Star Wars Episode 9: Who is Emperor Palpatine? Guide to SHOCK VILLAIN in Rise of Skywalker

April 15, 2019
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Star Wars fans have been waiting for what may have felt like an age for the latest clues about Episode 9 to drop. And now they have. The first footage from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been revealed – and the final moments of the teaser were undoubtedly the most exciting. Here is everything you need to know about the Sith baddie and his infamous laugh, Emperor Palpatine (played by Ian McDiarmid). For the purposes of this explainer, Palpatine’s story is told chronologically within the Star Wars universe – not in order the films debuted in real life.

Palpatine debuted on screen with 1977’s A New Hope, but in the Star Wars timeline, his story begins with Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999).

Back then he was Galactic Senator Sheev Palpatine but the Senator was secretly hiding his identity as Darth Sidious, the Sith Lord.

In these prequel movies, Palpatine’s role as the invisible puppet master Darth Sidious becomes more and more pervasive.

As Palpatine, he finds constitutional loopholes to remain in power and manipulates Anakin to grow closer and closer to the dark side of the force.

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He reveals his secret identity as Darth Sidious to Anakin, who he is luring towards the dark side with promises of protecting Anakin’s beloved, Padme, from death in childbirth.

Palpatine’s treachery is reported by Anakin to Mace Windu (Samuel L Jackson) but Anakin defends Palpatine in their dual, allowing Palpatine to eventually kill Windu.

But not before Windu turns Palpatine’s force lightning against him, resulting in the grey, haggard appearance.

In the final moment of Revenge of the Sith (2005) Palpatine and Vader are seen watching construction begin on the Death Star.

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This brings audiences to A New Hope, the first ever Star Wars movie released in 1977.

He is mentioned only by name in A New Hope, as the man who dissolved the Senate.

By 1980’s Empire Strikes Back he appears as a hologram to address Darth Vader, Palpatine’s apprentice.

Return of the Jedi (1983) features Palpatine in the flesh, as arrives to oversee the final stages of construction of Death Star Mark 2.

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Together with Darth Vader, they work to turn Luke Skywalker to the dark side of the Force.

But Palpatine had a bigger plan in motion; to replace Vader with Luke.

In their moment of conflict, however, Vader’s long-buried paternal instinct kicks in and he kills Palpatine rather than see his son being tortured by him.

Vader throws Emperor Palpatine into the Death Star’s reactor, killing him. Or so we thought.

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Palpatine’s voice can be heard in 2015’s The Force Awakens when Rey touches Luke’s long-lost lightsaber.

In The Last Jedi (2017) Luke mentions Darth Sidious, Palpatine’s alter-ego while discussing the fall of the Jedi Order to Rey.

And then, in the final moments of the teaser trailer for The Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine can be heard giving his trademark maniacal laugh.

Needless to say, fans were overjoyed at the potential return of the classic villain.

Whether he features as a force ghost or managed to somehow survive his fall into the Death Star’s reactor, remains to be seen.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in cinemas on December 19, 2019.



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