Ah yes, Palpatine—the ever-present villain of the entire Star Wars movie saga. We know that Sheev Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious, has had his fingers on every event of all nine of the mainline Star Wars movies as he was the villain working behind the scenes and manipulating all of the events that happened over the course of more than 60 years. Of course, he died twice along the way, as his second death finally destroyed his body and soul. So, who killed Palpatine the first and the second time?
The one responsible for killing Palpatine the first time was the redeemed Anakin Skywalker, who set aside his identity as Darth Vader to save Luke Skywalker from the Emperor’s wrath. His second and final death came at the hands of Rey, who was empowered by the spirits of all of the past Jedi.
Some might say that Palpatine was an overplayed villain, but there is no doubt that he did a fine job at what he did. As such, Darth Sidious was someone whose fate was tied together with the entire Skywalker family, as his extinction at the hands of those who were raised and trained to be Skywalker Jedi Knights closed the entire circle of life for the Sith Lord that tried to cheat death.
Who Killed Palpatine the First Time?
When we first saw the original Star Wars trilogy, we learned that the true bad guy pulling the strings of Darth Vader and the evil Empire was Emperor Palpatine, who Vader regarded as his master. Of course, we also learned in the prequel trilogy that Palpatine was also the man pulling the strings of all of the events that were happening in the Republic as he was the one that set into motion the Clone Wars and all of the other major happenings that led to the rise of the Empire and the destruction of the Jedi Order.
In that regard, Palpatine was the Sith Lord that needed to be stopped to bring balance back to the Force as he was the entity that plunged the entire galaxy into darkness while also oppressing a lot of different people in different systems that were under the control of the Empire. Nevertheless, his servant, Darth Vader, stayed loyal to him for around two decades.
But during the sequel trilogy, Vader was Anakin Skywalker, the prophesized Jedi supposed to bring balance back to the Force. He was the Chosen One that had the potential to become the most powerful Jedi in history. As such, his destiny was to be the one to defeat Darth Sidious and bring balance back to the Force.
Nevertheless, Palpatine used his ability to manipulate people to pull Anakin over to the dark side of the Force. He used Anakin’s love for Padme as a way to lure the powerful Jedi into becoming a Sith so that he could use the dark side of the Force to save Padme from the death that Anakin foresaw in his dreams. And that was the reason why he became Darth Vader.
In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker confronted Darth Vader on the second Death Star because he believed that his father still had good in him. Luke defeated Vader in combat and rejected Palpatine’s offer to join his side as his new apprentice. And when Luke rejected the offer, the Emperor blasted him with his Force Lightning, and Luke was left defenseless against the might of the Sith Lord.
Seeing his son suffering right before him as Luke pleaded with Vader to help him sparked Anakin Skywalker’s fatherly instinct. That was when he threw away his life as Darth Vader to become Anakin again. Vader grabbed the Emperor and threw him down the shaft of the Death Star’s power core to destroy the Sith Lord at the cost of his own life because Palpatine’s Force Lightning damaged his life-support system.
In that regard, Anakin fulfilled his mission as the one who was supposed to bring balance to the Force. He may have killed a lot of Jedi and innocent people in the process of doing so, but he redeemed himself during the final moment of his life by killing the Sith Lord. As such, he fulfilled the prophecy that the Jedi foresaw long ago.
Who Killed Palpatine the Second Time?
While it may be true that Palpatine was killed when Darth Vader successfully betrayed his master, the Sith Lord was far too cunning. He had already set into motion a plan that was supposed to bring him back to life. And this was hinted at throughout the various Star Wars series set between the mainline movies.
For example, in Star Wars: The Bad Batch, the cloning process of the Kaminoans was something that the Empire was so interested in, as it was clear that Palpatine was planning to use this knowledge to produce clones of himself. Then, during the events of The Mandalorian, the remnants of the Empire might have been trying to get their hands on Grogu so that they could use his strong connection to the Force to conduct experiments that would allow the clones of the Emperor to obtain Force powers as well.
In that regard, the events that happened in between the movies eventually allowed Palpatine to return to life during the events of the sequel trilogy movies. However, because his clone was incomplete, as a flaw in the cloning process may have caused his imperfections, he couldn’t even move. That was the reason why he used Supreme Leader Snoke, a Force-sensitive genetic creation of the Sith Eternal, as a stand-in while Palpatine was on the Sith planet of Exegol.
But in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, Sidious finally revealed himself as the one who had been pulling all of the strings of the First Order the entire time. And he wanted Kylo Ren to bring Rey to him because she was his granddaughter and was the only one who could’ve inherited his place as the tyrannical Empress.
Rey rejected the offer to kill Sidious so that she could turn to the dark side and become the Empress of the Sith Empire. That was when Palpatine realized that there was a unique Force connection between Rey and Ben Solo (Kylo Ren). He used his connection to siphon the life force out of them and use it to heal his body and become more powerful in the Force than he ever was.
As Ray was left battered and beaten on the ground while Sidious used his powers to destroy the Resistance fleet that was looking to destroy Palpatine’s fleet of Star Destroyers, the spirits of all of the Jedi that came before her suddenly flooded Rey’s thoughts as they empowered her with their own connection with the Force.
Rey stood up with a renewed spirit as she used the power of the Jedi to confront the Emperor once and for all. Sidious used his Force Lightning against Rey, who deflected the Sith Lord’s attack with the lightsabers of both Luke and Leia.
And by using the power of all of the Jedi that came before her, Rey overcame the Sith Lord’s power as she deflected Palpatine’s attack right back at him to destroy the Emperor once and for all.
As such, Rey was responsible for killing Palpatine a second time. This time, it seemed like he was gone for good as Rey’s defiance seemingly killed him both in body and spirit. And with the First Order defeated, no longer could anyone bring the Sith Emperor back using some sort of cloning process.