apprentices, having to always fight for his survival. The previous father figure that Palpatine had represented himself to be for Anakin disappeared once Skywalker became Darth Vader.
4 Best: Technological Advancements In Weaponry
Palpatine was a highly educated individual who appreciated technological advancements which would help him establish a dominant rule. Much of these advancements were made possible due to Darth Plagueis’ extensive library of Sith lore, objects, and recordings.
His passions started off with the creation of his personal lightsabers. Based off of Sith schematics, his two lightsabers were often considered to be the most powerful during his reign as Emperor.
Each was covered in an electrum-finish and fitted with Aurodium crystals, making them durable and deadly towards anyone unlucky enough to get in a fight with him.
Palpatine then began experimenting with clones, superweapons, superior star ships, and even melee weapons. By utilizing scientists and resources found around the galaxy, Palpatine accomplished what no one who had come before him could.
3 Worst: Making The Rich Richer And The Poor Poorer
One way in which Palpatine was able to rule the way he did, was by eliminating the “middle class” from society. He made the rich wealthier beyond their dreams and everyone else dirt poor.
The only way to survive was by being a scoundrel, evil servant, resident of the Outer Rim, or by serving in the Imperial Army. This is why Luke Skywalker was so interested in joining the Imperial Navy, as it was a means of escaping Tatooine.
By eliminating the middle class, it made it harder for rebel cells and planets to oppose him due to a huge lack of resources. Some say this improved the economy during his reign, but it was only an illusion.
Those who sought wealth and power were willing to serve Palpatine in any capacity, giving him full control over everyone and everything.
2 Best: Destroying Everything He Created
Due to Palpatine’s inflated ego, he refused to allow anyone else to capitalize off what he created. He didn’t care about the future of the Sith or his Empire if he wasn’t around to rule it. Palpatine called the project Operation: Cinder and set it to go into effect should he ever be defeated.
Knowing that those most loyal to him would carry out his plan, the goal of Operation: Cinder was to tear apart the Empire and all the planets that had continued to oppose him. Naboo was one such planet, as it still existed due to Palpatine finding a twisted enjoyment out of torturing its inhabitants.
Operation: Cinder would last several months following his demise until it was defeated by the Republic. Those who survived fled to the Outer Rim and formed the First Order as a contingency plan, hoping to reestablish the rule once achieved by Palpatine’s Empire.
1 Worst: Destroying Lives And Planets Like Pieces In A Game
Palpatine’s disregard for life is more than a bit disturbing. From destroying entire cities to eliminating planets, he did whatever was necessary to achieve his objective. Prior to him becoming Emperor, he caused a huge war that took countless lives. However, this was only the beginning.
Millions and millions of lives ended prematurely due to his sick and twisted ways. During his reign over the galaxy, the population dropped dramatically — which ironically worked towards his goals of utter domination. One could refer to it as the largest scale mass genocide that the galaxy had ever experienced.
To Palpatine it was all a game. He thrived on manipulating others and didn’t know what to do with himself when he couldn’t. Lives were nothing more than pawns on a chess board, placed there to serve and be eliminated per his commands.
Can you think of any other despicable (or great) things that Palpatine has done in Star Wars? Let us know in the comment section!