You’re probably wondering how Sheev Palpatine evolved from a galactic citizen on Naboo to becoming the most feared Sith Lord in Star Wars. Palpatine’s descent to the dark side is a tragic tale, and it ended with him committing an unspeakable act to become a Sith.
Palpatine discovered the Sith Doctrine and believed its claim that power was the most important commodity in the galaxy. He awaited the arrival of a Sith Lord who could train him in the dark side of the Force and someday achieve the power he sought.
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How Did Palpatine Become a Sith?
In The Phantom Menace, the Galactic Senate elected Palpatine as Chancellor, unaware he was the Sith Lord that later ignited the Clone Wars in 22 BBY. Palpatine used the conflict to end the Jedi Order, transformed the galaxy into the Galactic Empire, and declared himself Emperor.
But Palpatine’s descent into the dark side and later the Sith occurred in his childhood.
Palpatine initially didn’t know what the Force was. He only felt a pull toward a Sith Doctrine whose content he agreed with. This led him to purchase Sith artifacts and come across a Muun businessman he knew as Hego Damask II.
However, Damask was more than an interstellar businessman. He was an immortality-seeking Dark Lord of the Sith, looking for an apprentice. And he offered Palpatine to become that apprentice. Palpatine accepted, and became secretly known as Darth Sidious.
But what was it that drew Palpatine to the Sith? Who was this mysterious Hego Damask II? Keep reading to discover why Palpatine became a Sith, his primary motive, and Damask’s true identity.
Why Did Palpatine Become a Sith?
The novel Darth Plagueis tells us that Palpatine’s descent to the Sith began during his childhood. You can call him narcissistic since he felt he was head and shoulders above others his age. And his superiority complex further extended to his family.
Palpatine believed himself more intelligent; he believed he was better than everyone at everything. However, he never knew why he felt this way.
Coming from a well-off family, Palpatine knew he had the necessary resources to form connections and obtain power.
Initially, he tried to talk his father into becoming more influential in galactic politics. This, Palpatine believed, would in time give his family and by extension himself more prominence. First in his homeworld of Naboo, then throughout the galaxy.
Unfortunately for Palpatine, his father was not interested in gaining influence in political spheres.
Palpatine hated his entire family, as he blamed his mother for enabling his father into complacency. Not long after this hatred developed, Palpatine discovered the Sith Doctrine, which fascinated him upon reading it.
Obsessed with the Sith, Palpatine bought into the doctrine’s message that power was more important than anything else. While he heard the Sith were extinct, Palpatine thought otherwise and he believed a Sith Lord would come to him on Naboo.
Knowing what we know about Palpatine’s childhood, we can conclude his belief that he was better than everyone led him to his desire for power.
And upon reading the Sith Doctrine and his subsequent obsession with the Sith Order, he believed the Sith was the fastest way to attain his desired power.
Who Trained Palpatine To Be Sith?
Not long after, a Sith Lord named under the alias Hego Damask II arrived and found Palpatine. However, despite Palpatine’s obsession with the Sith, Damask did not sense the Force inside his future student. In fact, he sensed nothing in Palpatine but a “shadow in the Force.”
Intrigued, Damask recalled a vision his master, Darth Tenebrous, had, of a future Sith Lord shrouded in a mysterious dark shadow. This Sith Lord would be the one to rise and take over the galaxy for the Sith.
Damask and Palpatine became friends, much to the dismay of Palpatine’s father. The latter tried to stop Palpatine from seeing Damask, going as far as to send his son off-world to university.
Palpatine’s father went too far when he tried to force his son into a career that rested outside the political realm. Instead of being dismayed, Damask believed the time was right to train Palpatine to be a Sith. But first, he wanted to test the boy’s power.
Upon confrontation, Palpatine and his father shared their mutual hatred. Here, Palpatine proved his worth to Damask, killing his father, his family, and even his family’s security guards.
Impressed, Damask revealed his true identity. The Dark Lord of the Sith known as Darth Plagueis further admired Palpatine, given the boy’s remorseless attitude toward his family’s murder.
Plagueis ensured Palpatine, now known as Darth Sidious, that no one would find out what truly happened to the boy’s parents. And since Palpatine proved his worth, he trained under Darth Plagueis before murdering his master before the events of The Phantom Menace.
“It is my will to join my destiny forever with the Order of Sith Lords. Then it is done. From this day forward, the truth of you, now and forever more, will be Sidious.” – Darth Plagueis.
What Was Palpatine’s Motive?
Palpatine desired power above all, and he learned his desire was compatible with the Code of the Sith, which states a dark side-wielder gains power through strength.
Given Palpatine’s belief he was better than everybody, he believed himself as the one who chooses the Chosen One, not the Force. He further believed he was fit to rule not just Naboo, but even more. Something he informed his father before killing him.
Palpatine’s superiority complex became his motivation. If his father wasn’t going to increase the family’s influence, he would take it upon himself. Palpatine thought that power and influence were rightfully his. No one was going to stand in his way.
And it carried him through his training and playing second-fiddle to Darth Plagueis as he, as the apprentice, craved more power.
And through his master’s teachings, he learned to derive his power through hate, anger, and rage among other negative emotions associated with the Sith.
“Do you feel the hate?” Darth Sidious said to his Zabrack apprentice, Darth Maul. “It is the source of your strength. You still hate me. No matter. You have delivered yourself into my hand. I have the power of life and death over you.”
Eventually, Palpatine’s motives evolved into something greater for the Sith Lord. Using his deceased family’s influential name, wealth, and Darth Plagueis’ help, he became a senator.
We also know Palpatine’s true motive wasn’t just to rule the galaxy. He wanted to rule while simultaneously sitting in Darth Plagueis’ seat. And at some point before The Phantom Menace, he killed the master that taught him so much.
Sion Fawkes has been covering Star Wars since January 2022, expanding his expertise in both Star Wars Canon and Legends. When not writing, you can find Sion in the gym or running trails. He also likes watching sports and listening to audiobooks.