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How Old Was Palpatine When He Really Died?

How Old Was Palpatine When He Really Died?

Also known as Darth Sidious, Palpatine served as the main antagonist of The Skywalker Saga, which took place between 32 BBY and 35 ABY. Because of Palpatine’s status as the primary bad guy in the films, you may wonder how old he was during each movie. 

Palpatine was born in 84 BBY, placing him between the ages of 52 and 119 during the saga. However, some say Palpatine was as young as 31 in The Sequel Trilogy that took place between 34 and 35 ABY since he technically resided in a cloned body. 

How Old Was Palpatine When He Died?

The powerful Emperor Palpatine

Palpatine is one of a few characters in Star Wars to have suffered multiple deaths. The first came in 4 ABY when his apprentice, Darth Vader, betrayed and threw him into a reactor. Born in 84 BBY on Naboo, Palpatine was 88 when his first death occurred. 

Because he was so well-versed in the Force, Palpatine combined science and Sith magic learned from his master, Darth Plagueis, to circumvent a true death. This allowed him to move his consciousness into a vessel on the planet Exegol. 

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He remained in this vessel from 4 ABY until 35 ABY. He died a second time in 35 ABY on Exegol, this time courtesy of his granddaughter, Rey. 

Since this event occurred 31 years after his first death, Palpatine was 119 when he died for the second time in Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. Unless you count Palpatine as being “reborn” within his flawed vessel in 4 ABY; then you would put him at 31. 

In The Phantom Menace

Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Palpatine's Manipulations. 4K ULTRA HD.

The Phantom Menace occurred during Palpatine’s younger days. A senator from Naboo, Palpatine put on the face of a benign individual, but was in reality pulling the strings in his ascent to take over the galaxy. 

He was 52 in The Phantom Menace, which occurred in 32 BBY. During the events of the film, Palpatine sent his apprentice, Darth Maul, to capture Queen Padme Amidala. Maul failed, and Palpatine ultimately convinced Amidala to motion a vote of no-confidence against Chancellor Valorum. 

The vote of no-confidence and subsequent election led to Palpatine attaining the rule as chancellor. 

In Attack of the Clones

Attack of the Clones took place in 22 BBY, putting Palpatine at 62 years old. Palpatine attained a new apprentice in Count Dooku, who led the Separatist movement. This movement allowed Palpatine to attain emergency powers, which he used to create the Grand Army of the Republic. 

Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones - Jar Jar gives Palpatine Emergency Power - 4K ULTRA HD.

It was also the first time that a Jedi was told a Sith Lord was controlling the Senate, thanks to Dooku informing Obi-Wan Kenobi. Though Kenobi did not take up Dooku on his invitation to stop Sidious, the Jedi Council was left troubled by Dooku’s revelation. 

Count Dooku talks to Obi-Wan Kenobi - Star Wars Episode II Attack of The Clones - HD1080p

In Revenge of the Sith

Taking place three years after Attack of the Clones in 19 BBY, Palpatine was 65 in Revenge of the Sith. In this film, he revealed himself as Darth Sidious, but not before he appointed Anakin Skywalker to represent him on the Jedi Council. 

Palpatine Reveals Himself

A suspicious Council, however, wished for Anakin to spy on Palpatine. With Anakin firmly under Palpatine’s spell, the Sith Lord revealed his connection to the dark side. While Anakin initially reported Palpatine, he had a change of heart and fell to the dark side. 

This event allowed Palpatine, now going by his Sith name, Darth Sidious, to execute Order 66, purge the Jedi, and transform the Republic into the Galactic Empire. 

How Old Was Palpatine in A New Hope?

Emperor Palpatine and Sith Lord Darth Vader

A New Hope occurred in 0 BBY, putting Palpatine at 84 years old. This is the only film the Sith Lord does not appear in, though there is a small part in A New Hope where he is mentioned. 

Then known as the Emperor, his brief mention occurred when Grand Moff Tarkin revealed Palpatine had gotten rid of the Senate. Since Palpatine did not appear in the film, Darth Vader served as the primary antagonist in A New Hope

In The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back occurred in 3 ABY, meaning Palpatine was 87 years old during the film. While Palpatine played a small role in the movie, his scene was one of the most iconic, as he told Darth Vader about Luke Skywalker emerging as a new threat to the Empire. 

Darth Vader finds out he has a son - HD 720p


This scene is also iconic as it was the first time Vader realized Luke was his son. This led Vader to propose to turn Luke to the dark side, prompting Palpatine to state Luke would become a tremendous asset to the Empire. 

In Return of the Jedi

Return of the Jedi is where Palpatine met his first death, which places him at 88 years of age. In the film, Palpatine made his first in-person appearance, claiming to Darth Vader that they would turn Luke to the dark side. 

Palpatine’s plan was for Luke to become his next apprentice, while Vader sought to use Luke to end Palpatine’s rule. As Palpatine did with Vader in 19 BBY, he played on Luke’s fears to try and sway him to the dark side, claiming that the Rebel Alliance was about to be defeated. 

The Emperor's Throne Room Return of the Jedi

Angered, Luke used the Force to summon his lightsaber and a duel erupted with Darth Vader. As Luke fought, Palpatine continued to fuel Luke’s anger with verbal cues like, “let the hate flow through you.” 

Luke Skywalker vs Darth Vader (Whole Fight)

Vader used similar tactics during the duel. He further tapped into Luke’s anger by claiming he would turn Luke’s sister, Leia, to the dark side. Luke defeated Vader, and Palpatine tried to sway the young Jedi into killing his father. 

Luke refused, prompting Palpatine to torture him with Force lightning. Vader intervened and tossed the Emperor into a reactor. 

In The Sequel Trilogy

We see and hear little of Palpatine in The Sequel Trilogy’s first two movies – The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. In The Force Awakens, Rey only heard his voice upon experiencing a Force vision, while Luke noted Palpatine’s role in the Jedi’s downfall in The Last Jedi

As The Force Awakens occured in 34 ABY, Palpatine was 118 during its events, and 30 in his new vessel. Since The Last Jedi takes place the same year, Palpatine is also 118 in the film. 

How Old Was Palpatine When He Met Plagueis?

During his teenage years, Palpatine had already uncovered the Sith Doctrine and had become fascinated by it. This led him to collect Sith relics, and he also believed he would meet a Sith Lord. He eventually met Darth Plagueis in 65 BBY at the age of 19. 

Plagueis initially appeared to Palpatine as a businessman named Hego Damask. Initially uninterested, Palpatine’s attitude changed toward the man when Plagueis offered the boy a position as a spy for Damask Holdings. 

How Plagueis Met Palpatine - Star Wars Explained

When He Became a Sith

While the true year Palpatine became a Sith Lord is uncertain, we do know that it occurred not long after his first encounter with Darth Plagueis in 65 BBY. This could place Palpatine as young as 19. 

It was also around this time that his father, Consinga, grew displeased regarding Palpatine’s closeness with Damask. This led to Consinga trying to force Palpatine to study for a career that did not involve politics, causing an angered Palpatine to kill Consinga and the rest of his family. 

This implies Palpatine became a Sith during his university days, somewhere between the age of 19 and 21. 

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