Star Wars Makes A Part Of Palpatine's Legends Story Canon

While much of Emperor Palpatine's EU backstory has been left in Legends, Star Wars canon has brought back one part of it via a tie-in book. As Sheev Palpatine and Darth Sidious, the man who eventually become the Emperor of the Star Wars galaxy was both one of its shrewdest political players and one of its most powerful Sith Lords. Across the years, Palpatine played his dual role to perfection, allowing the Sith to re-emerge and defeat the Republic and the Jedi, but his plans started long before the Star Wars prequels.

Prior to Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, Palpatine trained under Darth Plagueis, the master he would later tell Anakin Skywalker about in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. Plagueis is the subject of one of the most fascinating scenes in all of Star Wars, yet he himself never appeared on screen and much of his history has been left something of a mystery, at least as far as canon materials go. Thankfully, that is starting to change, and with it means more reveals about Emperor Palpatine himself too.

Related: Star Wars Reveals Plagueis Tried To Create A Force Dyad With Palpatine

In terms of both Plagueis' backstory and Palpatine's ascension through the ranks of the Sith and the Senate, the 2012 novel Darth Plagueis, by James Luceno, is a great source of a lot of that history and their relationship. The book was rendered non-canon when Disney turned the old EU into Legends, but as with many other aspects certain parts have worked their way back in. The canon Star Wars book Secrets of the Sith, which is written as though from the in-universe perspective of Emperor Palpatine, makes mention of his rise and it does fit with Legends in part:

"After centuries in the shadows, the Sith were poised to emerge once more. As a dark apprentice, I sensed that the Galactic Republic was in disarray. Its delegates held no interest in the common good. They would be easy targets for my influence. Serving as a senator, I manipulated their greed in my favor. With each new act of legislation, I rose through their ranks. Total control of the galaxy's governing body drew ever closer. But ascension in the Senate would not be enough. My master, Darth Plagueis, had served his purpose. I struck him down, claiming his place as the one true master of the Sith."

That methodology of Palpatine rising through the ranks very much fits with the Darth Plagueis Legends book, which saw him taken under the Sith Lord's tutelage and begin to make his way up the political ladder, manipulating those he needed to and killing people he couldn't manipulate. This includes killing Naboo's Senator, so that he could take his place and further rise up, gaining greater influence that aligned with his and Plagueis' goals of restoring the Sith to greatness and also gaining a ruler power in the galaxy as well. In the novel this rise happened over the course of decades, and it seems as though it's much the same in canon.

The difference between canon and Legends, aside from the latter being more fleshed out, is the matter of when Palpatine killed Darth Plagueis. In the novel, it's around the time of the Battle of Naboo, placing it firmly during the events of The Phantom Menace. The above quote from Secrets of the Sith, though, suggests that it came as he was still working his way up (rather than when his ascension to Chancellor was secured), meaning that while some details of Palpatine's Star Wars Legends backstory work in canon, others remain simply part of the EU.

Next: Star Wars Reveals 5 New Details About Palpatine's Backstory

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