View Full Version : Was Palpatine always deformed?

10-27-2007, 04:22 AM
I didn't see another thread like this so I thought I'd start it.

Here's a debatable topic: Was Palpatine always deformed as we eventually see him in Episode III?

Since we know that dark side force users involuntary become deformed and demonic looking as they delve deeper into the dark side, was Palpatine masking what he really looked like to others during the prequel trilogy? By the Invasion of Naboo he had already killed his master and participated in Sith rituals and was developing his plans to take control, so he was definitely evil enough for the force to corrupt his physical appearance. We also know that Palpatine was able to mask his dark side presence from the Jedi by using the force to "cloud their vision", so maybe he was utilizing the same technique to force others to see him differently. What I'm trying to say is that I don't believe that Palpatine could actually manipulate his physical appearance, I'm saying that he could just use the Force to manipulate and deceive other people into thinking he looked normal, even Jedi. So this would mean that Palpatine wasn't actually deformed by the Sith lightning which was deflected back at him during his duel with Mace. First off, I'm not certain that Force lightning projected from Sidious could actually harm him in any way. He doesn't seem to be in any real pain as its deflected back to him and after blowing Mace out the window he just stands up, not even phased that he's turned into this hideous old man. Maybe Palpatine just chose to reveal his true self at that moment (or maybe he was forced to because he wasn't concentrating on deceiving everyone around him) because he knew he wouldn't need to disguise himself anymore since his plans were finally almost complete.

Another aspect to think about is that in AOTC Palpatine looks incredibly elderly and then in ROTS he looks a lot younger, maybe in his fifties as opposed to his seventies. Perhaps he manipulates the way people see him in order to garner sympathy or signify some other characteristic. In AOTC he wants the Senate to vote on the Military Creation Act and grant him more executive powers, so he'd want to look elderly, pitiful, and most importantly, harmless. In ROTS, he looks younger maybe because he's now the new face of the Republic Army's efforts against the Separatists, and maybe because his plans are drawing to a close. Or maybe it was just a mistake by the movie developers and they then decided that Palpatine was going to have to look a lot younger and able in ROTS to be able to pull off lightsaber combat and stunts convincly. Who knows?

What do you guys think?

Also, I was wondering what other people thought about Order 66 and if anyone else had heard this:


10-27-2007, 09:11 AM
Interesting idea, though as Paly/Sidious also had his image broadcasted across the galaxy by those floating holo-cameras across the Holo-Net he would have had to had the ability to cloud the vision of senitents across the galaxy.

10-27-2007, 12:11 PM
It's plausible. In the Clone Wars Adventures series of comic books, there is a short story where Palpatine starts out looking normal travels to an hidden cave, and unleases a lot of force lightning against som beasts in a cave. His eyes and face deform while he's doing this, and he returns to his office wrinkled up still with bloodshot messed up eyes.

Anyway, the short story takes place before epsode 3 so I think he was at least on hte path to being as disfigured as you see him in the movie, before it actually reveals him as such. Now whether he was to that degree all along, I don't know.

10-27-2007, 01:23 PM
I think that it is the case. What we see after he unleashes his force lightning is Palpatine's "true form". I'm pretty sure George clarified this shortly after the movie came out.

10-27-2007, 04:06 PM

10-27-2007, 04:17 PM
True, George has often said that his disfigurement in ROTS is "Symbolic" as much as story driven regarding his outing as a Sith Lord... I'm only opposed to him looking like that pre-ROTS because he is normal looking when he is Sidious, and surely he wouldn't need to mask his true face when he was Sidious (in fact it would probably be better to look different as Sidious), although, in the clone wars cartoons he is disfigured as Sidious?!

I'm easy either way :)

10-27-2007, 04:21 PM
Was Palpatine always deformed?

You make a good point, garm_bel_iblis. And I agree. I haven't thought of what you said.

However, I was in thoughts of something else. In The Phantom Menace Darth Sidious in hologram looked... well, as a normal person. But in Revenge of the Sith Darth Sidious in hologram (in Utapau, while talking to General Grievous) looked already deformed. But that was before the duel between Mace Windu and Darth Sidious.

But that could be a different subject, I suppose.

08-06-2014, 03:23 PM
I think that Sidious was always deformed.

If we take an example from the EU, dark lady of the Sith Lumiya was part cyborg and disfigured as well as easily recognisable to Luke Skywalker as an ex-lover (not sure on source for the lover part)
Anyway in the Legacy of the Force series, she along with Jacen Solo visit the Jedi temple as Jacen's way of testing Lumiya's abilities, during this visit they run into Luke Skywalker and he does not recognise her. Why you ask?
Well the sith are all about deception and manipulation and as a result there is a force ability which allows one to mask their appearance to make it look more appealing.
Now back to the Sidious ordeal, in ROTS it appears that his face melts as the force lightning he is using against Windu is being reflected back at him, however we know this isnt the case as Luke does not have any melting skin when he gets zapped in ROTJ.
What I suggest is that Sidious was masking his true appearence all along and holocams and other such devices would have picked up the 'mask' instead of his true form, but when he is trying to defeat Windu his mask slips as defeating the Jedi is more important than maintaining appearences anymore and his true self is revealed yellow eyes and all.

08-07-2014, 05:34 AM
I think Sidious was always deformed the darkside always causes body & mind to change I just don't know how he kept appearance hidden for so long it is amazing how a man with talent in politics & manipulation changed so much from killing his family by blowing up their ship on Naboo to entering politics all that planning scarred his mind & hatred for the jedi I guess he would not have made a good jedi had the council discovered him instead of Plagueis when I saw the movie clip of his duel with Mace Windu I almost had nightmares of that moment that was who he really was anyway I hope they bring him back in the new star wars movie in 2015 actually scratch that when he tried to takeover one of the Solo kids they were still babies.

08-07-2014, 10:41 AM
It's an interesting question... as the OP stated, Ep 2 Palpatine was aged using makeup and it seemed like a very obvious effort by Lucas to make him appear as if the dark side was slowly corrupting his physical appearance. However, he goes back to looking youthful in Ep 3, up until the battle with Windu. I always took that to mean Lucas changed his mind on how he wanted Palps to end up looking like he does - instead of a gradual descent into his eventual physical form, he decided to make it an abrupt event as we witnessed.

The theory that he always looked like that and was disguising it is a plausible one though. I think it would be tough to trick all of the Jedi at all times, but he was able to hide quite a bit from them, so I wouldn't say this is out of reach.

08-09-2014, 11:16 PM
The "he was gradually deformed by the dark side" theory came from the EU and so it makes sense if that was Lucas' original plan... since most of the early EU was based on stuff he had left over from the backstory of the original trilogy. The idea that the force lighting that bounced off of Windu's saber during their battle in Episode III "fried his face" doesn't make too much sense because you can see his whole body is apparently affected (down to his gnarled hands and dark fingernails), and quite evenly too.

So either using the dark side so intensely in that scene just further prematurely aged him (like too much time in the tanning booth and chain smoking) to pile onto his already stressful job's toll on his appearance.. or this idea (supported by the novelization IIRC) that he was "hiding his appearance" by using the force to appear "normal" instead of like a goblin you can make up your own mind.

As a kid I kind of wondered why the top two guys on the darkside and the "good side" of the Force were both wrinkly and weird looking. I guessed that if you're that powerful you just live a long time and start to look that way, and so the bad guy is going to look more evil and nasty even if he's not a little green dude living in a swamp. Look at Palpatine, he looks more like an alien than just an old man who parties too hard on the weekends.

Speaking of people not looking their age, remember the theory that Jabba was basically a human who was simply looked that way from disease and an opulent lifestyle? That's the impression we get from the ROTJ novelization anyway (Jabba's appearance went through a ton of changes from the original Star Wars concepts until his onscreen debut in the third film).

10-10-2014, 10:18 PM
i think he was always dat ugly

10-13-2014, 03:12 AM
i think he was always dat uglyEvil is born that way He killed his family for their inheritance then his master in his sleep but would his character be any better if he was the good guy it was his own fault he should laid off the force lightning when fighting Mace Windu & off course Anakin took to long to decide to join the darkside the scarring process was needed it damaged him mentally I hope they bring him back in one of the next movies.