30 Best Star Wars Villains of All-Time

30 of 31

2. Emperor Palpatine

There are really two Palpatine’s. One is the old, evil overlord from the original trilogy. The other is the crazy, violent manipulator from the prequels. Both are pretty cool.

The original Emperor, much like Yoda, takes the force beyond just the physical. He’s old and frail, but his understand of the Force and human temptation make him a great villain. He also manage to keep Vader under his thumb. Until he uses lightning, he’s an enigma. All you know is that he wields immense power and is pure evil.

Palpatine in the prequels is a lot more fun. He loves being evil so much, and he is a ruthless manipulator and politcian. Once again, his understanding of human weakness and desire makes him more of a mental villain than he is a fearsome warrior. Of course, he does whip out a lightsaber and own some Jedi.

Palpatine is great in both versions because he has such a passion for being evil. He is quiet and calculating, loud and bombastic, shrewd and deceptive and sarcastic and arrogant all at different times. He fills every single villain need. He’s like the Joker in that we don’t know why he’s so terrible, all we know is that he loves being a bad guy. That is scary, and when you add mastery of the Force to someone that selfish and ruthless, you get this villain, one of the best in Star Wars.

After the movies, there’s some stuff with him having clones of himself that turn Luke to the dark side but not really and things like that. Just in the moment for what he brings to the table, he’s one of the best.

Next: 1. The Father of All the Villains