Few beings in the Star Wars universe can claim to have influenced and shaped the galaxy as much as Sheev Palpatine. The Emperor began his career as a seemingly kind and modest public servant. He showed that face to most of the galaxy, but he was so much more than a mere Senator of Naboo. After removing his master Darth Plagueis from the picture, Palpatine invested in a long-term plan. Because he carefully maneuvered pawns into place and twisted any and every situation to his favor, he rose through the ranks and was able to hide his Sith identity.
Palpatine’s patience and flexibility paid off as he coaxed the galaxy into war and then rescued it. The Emperor who formed the Imperial Senate was viewed as a savior of sorts. He stopped the all-powerful Jedi and brought peace to planets ravaged by the Clone Wars. It would be years before a meaningful number of citizens raised an eyebrow at Palpatine and his Empire and started fighting back. But even with the formation of the Rebel Alliance and the destruction of the first Death Star, Palpatine never stopped playing the game.
The actions of Palpatine ultimately caused a tremendous amount of devastation, hardship, and loss, but to serve his ultimate plan, he made intelligent decisions along the way. Here are five times Palpatine was right:
1. Recruiting Count Dooku
After the unexpected loss of his apprentice Darth Maul, Palpatine recruited Count Dooku and dubbed him Darth Tyranus. Dooku was a former Jedi and that, combined with his position as Count of Serenno, made him an ideal candidate. He was key to making the clone army come to fruition and to leading the Separatists. His ego also likely made him easier to manipulate.
2. Creating the Grand Army of the Republic
Peaceful times arguably mean that no standing army is needed, but it sure seems like a wise idea to have one ready just in case. Sure, the Jedi Order was on hand to keep the peace, but there were only so many of them and they weren’t organized and focused in the same way as a military organization. Palpatine’s movement to have an army was selfish, yes, but maybe not the worst idea.
3. Befriending Anakin Skywalker
Anakin Skywalker played a key part in Palpatine’s vision — he was perhaps the most important element. Palpatine knew just how to play his cards with the Chosen One from the first time he encountered him in The Phantom Menace. The fact that Palpatine had his eye on Anakin all along didn’t guarantee he could successfully turn the Jedi to the dark side though. Palpatine was deliberate and cautious, and he molded Anakin into the apprentice he wanted and needed masterfully.
4. Wiping out the Separatist leaders
After Anakin swore allegiance to Palpatine, the Emperor made moves to cover his tracks. One such move was clearing the slate by getting rid of the Separatist leaders. Their presence would have only hindered Palpatine’s new “peaceful” direction with the Imperial Senate and having them killed help put the nails in the coffin of the Clone Wars.
5. Dissolving the Imperial Senate
It took Palpatine a long time to take complete control, and the final straw was eliminating the Imperial Senate. He planned to disband the government organization once the Death Star was operational, but when the plans were stolen, he used the situation to his advantage by accurately pointing out a senator supported the Rebellion. This allowed him to rule the galaxy through select Imperial officers and granted him unchecked power.