10 Unmistakable Emperor Palpatine Character Traits In Star Wars – Screen Rant

Emperor Palpatine was a Sith Lord who pulled off the impossible, all due to a mixture of nefarious character traits that made him the monster he was.
Emperor Palpatine is one of the most recognizable villains in pop culture history, and a major character in the Star Wars universe. He established his own notoriety and popularity thanks to a series of specific character traits that set him aside from his fellow Sith Lords.
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As Darth Sidious, the man known as Palpatine schemed his way up the bureaucratic ladder to become Emperor of the known galaxy. The character traits that got him there are worthy of mention, and many of them paint a larger, and far more chilling picture of the seemingly innocent man who hailed from the peaceful planet of Naboo.
Perhaps due to his own inherent sadism, Palpatine possessed a rather tenacious laugh that he would unleash during moments of conflict. He tended to do this in order to give his enemies an impression of strength, or to demoralize them when he gained the upper hand.
Aside from battle, Palpatine took great delight in watching his enemies lose their confidence. He viewed it as a signal that his own power was having an effect on their minds, and that in itself was enough to make him cackle in glee. This type of trait is what made Palpatine one of the greatest legends in Sith history.
Palpatine has one of the most peculiar accents of any pop culture villain, driven partially by actor Ian McDiarmid. Though the actor has a signature voice that is easily identifiable to fans of Star Wars, he chose to accentuate and embellish it greatly for the Palpatine persona.
As such, the character speaks with a greatly exaggerated dialect, particularly when pronouncing words with the letter “s” in them. This, mixed with Palpatine’s foreboding and evil persona helps establish his character, and separate it from other big-screen bad guys.
An exceptional Force user, Palpatine represented the pinnacle of dark side power, and he had a particular skill when it came to foresight. Though he knew he could not trust in the visions of the Force entirely, he used it as a guide to craft a series of primary plans, and backups, to further his agenda.
With these powers of foresight came a need for him to acknowledge a particular set of risks that could have derailed his plot. Yet, he trusted enough in the Force to become too overconfident in his later years, which led to the Empire’s downfall at the Battle of Endor. Had he been less careless, it would have been another way in which Palpatine’s plan would have succeeded.
There was a time when Palpatine walked around in lavish robes fashioned from the finest tailors, but this was a façade to try and gin up public interest in his persona. In truth, he would rather have donned the signature black robes of the Sith Order, of which he held strict devotion to.
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After Mace Windu failed to kill him, Palpatine seized the opportunity to wear his dark robes to cover his body and face. This was part of a ploy to gain sympathy with the public, which he embellished by walking around with a cane in his later years. The robe became a character trait unto itself, and one that made him instantly recognizable.
Though he was exceptional with a lightsaber, Palpatine disliked having to rely on it for combat. He was far more interested in wielding Force lightning, one of the most powerful dark side Force powers in Star Wars, which he used to torment and murder his foes.
This violent technique allowed Palpatine to embrace his sadism, while catching opponents off guard at the same time. Those who didn’t know how to counter the technique were left screaming in agony, while Palpatine enjoyed every moment of it.
Palpatine never knew an ally that he wouldn’t betray, if it furthered his plan. His manipulative personality allowed him to gain the trust of those around him, even people who knew of his true identity as Darth Sidious. Then, when the moment presented itself, he would cut them loose without a thought.
This was part and parcel of the Sith’s ideology, which encouraged a pupil to kill their master, and take their place. For the average acquaintance, Palpatine thought nothing of letting them die for the sake of his plan, but he wouldn’t do so on a whim; only when it was fruitful.
There are many pop culture villains who have played the long game in their quest for power, but Palpatine easily beats them all. His level of patience was extraordinary, which was hard to fathom, given the Sith’s reliance on anger and passion as the fuel for their schemes.
Even a crippling setback wasn’t enough to deter Palpatine’s will, and in fact, he had contingency plans waiting in the wings for those kinds of failures. To Palpatine, even a large bump in the road was something to be expected, and would require him to shift his plans from time to time.
Palpatine never viewed himself as a villain, but rather, a being above the objective standard of morality itself. Nevertheless, he took exquisite delight in tormenting and torturing his enemies, whether by slow boil, or face-to-face contact.
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The suffering of his foes was something he relished, which definitely marked him as one of the most immoral sadists in the Star Wars universe. Where most Sith Lords killed out of necessity, Palpatine killed for the enjoyment of it.
In Palpatine’s eyes, the galaxy, and indeed, the universe writ large, were better under the control and domination of the Sith. As such, he never viewed himself as a villain, but a hero and a savior. He understood the imperfections of a democratic system, and the corruption that could infect a bureaucracy.
Unfortunately, his own brand of governmental power was something far, far worse. Yet, to Palpatine, it was the beginning of a new direction for the galaxy that focused on order, compartmentalization, and a strict adherence to rigid orthodoxy. Palpatine was even known to be merciful in very rare instances.
Palpatine disliked the idea of dissenting voices, and he pushed for a big government takeover of the entire galaxy. This was fully in line with traditional aspects of fascism, which downplay the notion of individualism in favor of the idea that government can solve every problem, and should be embraced as an authoritative parent.
With this ideology came Palpatine’s agenda to squash anyone who disagreed, or resisted with his orthodoxy. Dissenters were labeled traitors to the State, and regular free-thinking people were suddenly branded as terrorists. When the Rebellion was formed to combat the tyrannical Imperial dictatorship, Palpatine’s first order of business was to spread propaganda in an effort to shore up support for his war effort.
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Derek started writing about video games at age 14 and went on to write for GamePro Magazine and several other prominent outlets. He now brings his veteran pop culture XP to ScreenRant.


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