No one can argue the fact that Emperor Palpatine is an amazing big baddie in the Star Wars films. If there was ever a man who liked to monologue, mansplain, and give a good old-fashioned rundown of events to supposedly inept heroes, it is Palpatine (and the incredible Ian McDiarmid) who has been doing it successfully since 1980.
Palpatine has uttered more than his fair share of quotable one-liners over the years, and they span his early career as a Senator, right up to his self-installment as Emperor and beyond.
Updated by Derek Draven, May 4th, 2020: We’ve added ten more entries into our list that showcase some of Palpatine’s most wicked and diabolical quotes, for a total of 15. Each entry stands on its own as a testament to the sheer evil that made him who he was.
Updated October 30th by Rhys McGinley: Since 1983, The Emperor, also known as Sheev Palpatine and Darth Sidious, has been inducing fear in audiences and has stood as one of the franchise’s greatest villains, with his words being used to make both of these things happen. There have been some fantastic Palpatine quotes throughout the original trilogy, sequel trilogy, and his time in the TV shows. Whether they be fearful declarations or mocking quips at his many enemies, some of the best Palpatine quotes are up there with the best Star Wars quotes ever.
20 When He & Rey Have A Climactic Exchange
“I Am All The Sith.”
For all the rightful criticism surrounding Sidious’ return in The Rise Of Skywalker, the final climactic battle between him and his granddaughter Rey is epic and gave way to some excellent sequel trilogy quotes.
One of Darth Sidious’ best quotes in the exchange comes before what is perhaps Rey’s most iconic line, as Palpatine announces that he holds the power of all the Sith. In terms of pure entertainment, the moment is pretty outstanding, helped, of course, by awesome performances.
19 When He Tells Luke About What Will Be His Undoing
“Your faith in your friends is yours.”
In The Return of the Jedi, poor Luke spends a large portion of the film fighting both his inner demons and the constant drivel of the mad Emperor Palpatine. One of their most famous and most successful bits of banter comes when Luke decides he’s going to speak up for himself and show a little sass.
Looking straight at the Emperor, our cocky hero tells evil incarnate, “Your overconfidence is your weakness.” Without missing a beat, Palpatine replies, “Your faith in your friends is yours.” Both are correct, though neither of them knows who will end up surviving the encounter just yet.
18 When He Tells Anakin An Iconic Story
“Did You Ever Hear The Tragedy Of Darth Plagueis The Wise?”
Many quotes from the prequel trilogy have been meme’d an insane amount, many of which are Palpatine quotes, including the iconic story he tells Anakin as they sit together in Revenge of the Sith.
It is one of the final moments the two share before Anakin falls entirely to the dark side, and it is also one of the most crucial moments in Revenge Of The Sith. This Palpatine quote and moment may be meme’d and joked about, but it is a seriously important and genius move from the Supreme Chancellor as he gets to the final stage of acquiring his new Apprentice.
17 When He Tells Luke Of The Dark Side’s Superiority
“Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the dark side.”
Well, if you wanted to see the Emperor be overconfident, this was it. Using force lightning to push Luke to his limits, as dear old dad Darth Vader looks on, Emperor Palpatine mocks the seemingly defenseless Jedi with these words.
He could be right if it were not for the friends (and family) Luke has worked so hard to cultivate alongside his “feeble” force skills. Luke looks as if he’s about to perish at the hands of the Emperor before Darth Vader steps in to save his son (and the day). That does not mean the Emperor was wrong about Luke’s skills, though.
16 When Luke Gets Let In On Palpatine’s Grand Schemes
“Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.”
This quote (again from Return of the Jedi) looks even more important in light of the recent release and the revelations of The Rise of Skywalker. The Emperor’s plans went far beyond the trap he set for the rebels on the forest moon of Endor.
Obviously, he planned, and shaped, and molded much of the life of the Skywalker/Solo family as a whole. These words, spoken to Luke, could very well have been repeated to Kylo Ren in the opening moments of the newest film. He may be overconfident, but Palpatine was more right than even he knew at the time.
15 When He Gives Up Trying To Turn Luke
“So be it… Jedi.”
Has the word “Jedi” ever been spoken with so much disdain? As if calling Luke the most insulting name in the entire galaxy, Palpatine spits this insult before preparing to end the young hero’s life on the Second Death Star.
Fans wonder how long Palpatine has waited to spit the word at those around him. Consider how polite and cordial he had to be for so many years working in the Senate alongside the Jedi Council. It’s as if he was rolling his eyes in his head every time he had to speak to Master Yoda or Master Windu, and all the malice has finally been allowed to come out.
14 When He Debuts & Reveals The Existence Of Another Skywalker
“There is a great disturbance in the Force.”
This is the earliest great Emperor quote, having been spoken to Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. For the first time, Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader get to discuss Luke Skywalker, the young rebel pilot who destroyed the Death Star.
But even out of context, this quote resonates across the entire Skywalker saga. This is far from the first time that the family line has made a ripple in the greater powers across the galaxy. It might be Palpatine’s quote, but it could just as well be the Skywalker family motto.
13 When He Lambasts Luke’s Lack Of Vision
“Young fool. Only now, at the end, do you understand.”
Again, Palpatine really gets going when he’s about to murder someone. A lot of his best lines come from the moment he is standing above Luke’s battered body prepared to end the last Jedi’s life. A lot of the excellence of these lines comes from Ian McDiarmid’s Shakespearian delivery.
Who can watch Luke writhe on the floor in agony and listen to the Emperor call him a fool without feeling their heart clench at the inevitability the resounds in the delivery of the sentiment? The Emperor’s overconfidence is certainly clear, he does not sound worried at all, only as if he were remarking on the inevitable.
12 When He Refutes Luke’s Claims Of Being Mistaken
“Oh, no, my young Jedi. You will find that it is you who are mistaken, about a great many things.”
So, Luke has just entered the throne room and his first words to the Emperor? “You are gravely mistaken,” he says when the Emperor claims Luke will soon call him master. Well, fans certainly respect Luke’s fearlessness at this moment.
However, he just met the Emperor and does not yet understand that Palpatine always has an answer for any sass that comes his way. Luke doesn’t know yet about the trap on Endor, or that the Rebel Fleet is also expected. But the Emperor knows, and he wants Luke (and the audience) to understand he still holds all the cards as one of Star Wars’ most intelligent villains.
11 When He Tells Rey & Kylo That They Are Doomed
“Long have I waited, and now your coming together is your undoing.”
There are a few memorable Darth Sidious quotes from The Rise of Skywalker despite all the movie’s issues. “Long have I waited,” is one and is really the understatement of the century for Palpatine.
He always did see relationships as weaknesses in those around him. Here he understands the power of two, the dyad of Kylo and Rey, but only as a commodity he can take, he still misunderstands the relationship aspect and thus is once again unprepared to be defeated.
10 When He Tells Anakin About The Dark Side
“The Dark Side Of The Force Is A Pathway To Many Abilities Some Consider To Be Unnatural.”
A quote that has become so beloved by prequel fans and then reappeared in The Rise Of Skywalker as something for those fans to enjoy, this is one of the best Palpatine quotes, delivered flawlessly by Ian McDiarmid.
It is here where Palpatine truly gets Anakin’s mind thinking about the possibilities of saving Padmé using the dark side, making it one of the essential steps in Palpatine’s evil plan. In hindsight, the quote looks incredibly sad; Anakin was not evil at heart but was so manipulated by Palpatine.
9 When He Points Out That He Is Hard To Kill
“I have died before.”
In The Rise of Skywalker, Emperor Palpatine doesn’t waste much time before appearing to viewers and Kylo Ren. Ren’s first reaction to the Emperor’s appearance is to threaten Palpatine’s life. “I have died before,” the Emperor replies.
It’s creepy, cryptic, and true and it also sets up a lot of questions and a lot of excitement in those first few moments of the film. It’s a great Palpatine line, whether or not some viewers ever feel invested in the payoff before the movie ends.
8 When He Comments On The End Of The Skywalker Saga
“This will be the final word in the story of Skywalker.”
Villains are known for learning little over time and even less from their mistakes; this particular quote from Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker really sums up the Sith Lord’s life. Since the beginning, he has struggled and schemed to control the Skywalker line and has always enjoyed a monologue.
Here it all comes together as he claims success in his plan and his life and as a person. But, as all villains fail to realize, he is the sorely mistaken one, though it is fun to watch his continued obliviousness even so many years later.
7 When He Shows His Intelligence Through Sarcasm
“Oh, I’m afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive!”
The Rebel Alliance thought they could repeat the victory they scored against the first Death Star by destroying the second, but their captured intel was actually a ruse designed to lure them into a trap at Endor.
Palpatine revealed his master plan to an unsuspecting Luke who believed the rebels had the upper hand. Palpatine was laying in wait for Solo and his strike team to assault the shield generator, only to be captured. For a moment, the attacking Rebel fleet was left without a fighting chance, before the tide turned.
6 When The Disguised Sith Shows His Ruthlessness
“Wipe them out. All of them!”
A simple blockade of the planet Naboo would end up having long-lasting ramifications for the politics of the Republic Senate, allowing Palpatine to grasp a nomination for Supreme Chancellor, later winning after a no-confidence vote against his predecessor.
With his plans coming to fruition, Palpatine ordered his Trade Federation flunkies to launch an assault on Naboo’s capital city of Theed, with no regard for the lives that would be lost. Such an attack would later give him justification for sparking the Clone Wars; a vehicle for the final act of his plan.
5 When He Battles Maul***
“There Is No Mercy.”
Palpatine’s time in The Clone Wars should not be overlooked. Throughout the seven seasons of the adored show, the soon-to-be Emperor has so many fantastic quotes, including this chilling line in “The Lawless.”
After having an exhilarating duel with Maul and his brother Savage, killing the latter, Palpatine toys with Maul and bombards him with a barrage of Force lightning. Knowing Palpatine could end his existence of suffering at any moment, Maul begs for mercy, to which Palpatine, played expertly by the late Ian Abercrombie, denies with an excellent and chilling Darth Sidious quote.
4 His Final Words
“Now Young Skywalker, You Will Die.”
Return Of The Jedi‘s climax on the Death Star with Luke, Vader, and the Emperor is just a barrage of excellent quotes and emotional moments. Every Emperor quote in the sequences is gold, including his final words.
The Emperor unleashes his wrath on a helpless Luke and toys with the Jedi before deciding to end him once and for all. Ian McDiarmid delivers this terrifying Emperor quote and unleashes his final attack on Luke, prompting Anakin Skywalker to return and save his son. It is one of Star Wars’ most perfect moments showcasing the bravery of both Luke and Anakin Skywalker, and giving audiences a feel-good, fist-pumping experience.
3 When He Breaks The Hearts Of Prequel Trilogy Fans
“Execute Order Sixty-Six!”
This quote will live in infamy as the single-most devastating blow the galaxy has ever faced as Palpatine kicked the final phase of a decades-long plan into effect.
After his corrupted pupil Anakin Skywalker saved him from certain death at the hand of Mace Windu, Palpatine retaliated with Order 66, forcing his army of clones to turn on the Jedi and massacre them. The majority of the clones were not able to disobey the order due to an inhibitor chip placed in their brains, but a few such as Rex managed to overcome the conditioning and rebel.
2 When He Declares That Both Skywalker’s Belong To Him
“You, like your father, are now…mine!”
Palpatine knew how to corrupt the good and manage to turn them to evil. He did it once with Anakin, and he would later attempt the same with Luke Skywalker. As the battle between the Empire and the Rebellion waged both on land and in space, Luke was forced to endure the taunts of Palpatine, who kept trying to trigger his anger and cause him to embrace the Dark Side.
Luke resisted multiple times, but as his confidence cracked and his despair grew, Palpatine played on it, proudly proclaiming that his control over Luke was now just as formidable as the power he held over Darth Vader.
1 When He Gets The Upper Hand Against Windu
“Power! Unlimited power!”
When Mace Windu, Agen Kolar, Saesee Tiin, and Kit Fisto arrived to arrest the Chancellor, he cut through the latter three with no difficulty before engaging his final opponent.
Windu managed to gain the upper hand thanks to his lightsaber-style Vaapad (which flirts with the dark side), before being stopped by Anakin. Realizing his pupil had finally been corrupted, he unleashed his rage into Windu whilst screaming this maniacal line, one of Palpatine’s best quotes.
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