For me Palpatine has always been one of the coolest characters in the Star Wars saga. Part of his appeal comes from his limited screen time in the original trilogy. The prequel Star Wars movies showed Palpatines rise to power as a Politician and a Sith and furthered his reputation as one smart and evil cookie.
Palpatine starts off as a senator for the planet Naboo. However that is only his public face. He is secretly a Sith Lord who seeks to destroy the Jedi and enforce Sith rule over the galaxy. So he’s ambitious. He engineers a trade dispute using the Trade Federation so that he can get rid of the hapless current chancellor and get himself nominated and elected as the new chancellor. He is elected to the role of chancellor fairly but has no intention of ever giving up the position.
Not one to be satisfied with a cushy government job as ruler of the galaxy Palpatine then engineers a war between disgruntled members of the Republic. He gets his Sith apprentice ( Lord Tyrannus or Count Dooku as he likes to be called ) to bring the Separatist planets together to build a droid army to take on the Republic. Palpatine also goes to the bother of having a clone army built for the Republic ten years earlier. This guy likes to play the long game. He then leaves a trail for Obi Wan to follow which leads the Jedi to finding out about the army just when they most need it. The Jedi don’t seem to bother asking any questions whatsoever about where this army has come from. Hindsight eh?
So by this point Palpatine has one of the best C.V’s in the galaxy.
He is the Galactic Republic Chancellor, controls an army of clone troopers and has the Jedi at his beck and call. He is also a Dark Lord of the Sith called Darth Sidious who gives the orders to Count Dooku and General Grievous who are in charge of the Separatists and their army of droids. He really does have it sweet.
Just to rub it in to the Jedi how screwed they are and how awesome he is he decides that he’s also going to poach the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker for his Sith gang of two. Skywalker being the only Jedi who can bring the force back into balance. So it’s only inevitable that Palpatine orders the destruction of the Jedi. His years of planning pay off and he manages to spin it as an attempted Jedi coup. All Palpatine is left to do is battle it out with Jedi master Yoda and leave other remaining Jedi to his apprentice Darth Vader. He even has the good fortune of Darth Vader being injured and becoming dependant on a life support system. While Vader is still a formidable foe to many he is unable to reach Palpatine’s level of force mastery.
The Emperor then attempts to consolidate his power and gain absolute control over the Galaxy. He starts by introducing local Governers with control of their areas. Once his planet destroying Death Star is active he disbands the Galactic Senate sure that fear will keep the galaxy inline. It works for the most part until a pesky rebellion turns up to blow up Death Stars number 1 and 2.
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