Star Wars: 3 lessons from watching every film in chronological order

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd., All Rights Reserved
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd., All Rights Reserved /
2 of 4
Star Wars
LAS VEGAS – MAY 29: Actor Ian McDiarmid’s Emperor Palpatine character from the Star Wars series of films is shown on screen while musicians perform during “Star Wars: In Concert” at the Orleans Arena May 29, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The traveling production features a full symphony orchestra and choir playing music from all six of John Williams’ Star Wars scores synchronized with footage from the films displayed on a three-story-tall, HD LED screen. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Lesson One: Darth Sidious is an absolute genius

Look, it really does pain me to drop this as the first key lesson. Darth Sidious is arguably the most horrendous, manipulative, and evil character the Star Wars universe has ever seen. With the revelation that Sidious will play some role in The Rise of Skywalker, it all but guarantees his position as the “top baddie” won’t be changing any time soon.

Chronologically, the first we ever see of Darth Sidious is his hologram directing the Trade Federation’s invasion of Naboo. As The Phantom Menace continues, we also see the other half of Darth Sidious in the form of Senator Palpatine. The seeds for his takeover of the Galactic Republic are laid as early as that invasion of Naboo.

The events of Naboo are what Palpatine uses to persuade Queen Amidala to call for a “vote of no confidence” in Chancellor Valorum. By the time the film comes to a close, Palpatine has been elected the new Supreme Chancellor, which was clearly his plan the entire time.

In Attack of the Clones, we see the introduction of a clone army that is initially implied to have been made at the direction of the Jedi, but few details about that actually check out. Instead, it seems most likely that the clone army was all part of Palpatine’s master plan.

He goes on to convince Senate Representative Jar Jar Binks to propose a vote that ultimately grants Chancellor Palpatine emergency powers. Because of this, he is able to then seize the clone army as an asset of the Galactic Republic. All of the seeds have been sewn.

By the time we reach the climax of Revenge of the Sith, and get confirmation that Chancellor Palpatine is indeed Darth Sidious, his plan has been executed more perfectly than anyone could have imagined. A singular Sith lord managed to go from being a mere Senator into controlling the entire Galactic Republic and using his power to reorganize it into “the first Galactic Empire.”

As Obi-Wan says, only the Sith deal in absolutes. Darth Sidious may be absolutely evil, but he is also an absolute genius. The number of layers to his elaborate plan, all of which are executed with deadly precision, are mind-bogglingly impressive. Now, it appears he isn’t even done. Darth Sidious is terrible, but also truly great.