Jedi Grand Master Yoda is one of the most powerful characters the Star Wars universe has to offer.
Having lived for nine centuries, Master Yoda had ample time to perfect his craft. Of course, this time, coupled with frequent meditation, allowed him to grow his connection to the Force.
What’s more, Master Yoda was dubbed the Greatest Of All Time when it came to swordsmanship. When taken at face value without any of the fluff of special techniques, Yoda’s raw talent with the lightsaber was unmatched.
Despite how good he was, Yoda still had his vulnerabilities when in battle, and there is no greater instance of this than his fight with Palpatine.
Given the fact that Yoda ultimately lost that fight, is he stronger than Palpatine, or is Palpatine stronger than him? Why couldn’t he beat Palpatine?
The answers follow as we dissect these questions in this article.
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Is Yoda Stronger than Palpatine?
The comparison between Yoda and Palpatine’s strengths is a complex one, as each party has their respective areas of expertise.
If we take a look at the different aspects, it’s clear to see where they both shine in their own right.
In terms of lightsaber dueling, Palpatine could not even come close to Yoda despite having mastered all the lightsaber fighting forms. Therefore, Yoda wins in this regard.
However, when we think of pure, unadulterated strength, Palpatine would take this one. Maybe it’s because of Yoda’s age and declining health, but Palpatine could exert enough force to damage Yoda with one lightning bolt.
Even so, Yoda had far more control over his mind and himself. Therefore, he could compose himself and quickly make an attack strategy. This was so effective that it often caused Palpatine to retreat.
Overall, each of them had their own skill set. Still, Yoda had a slight edge because of his greater acclimation to the Force and his general sense of composure.
Why Can’t Yoda Beat Palpatine?
Now, to begin with, Palpatine always had the goal of converting Anakin Skywalker to the dark side of the Force.
So, he concocted what seemed to be an elaborate plan for him to tip Anakin’s moral scales over to the darkness.
In the novelized version of the Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine foresaw that some Jedi would catch onto his plan. Therefore, he got the jump on them first.
Palpatine ambushed and subsequently taunted these Jedi, who we now know are Mace Windu and Yoda. But instead of starting the fight right away, he made sure to stall a bit in anticipation of Anakin’s arrival.
Both Yoda and Mace put up a good fight. However, Yoda was not as successful as his counterpart, Mace.
There are a couple of factors that worked in tandem against Yoda. Firstly, there was his age, which came with failing health. Thus, he was at a physical disadvantage.
Then there was his unwavering dedication to the Jedi Code and its teachings. Mace had his own Vaapad fighting style, which was in the gray area between the light and dark sides of the Force.
On the other hand, Palpatine had his full-blown aggressive fighting style that comes with being a dark-side Force user.
These differences in fighting style allowed Palpatine to gain the upper hand on Yoda, striking him with Force Lightning and knocking Yoda off his feet.
How Did Mace Windu Beat Palpatine?
Although he was a Jedi Master himself, Mace Windu did not have the strong moral limitations that Yoda had. Therefore, he used his Vaapad fighting style against Palpatine.
What Vaapad does is take the rage, hatred, and other negative emotions of the opponent and deflect them back as force energy.
Ergo, in this case, Vaapad worked exceptionally well as Palpatine was filled with nothing but these negative feelings.
This, coupled with his Shatterpoint, opened a window of opportunity where Mace was able to disarm Palpatine and win the fight.
Still, after this “loss,” Palpatine was not as helpless as it may have seemed. This was all a part of his master plan to corrupt Anakin’s perspective of who the enemy was.
Despite not being able to defeat Palpatine, Yoda was still an incredibly strong being. Granted, his strength did not shine in this fight. However, that was because the odds were stacked against him.
Even so, the Sith Lord was still defeated by Mace Windu.
Of course, this is what Palpatine wanted to happen, and with Anakin watching, he posed himself as a helpless victim who was only defending himself against Mace.
What’s more, he manipulated Anakin into thinking that the Sith Lord was the only one who could help him save his wife, Padme. Thus, by villainizing Mace in the eyes of Anakin, he pushed him towards the dark side.