Every epic story of good Vs evil will give you a supreme villain. Most say this is Vader, but it has always been Darth Sidious.
Ever since Grand Moff Tarkin’s line in A New Hope, The Emperor has cast a long shadow over the story of the Skywalkers. Apart from a quick glimpse in Empire Strikes Back, it’s not until Return Of The Jedi we see him take command of Vader and the Empire in epic battle with Rebellion. But the story of Sidious has been expanded greatly with the prequels and the animated shows. And for me he is the Ultimate villain and my favourite bad guy.
Scheming, powerful, and evil to the core, Darth Sidious restored the Sith and destroyed the Jedi Order. Living a double life, Sidious was in fact Palpatine, a Naboo Senator rising in the political ranks of the Old Republic. When we first see Sidious he and his apprentice Darth Maul were about to reveal themselves to the Jedi.
Thirteen years before his Imperial ascent, Sidious engineered the invasion of Naboo and used the political crisis as a pretext to being elected Supreme Chancellor by the Galactic Senate. With Maul’s defeat at the hands of the Jedi on Naboo, Sidious was in need of a new apprentice. Count Dooku left the Jedi Order and was bestowed the title “Darth Tyranus” by Sidious. Together, they formed the Confederacy Of Independent Systems or the Separatists to spark a galactic civil war. As Chancellor Palpatine, Sidious was given sweeping central, emergency powers to handle the Separatist crisis, and he raised the Grand Army Of The Republic to fight the Clone Wars. The clone troopers in the Grand Army had been secretly commissioned by the Sith, and each contained a bio chip with a preprogrammed protocol to eliminate the Jedi, the sworn enemies of the Sith, when the order was given. At the war’s end, Sidious had gained almost total control over the Republic. With his new power, Sidious branded the Jedi as traitors and ordered the clones to execute Order 66, thus destroying the Jedi Order. With the Jedi destroyed, Sidious declared himself Emperor and transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire. Sidious also turned Anakin Skywalker, to the dark side and anointed him Darth Vader.
The Clone Wars
The Clone Wars raged through the galaxy for five years distracting the Jedi into full on war. Sidious was able to hide from the Jedi, as he allowed his apprentice Dooku and General Grievous to lead the war. But Sidious came into battle once the Night Sisters resurrected his former apprentice Darth Maul. As Darth Maul rose in power Sidious came out of hiding and travelled to face Maul and take him out of the picture.
” Remember the only reality of the Sith, there can only be two. And you are no longer my apprentice. You have been replaced!”
Return Of The Jedi
With Luke Skywalker revealed to Sidious he could sense an opportunity for a new apprentice. Using Vader to bring the young Skywalker before him, Sidious used Luke’s hatred to try to turn him to the dark side. But what Sidious did not foresee was the love of Anakin for his son, which left Sidious vulnerable as Vader destroys him. Destroying Sidious meant death also for Vader and with this the Sith were destroyed.
With most villains these days lack the character development that Sidious had. But in my mind Sidious was the ultimate and even Snoke from the new saga films has a lot to live up to. Even as Rogue One approaches, I know Sidious does not appear in the film. but his presence will be felt.
Sidious was played wickedly by Ian McDiarmid, who I’ve met once. Strangely in real life he holds the stance of Sidious and was a fan’s dream come true to meet this legend.