?Excellent. Everything is going as planned.?
How can you not love a carefully planned revenge? Even if it kills all the heroes and throws the galaxy into darkness? That is what Palpatine achieved.
Let?s break this master plan down.
Becoming a Sith Master
Young Palpatine and Darth Plagueis
Palpatine was Darth Sidious. He was a Sith Apprentice. His Master was Darth Plagueis, the wise.
A long time ago, the Sith decided to create the rule of two.
MACE WINDU : There is no doubt. The mysterious warrior was a Sith.YODA : Always two there are?.no more?no less. A master and anapprentice.
Apparently, the Sith kept destroying each other and their defeats always came through inner conflict. Darth Bane created the Rule of Two. This way, there would always be one master and one apprentice. When the apprentice?s power surpassed that of the master, it was his obligation to kill the master and find a new apprentice. That would ensure the perpetuation of the Sith doctrine. Also, after each generation, the Sith would become more powerful.
Darth Sidious simply fulfilled the Sith ways. As soon as he knew he became more powerful that Darth Plagues, he killed his master in his sleep.
PALPATINE: He became so powerful . . . the only thing he was afraid of was losing his power, which eventually, of course, he did. Unfortunately, he taught his apprentice everything he knew, then his apprentice killed him in his sleep. (smiles) Plagueis never saw it coming. It?s ironic he could save others from death, but not himself.
Finding a New Apprentice
Sidious and Maul
Darth Sidious? nature is that of a puppet master. He operates in the background. He never gets his hands dirty, unless it is unavoidable.
Therefore, he took an apprentice who is hands-on. Darth Maul is a Sith Assassin. A martial artist. Someone filled with aggression and hatred.
Revenge for What?
REVENGE of the Sith
According to Jedi Master Ki-Adi Mundi, there had been no news on the Sith for a thousand years. They were extinct.
They were extinguished by the Jedi, by their own internal conflicts and by Darth Bane, once he decided to rule through the Rule of Two.
QUI-GON : ?my only conclusion can be that it was a Sith Lord.MACE WINDU : A Sith Lord?!?KI-ADI : Impossible! The Sith have been extinct for a millennium.YODA : The very Republic is threatened, if involved the Sith are.MACE WINDU : I do not believe they could have returned without us knowing.YODA : Hard to see, the dark side is. Discover who this assassin is, wemust.
The Sith wanted revenge against the Jedi, against the Republic. This revenge was cooked for a thousand years. Until Palpatine was ready to strike.
Becoming Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic
Creating Turmoil at His Home Planet
The opening crawl has its uses.
Palpatine invested in his political career until he became a Senator of Naboo, his home planet.
In the background he associated himself, as Darth Sidious, with the Trade Federation. These guys are economically important. Let?s talk about economics later.
The Senate decided to tax the trade routes to outlying star systems, such as Naboo. The Senate already was under the influence of Palpatine. Surely, he was involved in creating the new taxation.
DOOKU : The truth. What if I told you that the Republic is now under the control of the Dark Lords of the Sith?KENOBI : No, that?s not possible! The Jedi would be aware it!DOOKU : The Dark Side of the Force has clouded their vision, my friend. Hundreds of senators are now under the influence of a Sith Lord called Darth Sidious.KENOBI : I don?t believe you.
The Trade Federation now is angry and Darth Sidious approaches them to help out. How nice of him.
Sidious suggests them to blockade Naboo. No shipments shall enter or leave the system.
Manipulating the Queen
Vote of no confidence.
Queen Amidala of Naboo is 14 years old. Palpatine is sure he can manipulate her. That was not so easy.
Also, not every single detail went on as he expected. Starting with Chancellor Valorum dispatching two Jedi Knights as ambassadors to solve the crisis. That was unexpected. Sidious ordered the Trade Federation to kill them, in which they failed.
He also ordered the Trade Federation to occupy the planet.
This part of the plan is the most questioned by fans that criticize Episode I. What?s up with the treaty? Once the Trade Federation occupies Naboo, the Queen must sign a treaty that will make the occupation official, making it legal.
However, if the treaty is signed, the crisis is ?solved?. Palpatine would not get the ?vote of no confidence? he wanted Amidala to issue. The lack of solution to the crisis was fundamental to take Chancellor Valorum down.
So, why does he insist so much? Let?s see how obsessed with the treaty everybody is.
BIBBLE : ?how will you explain this invasion to the Senate?NUTE : The Naboo and the Federation will forge a treaty that willlegitimize our occupation here. I?ve been assured it will be ratified bythe Senate.
QUI-GON : That won?t be a problem. (to Amidala) Your Highness, under thecircumstances, I suggest you come to Coruscant with us.AMIDALA : Thank you, Ambassador, but my place is here with my people.QUI-GON : They will kill you if you stay.BIBBLE : They wouldn?t dare.CAPT. PANAKA : They need her to sign a treaty to make this invasion oftheirs legal. They can?t afford to kill her.QUI-GON : The situation here is not what it seems. There is something elsebehind all this, Your Highness. There is no logic in the Federation?s movehere. My feelings tell me they will destroy you.
The fact that Qui-Gon acknowledges that there is no logic in this is a signal that indeed the treaty meant nothing.
NUTE : We control all the cities in the North and are searching for anyother settlements?DARTH SIDIOUS : Destroy all high-ranking officials, Viceroy?slowly?quietly. And Queen Amidala, has she signed the treaty?NUTE : She has disappeared, My Lord. One Naboo cruiser got past theblockade.DARTH SIDIOUS : Viceroy, find her! I want that treaty signed.NUTE : My Lord, it?s impossible to locate the ship. It?s out of our range.DARTH SIDIOUS : ?not for a Sith?
Sidious insists that the Trade Federation must get the treaty signed at all costs.
DARTH MAUL : Tatooine is sparsely populated. If the trace was correct, Iwill find them quickly, Master.DARTH SIDIOUS : Move against the Jedi first?you will then have nodifficulty taking the Queen back to Naboo, where she will sign the treaty.DARTH MAUL : At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we willhave revenge.DARTH SIDIOUS : You have been well trained, my young apprentice, they will be no match for you. It is too late for them to stop us now. Everything isgoing as planned. The Republic will soon be in my command.
Now, even talking to his Sith Apprentice, Sidious is still focused on the treaty.
This exchange also reinforces the REVENGE aspect. That is the ultimate goal. All the rest are tools to achieve the final objective.
Also, it shows that Sidious still feels everything is going as planned. He is not concerned that the treaty still hasn?t been signed.
AMIDALA : With the Senate in transition, there is nothing more I can dohere?Senator, this is your arena. I feel I must return to mine. I havedecided to go back to Naboo. My place is with my people.PALPATINE : Go back? But, Your Majesty, be realistic! You would be indanger. They will force you to sign the treaty.AMIDALA : I will sign no treaty, Senator. My fate will be no different fromthat of our people. Captain!
This part maybe explains it. Perhaps Palpatine is so in control of everything, maybe he already knows Queen Amidala so well, that he is 100% sure that she will never sign the treaty under any circumstance. So, he pushes everyone in the direction of the treaty. He wants this crisis to go on forever, until he can use it in his favor.
This happens when she arrives in Coruscant. She speaks to the Senate. The Senate is so corrupt and filled with bureaucracy that they are incapable of solving anything in a practical way. Democracy has its problems, and Palpatine wants to eradicate it.
Palpatine finds his opportunity window.
PALPATINE : ?the Republic is not what it once was. The Senate is full ofgreedy, squabbling delegates who are only looking out for themselves andtheir home sytems. There is no interest in the common good?no civility,only politics?it?s disgusting. I must be frank, Your Majesty, there islittle chance the Senate will act on the invasion.AMIDALA : Chancellor Valorum seems to think there is hope.PALPATINE : If I may say so, Your Majesty, the Chancellor has little realpower?he is mired down by baseless accusations of corruption. Amanufactured scandal surrounds him. The bureaucrats are in charge now.AMIDALA : What options do we have?PALPATINE : Our best choice would be to push for the election of a strongerSupreme Chancellor. One who will take control of the bureaucrats, enforcethe laws, and give us justice. You could call for a vote of no confidencein Chancellor Valorum.AMIDALA : He has been our strongest supporter. Is there any other way?PALPATINE : Our only other choice would to be to submit a plea to thecourts?AMIDALA : There?s no time for that. The courts take even longer to decidethings than the Senate. Our people are dying, Senator?more and more eachday. We must do something quickly to stop the Federation.PALPATINE : To be realistic, Your Highness, I?d say we?re going to have toaccept Federation control for the time being.AMIDALA : That is something I cannot do.
Queen Amidala issues her Vote of No Confidence. Chancellor Valorum is impeached. Palpatine wins the election. The whole Naboo crisis has resulted in many sympathy votes for Senator Palpatine.
Palpatine becomes Chancellor. Another step of the plan is completed!
Darth Sidious and Darth Tyrannus
The next step is to create a war. An external enemy that will unite the people. His new Sith apprentice must be someone who can play the role of a charismatic leader. Count Dooku, a former Jedi, would fit in just right.
Dooku established the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Many planets joined. Those that were unhappy with the Republic, its bureaucracy and its lack of power to solve issues. It is easy to imagine that many other crises similar to the Naboo one were created. Palpatine ensured that the Senate became as ineffective as possible.
Creating an Army
This next step is a little bit more complicated. The Republic has no army that answers to it. The Jedi are the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy. However, they don?t answer to the Chancellor. They answer to the Senate. They don?t take direct orders from anyone. They are an independent force that collaborates with the Republic.
How can a single Sith Lord and his apprentice deal with 10,000 Jedi that are around the galaxy? Get a numerous army, of course.
Here is how the pieces are set on the board:
- Convince Sifo-Dyas to order a Clone Army. This part, according to the Expanded Universe (Legends), is done by Darth Plagueis.
- Dooku kills Sifo-Dyas.
- Dooku becomes the contact with the Kaminoans.
- Dooku enlists Jango Fett to be the genetic source for the army.
- Erase Kamino from the Jedi Library.
- Plant Order 66 in the clones? programming.
Weakening the Jedi
Few Jedi survived the Battle of Geonosis
There still isn?t a war between the Republic and the Confederacy, but there is a lot of unrest in the galaxy, with planets seceding every day.
The Jedi can?t cover the whole galaxy at the same time. They are already overwhelmed and spread thin.
Palpatine proposes to the Senate that an army is created, to do what the Jedi cannot: maintain peace, justice and security in the Republic. Another crisis is created, to ensure he can manipulate people into doing what he wants.
After the droid factory is discovered at Geonosis, 200 Jedi are dispatched there, after Palpatine suggests it to Master Yoda and Mace Windu. Almost all of those die.
After the clone army becomes the Grand Army of the Galactic Republic, even the Jedi think it is best to use them in the Battle of Geonosis.
Making the Army Official
To keep his invisibility and his role, it is important to Palpatine that he gets what he wants. However, it has to look like it is not his idea.
He just needs the Confederacy to keep worrying the Republic. He needs the tension to increase. But again, he does not want the crisis to be solved. He wants to make it last as much as possible, in a way that the only solution is giving him emergency powers. With that, he can rule without interference from the Senate.
Events in Episode 2 allow him exactly that.
- The Trade Federation agrees to support the Confederacy if they can kill Amidala.
- Dooku hires Jango Fett and Zam Wessel to do it, but they fail in killing her.
- The Jedi conduct an investigation on the assassination attempt. This leads them to discover the existence of the clone army and the existence of the droid factory. The Confederacy is getting ready for war. The situation is urgent.
Now is the time for Palpatine to make his move. It is clear that the Republic needs an army. It is also clear that the Senate will take forever to approve the clone army. It?s manipulation time!
PALPATINE : But what senator would have the courage to propose such a radical amendment??
JAR JAR : In response to the direct threat to the Republic from the Confederacy of Independent Systems, I propose that the Senate gives immediate emergency powers to the Supreme Chancellor.
Here is another Star Wars lesson for you: politics aren?t for the innocent. Poor Jar Jar.
PALPATINE : And as my first act with this new authority, I will create a grand army of the Republic to counter the increasing threats of the Separatists.
The Chancellor now has emergency powers and an army. To the general population, none of the two was Palpatine?s idea. Brilliant!
The Definitive Apprentice
?Henceforth you shall be known as Darth Vader?
In the Expanded Universe (Legends), it is suggested that Anakin is the result of midi-chlorian manipulation by Darth Plagueis. That is why Anakin has no father.
This would indicate that Palpatine was always aware of Anakin and of his potential. It would only be a matter of waiting for the right time.
If you want to ignore that, it is also fine. Palpatine feels Anakin is going to become the most powerful Jedi ever. Palpatine wants this power brought into the Sith Order.
DARTH SIDIOUS : Darth Vader will become more powerful than either of us!
His influence over Anakin starts at their first encounter in Naboo.
PALPATINE : And you, young Skywalker; we shall watch your career with great interest.
He becomes close to Anakin, a counselor, a father figure he never had. Palpatine knows his weaknesses. It is Palpatine who suggests the Jedi Council to place Obi-Wan and Anakin in charge of protecting Amidala after the first assassination attempt. Getting Anakin and Padme together will feed his feelings for her, putting him in an uncomfortable situation with the Jedi.
The other weak spot is Anakin?s mother. I find it odd that it was never made clear in the movies that Palpatine was involved in the Sand People capturing and torturing Shmi to death. That would only make sense.
Palpatine also kept convincing Anakin of how special he was, how the Jedi were holding him back. How the Jedi were envious of him and his capabilities.
Palpatine pushes Anakin to kill Dooku.
Anakin confided in Palpatine.
PALPATINE : It is only natural. He cut off your arm, and you wanted revenge. It wasn?t the first time, Anakin. Remember what you told me about your mother and the Sand People.
PALPATINE: Anakin, I?ve known you since you were a small boy. I have advised you over the years when I could ? I am very proud of your accomplishments. You have won many battles the Jedi Council thought were lost . . . and you saved my life. I hope you trust me, Anakin.
Palpatine finally puts Anakin in an even more uncomfortable position between him and the Jedi Council.
PALPATINE : Nevertheless, their actions will speak more loudly than their words. I?m depending on you.ANAKIN : For what? I don?t understand.PALPATINE : To be the eyes, ears, and voice of the Republic . . .ANAKIN thinks about this.PALPATINE : (continuing) Anakin . . . I?m appointing you to be my personal representative on the Jedi Council.
The Council approves Anakin?s presence in the Council, but don?t grant him the title of Master. Anakin is again unhappy with the Jedi Order.
Palpatine also convinces Anakin that the Jedi are plotting to overthrow the Government and take control of the Republic. The Jedi, of course, play that role very well. They are too deep into the war, into politics. They lost their ways, making Sidious? plan even easier.
Palpatine reveals himself as Darth Sidious to Anakin. Palpatine already has everything planned. He knows of his secret marriage with Padme. He knows she is pregnant. He knows he is dreaming that she is going to die. He uses it to turn Anakin.
Eliminating the Main Threat, the Jedi
At first, Anakin does what is right. He reports to Mace Windu that Palpatine is the Sith Lord they have been looking for.
Mace Windu arrives to arrest the Chancellor. But Darth Sidious is finally ready to get his hands dirty. He destroys the Jedi party, but is almost defeated by Mace Windu. Actually, he fakes being almost defeated by Mace Windu, just to play with Anakin?s feelings.
The Jedi have entered his office to either arrest or kill him. The scenario is set. Palpatine?s story has its evidence. The Jedi are trying to take over the Republic. Even Anakin believes in this version.
Palpatine offers Anakin the power to save his wife and kid. He takes it. He didn?t like the Jedi that much anyway. Because of the Jedi ways, he lost his mother. When he talked to Yoda about his dreams of Padme?s death, Yoda?s counsel was to ?let her go?. He had tasted fear and anger and it tasted good. It boosted his power. Made him feel invincible. The Dark Side of the Force is a drug.
YODA : If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan?s apprentice.
The continuity of the Sith is guaranteed. Palpatine?s apprentice is the most powerful Force user in the galaxy. The Sith will rule forever.
Anakin kills Mace Windu and becomes Darth Vader.
In the process, Darth Sidious lets his face be burnt on purpose, I believe, to gather more sympathy from the Senate. Every single detail matters in the Master Plan.
Palpatine issues Order 66. All clones shall kill their Jedi Generals, traitors of the Republic, currently on the field. Order 66 was planted in the clones? brains from the very beginning.
Darth Vader enters the Jedi Temple with the 501st Legion and wipes out the Jedi there, even the kids.
The main threat is gone.
The Clone Wars almost comes to a close after Dooku dies. But Palpatine must ensure once again that the crisis never stops, so he can keep his dictatorial powers and, if possible, make them definitive.
MACE WlNDU : Chancellor Palpatine, what a welcome sight! Are you all right?PALPATINE : Yes, thanks to your two Jedi Knights. They killed Count Dooku, but General Grievous has escaped once again.MACE WlNDU : General Grievous will run and hide as he always does. He is a coward.PALPATINE : That may be true, but with Count Dooku dead, he is the leader of the Droid Army, and I assure you, the Senate will vote to continue the war as long as Grievous is alive.
The war continues. Obi-Wan finally kills General Grievous. Mission accomplished.
Order 66 comes, the Jedi are eliminated. It is time for the final political move. Palpatine addresses the Senate.
PALPATINE : The Jedi rebellion has been foiled. The remaining Jedi will be hunted down and defeated. The attempt on my life has left me scarred and deformed. But, I assure you, my resolve has never been stronger. In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire for a safe and secure society.
Padme saw just fine what was happening.
Winning the Clone Wars
I think it is quite easy to win a war when you are the leader of both sides.
However, there is an interesting aspect of this war.
Palpatine ensured that all the big corporations aligned themselves with the Confederacy:
- Corporate Alliance
- Trade Federation
- Commerce Guild
- Intergalactic Banking Clan
- Techno Union
After both Dooku and Grievous were dead, Vader easily took down the leaders of these groups.
Notice how all these leaders are aliens.
Some people say that Hitler focused so much on the Jews because they were the most prominent business owners and had the largest fortunes in Germany.
I understand the analogy applies here. These ?aliens? were among the wealthiest in the galaxy and, by eliminating them and taking over their assets, it ensured economic stability to the Empire.
It shall also be considered if Palpatine really was or was not an alienphobic, but that is another story.
The Force Is a Strong Ally
Darth Vader?s reconstruction
At this time, darkness was taking over the galaxy. Palpatine?s plans were working. The Dark Side of the Force was rising. As a bonus, it also ?clouds everything? for the Jedi.
YODA : Blind we are, if the creation of this clone army we could not see.WINDU : I think it is time we informed the Senate that our ability to use the Force has diminished.YODA : Only the Dark Lords of the Sith know of our weakness. If informed, the Senate is, multiply, our adversaries will.
The Force was sided with Palpatine. The more he climbed, the stronger he got and the weaker his enemies got.
Also, how ?lucky? it is that Darth Vader ends up killing his own wife? Surely, Palpatine already had a plan for her. He could never have total control over Vader while she was alive.
The fact that Obi-Wan debilitated Vader might also have been good at the end. There are multiple interpretations here. A weak Vader could never defeat the Emperor alone, which is good for Palpatine. On the other hand, the Sith thrive on having each generation being more powerful than the previous one. In this case, a weaker Vader is disappointing to Palpatine. In both cases, the providence of the Force put Vader entirely in his hands.
Getting Rid of the Senate
Surely there were Senators who opposed the absolutist powers of Emperor Palpatine. We already see them in Episode III.
His move to get rid of the Senate was first seen in Episode II.
The Emperor had to put up with the annoying Senate for 32 years. Until the ultimate weapon was ready.
TAGGE : The Rebellion will continue to gain a support in the Imperial Senate, until?TARKIN : [walking in with Darth Vader] The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I have just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.TAGGE : That?s impossible! How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?TARKIN : The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station.
Everything went according to the plan until, of course, a certain farm boy blew up the Death Star. It all went downhill after that.
By the way, do you know what ?master plan? does not make much sense? Luke?s plan to rescue Han Solo in Episode 6!
What Have I Learned
It is fascinating that one of Palpatine?s main tools was patience. Patience is a Jedi tool. Some parts of Palpatine?s plan took years. The Revenge of the Sith itself took one thousand years. Be patient!
Star Wars is also a fable that teaches history. There are many analogies between the rise of Palpatine and the rise of Hitler. Every step can be matched with something that really happened: forming an army, labeling an external enemy to unite people, extend the war effort indefinitely to make people feel insecure. Spread terror and manipulation.
Some things in life we can control, but most things we cannot. Focus on what you can control directly. For things you cannot control, just be ready, be prepared.
?Luck favors the prepared,? Louis Pasteur said.
KENOBI : In my experience, there is no such thing as luck.
?The Force favors the prepared,? Obi-Wan would say.