- "At last, the Jedi are no more."
"Not if anything to say about it, I have!"
- ―Darth Sidious and Yoda
During the start of the Great Jedi Purge, a lightsaber duel was fought between the Sith Master Darth Sidious and Jedi Grand Master Yoda. Two equally matched enemies, the Jedi Master and Dark Lord of the Sith engaged in a powerful lightsaber duel within the heart of the Imperial Senate Chamber. Ultimately, Yoda retreated and went into exile on Dagobah, while Sidious consolidated his reign as Emperor of the galaxy.
- "Destroy the Sith, we must."
- ―Yoda to Obi-Wan Kenobi
A ferocious duel between Jedi Master Mace Windu and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine—who revealed himself to be Darth Sidious—had ended when Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker intervened to save the Chancellor by slicing off Windu's sword hand. This action stripped Windu of his lightsaber and allowed Sidious to kill the Jedi Master with a blast of Force lightning.
Sidious, having played the role of mentor to Skywalker for years, swayed him to his side by tempting him with the ability to save his wife through the power of the dark side of the Force. Though horrified by what he had allowed to happen, Skywalker desired to save his wife above all other considerations, and furthermore believed that his role in Windu's death had eliminated any possibility of returning to the Order. As such, Skywalker pledged allegiance to the Dark Lord, who anointed him with the Sith name "Darth Vader." Vader's new master then sent him to the Jedi Temple with the 501st Legion and ordered him to massacre all Jedi within. Palpatine meanwhile executed Order 66, a protocol programmed into the clones to execute their Jedi commanders in the event of a Jedi betrayal. The two combined actions almost completely eradicated the Jedi Order.
Before leaving the Temple, Vader activated the beacon signaling the Jedi to return to Coruscant, in the hopes that it would attract and destroy the few survivors of Order 66. Jedi Masters Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi however, had managed to survive the first strike of the Great Jedi Purge and regroup. Discovering the message and suspecting it was a trap, they made their way to the Jedi Temple with the hope of re-configuring the transmission. Upon their arrival, they discovered a clone trooper garrison left to kill any Jedi that heeded the beacon. After eliminating them, they recoded the beacon to warn all remaining Jedi to go into hiding and stay away from the Temple. Looking at the Temple's security holofootage on their way out, they discovered that Skywalker, Kenobi's former Padawan, had led the assault. Knowing they had to destroy the Sith Lords for the sake of the galaxy, they decided to split up and take out the two Sith individually. Kenobi wanted to fight Sidious, unable to bear the thought of striking down his former pupil and friend. Yoda, however, pointed out that Sidious was far too strong for Kenobi, and instead sent him to track down Vader. Yoda, meanwhile, infiltrated the Senate building, determined to kill the recently-anointed Galactic Emperor.
- "I hear a new apprentice you have, Emperor. Or should I call you Darth Sidious?"
Inside the Senate Building, Yoda strolled into the Emperor's office and casually rendered his two royal guards unconscious by Force pushing them into a wall. Mockingly addressing Sidious as "Emperor", Yoda informed the Dark Lord that he knew of Anakin's new status as Sidious' new apprentice. Sidious noted rhetorically that Yoda had survived Order 66, and when Yoda facetiously asked him if he was surprised, Sidious snarled that Yoda's arrogance had blinded him. He then launched a blast of Force lightning at the Grand Master which slammed him against a wall and caused him to momentarily lose consciousness.
Realizing that a battle between two Force masters was imminent, Vice Chair Mas Amedda quickly left the office as Sidious approached the prone Jedi Master. Laughing contemptuously at his opponent, Sidious taunted Yoda with the fact that the Order had been destroyed, and that the Jedi were all but extinct. Suddenly, Yoda responded with a Force push that sent Sidious flying back across the room and over his desk in a heap, landing face first in his office chair, which then toppled over. Yoda asserted that Sidious' short reign was over, and Sidious attempted to flee. Yoda then hindered his way and ignited his lightsaber, challenging that Sidious had no need to leave if he was as powerful as he proclaimed he was. Realizing he would have to fight the Jedi Master blade-to-blade, Sidious ignited his own lightsaber and snarled that Yoda could not stop him because Darth Vader would become more powerful than either of them. In response, Yoda stated that his faith in Vader and in the dark side itself were perhaps misplaced. With nothing left to be said, the duel between the two equally matched foes began.
Their battle raged through the office for some time, with neither opponent able to gain an advantage. The fight eventually moved to the Chancellor's podium, which rose through the retractable ceiling into the Senate Chamber. As the duel continued upon the podium, Sidious found himself hampered by the small size of the battleground, while Yoda was able to leap around the Sith Lord with little difficulty. Sidious eventually jumped to one of the Senate pods above him and began to use the Force to throw waves of these pods at Yoda. The Jedi Grand Master used his own powers to dodge from one pod to another and attempted to make his way up to where Sidious was perched in order to re-engage him in close combat with his lightsaber, However, the Dark Lord's attack was too intense for Yoda to close the distance, and he eventually slipped and fell as Sidious continued his barrage.
Regaining his feet, Yoda realized that his strategy was failing and deactivated his weapon. As Sidious sent yet another pod at him, Yoda used his own powers to stop it and send it hurtling back at Sidious. As the pod flew at the Dark Lord, he was forced to jump from his perch to a lower pod. Yoda saw his chance to re-engage Sidious at close quarters and leaped at the Sith Lord, landing on the edge of Sidious's pod and reigniting his lightsaber. However, Sidious unleashed a torrent of Force lightning at Yoda before he could strike, knocking Yoda's lightsaber from his hand. Disarmed, Yoda was forced to absorb Sidious's lightning bare-handed. Sidious closed in on Yoda, steadily increasing the power of his lightning and eventually resorting to aiming his attack above Yoda's tutaminis defense by elevating his body, causing Yoda to falter. Sidious cackled in triumph and pressed his attack further, but Yoda eventually managed to start coalescing the energy of Sidious's Force lightning into a blue orb between the two of them, slowly redirecting the lightning back onto an astounded Sidious, who was slowly being pushed back by the strength of Yoda's counterattack. However, the combination of both of their powers caused an explosion of Force energy, blasting them both apart, abruptly ending the battle.
Sidious was sent tumbling head over heels to the edge of the pod, but having been at its opposite end when the orb exploded, he was not thrown clear and managed to grab one of the pod's guardrails. Yoda however had been standing at the very edge of the pod during the explosion, and weighed very little. As such, he was blasted completely clear of the pod and fell all the way back to the Chancellor's podium. Yoda struck the podium too hard to control his landing, and bounced off the structure's main body to its edge. There, he managed just barely to stop himself from falling, and desperately attempted to climb back up onto the podium. But, exhausted and holding onto a smooth surface, Yoda was not able to maintain his grip. He slid from the lip of the podium and fell dozens of meters to the Senate floor. Battered and spent, Yoda realized then that he could not defeat Sidious and retreated as the Dark Lord cackled in triumph above him. Nevertheless, as Yoda had retreated, Sidious had not technically defeated the Grand Master due to them being equally matched.
- "Into exile, I must go; failed, I have."
- ―Yoda, to Bail Organa
Shortly thereafter, shock troopers of the Coruscant Guard detachment guarding the Senate Building, commanded by Commander Thire, swept the chamber but were unable to recover Yoda's body. The failure to locate his body convinced Vice Chair Mas Amedda that the Grand Master was still alive, leading both the emperor and the Vice Chair to order Thire and the other stormtroopers to intensify their search but the Dark Lord did not involve himself further. Instead, the Emperor ordered Amedda to prepare his shuttle for immediate departure, as he had sensed that Lord Vader was in mortal danger. Shortly thereafter, Commander Thire escorted Sidious to the volcanic planet Mustafar recover the critically wounded Darth Vader, where Obi-Wan Kenobi had dismembered Vader and left him to burn alive on the shores of a river of molten rock. Sidious collected his apprentice and brought his charred, maimed body to the Grand Medical Facility on Coruscant. There, Vader underwent extensive cybernetic reconstruction to replace the parts of his organic body that had been destroyed by both Obi-Wan and Mustafar's flames, and was fitted with a suit of integratable armor and respirator that he would wear for the rest of his life.
Having been unable to defeat the Sith Lord, Yoda chose to go into exile on the swamp planet of Dagobah, where he would wait until Anakin's son, Luke, was old enough to turn his father back from the dark side. Years later, on Dagobah, Yoda would train Luke in the ways of the Force, and he would ultimately go on to rescue his father from the dark side and inspire him to defeat the Emperor, bringing balance to the Force at last.
Behind the scenes
This lightsaber duel in the Senate Rotunda was created for the 2005 film Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, the third and final installment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The duel was added to the film's story in the first draft, dated back to April 10, 2003.
In the DVD commentary of Episode III, Industrial Light & Magic employee Rob Coleman stated that the Emperor's use of Senate pods as weapons was a metaphor for the fall of freedom and democracy brought about by Palpatine's victory.
- Star Wars: The Prequel Trilogy – A Graphic Novel
- Star Wars Battlefront II (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (First appearance)
- Revenge of the Sith Read-Along Storybook and CD
- "There is Another"—From a Certain Point of View (Indirect mention only)
- From a Certain Point of View audiobook (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures – "Yoda – The Jedi Master" (In flashback(s))
- "The Trial of Dagobah"—Age of Rebellion Special 1 (In flashback(s))
- Crimson Reign 3 (Indirect mention only)
- "Masters"—Stories of Jedi and Sith (In flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Crisis on Coruscant" (In flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
- (First pictured)
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 38 (Helmets: Commander Thire)
- Star Wars Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition
- Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition
- "Imperial Troops" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: X-Wing Second Edition – LAAT/i Gunship Expansion Pack (Card: ) (Picture only)
- Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection
- "Coruscant" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Character Encyclopedia - Join the Battle!
- Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga: The Official Collector's Edition
- (Indirect mention only)
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Since the senatorial arrests are stated by Star Wars: The Rebel Files as taking place no later than one day after the Proclamation of the New Order, and establishing that Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa were born no later than two days after the proclamation, and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith demonstrating that the birth of Luke and Leia took place on Polis Massa following the duel on Mustafar, it can be deduced that the senatorial arrests took place concurrently to the duel on Mustafar, as well as the duel in the Galactic Senate, as they are concurrent.
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places the events of "Landing at Point Rain" in 21 BBY, and Star Wars Helmet Collection 76 (Highlights of the Saga: The End of Endurance) dates the death of CT-411 "Ponds," as depicted in "Lethal Trackdown," to the same year. Since places "Brain Invaders" between "Landing at Point Rain" and "Lethal Trackdown," it must also be set in 21 BBY. As the second occupation of Geonosis begins in "Brain Invaders," it must have started in 21 BBY, and Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel establishes that the Galactic Empire carried on the occupation after the end of the Clone Wars. Dawn of Rebellion specifies that the Empire continued to hold its presence on Geonosis until the sterilization of Geonosis and that, within months of the genocide, Project Stardust had been entirely relocated to Scarif. As Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide states that the DS-1 Death Star Mobile Battle Station was moved to that planet nine years before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which occurred in 0 BBY according to Star Wars: Galactic Atlas, the Death Star was moved over Scarif in 9 BBY. Based on what Dawn of Rebellion notes about how the sterilization occurred months before the project was situated over Scarif, the sterilization and Imperial withdrawal from Geonosis must have occurred around 9 BBY. Therefore, the second occupation of Geonosis lasted from 21 BBY to around 9 BBY. As Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith establishes that the duel in the Galactic Senate occurred during the early days of the Imperial Era, it must be concurrent to the occupation.
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- The Making of Star Wars Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith DVD commentary