The storyline of Star Wars has allowed us to see a lot of powerful Force users, and two of them happen to be on opposing sides. Mace Windu was called the champion of the Jedi Order for a good reason, as he was one of the strongest Jedi of his time. Meanwhile, Palpatine was capable enough to destroy three Jedi Masters in a matter of seconds and was the strongest Sith Lord in hundreds of years. So, who between Mace Windu and Palpatine was stronger?
Overall, Palpatine was stronger than Mace Windu because his affinity with the dark side was unseen for hundreds of years, and he was more knowledgeable in the Force. But Mace Windu was arguably just as skilled in terms of his lightsaber abilities and had Vaapad, which allowed him to take advantage of Palpatine’s darkness.
A lot of people tend to argue about the duel that Mace Windu and Palpatine had because, even though the Jedi Master won, there are still those that say that the Chancellor allowed him to win so that he could push his agenda of turning Anakin to the dark side. Whatever the case may be, it was still clear that Windu was able to get the better of Palpatine in that fight. But let’s look at in greater detail why Palpatine was arguably stronger.
Could Mace Windu Defeat Palpatine?
One of the different things that we know about Star Wars is that the Jedi Masters and the Sith Lords are known to be some of the strongest users of the Force. But during the final days of the Jedi Order, one Jedi Master stood head and shoulders above everyone else except for Yoda in the figurative sense. We are talking about Mace Windu, who was often called the champion of the Jedi Order and was arguably the strongest Jedi of his time.
Of course, it also goes without saying that the Sith had a champion of their own in the form of Palpatine, who was the only Sith Lord for a short while after Count Dooku’s death. He was the Republic’s Supreme Chancellor and secretly controlled the events surrounding the galaxy from a comfortable spot in Coruscant. Of course, he was more powerful than any of the other Sith Lords we’ve seen, as he easily defeated Darth Maul and Savage Opress and could make quick work of three Jedi Masters. So, if Palpatine was so powerful, could Mace Windu defeat him?
Mace Windu, in fact, defeated Chancellor Palpatine in their duel in the Chancellor’s office right after Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi defeated General Grievous. Windu ordered Palpatine to surrender his emergency powers to the Jedi because he was the Sith Lord they had been looking for the entire time. But this led to a duel that resulted in the deaths of three Jedi Masters.
Meanwhile, Windu was the last Jedi standing and could push Palpatine to his limit in their lightsaber duel. But, in the end, Mace Windu triumphed over the Sith Lord when he disarmed Palpatine. Windu would have killed Palpatine without Anakin Skywalker, who maimed the Jedi Master because he wanted to keep the Sith Lord alive to help him save Padme from death.
Was Mace Windu Really Stronger Than Palpatine?
As mentioned, Mace Windu defeated Sheev Palpatine in their duel in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. In most people’s eyes, this solidified Windu as a Jedi Master that was stronger than the strongest of the Sith at that time. But was Mace Windu actually stronger than Palpatine?
Let’s not forget that Palpatine and the other Sith Lords that came before him had hundreds of years to hone their craft and become stronger in the dark side of the Force, all while the Jedi were becoming weaker and complacent. Windu was an exception due to his innate power. Still, he wasn’t necessarily stronger than Palpatine, whose knowledge of the Force and affinity with the dark side was far stronger than any other Force user at that time.
That means that, from an overall aspect, Palpatine was stronger than Windu because his knowledge of the dark side and his strength in the Force far exceeded the Jedi Master’s own powers. Windu was a powerful Force user but a much better duelist. But Palpatine exceeded Windu’s powers because Yoda, the strongest Force user in the Jedi Order at that time, admitted in the novelization of Revenge of the Sith that Palpatine and the Sith had grown much stronger in the Force than he and the other Jedi.
Because of that, Palpatine was stronger overall than Windu in terms of his lightsaber skills and affinity with the Force. The only reason Windu was able to defeat Palpatine was that he was a great lightsaber duelist and could restrict his battle with the Sith Lord in a swordfight. Mace Windu had Vaapad, the most offensive-oriented lightsaber combat form. It was particularly effective against the Sith because it used the inner darkness within the user and the opponent. That means that he had the advantage over Palpatine in a lightsaber duel.
If we were to measure things using Dragon Ball power levels, there’s no doubt that Palpatine’s power level was higher than Windu. But because Star Wars isn’t Dragon Ball in the sense that the one with the higher power level will always win, Mace was able to defeat the dreaded Sith Lord in their duel as he had the advantage in terms of his lightsaber combat style.
Still, if that was an all-out fight that included using lightsabers and incorporating the Force, Palpatine would have defeated Windu. The best example was the fight between Yoda and the newly-crowned Emperor Palpatine. Yoda was able to put Darth Sidious in a tough position in their lightsaber duel, but when the Sith Lord finally used the Force, Yoda realized that the Jedi had already lost. So, if the same battle had happened between Mace Windu and Sheev Palpatine, the Sith Lord would have been able to defeat the Jedi Master.
What Would Happen if Mace Windu Killed Palpatine?
Even though Palpatine was stronger overall, Windu defeated him in their lightsaber duel and could even deflect his Force Lightning. Mace was about to put the Sith Lord down before Anakin intervened. But what would have happened if Mace Windu killed Sheev Palpatine?
The Empire would not have been born because the man who wanted to be the emperor was already dead. But that doesn’t mean that the Jedi Order was already out of the woods or that Anakin would have stayed with the light side.
At that time, Anakin was already convinced that Palpatine was the only way for him to save his beloved Padme. So, if Windu had killed the Supreme Chancellor, Anakin would have probably rebelled against the Jedi for killing the man that he thought could save the person he loved the most. And an angry and rebellious Anakin would have been troublesome for the Jedi Order.
There’s also the fact that the Senate didn’t know about Palpatine being a Sith Lord. It wasn’t even sure that the Senate would listen to the Jedi Order if they told the senators that the Republic was under the control of a Sith Lord. As such, there was a good chance that the Senate would have antagonized the Jedi Order for killing the Supreme Chancellor. Of course, the Senate also knows that killing an unarmed prisoner was not the Jedi way.
That would make the Jedi the enemies in the eyes of the Republic. Although no one could initiate Order 66, the Senate would have every reason to order the clones to kill or apprehend the Jedi. As such, the Jedi Order would have still been branded as traitors by the Republic if Mace Windu did indeed kill Palpatine.