Did Mace Windu Really Defeat Emperor Palpatine?

I am a Star Wars fan.  I’m not a junkie that has read every book and knows all the information about the “Extended Universe” (a name given to the details of the Star Wars world not depicted in the major films, but gained from books, animated series, etc), but I do know the movies inside and out.  In 2005, George Lucas released the final movie of the prequel trilogy entitled, “Revenge of the Sith.”  It is by far the best of the prequel films and give the original three (episodes 4-6) a run for their money.  I just don’t have the time or space to bring everyone up to speed on the topic of this article, so if you know absolutely nothing about Star Wars, you may just want to stop now.  I will provide a very brief intro to my above question in the paragraph below.

In episode 5 (The Empire Strikes Back), we are introduced to the Emperor (we only know him by the name Emperor at this point).  He is the most powerful figure on the “dark side” of the force and the master of the Galactic Empire.  He is one bad dude and can do things like throw “Force Lighting” which is essentially powerful lightening bolts from his fingertips.  In the prequel movies, we learn that the Emperor is actually a senator from the system (planet) of Naboo who appears to be a humble public servant but is secretly a Sith Lord (really bad guys who have Jedi powers).  At this point, there is a Master Jedi Order who is essentially led by Yoda, the small, green lovable character who is genuinely believed the most powerful Jedi and master of the Force, and the council is also led by a guy named Mace Windu (played brilliantly by Samuel L. Jackson).  In Revenge of the Sith, Yoda is out on a distant planet when Mace learns that Palpatine is actually a Sith Lord.  He takes three other Jedi and confronts Palpatine, ordering him to surrender.  As you might expect, a lightsaber fight breaks out with Palpatine killing the other three Jedi in seriously about 10 seconds, leaving him face to face with Mace Windu.  They begin fighting and much to the surprise of every Star Wars fan in the world (at least those who had no knowledge of the books or spoilers), Mace gets the upper hand and defeats the Emperor.  Palpatine is saved only by an intruding Anakin Skywalker who decides to protect the Emperor, killing Mace in the process, and securing his turn to the dark side of the Force, becoming Darth Vader.  Below is the fight between Mace Windu and Emperor Palpatine.

As soon as I left the theater in 2005, I was haunted by a question that still haunts me to this day:  Did the Emperor let Mace Windu win so that Anakin would turn to the Dark Side?  It seemed so incredibly amazing and just flat out impossible that Windu could defeat the Emperor.  After all, this was the long time Sith Lord master who was the soon to be ruler of the Empire.  The problem believing that Windu could defeat Palpatine comes from a couple of sources.

1.  The biggie is that later in the film we get to enjoy an incredible lightsaber duel between Yoda and Emperor Palpatine.  Yoda, as mentioned above, is considered to be the most powerful master of the Force and is referenced in Episode 2 by Obi Wan Kenobi – there Kenobi jokingly tells Anakin Skywalker that one day he might reach the same status as Yoda with a lightsaber, making it clear that when it comes to handling a lightsaber, Yoda is the man.  Yet, Yoda is not able to defeat Emperor Palpatine in their duel.  It becomes clear that it is a stalemate and Yoda opts to leave and go into exile.  Watching the duel between Yoda and Palpatine makes it appear that Palpatine is just at another level than when he fought Windu, as if he was going at about 60% when he fought Mace but was going 100% when he battled Yoda.  So, if Yoda was not able to defeat Palpatine, how in the world did Mace Windu?

2.  When Kenobi and Yoda realize that Palpatine and Anakin must be defeated, Kenobi asks if he can go and fight the Emporer because he just can’t stand to face Anakin, the boy he trained to become a Jedi.  Yoda forbids it and tells Kenobi that he is not strong enough to defeat Palpatine.  Now, I have no problem believing that Windu is more powerful than Kenobi, but it still demonstrates that the Emperor is so strong that it seems only Yoda believes he can defeat him.

3.  It’s the Emperor.  I mean, come on.  It would be like suggesting that a local high school baseball team could defeat a Major League team.  Everyone just knows that the Emperor can’t be beat that easily.

So, based on those things, I have believed for a long time that Palpatine simply let Windu get the advantage so that Anakin would be forced to make a decision and turn to the Dark Side.  That still very well may be the case.  If Palpatine did not have Anakin’s skill on his side, his chances of overthrowing the Jedi and ruling the universe would be much more slim.  He might be willing to put his life on the line to ensure that happens – it was getting to the point where Palpatine would no longer want to keep doing things the way he was doing and be “secretive.”  It is possible he had just as soon die then not have Anakin’s power on his side and with it the possibility of ruling the galaxy.

But lately I am starting to reconsider.  I believe it is possible that Mace Windu did get an upper hand and that Palpatine relinquished at the end because he saw Anakin enter the room.  Let me explain:

1.  One thing is for certain – every lightsaber battle is unique and heavily based on the circumstances surrounding the battle.  Just like in any sport, sometimes a less skilled player or team can “upset” a better player or team because a myriad of reasons.  We see this clearly in Star Wars.  In Episode 2, Yoda is not able to destroy Count Dooku (partly because Dooku “cheats” and puts the lives of Anakin and Kenobi in jeopardy in order to escape), but still yet we see a great battle between Yoda and Dooku (maybe the best lightsaber duel of the franchise).  However, in Episode 3, Anakin defeats Dooku fairly easily with a lightsaber.  Do we deduce that Anakin is more powerful with a lightsaber than Yoda?  Of course not.  We clearly see that isn’t the case because Kenobi defeats Anakin at the end of Episode 3, and who would argue that Kenobi is stronger than Yoda?  Thus, attitudes, circumstances, motivation, and a whole host of other facts can influence any specific lightsaber match-up.

Having said that, I believe Palpatine might have initially been taken off guard by Mace Windu’s skill.  It seems that the Emperor believed he could handily defeat any Jedi at ease, with the exception of Yoda, whenever he wanted to.  He demonstrates this by destroying the three other Jedi in a matter of seconds.  When he turns to finish of Windu, it appears that Palpatine is genuinely taken aback that he is not able to kill him with two quick strokes of the lightsaber. So, at the beginning, Windu gets the upper hand because of Palpatine’s low expectations.  At the point where he might have regrouped and “turned it on”, he sensed Anakin coming into the room and decided to do what Obi Wan Kenobi did in Episode 4 and “throw” the match. 

2.  Mace Windu has Vaapad and Shatterpoint abilities.  I mentioned I wasn’t going to go into the “Extended Universe” but I will mention this quickly.  Windu is one of only two Jedi to incorporate Vaapad powers and he constructed his lightsaber in this fashion.  To make it very easy to understand, Vaapad is a way to “channel” ones own darkness into a positive form of aggressive energy (this is all Star Wars fictional language of course).  This is seen with quick. powerful, aggressive fighting action with the lightsaber.  Windu’s use of Vaapad is best seen when he fights Jango Fett in Episode 2 and quickly cuts of his head with a signature spin move (you will see Mace attempt this same move in the video above at 1:03 on the Emperor to no avail).  Shatterpoint is the ability to sometimes sense an inner weakness in your opponent and capitalize on it.  Concerning this gift, Windu said, “I can sometimes see the weak places in an opponent, shatterpoints where the unbreakable can be broken.”

So, here is my summary.  Put Emperor Palpatine and Mace Windu in a room with no outside influence or ongoing circumstances and I believe Palpatine wins 99 times out of 100.  However, in this encounter, I believe Palpatine may have been genuinely shocked by the power of Windu and lost the initial momentum in the fight.  Then, before he had a chance to regroup and take over, he decided to relinquish control so that Anakin would be forced to decide between the Jedi and the Sith.

And now that I have come to that conclusion, I’m sure we will all rest easier tonight.  🙂                 

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36 Replies to “Did Mace Windu Really Defeat Emperor Palpatine?”

  1. Ok, Philip, you make very good points but there are a few other things to consider. And these are the things that make your initial impression the correct one. And as someone that is well versed in both the movies and the expanded universe I feel pretty confident in my beliefs.

    1) The third Jedi cut down rather quickly was Kit Fisto, one of the greatest Jedi swordsmen alive. Possibly ranked just third behind Yoda and Mace Windu. Palpatine went through him insanely fast considering all that, especially considering one of his latent extreme Jedi powers was Force Speed.

    2) Mace Windu was the 2nd best swordsman, though in many cases in straight combat he could fight even Yoda to a draw. But his use of Vaapad was also a weakness. He channeled his anger, something anathema to a Jedi. And was in fact the only Jedi user of Vaapad to not succumb to the Dark side. But it was something Palpatine could certainly use to his advantage. But Windu’s skill was well known and there is no way Palpatine would have gone less than 100%, except if it was to his advantage. And only at the end did he let his lightsaber be knocked away. And he did it because he knew Anakin was approaching. He also knew that if needed he could still get back into the fight, it was just important at that time for him to appear weak.

    3) This is Palpatine we are talking about. The Emperor! This was a man so incredibly strong in not just the Dark side of the force, but also in the Sith mysteries, that he kept it hidden from Yoda while interacting with him on a daily basis. That level of power is just insane, and not only was Yoda unable to defeat him, but he went into exile knowing well that he could not do it at a later time. Also consider the skills we know from the later movies (and some books) he had. He could sense where his agents were at all times, and Anakin was definitely his agent. He could see into the future to a great deal and make plans based on that knowledge.

    In fact I believe he foresaw this would be the turning point of Anakin fully to the Dark side and as his apprentice and he fought Windu, not to win, but to delay until Anakin was close enough to intervene and cement his place at the side of Palpatine. He let Mace beat him then, and his use of Force Lightning was not only used to delay but also because he knew that it would exhaust him and make him appear weaker, because he knew Mace’s skills and the properties of his lightsaber and expected the lightning to be turned back on him. Because Palpatine never left anything to chance, and he studied his adversaries incredibly well. That was how he engineered his ascension to power, his takeover of the Senate, the creation of the clones for use just in time, the turning of Anakin (who actually did bring balance to the Force if you think about it, the scale was heavily towards the Light side at the time), the destruction of the Jedi order, and his defeat of Mace Windu.

    Palpatine did not need Anakin to win, but he needed Anakin by his side. And the only way to get him there was to delay and then turn him.

    1. I think I pretty much agree with everything you have written here, aside from I have not heard of Vaapad being a weakness for Mace. Your point #3 is almost identical to my point #3 and I am with you 100% on that one.

      Concerning Kit, don’t you think it is possible that all four Jedi, with the exception perhaps of Mace, were initially stunned at Palpatine’s ridiculous spin, flying move and that was just enough of an advantage for Palpatine to cut them down quickly? Even with Palpatine’s amazing abilities, it seems to me than any Jedi Master would have lasted longer than those guys did and I chalk that up to the initial shock of what was happening.

      At the end of the day, I am happy to be convinced that my first instinct was correct. I suppose I was also partly influenced by Lucas who admitted that he wanted Mace to genuinely get the upper hand. But maybe I should revert back to my initial position – that the Emperor took it easy on Mace.

      Lastly, I think the most telling piece of evidence is watching Yoda and Palpatine (I should have posted that video as well). Can there be any question that Palpatine looks stronger, faster, and more lethal in that duel than in the duel with Mace? Like I mentioned in my post, it appears that Palpatine is going at about 60% with Mace when you watch his performance with Yoda.

      Anyway, thanks for the good comment!

    1. I guess I will reply since you keep sending me comments – I did my best to set my filter to weed out moderates; liberals or conservatives are fine.

      Not a fan of the prequel films?

      1. No, not really. I think my problem is that I just liked the original three so much that there was no way that the prequels could ever measure up. Kind of like what would happen to a second wife if I ever had one; she’d never live up to the first one.

        And if you really could set your filter to weed out moderates, I’d have to commend you on doing a really good job. It’s ok, though; as a moderate, I get weeded out of lots of places and groups, given that I speak my own language and make up my own mind–with the guidance of the Bible and the help of the Spirit, I trust…

        1. I’m with you, the original three are just too good. The real question is, when I let my girl watch them for the first time, do I start with episode 4 or episode 1?

          I’m kidding of course about the filter – I moderate all my comments (as I think you do), is that what you are referring to?

  2. The Emperor pretended. Luke did the same thing. Remember? Luke, threw his Light Saber away, and then cried for help, he asked his Father to help him, as the Emperor jolted him. He did the same thing that the Emperor did. Also, the Emperor in front of Anakin, said..’i’m weak’ then right after, ‘unlimited power’
    Then think of the cutting off of the hand. It happend to Luke, it happened to Mace.
    It comes full circle.

  3. If you clearly read the book revenge of the sith mace defeats the emperor by using his special force power which he only had to look through the emperor to see his weakness which was fear of dying so that is why mace moves the fight to the window which he breaks open the emperor loses his concentration cause of his fear so mace defeats him in lightsaber combat but then the emperor unleashes his force lightning and mace knew then that the emperor was way more powerful than he thought and would eventually be defeated he couldn’t withstand the power of the emperors force lightning so technically the emperor loses the lightsaber duel but could eventually defeat mace

  4. Sorry for replying to somewhat old topic, but I find it somewhat interesting.

    I was following this debate for the first six or so months after the movie hit the theatre. Back then, I was firmly convinced Mace Windu did beat Palpatine legitimately, but then again, I thought Jackson’s portrayal of Windu was really cool and that a lot of Star Wars fans wrongly pissed on him. Which I still consider to be the case, for the record.

    But anyway, now I am sort of leaning toward the fight being somewhat of a draw when Anakin came in. It is hard to say. By the words of Lucas in the film’s commentary, Mace “uh” overpowers Palpatine, after which Palpatine seizes the opportunity to exaggerate his weakness. How that is to be interpreted is up for debate. Whether the “uh” implies irony or is just Lucas hesitating when trying to find words is, too.

    Anyway, with the whole saga in mind, fans had fairly good reason to believe Palpatine was quite a bit more powerful overall than Mace Windu, for reasons you already mentioned. I would have said the same after Episode II. After Episode III and various commentary, that “quite a bit” was reduced to “somewhat” or “slightly”. I still believe that is what the various sources indicate, even though I know some would disagree. “You have to be Mace or Yoda to compete with the Emperor,” says Lucas in The Making of Episode III, to explain why Windu’s followers were delegated so easily. That firmly puts Windu in a higher power tier than any other Jedi except Yoda, regardless of Andy’s earlier claims in this thread that Kit Fisto was such a great (according to EU) and must only be just behind Windu. Nick Gillard (lightsaber duel choreographer) called Windu a level 9 swordsman, same as Yoda, Palpatine and Anakin (Obi-Wan was an 8).
    While people may be entitled to personal opinion regardless of Lucas, that applies to both sides, and would definitely be even more so regardless of EU.
    Still, this does not prove Windu beat Palpatine legitimately, but it does undermine the argument that Palpatine was so much more powerful that it would have been impossible for Mace Windu to win by any other means than Palpatine letting him.

    Yes, I do realize the level of importance of Palpatine’s character in the scope of the saga, and that his fame to us in the real world by far exceeds that of Mace Windu (although, when it comes to the actors, rather than the roles, the reverse is actually the case). But, it is quite fallacious to deem role importance (or screen time, etc) to be proportional to power. If you compare Mace Windu to Obi-Wan, for example, in a discussion of who was the greater Jedi of the two, the most true answer would be something along the lines of Mace Windu on paper, Obi-Wan in the saga/narrative. Now, I am not comparing Obi-Wan to Palpatine, but I do maintain that you cannot prove anything about Mace Windu’s lack of power based on screen time.
    I would also point out that speculative fiction is not exactly short of cases of the underdog winning or heroes beating severe odds stacked against them. I would even go so far as to call that a cliche, in fact. Granted, underdogs winning are usually main characters, and there are limits, but the power gap in this case is nowhere near that limit, as far as I can tell from sources. Some fictional characters have beaten far worse odds.
    Oh, by the way, a lot of Star Wars fans in the community believed Boba Fett would kill Mace Windu in Episode III. As a thirteen years old. Without Force power. Even being the future top bounty hunter in the galaxy, he would just be developing at that age. I find it funny (and more than a little hypocritical, to be honest) that the often same people who believe Mace beating Palpatine being impossible due to the power gap between them simultaneously hold the belief that a little kid without any Force power whatsoever could beat the second greatest of the order. How does that make sense? Fan-love for original trilogy characters is the only explanation I can find for this enormous double standard.

    The power argument against the possibility of Windu winning legitimately is further weakened when you consider the lack of power coherence elsewhere in the saga. Just watch Order 66! Stormtroopers (canonically confirmed to be the same as clone troopers) were beaten by small bears in Episode VI, but apparently, taking out Jedi was very easy. I see that Jedi can fall in outnumbered, but most of them don’t even take few troops with them. The kid Jedi that Bail Organa saw outside the temple took out more before he fell than Ki-Adi Mundi, member of the council.
    The coherence of power in the Prequels is pretty much as the coherence of everything. Critical comments on http://redlettermedia.com/ about the Prequels are, sadly, hitting the nail more often than I like. The saga does not make up an internally consistent system of power levels of characters. Not even close. I can name more flaws there, even though it is geeky. Things have already happened that are far more absurd than Mace Windu legitimately beating Palpatine.

    Anyhow, I am not saying Mace Windu would definitely have killed Palpatine had Anakin not arrived. Not at all. Most likely, it was somewhat of a draw, but it is hard to prove anything. The fight seemed to take its toll on both of them. Either option, or something in between could work with the saga and show the manipulative side that we know Palpatine undoubtedly has. While it is clear Palpatine was not as weak as he appeared, little else is clear, regardless what opinionated fans (yes, I used to be one of them) would have us believe.
    We don’t have hard data of the characters’s relative powers, in a mathematically accurate figure, and it is a bit hard to prove anything about what is possible without that.

    And about 100 rematches between Palpatine and Windu, I agree with you that Palpatine would win the majority of them, but it goes nowhere near as high as 99. My guess would be around 65-85. It is just speculation, anyway, but based on various official quotes. I am not claiming that is scientific or anything, but it would be my estimate.

    Sorry about long post. I had a lot to say. We may have to agree to disagree, ultimately. No worries. It is just fiction, and never happened anyway, so in the end it matters little.
    But if you ask this because you want to make sense of it, my advice is to not bother. The Prequels made little sense, so it does not matter. Spuculating how the author envisioned it to make sense is rather pointless when the author most likely put almost everything into the CGI, rather than the plot. It would not surprise me at all if the answer to this question that makes the least sense was the one he had in mind.

    Have fun!

    1. When looking at the disparate power ratings and the sometimes ease with which Jedi are (sometimes) defeated you only have to look at the history of modern combat.

      Knights were the premier fighters in their heyday. But the knights power began to fade with the invention of the crossbow. Why? Because anybody can shoot one, prior to that the main weapon that knights had to fear (other than other knights) was the longbow, a weapon that required a lot of training to master.

      For the Jedi, they have been trained to deal with blasters. And in fact can often weave rather impressive defenses to blaster fire. But, sometimes it just takes a lucky shot, or distraction, and you have one less Jedi. Also, as fast as a Jedi may be, massed fire can overwhelm anyone.

      As far as Kit Fisto and his powers go. In general power yes, he is not in the same league as a Mace Windu. His strength was specific to his lightsaber abilities, and he was most adept against multiple opponents (or dual wielding ones). His biggest weakness was one on one, and look what happened.

      I must disagree with you that the prequels make little sense though. While the movies lack quite a bit, the plot is brilliant! But, sadly, Star Wars fans wanted movies like the originals which were very basic, the bad guys here and the good guys there and now they fight, type movies. Great fun, but not really intricate. The prequels are very intricate, and very involved. I still talk to people that have no idea why Naboo was important.

      In the end though arguing this stuff is just kind of fun, idle speculation. Was Sidious sandbagging? Like I said before I think so. I think he knew he could win but he needed Anakin to arrive first.

      1. …not really a single Jedi made any significant damage to the troopers tasked to execute them. And how about Jedi danger sense? It might be explicable, but the whole thing takes suspending disbelief a bit far. While Jedi powers had diminished, they were clearly not powerless.

        And they sent two troopers to execute Yoda, whereas lesser Jedi got near a dozen firing on them. I fail to see the brilliance of that plan. How would two troopers take out Yoda? And Sidious, the great planner and schemer, is actually a bit surprised Yoda survived that.

        Yes, the Prequel plot, orchestrating the Clone Wars for the Sith rise to power and taking out the Jedi certainly has its merits, but the films fail in execution in so many other ways it is said.

        And by the same rationale you present, a distraction and a lucky kick by Windu could cost Palpatine his lightsaber. Or does he have some invinsibility bubble around him that prevents that?

        By the way, I maintain the character power levels in the Prequels are screwed. Dooku defeating the 2.5 times more potentially potent Anakin should be proof enough of that, if Order 66 fails. Power level gap cannot prevent Windu from beating Palpatine legitimately when THAT is possible.

        I have also read quite a bit of EU, and Lucas quotes, by the way, so I think I know the franchise as well. There are a bit conflicting sources, from what I can see. But anyway, I cannot untangle an irrational character power level mess that I have not made. Lucas says one thing about who is stronger than who in quotes, but it does not always come across well. Palpatine letting Windu win may be best for the story, as I have pointed out, but I am far from certain that is what Lucas has in mind, despite that.

        1. Darth Angelus,
          I mostly agree with what you say however the point made about Order 66 and the clone numbers sent to kill Yoda i beileve may be wrong. We only see the clone commander and another one try to kill Yoda, however there was thousands of clones on the wookie homeworld and it wasnt just the commanders who recieved the 66 order was all of them. So I would imagine that many clones were on the hunt for Yoda.

          1. For clarification of my old post, I meant in the initial attack against Yoda during Order 66. After that, Yoda would have been tipped off and more prepared, so it would have been smarter to strike hard right away.
            Obviously, any Jedi survivors would have been shot on sight after Order 66, but someone who has already had some other party turn on them (in this case, clone troopers) would eliminate any trust that party, and they not put themselves in a position where they would be equally exposed again.

            Attempting to kill Yoda with two clones is pretty much a guaranteed fail, and is not worth wasting surprise over. Much better to assemble a larger force of clone troopers to attack Yoda with in the one opportunity you get to surprise him.

        2. Mace wind is six foot four, and over 200 pounds. Yoda is a 3 foot frog. Palpatine was fighting a very formidable man. Yoda is a runt. Even though yoda is stronger with the force than windu, he’s not stronger physically. Mace is the physically stronger opponent. That’s why windu beat palpatine, and also why yoda lost. Yoda is a runt.

    2. Don’t get me wrong. Palpatine letting Mace Windu win (rather than Windu really defeating him) is probably, on some level, the most rational answer, and the one which is best for the story. I can sympathize with that, although the Prequel story is so flawed anyway that it has ceased to matter to any significant extent.

      But, I have heard interviews with George Lucas quite a bit, about this and other subjects regarding the film. It is painfully clear from Jar Jar Binks that he does not give a damn about what is the best for the story. The Prequels are in many ways simplistic, childish, and stupid. And like I pointed out, internal consistency in character power levels is very near nonexistent.
      Dooku beat Anakin in Episode II without much effort. Lucas quote on Force potential said Anakin before immolation was 200% of emperor, whereas Dooku and Anakin after immolation was 80% of emperor.
      With simple math, that makes Dooku around 40% of Anakin in Episode II. That is, Anakin has 2.5 more potential than Dooku according to Lucas. Ok, Dooku has more experience, but there are diminishing returns to training your skill in something after a while (you get less and less skill improvement for each time unit spent practicing). If Anakin is THAT much more talented than Dooku, he would have surpassed him long since, after 10 years of Jedi training, whether Dooku had the dark side or not.
      My suspension of disbelief snaps there.

      Mace Windu legitimately defeating Palpatine might seem irrational on some plot level, but it is not absurd enough to believe Lucas could not have had that thought in his mind. And he does seem to be saying at least that Mace Windu is getting somewhat of an upper hand. Granted, it is hard to interpret him with any level of certainty.
      But anyway, Windu legitimately getting somewhat of the upper hand and then Palpatine using even that to his advantage by pretending to be more beaten than is the case is the most direct, simplistic answer to the question, and I believe that is about the level of the Prequels. Another answer might have been better, story-wise, but given how it seems that Lucas thinks, I won’t be digging for a deeper, more complex answer. It is not Sherlock Holmes, really. More like a program for small kids who would think Jar Jar Binks is a very funny character. With that in mind, the most simplistic answer is, unfortunately, more than likely to be the true answer, looking at the Prequels as a whole. Sorry.

      Many Star Wars fans assign more depth to the story than I think can be justified. That is wishful thinking, in a trilogy with one-dimensional characters in general, crappy dialogue, and a silly mascot intended but totally failing to be comic relief.

      Check out that redlettermedia.com site for a thorough analysis of Prequel plot failings. I recommend it. But above all, drop this issue. It can’t really be answered. Even if the Lucas answer to the question may very well be the one that makes the least sense for the story, there is little we can do about it.

      Cheers.

  5. Sidious was using force speed along with Dun Moch to completely overpower them, and fisto. Only mace windu was able to counter it.

    Mental attacks would also be utilized during combat in order to strip ones concentration with the Force, making an opponent less precise and effective. Such a thing could be quite deadly, especially against Jedi, since concentration was of vital importance when using the Force. As such, Dun Moch embodied using the Force as a form of psychological warfare.

    1. ok people, not to disagree with anyone or accuse anyone, but some of you guys are smoking the wild chiba.first the movie is an interpretation of how george lucas wants the story to be told, he says after mace overpowers him, he pretends to be weak. notice the word over powers him..i dont care how powerful of an force lightening user he is..the more the emperor put out, the more it came back to him..as we have seen in all the films when the jedi fight it is with restraint, mace was not restraining himself against palps. he was going for the kill..the lightsaber battle changed in mace favor once mace became angry, palps probably didnt expect a jedi to use anger in a fight so he was probably caught off guard by that. remember after the point where they clutch and push each other palps is struggling to hold him off. from there mace dictated where the fight would be led which was on the ledge..mace is still going all out and now it is palps who is using restraint..im sure he realized anakin was there but only AFTER mace disarmed him..as lucas stated its always been about anakin cutting off mace arm so that the emperor could kill him. so after he is disarmed he tries force lightning. his last resort. there is noone in the universe who would use that on someone with such power, only to have it pass through the person it was intended for and reflect back to you, and that person would continue to try and fry the person while the lightening is ultimately destroying himself. think of the yoda palp fight or yoda dooku fight, yoda caught the lightning and reflected it back at them, but it wasnt done in a way that it would strike them. mace deflected it and it went through the emperor. disfiguring him and frying him. so it was smart of palps to play weak and seem as if he needed help. palps could not have stopped mace from killing him, that much is very clear without anakins help.keep in mind this is all lucas interpratation of how he sees it, yes palps is powerful, but he couldnt beat mace, against yoda look at his face when yoda becomes angry and sends the lightening back at him, total pain and overpowered.

      1. Dude you are the man. All these people trying to say the emperor was not defeated are in a dream cloud. The emperor was defeated and was going to be killed, which makes windu an incredibly powerful Jedi. I complete agree with everything you said.

  6. I am no expert on the Extended Universe, so I am just hearing about Shatterpoint and such (and George Lucas doesn’t consider it canon, anyway). But it does seem to me that the Emperor was making a fair manifestation of himself at the beginning of his fight with Master Windu et al. It may be possible that Palpatine had foreseen the fight and flawlessly timed the loss of his lightsaber seconds before Anakin entered the room, just so he could play the victim to secure Anakin’s transition to the dark side, but I am hesitant to believe that for a couple of reasons. One, remember that Palpatine had Windu at sword’s point early in the fight, and it looks like he was lunging to run him through when Windu recovered and continued the engagement. After a short break from the fight to show us Anakin’s moment of teary-eyed dilemma and decision to leave the Council chambers (during which we do hear from Anakin’s recollection Palpatine impressing upon him that his death at the hands of the Jedi would mean no chance of saving Padme), the Emperor seemed to have slowed considerably. He was finally caught off-guard by Windu with a kick to the face, and I am not convinced it had anything to do with his master plan. Again, Palpatine had lunged at Windu once earlier, unless we are to believe he knew all along that Windu would be able to block it. Also, the Emperor’s panicked reaction sure didn’t look planned; it looked like he was scrambling for dear life with nowhere to go.

    Two, I wouldn’t say that cutting off Windu’s arm itself signified Anakin’s turning. Anakin was clearly distressed after betraying Windu and realizing that he had just helped the Sith Lord to destroy a Jedi, as Palpatine had unexpectedly turned out not to be as “weak” as he was pretending to be, and immediately proceeded to blast the unarmed and agonizing Jedi Master out the window to a death plunge with an encore of force lightning. Anakin took a pledge of apprenticeship to the Emperor only because he knew that he’d just burned all bridges with the Jedi order, and had nowhere left to go (and he was still hoping to learn how to save Padme, which he believed Palpatine could teach him). He consummated his turn to the dark side by killing younglings in the Jedi temple. Back to the window scene, I don’t have much reason to believe that the Emperor was deliberately putting on a show for Anakin by firing force lightning, only to have it deflected back upon himself. I am more inclined to believe that, upon hearing Windu’s words, “You have lost,” this was likely an act of desperation; as indicated in the Emperor’s bizarre, seemingly maniacal expression when he said, “No. No, no… YOU will die!” And as he held back for what would be either Windu’s fatal stroke or Anakin’s intervention, I find it just as easy to believe that he wasn’t interested in any more pain from force lightning in his face, as to believe that he had foreseen this as being Anakin’s moment of destiny. Had Palpatine really been that all-knowing, then he should also have known that Yoda and Kenobi would survive the purging; and that Vader would be reduced to a cyborg never to realize his full potential, after losing all remaining, non-prosthetic limbs to Kenobi and being left to burn inches away from a river of lava.

    Concerning the point that the Emperor’s fight with Yoda was much more “animated” than that with Windu, I would say that Palpatine had the advantage of size and reach, and was swinging back and forth to try and deliver the one and only stroke necessary to slice the Jedi Grand Master in half. But while speed can be advantageous, it is not always decisive. Remember that Obi Wan and Anakin were both faster than Count Dooku, but were handily beaten in their first confrontation with him. Furthermore, the Emperor’s fight with Yoda reach its climax in a very large room with plenty of pods for ammo; this room was the ideal place for one to distance himself from his opponent and throw things at him. It is also my understanding that Yoda did manage to disarm Palpatine, but couldn’t get close enough to finish him off. Yes, Yoda gave up so much size that he was the one to fall several stories after the opposing blasts of force lightning knocked them back, and appeared too hurt to continue (which the Emperor likely would have been had he lost his grip on the pod’s railing and fallen himself). But this is circumstantial, and every dog has his day. Grand Master Yoda and Sidious were both so immensely and dangerously powerful that it would be practically impossible for either to trounce the other. Had the Emperor fought Windu in the Senate Rotunda, he might have flattened him. Had he fought Yoda in the quarters where he’d engaged with Windu, then he might have been slashed to ribbons. Unless one plainly whups his opponent in a fight, there is no reason to believe the opponent would never be able to settle the score, else “rematch” likely wouldn’t be in our vocabulary.

    As for the comment I read about Luke Skywalker having planned – for Vader’s sake – his own brush with death from Palpatine’s force lightning, I think it’s more likely that Luke simply didn’t know anything about force lightning. And Yoda might not have told him about it because it was too aggressive a power for a Jedi to wield, because it was better deflected with a lightsaber, or simply because it would take too long to learn (after all, the only wielders we see are rather advanced in age). It is convenient that the sight of Luke’s suffering and cries for help under the Emperor’s attacks proved to be the emotional appeal that caused Vader to secure his transition back to the light side by turning on his master and hurling him to his death, but I don’t think this was Luke’s plan. He mocked the Emperor after winning his duel with his father, and could have thought that Vader’s freedom from servitude upon the fall of the Galactic Empire would have been enough to allow him to embrace the good still in him, as he would no longer have to fear the repercussions of his betrayal. No, I think Luke just underestimated the Emperor, something Yoda had warned him against. He thought the Emperor’s only power was manipulation, and that he was just a helpless, old man if that failed. If anything, I think this would have been God’s plan, not Luke’s.

  7. I am a massive starwars fan and have read many of the books. I have came to the same conclusion as the Con stated, Darth Sidious is the MOST powerful Sith Lord ever and the most powerful being in the starwars from Episode 1 to Episode 6.
    Some of the points I have are.
    1. Darth Sidious has more Midi-chlorians than anyone else apart from young Anikan skywalker in episode 1 and 2. But after Vader lost his remaining arm and legs, Sidious had the most Midi-Chlorians.
    2. Some may argue that Anikan was stronger than Sidious and Yoda in episode 3, but as Sidious rightly said before dueling Yoda “Darth Vader will become more powerful than either of us”. The emphasis is on become, meaning Vader wasnt yet at the height of his predicted power.
    3. Okay we all know Yoda is hundreds of years old and has had many powerful padawans. But thats exactly what he is, HUNDREDS of years old. He has spent centuries building his powers and learning about the force. Where as Palpatine became aware of his force powers when he was in his teens when he became a Sith. Now he died at around aged 70 Yoda died at 900. This shows how much Palpatine has achieved in such a short space of time. Now we know Palpatine was at least as powerful as Yoda in episode 1 because he had managed to conceal his true identity from the Jedi and started to cloud their minds. Yes he had clouded their minds from episode 1 not episode 2, because if you remember when Obi-wan was on Kamino the Prime-Minister told him that the clone army was ordered 10 years ago, and episode 2 was set 10 years after episode 1. It was only in episode 2 that the Jedi realised their powers were diminished.
    4.Now when it comes to lightsaber combat, you must realise that Sidious has not used a his weapon in over 33 years! (Darth Maul was trained before hand)Mace Windu had been using his saber nearly non stop since the start of the clone wars. Personally I believe that Mace is “Over-Exagerated”. He may sometimes be able to duel Yoda to a stalemate but rarely. He is in the same ranking as Count dooku with a lightsaber. Now Sidious is nearly on Par with Yoda, but agian you must realise yoda not only trains students how to use a lightsaber he has used it countless times during the last 13 years.
    5. Now when it comes to using the force, it is clear who has the upperhand. Sidious can levitate many objects at the same time as seen in his fight between Yoda. He has even been known to pull down an MC80 Star Crusier (larger than Imperial cruisers) when one of them came across one of his secret Imperial training bases. His force offencive powers are second to none. e.g. Force lightening.
    4. I believe the true beauty of Sidious is in his cunning and Public image. He done what the Jedi had always feared and became the ruler of the republic without them even knowing. So in fact the jedi were fighting for a “republic” which the Sith ruled. He managed to get rid of any competition within the Senate and at first gave the impression of an easily manipulated Senator then later Chancellor, when infact he was manipulating the manipulators. His cunning and shear power lessens that of any other being, including Yoda.
    5. And as for the fight for Mace Windu, Palpatine threw it. He wanted to appear weak for Anikans arrival to give off the impression that the Jedi were overthrowing the republic. He wanted Anikan really bad because not only was he to overthrough the Sith but was destined to be the most powerful being in the universe. Palpatine had wanted Anikan as an apprentice ever since he heard that Anikan was the Chosen One. But he his own apprentices until he thought the time was right to turn him. Little did Anikan know that Palpatine had planned his turning to the dark side since he was 9 years old. One could argue that Anikan was trained FOR Palpatine.

    1. Let me start by saying Mace underestimated palpatines power on arrival. I think that mace caught sidious off guard with vaaped, mace could also tell sidious was afraid of dying, so mace moved the fight to the window, broke it and caught palpatine by suprise yet again, that is when he disarmed him. mace had the upper hand, mace was much faster and better at dueling then he was 13 years before when he lost to dooku. his fighting style is especially good against the dark side and it gave him the upper hand in this fight. he caught lord sidious by suprise and i believe he would have killed him, under those circumstances. when anakin arived, palpatine adapted and took advantage of the situation, using his munipulation. i truely don’t believe he knew for sure exactly if and when anakin would arrive. it would be a huge risk, even if he wasn’t expecting any competition. there’s really nothing to suggest otherwise. Mace saw how fast sidious was when he killed kit fisto and the other two, agen kolar and saesee tiin. btw fisto WAS much better than the other two at lightsaber combat, but fisto wasn’t THAT good. he’s on the level of ki-adi mundi. plo Koon, shaak ti and luminara were better at lightsaber combat and duels than fisto. Jedi like cin drallig and depa billaba were on the level of obi wan, who were all a ahead of plo koon in skill. Yes mace is stronger than obi at this time, and mace would beat dooku now in a duel. If only mace had brought more skilled and experienced jedi, there would have been no issue. Others minor jedi like agen kolar and saesee: aayla secura, stass allie, barris offee and adi gallia.

      1. Let’s not forget that Darth Sid uses a Kaiburr_crystal.

        So he is not really more powerful than Yoda or Mace.
        And Sid’s crucial mistake when becomes Emperor is this. He forgets the will of the force. His overconfidence and desire for power blind him to the will of the force and that is to have balance. Not even his amazing foresight and manipulation can stop the fruition of this reality.

  8. A few things I feel need to be pointed out:

    1) To all those saying that Mace Windu gave into his anger when using Vaapad you need to read again. The first time the Vaapad concept is presented is In Matthew Stover’s Shatterpoint Novel set in the Clone Wars era. In it, Windu explains that he manages to keep balance between the dark and light when in Vaapad, not by using anger, but by allowing himself to ENJOY COMBAT. Like a martial artist who devotes his/her life to improving one’s skills, Windu didn’t give into emotion, but did allow himself to enjoy testing his skills in battle. That is the “dark” aspect of Vaapad, one that frequently gets confused with anger or whatnot.

    2) Yes its true, that the fight between Yoda and Paltatine later in the movie went differently, but even a casual observation of the fight reveals something. At first, Paltatine and Yoda are on even ground in the lightsaber duel, but when we return to them after the second cut-away you notice that Palpatine LOST HIS LIGHTSABER, thus loosing the duel, and was forced to fall back on his greater aspect, his mastery of force lightning. It was only when he used the force that he was able to regain the upper-hand against Yoda, much in the same way that he did against Windu. Personally, this has always led me to believe that Palpatine was a great swordsman, but not at Yoda, Windu’s or perhaps even Dooku’s level. He was definitely one of a few who were able to move at superspeed in combat, as he did against Yoda and Mace, but his lightsaber skills put him at the bottom rung of the legendary swordsmen of his time, which is still very impressive in my opinion.

    1. I agree with pretty much everything you said here, but after reading everyone’s comments, I feel I should point out one thing; a lot of people here seem to be putting Kenobi towards the ‘bottom of the stack’, but if you read the Revenge of the Sith novel by Matthew Stover, there is a scene depicting Obi-Wan speaking with Mace about his doubts in being the Jedi chosen to confront Grievous, in which Windu replies (I’m probably off by a few words),”Many consider me to be the greatest swordsman because I created a letha style (Vaapad), but who is the greatest swordsman? The inventer of a lethal style, or the master of the classic (Soresu)?” Which of course in no way is an admittion of superiority to Obi-Wan, btu something to think on. Also, in a fight between the two, Vaapad wouldn’t offer much more than normal, as it feeds off the darkness in your opponent. With the exception of Obi-Wan vs Maul round 2, Obi-Wan never really came close to the darkside. So delving a little further into the style situation, Vaapad is kind of an off-shoot of Juyo, Soresu would be very effective against that (just as it was when he let Anakin batter at his defenses across Mustufar until he came to a terrain advantage that he liked). Windu is definitely a powerful Jedi, both in force and saber prowess, but just as people here have said a lot of the characters are getting under or over estimated, I believe Obi-Wan is getting under estimated. As far as Palpatine purposely losing… I agree, not only was death his greatest fear, what was to stop Mace from striking Palpatine down right away instead of having a moral debate in his head or from going on a monologue? Sidious lost, whether from under-estimating Mace or pure lack of skill over him is unclear, saw Anakin come up, and adapted to the situation by choosing his words and tone VERY wisely. I’m sure he expected Anakin to come, but throwing a life or death battle on it? Not a chance. As far as the Palpatine and Yoda fight, they seemed pretty equal to me. Palpatine got the higher ground at first, making it far easier for him to throw pods DOWN onto Yoda then for Yoda to throw them UP at him. Once they got back on level ground and had a showdown of the force, the same thing happened there that happened to Anakin and Obi-Wan; they equaled, and both got blasted back. Yoda’s considerably lighter weight caused him to fly back further, and he fell a great length, hitting objects along the way. Now Palpatine is on the same pod high up, Yoda is on the ground, there’s a multitude of pods that can be thrown down on him, and he’s injured… Palpatine won by retreat, but because of the arena and circumstances. Sorry for the obscenely long post! Everyone here has had great points, and I’ve enjoyed reading it!

  9. This question has been answered by those who made the movie. Mace beat Palpatine, straight up defeated him.
    Mace wasn’t as powerful as Yoda or Palpatine, but he was a better swordsman than either of them due to his mastery of Vaapad.
    Think of it from the Sith’s point of view. Palpatine already had his “hook” in Anakin, saving Padme, he didn’t need to risk his life by fighting poorly against the most dangerous Jedi alive on the hope that Anakin would turn and help him. Plus, Palaptine WANTED Anakin, he didn’t need him, he wasn’t going to bet his life on Anakin turning. He only pleaded with Anakin at the end because that was the ONLY way he could survive the next minute or so.

  10. Here is what I think briefly, I think the emperor knew he could not beat Master Windu so he set this whole thing up to bring Anakin to the dark side and eliminate Master Windu.

  11. im a fan and it seems from all of the materials that windu did actually beat the emperor. what may be possible is that the emperor, somehow, grew stronger (perhaps usurped windus great power) as he killed him. a jedis power can enhance as we hve seen. by the time yoda fought the emperor, the emperor was so much stronger. amazing they fought to a draw! perhaps?

  12. It seems to me like Palpatine was feigning weakness in order to turn Anakin against the Jedi. Mostly because he appears to have used all his strength and not to be able to continue with force lightning. And then right after Anakin attacks Mace, at which point it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Anakin to go back to the Jedi, he resumes his force lightning at what apears to be full strength.
    So Mace might have won the lightsaber battle fairly but I’m all but convinced Palpatine could have beaten him with force lightning if Anakin hadn’t interfered.

  13. The force lightning was reflected back maces lightsaber is the Only one to do that all the other lightsabers either abosorbed or got disarmed. And lets not forget mace is a master of the force as well but not as much as yoda or palp. I agree with yamato mace was to powerful as he was the one jedi to counter palp dark side with his shatterpoint and vaapad so palp planned for anakin to turn using careful words. And mace would never suspect anakin to turn on him

  14. He was not more powerful as in overall than palp but more like he was the one jedi who could exploit palps dark side against him

  15. I disagree completely. Mace Windu is the most skilled Jedi in combat to exist in the cannon world, Palpatine like Yoda may be a master of the force BUT that does not mean they are a master of lightsaber combat. Mace Windu was unique in the way he was able to manipulate the dark side of the force to his advantage and use the powers it withheld for the power of good. Any other Jedi who tried this fell to the dark side. So Mace Windu having access and mastering the power of the dark side in combat put him on equal footing if not better footing than Palpatine as this was Mace Windus sole specialization.

  16. I can’t get past all you sidius fanboys with your made up theories that sidius threw the fight when THE MAN, George Lucas explained that Mace overpowers sidius. Even then, you can’t believe it so you make up long winded theories to explain what you wanted to see. George said it in a few words…Mace won. People don’t want to accept it so keep denying it and overhyping sidius while downplaying Mace. It’s been clearly attributed to Windu how powerful he is and that he has a skillset so unique and powerful that it even defeated the emporer. My feeling is that if Windu was a white character there would be so much fanboy hype all over the internet on how he was truly the greatest jedi and even the emperor couldn’t defeat him but needed Anakin’s help. Windu would be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but instead we get, Sidius threw the fight, he would’ve won 99% of the fights (someone said).
    MACE WINDU DEFEATED THE EMPORER! LIVE WITH IT PEOPLE! STOP THIS TRUMPONIAN STYLE DENIAL AND SPIN!

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