- "Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise, he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life. He had such a knowledge of the dark side, he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying."
Darth Plagueis, remembered as Darth Plagueis the Wise, was a male Muun Dark Lord of the Sith and heir to the lineage of Darth Bane. Trained by Darth Tenebrous, Plagueis mastered the art and science of midi-chlorian manipulation. Obsessed with eternal life, he experimented with ways to cheat death and create new life from the midi-chlorians. In his public guise as Magister Hego Damask II of the InterGalactic Banking Clan, Darth Plagueis backed the rise and fall of certain star systems, businesses, and crime lords, earning him many enemies and putting the Galactic Republic into turmoil.
One of Plagueis's greatest contributions to the history of the galaxy was training Darth Sidious in the ways of the Sith and the dark side of the Force, whom he incited to take control of the galaxy and bring about a new age of the Sith. For decades, he had helped Sidious, known publicly as Palpatine from Naboo, rise to the position of Senator and played a hand in his apprentice's election as the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic in 32 BBY. Together, they instigated the Yinchorri Uprising in 34 BBY, the Invasion of Naboo, and the war that would destroy the Jedi Order and the Republic in years to come. They were even unwittingly responsible for the procreation of Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One.
Plagueis planned to be appointed Co-Chancellor of the Republic so that he might advise Sidious from the dark and devote himself to his own research. But his apprentice had other plans. Sidious, convinced that his master had outlived his usefulness, eventually killed the Muun in his sleep the night before his election and eventually rose to become ruler of the Galactic Empire.
Sidious later recounted the tale as The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise—an "old Sith legend"—to sway Anakin Skywalker to the dark side, though Plagueis himself remained a mysterious figure to the Jedi and their allies well into the time of the Galactic Alliance.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Pre-birth
- 1.2 Early life
- 1.3 Darth Tenebrous and Darth Plagueis
- 1.4 The murder of Darth Tenebrous
- 1.5 The discovery of Darth Venamis
- 1.6 Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious
- 1.7 The assassination of Vidar Kim
- 1.8 Serenno: Meeting Dooku and Sifo-Dyas
- 1.9 First assassination attempt
- 1.10 Scholar of the midi-chlorians
- 1.11 Yinchorr Uprising
- 1.12 Cog Hive Seven
- 1.13 Second assassination attempt
- 1.14 The murder of King Veruna
- 1.15 Invasion of Naboo
- 1.16 The murder of Darth Plagueis
- 1.17 Legacy
- 2 Personality and traits
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Behind the scenes
- 5 Appearances
- 6 Sources
- 7 Notes and references
Several years before Hego Damask II's birth, his father, a Force-sensitive Muun named Caar Damask, who worked as a middle-ranking Banking Clan agent, met renowned starship designer Rugess Nome by chance on High Port Space Center. Nome, in his capacity as reigning Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Tenebrous, had been searching for the right apprentice to train for the sole purpose of eventually possessing through the virulent midi-chlorians he had dubbed "maxi-chlorians" in order for his consciousness to survive until the creation of the Chosen One. Years after his meeting with Damask, Tenebrous discovered another Force-sensitive Muun—a lower-caste female—and conscripted her as a disciple, for she was not strong enough in the Force to be considered for apprenticeship. Tenebrous, using Bith scientific methods, had predicted that the offspring of Damask and his disciple would be strong in the Force. For this purpose, he tasked his Muun disciple to seduce Caar Damask and bear him a child.
- "In truth, and in ways that you will eventually come to understand, you belong to him."
- ―Caar Damask to his son, referring to Darth Tenebrous
Born on Mygeeto sometime between 200 and 100 BBY, the son of Caar Damask, who had become the planet's administrator more than ten years earlier, and his codicil wife, Hego Damask II was named after his grandfather. Growing up in a domed city on a perpetually frozen and sparsely populated planet under the overly attentive gaze of his mother, Hego had a very atypical childhood for a Muun. She recorded every detail of his upbringing, encouraged him to talk with her about even the most furtive of his thoughts, and provided playmates for him, observing his interactions with them and interrogating him about his feelings regarding each specific youngling. Before his fifth birthday, Hego discovered that he could manipulate the Force by using it to ply the feelings of his playmates. He eventually tested the limits of this power by using a very potent mind trick on a Muun youngling he had grown to dislike, convincing the boy to commit suicide by jumping into a courtyard from a high window. Hego's mother instructed her son to keep his powers secret, and confided in him that they shared the gift.
Hego's parents handed him over to Nome as a youngling in return for a career advancement for Caar, presumably arranged through the Dark Lord's shadowy intelligence network. Tenebrous took the child as his apprentice, the one he intended to eventually possess, naming him—at some unknown point—Darth Plagueis. Plagueis left Mygeeto for the first time in his life, and began his life as a Sith.
Five years after handing his son to the Dark Lord, Caar Damask was appointed director of the treasury branch of the InterGalactic Banking Clan (IBC), realizing his lifelong dream of wielding real power within the IBC. His codicil wife disappeared without a trace. Five years after that, Plagueis learned the truth of Tenebrous's machinations that led to his birth. Caar Damask eventually rose to the top of the IBC as Chairman.
Darth Tenebrous and Darth Plagueis
- "We Sith are an unseen opposition. A phantom menace. Where the Sith once wore armor, we now wear cloaks. But the Force works through us all the more powerfully in our invisibility."
- ―Darth Tenebrous to a young Darth Plagueis
Darth Plagueis traveled the galaxy with his master, masquerading as Rugess Nome's young accountant while the two carried out the Sith plan of spreading discontent to ripen the galaxy for their rule. During his travels, Plagueis became acquainted with the backwater of the galaxy; in the years to come, he would feel at home in the run-down spaceports, seedy tapcafs and rough cantinas common in the Rim.
Plagueis later told his own apprentice that his first mission under the tutelage of Lord Tenebrous was undertaken in the twenty-fifth year of his apprenticeship, at some point after 99 BBY: Tenebrous tasked his apprentice to murder Kerred Santhe the Elder. The assassination was accomplished by means of telekinetic strangulation during a banquet on Corulag; the Sith Lords took advantage of the fact that bloat eel was served in order to blame Santhe's death on the chefs. Following this trial, Plagueis veered from the Sith path, as often happened with apprentices when they first discovered the potency of the dark side.
Plagueis later claimed to Palpatine that he had returned to Muunilinst to meet the rest of his clan. As the son of Caar Damask's codicil wife, however, he was never accepted by his half-brothers and sisters, who saw him as an interloper and sought to have him disinherited. Soon afterwards, Caar Damask fell gravely ill at a relatively young age for a Muun, and it was discovered that he had a rare congenital defect in his tertiary heart that he had passed on to his children with his first wife. Plagueis, having been born to a different mother, did not carry the gene, and he watched as his siblings and clan mother spent millions of credits on a geneticist to help cure the condition. Plagueis claimed that he had hired the geneticist to conduct phony treatments, and that he took pleasure in his siblings' early deaths, inheriting the wealth they had tried to deny him. Palpatine suspected that the story was embellished to goad him into killing his family. Plagueis later admitted that only "some of it" was true.
Regardless to the circumstances, at some point Darth Plagueis inherited the Damask fortune and took over the Sojourn Gatherings from his father. Gatherings were clandestine annual meetings of politicians, the leaders of various trade organizations and cartels, and even gangsters, hosted by Damask Holdings on the moon of Sojourn. Hego Damask II transformed the Gatherings from the elite secret club it had been under his father into a Sith tool to influence the most influential beings of the galaxy in order to prepare the Republic for the submission to an enlightened elite promised by Darth Tenebrous.
During their long years together, Tenebrous did not invest in properly training Plagueis as a Sith. Instead, he sent him on various missions he judged pointless as a distraction, and cultivated his apprentice's unprecedented talent for midi-chlorian manipulation, all the while making sure that the Muun would only apply it to the preservation and extension of his own life, thus ensuring that he would live long enough for Tenebrous to possess the body of the Chosen One. Plagueis developed his powers in the Force and in the mundane world largely on his own, and indeed took them further than his Master believed. Tenebrous also took on a second apprentice, a Bith to whom he bestowed the name "Darth Venamis." Although Venamis was apprised of Plagueis's existence, Plagueis was kept in the dark—he believed he was his master's sole apprentice, in accordance with the Rule of Two, a rule he had come to resent.
In 67 BBY, Plagueis in his role as Hego Damask secretly negotiated for the Trade Federation to accept the expansion of Free Trade Zones in the Outer Rim Territories, even though this would cost it some of its shipping monopoly and expose it to competition from start-up companies. In exchange, the Trade Federation received full voting privileges as a functional constituency in the Galactic Senate, though the leadership remained disgruntled at the loss of some of its monopoly. Meanwhile, Plagueis advised the InterGalactic Banking Clan to invest in Outer Rim and trans-Perlemian shipping to take advantage of the new arrangement.
The murder of Darth Tenebrous
- "Foolish, pathetic Plagueis...."
- ―Darth Tenebrous's thoughts on his apprentice
67 years before the Battle of Yavin, Darth Tenebrous learned of a cortosis deposit on the planet Bal'demnic, and personally went there to survey it with his apprentice, a treddroid, and an M-2 mining probe provided by Subtext Mining. What neither Tenebrous—apparently—nor Plagueis knew was that the probe had been sabotaged by an unknown party, with Subtext's complicity. Inside a cave on the side of a steep escarpment on the shore of the Northern Sea, the two Sith Lords landed their craft, a ship designed by Tenebrous himself, and set out to survey the cortosis vein, using enviro-suits to protect them from the deadly heat.
Tenebrous ascribed special significance to the mission as he believed that two Sith Lords mining cortosis at the apex of the Rule of Two era amounted to the “closing of a circle,” a circle that had began with Darth Bane, the Sith'ari of legend, starting on the path toward darkness in the Apatros cortosis mines. The enterprise soon came to an unexpected end, however, when the droid reported that the mining probe had discovered a pocket of a highly combustible variant of lethane directly beneath the borehole. Tenebrous ordered the droid to have the probe deactivated, but it failed; the probe overrode the droid's commands. After the two Sith unsuccessfully tried to damage the probe using Force lightning, they hastened to return to the grotto where they had landed the ship, leaving the treddroid behind. Plagueis made sure to let it know that it had been useful before running away.
As the two Sith ran through the superheated caverns, Plagueis noticed that his Master was uncharacteristically distressed, as if he sensed something alarming in the Force. They had just made it to the grotto near the surface when the gas explosion caught them—Tenebrous conjured a barrier to shield them from the fireball, and when the ceiling began to collapse, he used the Force to protect the ship. It was then that Plagueis had the impression of hearing the Force whisper to him that his moment had come to claim his stake to the dark side, and lost no time in contemplation—he swiftly brought the huge slabs of stone down on his Master using the Force. The rockfall, however, also buried their ship, trapping them both. Racing to Tenebrous's side, Plagueis tried to comfort his Master. The Bith went along with his apprentice's charade, and conferred the mantle of Sith Master to him. Plagueis, accepting responsibility for his action, informed Tenebrous that his death would mark the end of the Rule of Two, and that he would escape the grotto even without the ship; he then broke the Bith's neck, killing him.
Both Plagueis and Tenebrous had waited a long time for that moment—the latter had hoped that his apprentice would have made his move years earlier, and was happy to finally be allowed the chance to implement his secret scheme, while the former had wanted to carry the Grand Plan to completion alone, without being burdened with the formalities of the Banite system. As Plagueis reached out in the Force to study Tenebrous's dying midi-chlorians, the maxi-chlorians carrying the Bith's intelligence slipped out of his body undetected and infected a wound on the Muun's lower back, caused by a rock or some other projectile. As the maxi-chlorian virus propagated inside Plagueis's cells, Tenebrous accessed his apprentice's powers of foresight, the powers he had had to give up himself in order to code his intelligence into the retrovirus. What he witnessed horrified him: instead of providing access to the Chosen One, Darth Plagueis died at the hands of his own apprentice, "the shadow." After the retrovirus completed the task it had been engineered for, the infection of all the cells in Plagueis's body, the Muun Dark Lord lost his powers of foresight. Tenebrous, after slipping out of his apprentice's body in panic, remained trapped as a disembodied essence in the cave.
Plagueis lost track of time after the murder, immersed as he was in the Force in order to study his Master's dying midi-chlorians. When he regained his composure, he discovered that he had been injured. After accessing the damaged ship, he realized that he could not repair it, nor could he use the Force to reach the oculus that led to the surface. So he set to work on removing the rubble from the ship using telekinesis and adding the rocks to a rubble pile he could climb to reach the surface. After he had completed his task, he entered the cockpit and retrieved his travel bag, which contained, among other effects, his lightsaber, a change of clothes, and a comlink, and also took Tenebrous's lightsaber and comlink. He changed, and after reassuring himself that the scene of the crime actually showed no evidence of a crime but rather of a simple starship crash, Plagueis left the cave.
Relying on a map in Tenebrous's comlink, the Sith Lord set out in search of the nearest city with a starport, located a few hundred kilometers to the south of the grotto, taking care to avoid contact with the Kon'me, the planet's indigenous inhabitants. When night fell, the Dark Lord took shelter in a shallow cave, and as he replayed the events of the previous day in his mind in an effort to fall asleep, he sensed the presence of a being of near-equal power to his. He considered that it might be Tenebrous's spirit come to hound him, as legend claimed had happened to Darth Bane after he desecrated the tombs of the Dark Lords. Yet Plagueis, confident that he would outlive any usurpers to his rule of the Sith, did not allow this premonition to worry him, and fell asleep.
He awoke and resumed his course before sunrise. Famished, having caught little sleep, with an infected wound and tormented by biting insects, Plagueis was in bad shape, but he immersed himself in the dark side and ran. Resisting the urge to attack the lower-caste Kon'me of the nearby dwellings for sustenance, he sated his hunger on bats and dead fish washed ashore. As he reached the city, Plagueis had a vision of the future: a future of war for Bal'demnic. In the starport, the Muun looked around for an appropriate ship to stow away in. After finding one to his liking and recording its registry number—LS-447-3—in his comlink, he sneaked into the spaceport authority building, escaping the notice of the sleeping Kon'me night shift guards, and found the registrar's office. He sliced into an office computer's control network, and called up information on the ship he had selected: the Woebegone out of Ord Mantell, captained by a Togruta woman by the name of Ellin Lah. The starship was scheduled to launch in the morning, bound for several Auril sector planets, with a cargo of fresh sea life kept within refrigerated containers that had cleared customs. It was within such a container that Plagueis sneaked inside the Woebegone, taking advantage of the Muun ability to regulate blood flow to the hearts in order to survive the freezing temperatures.
Once the crew discovered the stowaway, Plagueis promised to captain Lah that he was prepared not only to offer full recompense for the cargo he had spoiled, but moreover to reward them handsomely in exchange for passage to Muunilinst. He chose not to divulge his identity, however, and most crewmembers treated him with distrust. The deal eventually went sour, and Plagueis killed everyone—captain Lah, first mate Maa Kaap, the pilot Blir', the navigator Semasalli, and the crewmen Doo Zuto, Wandau and PePe Rossh, all fell to Plagueis's lightsaber; he only spared Lah's droid, 11-4D. Much to Plagueis's displeasure, he was unable to sustain the midi-chlorians of the crewmembers he butchered. Plagueis ordered 11-4D to set a course for the coordinates he provided, and retreated to the captain's quarters. The droid then tended to the festering wound the Dark Lord had received in the cave-in, and served him food and drink.
The discovery of Darth Venamis
- "I am Darth Venamis."
"Darth? We'll see about that."
"Your death will legitimize the title, Plagueis."
- ―Darth Venamis and Darth Plagueis
The Wobegone arrived at Deep Space Demolition and Removal, owned by Damask's ally Boss Cabra of Black Sun. There, he ordered that the Wobegone be sealed and slagged, and requested a change of wardrobe and a fueled, piloted ship to Muunilinst. He arrived on High Port Space Station with 11-4D several days after he had been expected, and was welcomed by Larsh Hill and a retinue of Damask Holdings members accompanied by Echani Sun Guards. He also had a chance encounter with Chairman Tonith of the IBC.
During the Gathering on Sojourn, Plagueis met with Gardulla the Hutt, Senator Pax Teem of the Gran Protectorate, and Qayhuk of the Yinchorri Council of Elders. Gardulla requested financial aid to restore the Boonta Eve Classic podrace circuit on Tatooine, and Plagueis agreed to put her in contact with agents of the Bank of Aargau. Qayhuk wanted Damask Holdings' support to lobby for Yinchorr's representation in the Galactic Senate, though Plagueis was more interested in taking the measure of the Yinchorri's rumored resistance to Force suggestion. Plagueis then clashed with Pax Teem over his support for Gardulla: Teem feared a new podrace course would undercut Malastare's revenues, and while Plagueis indicated that he would support an increase in rates for Malastare's fuel exports to offset the loss, Teem angrily retorted that a rates hike would benefit Damask Holdings and the Trade Federation far more than it would him.
Finally, Plagueis met with Gossam representatives of Subtext Mining. After threatening them for causing the death of Darth Tenebrous, the Gossams revealed the presence of a massive plasma reserve recently discovered under the city of Theed on the Mid Rim world of Naboo that could be highly profitable for Damask Holdings. Plagueis chose to spare their lives, ordering his Sun Guards to transport them to the most remote world they could find in the Tingel Arm in case he needed them again.
After the Gathering, Plagueis was informed by his Sun Guards that an intruder had breached the retreat's security. The Dark Lord sensed this was the work of a Force-sensitive being and set out to challenge the trespasser in the forests of Sojourn. Originally, he thought it was a Jedi, but was proved wrong when attacked by a Bith wielding a crimson-bladed lightsaber. Caught by surprise, Plagueis momentarily believed this to be his deceased Master Tenebrous, and then mused that he might be an artificially created offspring, but the Bith claimed to have been selected by Tenebrous as his Sith apprentice under the moniker of Darth Venamis. Venamis told Plagueis that he planned to execute his Master's last command—to kill Plagueis, and legitimize the title as Darth.
There was a short but fierce duel; so as to better prepare his apprentice for the fight against Plagueis, Tenebrous had taught Venamis the same fighting style the Muun was proficient in so that he would have an advantage when they faced each other. Damask originally had trouble fighting this new foe, but eventually gained the upper hand and disarmed Venamis, using both his and the Bith's weapon to force him to his knees. Darth Venamis then offered to apprentice himself to Plagueis, but the Muun had other plans for him: he forced Venamis to poison himself by ingesting a coma-bloom. He then ordered his Sun Guards to locate the infiltrator's ship and move his body to Aborah, with the intention of using the Bith as a test subject in his midi-chlorian experiments.
Eliminating the competition
An investigation of Venamis's ship revealed that he had kept his eye on several Force-sensitive troublemakers as potential apprentices. With the comatose Bith safely inside a bacta tank in Aborah, Plagueis set out to eliminate them and secure his position as the reigning Dark Lord.
Accompanied by 11-4D, he traveled to Lianna and Colliders Casino in Lianna City to deal with a Shi'ido skinshifter (whom he allowed to live), to Saleucami where he killed an Iktotchi prophetess, then Bedlam and its sanatorium, and finally to Abraxin.
While on Abraxin, he met Jedi Master Ni-Cada and his Padawan, Lo Bukk. He confronted Naat Lare and tasked him with the elimination of the Jedi. Hiding, Plagueis watched as the Jedi struck Lare down.
Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious
"How do you know my name?"
"I know more about you than just your name."
- ―Darth Plagueis and Palpatine
In 65 BBY, Plagueis, under his public name of Hego Damask II, traveled to Naboo to inspect the situation for himself. During this time, Naboo was at the peak of election season, and the candidates for the throne were divided between a conservative faction which wanted Naboo to remain an isolationist Republic member world, its resources exploited only internally and not by external megacorporations, and a liberal faction which wanted to fully integrate Naboo into the Galactic Republic. The candidate of the latter faction, Bon Tapalo, secured the endorsement of both Damask Holdings and the Trade Federation by promising to open Naboo to trade, which would allow them to profit from the plasma resources: Plagueis explicitly involved the Trade Federation in the construction of a new spaceport for Theed to export the plasma to reconcile them to the earlier Free Trade Zone Deal. He also sought to use the planet as a future base of operations. Bon Tapalo's opponent was supported by staunch royalists and traditionalists such as Cosinga Palpatine, patriarch of House Palpatine, and Naboo representative Vidar Kim, influential figures in Naboo politics both.
Plagueis eventually learned that Tapalo had an informant in the rival campaign who provided him with vital information. His agents discovered that the informant was a seventeen-year-old student in the Legislative Youth Program called Palpatine, the son of the man who stood most fervently against Tapalo and his ilk, Cosinga Palpatine. Eager to know more about the young man, Plagueis convinced him when they met at the Legislative Program's Theed headquarters to give him a tour of the town in his prized speeder.
From this first encounter, Plagueis learned much about the young aristocrat: he was interested in politics but was shy to admit it; had a modest fondness for art and desired for his homeworld to be opened to the wider galaxy. Most notably, Plagueis learned of the young man's severe estrangement with his father which had been going on for years and years. Impressed by the young man's ambition, intelligence and motivations, Plagueis offered to use him as a spy to secure Tapalo's election and Damask Holdings' interests on Naboo. Palpatine accepted the offer on one condition: he would report to Plagueis alone and directly. This led Plagueis to consider that Palpatine saw him as the father figure he never had. But he too was intrigued by the young man. For two standard days after leaving Naboo, Palpatine was constantly in Damask's mind. After a falling out with Senator Pax Teem of the Gran Protectorate over Damask's support of Gardulla during the Phoebos Memorial Run on Malastare, Plagueis began to consider Palpatine for the role of figurehead Supreme Chancellor that would bring the galaxy under the rule of the Sith.
- "Tell me what you regard as your greatest strength, so I will know how best to undermine you; tell me of your greatest fear, so I will know which I must force you to face; tell me what you cherish most, so I will know what to take from you; and tell me what you crave, so that I might deny you."
- ―Darth Plagueis to a young Darth Sidious
Immediately after landing on Naboo a standard month after his first visit, Plagueis and his retinue of Damask Holdings and IBC members were detained by a group of security guards. The Muuns were forced to remain in one of the spaceport's holding areas for about an hour, after which time two Palace Guards arrived to escort the Magister to a waiting Gian speeder. Damask was taken to Convergence in the Lake Country, where he met Cosinga Palpatine. Cosinga, who had noticed the friendship between the Magister and his eldest son, demanded that the Muuns stay away from Naboo, and that Damask specifically stay away from his son.
Plagueis, undeterred, traveled to Hanna City on Chandrila to meet with Palpatine, who was on the planet participating in a month long retreat sponsored by the Legislative Youth Program at the time, and updated him on the situation. The young man was furious at his father's attempt to meddle in his affairs, and his fury buffeted Plagueis as he felt it in the Force. Palpatine demanded help and advice, to which Plagueis replied that the young Human could use this incident as a means of emancipating himself. After some back-and-forth palaver, Palpatine revealed to the Magister that he sought ultimate power, and Plagueis told him that he was willing to be his ally in this quest provided that he free himself of all restrictions, chief among them his family. The Muun then related the story—a carefully put together amalgam of fact and fiction—of his own emancipation: he told Palpatine that, following his father's deathbed advice to use whatever means were necessary to protect his interests from less enlightened beings, he had orchestrated an elaborate ruse to poison his family and inherit the Damask fortune in its entirety. In reality, Plagueis was coaxing the young Human to confront his father and break the barriers he had built to hide his true nature. In fact, he had approached him on Chandrila so that Cosinga's spies would spot them together, making the confrontation between father and son inevitable.
All went according to Plagueis's plan, and as Palpatine was preparing to leave for Naboo aboard the Jafan III, one of his father's security guards came to escort him to the family starship. Palpatine murdered his family soon after the starship entered hyperspace, and contacted Damask, who promised him that all evidence would be destroyed, leaving nothing to link Palpatine to his family's disappearance. Plagueis now saw the young man as insidious, ambitious and arrogant by nature, as well as completely lacking in empathy, ready to join the Sith as his apprentice. In a cabin aboard the starship Quantum Collosus, Palpatine knelt before his new Master and swore his loyalty to the Sith Order, and Plagueis bestowed upon him a new name: Darth Sidious.
Training Darth Sidious
- "You have the Force, apprentice, and the talent to lead. More, you have the bloodlust of a serial killer, though we need to hold that in reserve unless violence serves some extraordinary purpose. We are not butchers, Sidious, like some past Sith Lords. We are architects of the future."
"Not a standard day sooner than a decade."
- ―Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious during one of their first training sessions on Mygeeto
Soon after the murder of his family, Sidious began the first stages of his training, designed to "break" him as an individual in order to remake him as a Sith, under Darth Plagueis. The Master promised to the apprentice that, although his training would be severe, they would be free of the Rule of Two. Breaking the cycle enacted by Darth Bane, they would neither harbor any secrets from each other, nor experience any jealousy or mistrust in their relationship, thus serving the dark side in concert.
Sidious learned from Plagueis over the course of decades, during which Plagueis taught his apprentice everything he knew to prevent the power he had amassed from being lost forever. His training included hunting on Buoyant, combat with battle droids on Hypori, and the ritual killing of native warriors on Kursid. During Sidious' training, Plagueis gave his apprentice access to his Sith holocrons. Plagueis's lessons involved forcing Sidious to face his fears, denying him pleasures, and taking from him the things he loved. He taught Sidious that emotions such as envy and hatred, though necessary to master the dark side, were simply means to the end of casting aside usual notions of morality for a greater goal. Plagueis also lectured his apprentice on the means of taking power, with the eventual goal of control over the galaxy.
The assassination of Vidar Kim
- "His sentiments have made him a liability. More important, his death will allow us to position where you've long to be."
- ―Plagueis plots to have Sidious replace Senator Kim.
By 54 BBY, Plagueis and Palpatine were maneuvering to raise Ars Veruna to the throne of Naboo, encouraging his plans to establish a space fighter corps to allow Naboo to deal with the Trade Federation from a position of strength. When Veruna became king, Plagueis planned to lead him into a destabilizing confrontation that appeared to be of his own making. However, Veruna and Bon Tapalo's policies were still fiercely opposed by Senator Vidar Kim, who planned to vote against a bill to seat numerous Trade Federation-controlled star systems in the Senate. Kim's behavior became more intense and erratic after the death of his entire family in an airspeeder accident on Kaadara. Kim became convinced that his opponents Tapalo and Veruna had been behind the deaths of his family to force his early retirement. He even devised a far-fetched plot to lead his only living son, the Jedi Knight Ronhar Kim, away from the Order and to carry on the family lineage. Returning to Coruscant within a month of his family's accident, Kim was angered when his only remaining son refused him, reaffirming his oath to the Jedi Order.
In 52 BBY, convinced of a conspiracy, Kim outlined to Palpatine his plan to reveal Tapalo and Veruna's corruption to the Jedi High Council. While on Coruscant, Kim had arranged a meeting with his son with the intention of swaying him to his cause and getting him to investigate on Naboo. Plagueis and Sidious came to the conclusion that the Senator had become too much of a liability: Plagueis saw Kim's death as an opportunity to send a message to the Galactic Senate of the growing disenchantment in the outer systems. Sidious arranged with Sate Pestage to have Kim killed on Coruscant by a Maladian assassin. A week later, Kim was riding in an open-air speeder with his last remaining heir when the hired assassin fired a round at the car, killing Kim before committing suicide to evade capture and interrogation by the Jedi.
Serenno: Meeting Dooku and Sifo-Dyas
- "I didn't mean to suggest that the Republic is purposely depriving the outlying systems of the right to self-determination. I'm merely speculating, because I see a growing threat."
"You are not alone in seeing it, Magister."
- ―Magister Damask and Jedi Master Dooku discuss the possibility of a coming war.
In 52 BBY, Plagueis was involved with discussions with the Kaminoans about the possibility of creating a clone army to one day destroy the Jedi Order. Plagueis had initially hoped to produce Yinchorri soldiers, believing that their immunity to many Force powers would give them an advantage over the Jedi. However, the Kaminoan geneticist Ko Sai pointed out that the Yinchorri's natural aggression would be extremely difficult to control in a military environment and interfere with their ability to obey orders.
Later that year, Plagueis attended a meeting on the Outer Rim world of Serenno hosted by Count Vemec. Also present at that meeting was a small group of Jedi: Jocasta Nu, Sifo-Dyas, Qui-Gon Jinn and Dooku. Celanon and Serenno were in a dispute over the placement of a new hyperwave transceiver in Celanon space that would expand the reach of the HoloNet into the Corporate Sector. In compensation for the fact that placement of the repeater would necessitate changes in hyperspace trade routes, Celanon had announced that ships entering Celanon space from the systems of the upper Hydian Way (including Serenno) would be required to pay substantial transit taxes.
Plagueis privately hoped that the mediation would fail: citing controversy, Damask Holdings would then withdraw from funding the transceiver and the project would collapse, leaving systems in the Tingel Arm feeling victimized by a disagreement between two wealthy Republic worlds and intensifying disenchantment in the Outer Rim. Plagueis was more interested in taking the measure of Master Dooku, who was an increasingly dissatisfied critic of the corruption of the Galactic Senate. Plagueis felt he could recruit Dooku as an insurance policy against the possibility of losing Sidious.
After hours of talk, a brief recess was called for. Plagueis took the opportunity to speak with the Jedi, engaging in a heated debate with Qui-Gon Jinn, who accused Damask Holdings of fomenting discontent in the Outer Rim in the name of profit. To Sifo-Dyas and Dooku, he spoke of impending conflict for the Republic in the future, discussing the possibility of a split in the Republic between the Core and the outer systems. Dooku admitted to the Senate's corruption and despaired for the possibility of correcting it. Sifo-Dyas was circumspect, not wanting to admit to the possibility of war out of his loyalty to the Republic. Plagueis realized then that to destroy the Jedi the Sith must exploit their sense of righteousness and obedience to the Republic, making them appear to be the enemies of peace and justice rather than the guardians. He then considered that rather than create an army to fight the Jedi, he might instead have the Kaminoans create an army that would fight alongside the Jedi before betraying them. Preparing to exploit Sifo-Dyas' fears about the future of the Republic, Plagueis was about to tell him about the cloners on Kamino that could rapidly raise an army for the Republic. However, upon seeing Jocasta Nu approach, Plagueis felt the dark side warn him not to speak of it, and he quickly ended the discussion.
A short while later on Coruscant, Plagueis introduced Dooku and Sifo-Dyas to his apprentice, Sidious, prior to the latter's address to the Senate in his public persona of Palpatine during a vote on sitting several client systems of the Trade Federation. During their discussion, they were spotted by Senator Pax Teem, who realized that Palpatine and Damask were working together. Teem had just expected Palpatine to vote against the Trade Federation, but on orders from both King Bon Tapalo and Plagueis (the former wishing to placate domestic critics of Naboo's deal with the Trade Federation, the latter planning for the new member-worlds to be caught in between a Republic that heavily taxed them and a Federation that exploited them to foment discontent and pave the way for a future secession crisis that would destroy the Republic), Palpatine declared that Naboo would abstain from the vote, tipping the Trade Federation towards victory.
First assassination attempt
- "It won't be business as usual this time, Master."
- ―Darth Sidious to Darth Plagueis
In 52 BBY, while attending Larsh Hill's Order of the Canted Circle investiture ceremony in the Order's Fobosi Lodge, Darth Plagueis was nearly killed by Maladian assassins in a hit ordered by Pax Teem and Santhe Security. The Maladian attack was preceded by Palpatine's kidnapping by members of Santhe Security, which Damask had made sure would occur by acknowledging his apprentice as an acquaintance in public with Teem as a witness. Teem had been waiting for nearly ten years to exact retribution after Plagueis's support for Gardulla the Hutt's new podrace course and Naboo's plasma reserves, both of which threatened to seriously affect Malastare's finances. Meanwhile, Santhe Security's leader Kerred Santhe the Second appeared to have discovered that Plagueis was responsible for his father's death and joined with Teem.
As Plagueis focused his efforts to foil the kidnapping attempt and use it to locate Teem, he was not aware that a second attack had been planned against him. Pestage was contacted by Maladians with the information, who were embarrassed by the complications surrounding the death of Vidar Kim, and he immediately notified Sidious. The two arrived at the Fobosi Lodge as Plagueis, gravely injured and barely holding himself conscious, was lashing out with the dark side against his attackers. All the others, including the Muuns who made up Damask Holdings, had been killed. Hill was the first victim of the attack, his head sliced from his neck.
Afterwards, Sidious personally executed Teem and many Gran in the Gran Protectorate Embassy. The police were unable to find any culprits behind either incident, even though the Senate Investigatory Committee formed a special task force to look into the matter in the wake of Senator Kim's assassination. Damask Holdings was not reformed, and Hego Damask II retreated from the affairs of the galaxy, with some believing him dead. He would still continue business in the Banking Clan, all the while grooming the late Larsh Hill's son, San, to become the next Chairman.
Scholar of the midi-chlorians
- "Everything done here has been for a single purpose: to extend our reign indefinitely."
- ―Darth Plagueis to Darth Sidious, referring to Aborah
Darth Plagueis had survived the Maladian attack with grievous injuries—a considerable part of his lower face had been taken off by a decapitator disk that had also severed his trachea and several blood vessels. In order to survive, the Dark Lord had been forced to wear a type of transpirator which covered his face below the nose.
One standard month after the attack, Plagueis summoned Sidious to Aborah to reveal the true nature of his studies and experiments to his apprentice. For the next twenty years, Damask lived an eremitic life in his laboratory, devoting all of his energy to the study of the midi-chlorians, while Palpatine devoted himself to the political machinations that the last stages of the Grand Plan entailed.
Additionally, Sidious began training his own apprentice, Darth Maul, under Plagueis's watchful eye. The Muun found the Dathomirian Zabrak to be useful to the Sith since he had been brought into Sidious' hands by his mother as a baby.
Darth Plagueis's manuscript
- "My Master, Darth Plagueis, recorded his own musings on what he believed to be the true nature of the dark side. Although he had a fatal blind spot, he revolutionized Sith understanding of the relationship between biology and the Force."
- ―Excerpt from Darth Sidious's introduction to the Book of Sith
At some point after Plagueis exclusively devoted himself to his studies (circa 45 BBY by Luke Skywalker's estimate), he put some of his theories and experimental results on paper. The manuscript offered a unique insight into the Dark Lord's philosophy and goals, and included sections titled "The Science of Creating Life," "Influencing the Midi-Chlorians," "Perpetual Life," "Concentrating the Force," "The Philosophy of Life," "New Explorations of the Force," "Transcending Death," "The Netherworld and Chaos," "Sith Spirits," "The Prophecy of the Chosen One," and "The Culmination of the Sith'ari."
Darth Plagueis sought to understand the Force in a purely scientific context, doing away with the trappings of mysticism he believed the Jedi had corseted it with. He accepted the classification of the Force's aspects into three categories: the aperion (equivalent to the Unifying Force), the anima (equivalent to the Living Force), and the pneuma (conscious thought as expressed in the Force). His focus was midi-chlorians, which he believed benefited from a uniquely strong connection to all three aspects and could be used to master life and death. Apart from the extension and creation of life through midi-chlorians, Plagueis sought to explore such extreme and unusual applications as the direct manipulation of space-time and continuity of consciousness after death (going as far as to discuss the essence transference technique). He traveled to the Valley of the Dark Lords on Korriban, seeking contact with long-dead Sith, but found none in the tomb of Hakagram Graush or on the throne of Sorzus Syn. As he boarded his ship to leave the planet, however, he had a vision of the admonishing spirit of Marka Ragnos. The long-dead Dark Lord challenged Plagueis's claim to the title, and railed against his plan to dismantle the traditions of Korriban, but offered no answers to any of the Muun's questions and inquiries. After this experience, Plagueis remained unconvinced about the reality of life after death of the body.
The manuscript also included his thoughts on the Mortis legend, in which section Plagueis claimed that creating the Chosen One—not to save the Jedi but to be an extension of his will—would be a trivial matter once he had mastered the art of manipulating the midi-chlorians. The surviving manuscript concluded with Plagueis's interpretation of the Sith'ari prophecy as a description of his achievements, even though he rejected the concept of prophecy.
Tipping the scales
- "To say that the Force works in mysterious ways is to admit one's ignorance, for any mystery can be solved through the application of knowledge and unrelenting effort. As we had our way with the Senate, and as we will soon have our way with the Republic and the Jedi, we will have our way with the Force."
- ―Darth Plagueis
Around the year 42 BBY, Darth Plagueis finally took Venamis's life. He then resurrected him and killed him again, repeating the process until the Bith's organs gave out, and he finally died. Both Sidious and 11-4D were present. Sidious and Plagueis then entered a meditative trance and managed to tip the scales of balance in the favor of darkness. Plagueis attempted to go one step further and attempted to create life by mentally reaching out to the inhabitants of the galaxy. An act in direct violation of the nature of the Force, Plagueis and Sidious attempted to will a being of their own design into creation, pouring their malicious intent into waves through the Force to the countless midi-chlorians spread across the galaxy. The experiment did not yield fruit, however, as Plagueis perceived the Force growing silent to his probing. Immediately afterwards, Plagueis's test subjects began to succumb to various diseases, and he set most of the survivors free; some of the animals he had experimented on adapted to the forests of Sojourn. Plagueis had developed a theory that the Force was actively opposed to the Sith's efforts, and he saw each setback in this light.
- "It's well and good that Jedi died, but we must guard against revealing our hand too soon. Was it wise to have the corpses shipped to Coruscant?"
"They had the intended effect on Valorum."
"Nevertheless, we may have misjudged him."
- ―Plagueis and Sidious discussing their near-disastrous move against Chancellor Valorum
In 33 BBY, Plagueis and Sidious provoked a key conflict in order to advance their goals. They urged the Yinchorri, themselves new admissions to the Republic, into an aggressive war which concluded with multiple victories for the Sith plan.
The Yinchorri, a race immune to mind tricks, were thought by Plagueis to be good potential hosts and trainers of a secret cloned army, which he planned to use to destroy the Jedi. Though this would not ultimately be the case, the resolution of the Yinchorri Uprising still proved to be of great benefit.
In terms of simple bloodshed, the conflict saw the deaths of seven Jedi; one of whom was a member of the Jedi Council. But of greater long-term value, the telepathic manipulative-immune Yinchorri were eliminated as a threat to the rise of the Sith by seeing them defeated and isolated to their own world.
But perhaps most significantly, the Yinchorri incident critically undermined the Chancellorship of Finis Valorum. This created the circumstances necessary for Palpatine – Darth Sidious – to ascend to political supremacy in the Republic.
Cog Hive Seven
By 33 BBY, Sidious was busy fomenting dissent in the Outer Rim as part of the Grand Plan's goal to pit the Republic against disgruntled star systems in the outlying regions. Plagueis was kept appraised of his apprentice's efforts but seldom took part in the attempts, preferring to continue his experiments on midi-chlorians. However, when Sidious sent his own apprentice, Darth Maul, to the prison Cog Hive Seven to track down influential arms dealer Iram Radique (to covertly manipulate a rogue Force-worshiping cult – the Bando Gora – in order to acquire a weapon with which to kill Darth Plagueis), Plagueis took an interest in the mission. He sent an IBC agent named Vesto Slipher to monitor Maul's progress.
Second assassination attempt
Plagueis and 11-4D narrowly survived the nuclear bombardment of Sojourn after King Ars Veruna attempted to have him eliminated with the aid of Alexi Garyn's Black Sun, Gardulla the Hutt, and Komari Vosa's Bando Gora terrorist cult. Fortunately, Plagueis was intercepted by Jabba the Hutt in his personal ship, Star Jewel. Plagueis then revealed his miraculous survival, through a communication by Jabba, to a terrified Veruna, who promptly abdicated his throne and fled Theed.
The murder of King Veruna
When Veruna went into hiding in the Western Reaches of Naboo, he was discovered by Darth Plagueis and Sidious, who enacted a plan to kill him in retribution for the failed assassination attempt. Sidious suggested that they send Darth Maul to kill him, but Plagueis wished to attend to Veruna personally.
Plagueis secretly traveled to the ancient Nabooian manse of the Count of Vis (Veruna's forebear) with his droid 11-4D and silently broke into Veruna's bedroom, waking the old man. Sitting across from him, Plagueis held Veruna in a Force choke, preventing him from calling his security chief, Maris Magneta, for help. The Sith Lord confessed to having been behind Tapalo and Veruna's ascension to the throne and divulged his allegiance to the Sith, striking terror into Veruna.
At the same time, he manipulated the limited amount of midi-chlorians in Veruna, slowly killing him. The former King pleaded for Plagueis to spare him, so that he could be of further use to the Muun. But Plagueis insisted that Veruna already was helpful by dying, which would increase the Sith Lord's power. Beyond satisfying revenge for the second assassination attempt on Plagueis's life, Veruna's death also served as further fuel to inflame the Neimoidians enough to agree to invade Naboo, as per the Grand Plan.
Invasion of Naboo
- "Is it not a measure of our success that we can award worlds as if they were mere business contracts?"
- ―Darth Plagueis to Darth Sidious
Livid about the Galactic Senate's recent shipping-taxation legislation that promised to impact not only the galaxy's free-trade zones but also the Trade Federation, Viceroy Nute Gunray—somewhat reassured by Darth Sidious' confidence that Naboo was significant enough to ensure galactic interest in their planned blockade of the planet—was now sufficiently prepared to execute the Sith Lord's directive to seal off all trade with Naboo. But because of recent threats and information breaches that included the Monchar-Pavan holocron incident, but also the Neimoidians' bungled compromising of their secret droid-army foundries on Eos and Alaris Prime, Darth Plagueis ordered Sidious to postpone the blockade until after Coruscant's political rally for Supreme Chancellor candidates at the Perlemian Orbital Facility. In preparation for the coming conflict that would be called the Clone Wars, Darth Plagueis (who was the planned conflict's guiding engineer) ordered that these recent breaches be partially dealt with by relocating Baktoid Armor to the planet Geonosis.
Once Darth Maul was finished dealing with the loose cannon that was the Monchar-Pavan incident, the Zabrak assassin was recalled by his master to the offworld Perlemian facility, where he was to deliver the recovered Sith holocron to Sidious himself but where, quite by accident, the Sith crystal was instead delivered by Lorn Pavan himself to Sidious' public persona, Palpatine. Maul—from whom the holocron had been re-acquired by a pursuing Pavan in the orbital facility's docking bay concurrent with the political rally's proceedings—had nearly failed Sidious in catastrophic fashion. But Pavan, in flight from the enraged Zabrak, had delivered the dangerous article containing incriminating information about the Trade Federation's imminent blockade into the trusted hand of the Senator from Naboo himself (what Plagueis later saw, in private converse with Palpatine, as a delivery by "the dark side"). With this potentially devastating political mine now safely defused, Sidious issued the blockade order to Nute Gunray, who, in prompt fashion after setting his freighters in place, warned the Republic that any attempt to break the embargo would be met with "deadly force" and that if the new regulations were not rescinded the Naboo populace would starve.
Sensing the extremely delicate and volatile nature of the situation, Supreme Chancellor Valorum consulted with the Jedi High Council that continued to faithfully support him, and clandestinely arranged (unbeknownst to the Galactic Senate) for two Jedi "ambassadors" to enter into negotiations with the Trade Federation that had, in utter defiance of Republic law, launched the blockade. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi were the Jedi selected to attempt to appease the Neimoidian anarchists. Valorum knew that any other kind of Republic response to the matter would be bogged down or stalled in legislative procedure and red tape by the Senate. This secretive collusion of the Chancellor with the High Council blindsided Plagueis and Palpatine, who had been confident, because of the unsavory events of Galidraan, Yinchorr, and Baltizaar—but more especially on Asmeru and Eriadu—and the resultant restrictions placed by the Senate on the Chancellor's use of the Jedi Order, that neither the High Council nor Valorum would ever be so foolish to again risk a measure so bold. Both Sith Lords were also very much aware of the "pesky" Jinn-Kenobi duo that had become "the nemesis of the Nebula Front at Dorvalla, Asmeru, and on Eriadu."
Thus—in retaliation for the Jedi Order's most recent intrusive gesture that sought to circumvent, but which, in any case, dramatically diluted the hoped-for impact of the Sith-forced embargo, and which also now threatened to uncover (via loose-tongued Neimoidians) the existence and political ambitions of both these powerful figures—the Dark Lords accelerated their plans, ordering the Trade Federation to immediately kill the Jedi envoys and to invade Naboo ahead of schedule. They tempered their new mandate by reassuring Viceroy Gunray that henceforth the Republic would not intervene; indeed, the Sith would take measures now to make their actions legal (Queen Amidala, who, it was certain, would not permit her people to suffer, would in short order sign a treaty that would at once legitimize the Neimoidian occupation and make Naboo and its plasma reserves property of the Federation). The Grand Plan now required that Naboo be secured in preparation for the planet being annexed by the shipping cartel. All of these converging power plays and reversals combined to prompt Plagueis's solemn resolve that "It is the will of the dark side that we finally reveal ourselves," to which Sidious concurred: "I will see to it that Maul is ready."
Second meeting with Sifo-Dyas
It had been at the political gathering at the Perlemian Orbital Facility hosted by Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum, above Coruscant, that Plagueis had approached Sifo-Dyas, who was in attendance alongside Jedi Masters Yoda, Mace Windu, Adi Gallia, and Jorus C'baoth. With the galaxy seemingly on the brink of civil war, Sifo-Dyas's concerns had become all the more urgent, and the Jedi Council was apparently no more willing to listen to their Jedi colleague's warnings of doom than it had been in the past. As such, Plagueis preyed on the Jedi's fears, convincing him that a military capable of defending the Republic needed to be created now, while there was still time, to afford the Republic a fighting chance. Plagueis, in his alter-ego persona, approached Sifo-Dyas, just as he'd done twenty years before on Serenno, and openly professed once again that a growing darkness was approaching. Once a harborer of skepticism, Sifo-Dyas now agreed fully with Damask's claims, and the cloaked Sith Lord advanced a step further: he informed Sifo-Dyas of cloners on Kamino that could grow an army (one that Damask himself was prepared to fully finance) and hold it in reserve until it was needed. The Jedi Master, still hesitant to take bold action, was, at the very least, persuaded to accept Damask's argument and would seriously ponder the matter.
Following the Battle of Theed, with the death of his former apprentice Qui-Gon Jinn, Dooku resigned from the Jedi Order and later fell to the dark side of the Force, becoming the new apprentice of Darth Sidious. It was at this time that Sifo-Dyas, having settled his mind, approached the Kaminoans and requested a clone army for the Republic. With the funds provided by Damask Holdings, Sifo-Dyas paid the Kaminoans, and Dooku recruited the storied bounty hunter Jango Fett, with his recent successful bounty of apprehending Bando Gora leader Komari Vosa, to serve as the clone army prototype. Little did the Jedi Master know, however, that Sidious and Dooku had learned of this clandestine measure taken under Damask's counsel, and together they plotted the steps to ensure Sifo-Dyas' demise.
The boy from Tatooine
As Palpatine's star rose in the Coruscant political scene, Plagueis carried on his life-extension research—by 34 BBY, he believed he was close to a breakthrough that would save himself and his apprentice from death.
During the Naboo crisis of 32 BBY, Plagueis and Palpatine became aware of the powerfully Force-sensitive Anakin Skywalker, a Human slaveboy from Tatooine who stood at a vergence in the Force and who had been born around the same time that they had saturated the galaxy with the dark side a decade earlier. Plagueis became convinced that the midi-chlorians, unwilling to comply to his and Sidious's "unnatural" usurpation of the power of the Force, had struck back in retaliation, conceiving a savior to ultimately destroy the Sith: the prophesied Chosen One, whom Plagueis had blasphemously endeavored to create, or "father," in the past.
Palpatine informed his Master of the boy's arrival on Coruscant, and Plagueis felt compelled to meet Anakin for himself. He was able to gain access to Palpatine's suite, where Anakin was staying, by using a mind trick on one of the Queen's handmaidens, who nevertheless informed Damask that he had just missed the boy. For the first time, Plagueis began to fear that the Sith were in danger of being undone, and indeed held himself responsible, as he interpreted Skywalker's creation as the Force striking back at him and Sidious. He had previously boasted about being able to create the Chosen One of Jedi prophecy, as his Master had expected of him. Now, he made it his priority to stop the boy from falling into the hands of the Jedi.
As Plagueis spied on the departure of the Jedi and the Queen from Coruscant, wherein he caught his first glimpse of the boy prodigy, he received a vision of a cyborg clad in dark armor and a dark helmet—confirming his fears, that this boy would change the course of history in the galaxy. Not wanting the Jedi therefore to train the boy, he ordered Sidious to have Darth Maul kill Qui-Gon, in order to prevent his catastrophic Force vision from becoming a reality; Sidious, as added insurance—for he knew well Kenobi's reputation and status, that he stood on the brink of Jedi Knighthood and might perchance take the boy as his own apprentice—ordered that Master and Padawan both be killed.
The murder of Darth Plagueis
- "You lost the game on the very first day you chose to train me to rule by your side—or better still, under your thumb. Teacher, yes, and for that I will be eternally grateful. But Master—never."
- ―Palpatine, to Darth Plagueis
After ensuring that he would be elected to the office of Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, Sidious decided the time had come for him to complete the Grand Plan alone. Having learned all he could from Plagueis, and also having used his Master's connections to get him where he wanted to be, Sidious saw the aging Muun as an obstacle. Plagueis, on the other hand, seemed to trust his apprentice completely.
In 32 BBY, the night before the election, Damask made his first public appearance in years, and a rare appearance with Senator Palpatine: they attended the premiere of an experimental Mon Calamari piece at the Galaxies Opera House together. After the performance, the two Sith Lords retired to Damask's penthouse in the Kaldani Spires building to celebrate Palpatine's upcoming success. There, Sidious plied Plagueis with wine while rehearsing the acceptance speech he would soon deliver before the Senate. Watching as Plagueis became increasingly intoxicated, Sidious waited patiently until his master fell asleep before unleashing torrent after torrent of Sith lightning upon him, basking in the Muun's agony, as he slowly tortured his master to death.
As Plagueis expired, his apprentice experienced a monumental disturbance in the Force, which he interpreted as a shift that anointed him the sole agent of the dark side. But he also experienced a sensation of sadness and loss in the Force. Sidious initially feared that the cause of this unease was a sign that his master's experiments had succeeded after all, that Plagueis's spirit had somehow survived earthly destruction, and would return at any moment to exact vengeance on his treacherous apprentice. However, after learning of Darth Maul's apparent death at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Naboo, Sidious dismissed his concerns, deciding that this was the true cause of the feeling of loss he experienced.
On the morning following Plagueis's murder, Senator Palpatine was elected Supreme Chancellor.
- "Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?"
- ―Palpatine to Anakin Skywalker
With the attention of the galaxy focused on the new Chancellor, the death of Hego Damask II went barely noticed by the galaxy at large—a galaxy from which he had completely removed himself in his last twenty years. A few hastily prepared obituaries mentioned only the scant information about his life that was available publicly. Members of the InterGalactic Banking Clan refused to release any information about Damask's funeral or about the disposition of his holdings. Darth Sidious kept his master's remains in one of the two spirit urns he kept at the entrance of his private office on Coruscant.
Though Plagueis purportedly taught Palpatine all he knew, and Palpatine himself had also participated in the earlier failed attempt at manipulating midi-chlorians that resulted in Anakin's birth, Palpatine himself was unable to fully master Plagueis's teachings to cheat death through the Force via midi-chlorians, and was forced to rely on clone bodies to hold his spirit instead.
Sidious spoke little of Plagueis to his apprentice Darth Tyranus, who himself knew the Muun as Hego Damask II. Sidious used Plagueis's story to seduce Anakin Skywalker into becoming Vader. The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise, Chancellor Palpatine's Sith legend, told of Plagueis's abilities to create and preserve life; according to Palpatine, the tragic irony was that though he could keep others from dying, he could not save himself. Skywalker, seeking Plagueis's power to save his own wife, Padmé, later apprenticed himself to Sidious. In the following decades, Sidious only gave Vader brief hints about Plagueis.
At some point after Palpatine brought the galaxy under his heel by reorganizing the Republic into the First Galactic Empire, probably between 19 and 18 BBY, the Dark Lord included a manuscript fragment from Plagueis's scientific journal on the nature of the dark side and the progress of the Aborah experiments written by Plagueis's hand around 45 BBY (both dates were Master Luke Skywalker's non-scholarly estimates) into his Book of Sith, showing respect for his master by including him among the handful of Sith who advanced the cause and left behind documents detailing their approach to the dark side. Sidious later archived the Book of Sith in his secret storehouse at Mount Tantiss on Wayland.
At some point after Plagueis's death, some of the members of a Sith cult known as the Apex Society believed that Collan Eislo, the leader of the cult, was being guided by the spirits of deceased Sith Lords, such as Plagueis.
When historians in later years were unable to find much information on Plagueis, they suspected that Sidious had destroyed everything about his master. The Wavlud Manuscript, one of the few sources of knowledge for the Jedi on the Sith and Sidious, revealed information on Plagueis to the Galactic Alliance and New Jedi Order. It is not known whether the information revealed about Plagueis identified him as the same individual as Hego Damask II. Another was his scientific journal included in the Book of Sith, which was kept intact by Sidious and even jotted down his own personal notes on the subject. In 24 ABY, the Book of Sith and Plagueis's journal were recovered from the Mount Tantiss storehouse and were passed to Grand Master of the New Jedi Order Luke Skywalker. Skywalker proceeded to scribble his own notes onto it before passing it on to the New Republic Intelligence Service. Even by 36 ABY, however, public knowledge of many details of Plagueis's life was still uncertain: the writers of a Galactic Alliance official history could chart only the broad strokes of his life, and were even uncertain as to the exact date of his murder by Sidious.
Personality and traits
- "You must begin by gaining power over yourself; then another; then a group, an order, a world, a species, a group of species… finally, the galaxy itself."
- ―Darth Plagueis
Darth Plagueis was considered a mystic, despite the fact that he sought to develop an entirely rationalistic system of Force study, was among the few Sith Lords to have serious doubts about the existence of Force ghosts—even after confronting the purported ghost of Marka Ragnos—and was similarly weary of supposed prophecies. Plagueis was a devotee of the dark side, and a lover of things otherworldly and arcane. Obsessed with the prospect of eternal life and ideas of spontaneous generation, he remained focused on matters of the material world, though in later years Darth Vader mused that Plagueis had also desired a way to preserve the immaterial self after the death of the body. Although Plagueis, as a Sith Lord, rejected common morality and interpersonal ties as artificial restrictions fabricated by the weak to control the strong, he did develop a genuine bond with his apprentice, Darth Sidious, in an attempt to break the cycle of death started by Bane and thus further their own goals. Plagueis's effort was not reciprocated, however, and Sidious ultimately murdered his Master in cold blood.
Plagueis was wise and possessed a logical mind, and his apprentice Sidious believed that the extent to which he turned his sight inward was the source of his power and knowledge. When he wrote his journals on the nature of the Force, he wrote them primarily in Basic, although, in a chart he drew which demonstrated a triangular relationship between the aperion, anima, and pneuma, he curiously wrote his words backwards, with backwards Aurebesh characters. He believed that power was to be gained incrementally, beginning with the self and culminating with control of the entire galaxy. As his own powers grew, he became afraid of nothing but losing that power. Plagueis was pathologically afraid of death, and this was the main reason he was chosen by Darth Tenebrous as an apprentice. He elected to change the usual means of Sith succession, death of the master by the hand of the apprentice, by becoming immortal together with his own apprentice and forgoing the need for succession. Eventually, he achieved a level of midi-chlorian control that allowed him to kill and resurrect sentient beings, as well as regenerate damaged or aged portions of his body through direct mental contact with the organelles, and came to see himself as the Sith'ari, the being free from all restrictions. However, as a result of his arrogance and his lack of precognitive abilities resulting from his maxi-chlorian infection, he never saw his own death coming.
Powers and abilities
- "It's ironic. He could save others from death, but not himself."
"Is it possible to learn this power?"
"Not from a Jedi."
- ―Palpatine and Anakin Skywalker
Plagueis was a master of esoteric and unnatural aspects of the Force. With it, he was able to manipulate the essence of life, a power Palpatine believed was directly tied to his inward sight. Plagueis could save others from death and, when his power was applied to the extreme, he could create new life from the midi-chlorians found in all lifeforms. Another extreme example of this technique’s applications is how it could be used to raise the dead back to life, as shown when it was used against Darth Venamis in 42 BBY to resurrect him many times. Plagueis even discovered the ability to retain one's identity in the Force while becoming one with it, but this manner of surviving death did not appeal to him, as he was not concerned with the non-material world. He also had some familiarity with the concept of transfer essence, a technique his master also was interested in, but chose not to investigate it, as he desired to become immortal while retaining the use of his body of birth.
Plagueis was also skilled in lightsaber combat, and although he disdained using his blade in combat, regarding lightsaber duels as tedious affairs; Tenebrous viewed his apprentice as a master of the art. He was able to run so fast during his duel with Venamis that an onlooker would have thought him a thunderbolt racing through the trees. Plagueis had on one occasion utilized Jar'Kai on Bal'demnic. Skilled in the more unorthodox applications of the Force, he was skilled in conjuring Force illusions, convincing enough to fool even Sidious.
Plagueis was a very capable combatant, absorbing blaster bolts and then channeling it into Force lightning, an ability that he was also very skilled in. While fighting his assassins, Plagueis was able to use a heart stunning technique to keep two of his three hearts from failing, and conjured up a Force Wave so powerful, that he was able to atomize six of his assailants, and bring it around to atomize a few more. His Force bellow was as powerful as any sonic weapon and he was able to turn any object into a deadly projectile with just a clap of his hands. He apparently was also capable of Convection and/or Pyrokinesis as he was able to melt snowflakes before they reached his person on Mygeeto.
Plagueis originally had the ability to see into the future but this ability was permanently crippled after his dead Master used transfer essence to enter his body and foresaw his death at the hands of his own apprentice. However, that power seemed to reappear a day after Tenebrous' murder, as demonstrated when he had received a vision of the Battle of Bal'demnic. Later, days before his own death, he glimpsed events surrounding Darth Maul and Anakin Skywalker, respectively.
Plagueis was also believed to have perfected Sith alchemy. Additionally, he was aware of some of the more obscure techniques of the Jedi Order, such as Emerald Lightning and Sever Force, though he was not known to use these powers himself. Beyond his Force Powers, he also was a canny manipulator of others and was skilled at the management of his business and the other responsibilities of the life he lead apart from his role as a Sith.
Behind the scenes
- "In some respects, Plagueis is a different breed of Sith, he's passionate and arrogant, but loyal to the Sith imperative to topple the Republic and eradicate the Jedi Order. But he is not infallible, and his sense of commitment could be interpreted as a fatal flaw."
- ―James Luceno
Darth Plagueis was named as early as the first draft of Revenge of the Sith (April 2003), and possibly earlier. His name is clearly derived from the English word "plague," a connection later made in-universe in the Wizards of the Coast article Behind the Threat: The Sith, Part 2: The Becoming.
Plagueis's first appearance of any sort was in the non-canon Tag & Bink: Revenge of the Clone Menace. This comic stated that Plagueis's manipulation of the midi-chlorians produced Force-sensitivity in Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna. It also caused the destruction of a red sun and its planet, whose only survivor would go on to become a hero on Earth—references to Krypton and Superman, respectively.
Early expanded universe materials (such as Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader) relating to Palpatine's relationship to Plagueis, particularly the murder of the latter, implied that Palpatine killed Plagueis out of the suspicion that Plagueis was secretly crafting a new apprentice to take over when doing the Grand Experiment. These, however, have largely been debunked by the time of Star Wars: Darth Plagueis's release, where it was made clear that not only did Palpatine know about the Grand Experiment, he even participated in it himself with Plagueis.
Although strictly non-canon, the image of Plagueis in Tag & Bink appears to have inspired the design of his miniature in Star Wars Miniatures: Jedi Academy. The weapon and pose exhibited in Plagueis's miniature (and the accompanying card illustration) exactly match those in the comic image. Plagueis's appearance as a miniature in the Jedi Academy set marks his first representation in toy form.
In the 2011 short story "The Tenebrous Way," an illustration by Brian Rood depicts Plagueis with a large, Human-like nose, in keeping with the Muun characters shown in both Star Wars: Clone Wars and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. However, this contradicts the depiction of the Muuns with noses that were nearly flush with the rest of their faces in most other sources, including their appearance in G-canon sources like Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.
In order to explore the character's appearance following Revenge of the Sith, Darth Plagueis was originally intended to appear in the Wii version of the non-canonical LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, but was removed from the game. His name, however, was listed in the game's text files.
The Darth Plagueis novel
James Luceno was scheduled to write a novel about Plagueis. The book's announcement on StarWars.com was the first source to identify Plagueis as a Muun. However, in March 2007 it was announced that the novel had been removed from the publishing schedule. Sue Rostoni's official explanation for the cancellation was that "this was not the right time to delve into Palpatine's backstory and Plagueis's beginnings." The novel was replaced with Darth Bane: Rule of Two. Though Plagueis's species had been revealed in the novel's announcement, Leland Chee stated that its cancellation did not affect that decision, as it had not originated in the novel. A panel on continuity at the Celebration IV convention revealed that his identity as a Muun had originally come from George Lucas. Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force confirmed his species as a Muun and was the first source to give him a canonical image. On July 27, 2010, information from a sales database leaked indicating that the novel was once more on the publishing schedule. Sue Rostoni subsequently confirmed the announcement. The novel was finally released on January 10, 2012 in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook format.
The Force Unleashed
When creating the multimedia project Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the development team looked to a number of unexplored characters and events for inspiration, amongst them Plagueis. The initial plan was to use Plagueis as a Sith spirit who would give the player of The Force Unleashed game new dark-side powers and information. Another idea involved the Secret Apprentice, the main character, sent to find Plagueis as part of a plot by Darth Vader to resurrect Padmé Amidala. Still other ideas included revealing that the Apprentice was Plagueis reborn, or using a reformed Plagueis as the Apprentice's mentor.
As the team did not know much about Plagueis at first, they started with Human designs, including famous actor Michael Gambon. Concept artist Greg Knight explored a number of directions, including the undead, a character from a different time, someone using machines to stay alive, eerie youthfulness, the occult, and a number of "freaky and exotic" ideas.
Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
Plagueis possessed his own section in the 2012 reference book Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side, which contained pages of his manuscript on the science of the Force. Book of Sith author Daniel Wallace later confirmed on the official Star Wars blog that Plagueis's Aurebesh mirror writing, combined with an ancient, parchment-like appearance to the pages, was a reference to Renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci and his journals.
- "The Tenebrous Way"—Star Wars Insider 130
- Darth Plagueis
- Darth Plagueis audiobook
- Restraint (Mentioned only)
- Maul: Lockdown
- Maul: Lockdown audiobook
- "End Game"—Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace novelization (2012 edition) (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Wrath of Darth Maul (Indirect mention only)
- Labyrinth of Evil (First mentioned)
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (First appearance) (Ashes only)
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith comic (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith novelization (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith unabridged audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith junior novel (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith PhotoComic (Mentioned only)
- Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader (Mentioned only)
- Death Star (Mentioned only)
- The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader (Mentioned only)
- "The Mask of Darth Nihilus"—The Unknown Regions (Mentioned only)
Notes and references