Emperor Palpatine(pop culture)
The destruction of the Republic began with the behind-the-scenes machinations of Senator Palpatine of Naboo, leading to a tyrannical new Galactic Empire that was ruled over by the same man. Secretly the Dark Lord of the Sith known as Darth Sidious, Palpatine engineered the destruction of the order of Jedi Knights and began a reign of oppression and terror. Although he first appeared in the film The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Palpatine's chronological screen presence actually came in the trilogy of Star Wars prequels: Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002), and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). In the first film, Senator Palpatine worked with Senator Padmé Amidala to engineer his succession to the role of Chancellor of the Republic; although he promised a return to order and justice, Palpatine was plotting in the background. Cloaking himself as Darth Sidious, Palpatine trained a pupil named Darth Maul and set him against the Jedi, even as he schemed with the Neimoidians. A decade later, as the Separatist movement led by Count Dooku gained steam, and war against the Republic appeared imminent, no one knew that Dooku was Darth Tyranus, Palpatine's newer apprentice, and that Palpatine actually controlled both sides in the conflict. During the Clone Wars, Palpatine was granted emergency powers, and eventually shut down the Senate, declaring himself Emperor of the Galactic Empire. Now he was served by his most successful pupil in the arts of the Dark Side of the Force: a promising Jedi he had seduced into evil, Anakin Skywalker, now called Darth Vader. His body wizened and deformed by use of his Dark Side powers—such as the ability to throw blue lightning from his fingers—Palpatine used a cane and a cloak even as he ruled the Empire with Vader by his side for almost two decades. When the Rebel Alliance began to make headway against the Empire, one of its heroes—Luke Skywalker, the Jedi son of Anakin—became the target of Palpatine's quest for a new pupil. In a battle shown in Return of the Jedi (1983), Darth Vader turned on his master to save Luke, and Palpatine was killed in the reactor of his own Death Star weapon. Emperor Palpatine has reappeared in clone form in Star Wars comic books and novels—known as the “Expanded Universe” stories—and has been featured in some licensed collectibles. In the original Empire Strikes Back, the hologram of the Emperor was played by an old woman with a chimpanzee's eyes superimposed on her face, and the voice of Clive Revill. For all of his other appearances— and in retrofitted CGI footage in later Empire releases—Palpatine was played by Ian McDiarmid.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.