Palpatine was a worse ‘father’ than all the other terrible Star Wars dads


Palpatine’s paternal relationship to Anakin Skywalker is now canon — at least, that’s what they want us to think. Let’s take a look back at the worst Star Wars dad of all time.

Rey’s parents — supposedly — left her on Jakku after selling her for profit.

Many have argued that Han Solo was so bad at being a dad that his son eventually became a dark side apprentice and murdered him in cold blood.

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And in the most classic example Star Wars has to offer, Luke Skywalker’s dad not only chopped off his own son’s hand (rude), but also threatened his sister and tried to force him to turn to the dark side (also rude).

There have been a lot of terrible Star Wars dads in the franchise’s over 40-year history. But none of them have been quite as terrible as Palpatine.

The Naboo native wore many hats throughout his life, most notably that of a Sith Lord and ruler of the Galactic Empire. But we recently learned that Palpatine, in one way or another, is responsible for Anakin Skywalker’s birth.


Palpatine served as a father figure to Anakin throughout his training as a Jedi (Obi-Wan was his master, but also more like a brother than a caretaker). For years, it was part of the Dark Lord’s plan to slowly seduce the powerful Jedi to the dark side. And he succeeded.

Only now do we know (almost) for certain that Palpatine wasn’t just a father figure. He was actually Anakin’s father. At least, that’s what Vader’s visions told him.

And what a terrible father Palpatine/Sidious was.

Throughout the most recent Darth Vader comic and every canon and legends story featuring both Sith Lords, we’ve seen the various ways Palpatine psychologically beats Vader into submission — using both dark side energy and raw, evil deception.

Palpatine is constantly pushing Vader over the edge, keeping his anger hot and his remorse festering. The more hate Vader harbors, Palpatine knows, the more powerful he will remain.

Of course, that ends up totally backfiring at ends of both their lives. But still.

The Dark Lord was a terrible person long before he began steering Anakin down the path of the Sith. He basically “became” a father only to fulfill his own selfish ambitions.

While there may be Star Wars characters worthy of redemption after falling prey to temptations of the dark side, Palpatine was never one of them.

Read Darth Plagueis and whether you consider it canon or not, you’ll be taken on a journey through his transformation into a Sith Lord’s apprentice. He murdered his entire family without a single regret before killing his own master — and probably billions of people indirectly throughout the galaxy as Darth Sidious, too.

All for what? Power? He all but tortured a mostly innocent kid until he agreed to serve as his apprentice. And the abuse didn’t stop there.

How do we know Anakin even wanted to continue living after almost being burned alive? Palpatine basically sentenced him to a life full of pain, surviving in a body that does all the moving, talking, and even breathing for him.

Anakin Skywalker was a broken man. Palpatine continued to break Vader until he became the menace we’re introduced to in A New Hope. And it just kept going.

Palpatine was even willing to sacrifice Vader — his own “son” — so Luke could take his place.

His reign of terror doesn’t even stop after he dies!

Though you wouldn’t know it unless you’re a big Star Wars reader (Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy actually explains a lot about the roots of the First Order, in case you’re interested), the Empire hung on for a while after the second Death Star exploded. They still tried to follow Palpatine’s wishes even after his demise.

And who does Kylo Ren look to for guidance in his quest to become a powerful Sith Lord? His grandfather, technically. But Anakin/Vader never would have existed if it weren’t for Palpatine. So indirectly, even the First Order rose up because of this guy.

I guess, compared to all that, Han Solo wasn’t all that terrible of a dad after all. Right? RIGHT?

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Who do you think deserves an award for “Worst Father Figure” in a Star Wars story?