- "There is only one plan—one great design which shall govern the universe—mine."
- ―Darth Sidious, to Darth Maul
The Grand Plan, also known as the Great Sith Plan and the Sith conspiracy, was a long-percolating plot hatched by the Sith. Originating with the Sith Lord Darth Bane, who had emerged victorious from a devastating conflict among his peers, its aim was to corrupt the Galactic Republic from within, discredit and diminish the Jedi Order, and ultimately rule the galaxy. A millennium after its creation, the Grand Plan was fulfilled by Darth Sidious.
The rise and fall of the Sith
- "For a thousand years we have kept to the shadows, not afraid of the Jedi—but ourselves. The dark side is powerful. It is too powerful. The weak will meekly stand in regimented order. The Sith… One master. One apprentice. No more. For generations. Generations building to me."
- ―Darth Sidious, to Darth Vader
When a rogue Jedi began using the dark side of the Force, as he believed that this was where the true power of the Force laid, he was expelled from the Jedi Order. However, he gained followers, who became the Sith. The Jedi and Sith quickly became enemies and started warring against each other, beginning conflicts like the Jedi-Sith War. However, the Sith had begun infighting because of their greed for power, which would lead to their downfall. With the Sith in a weakened state, the Jedi Order triumphed over the Sith on Ruusan.
Following their final victory, the Jedi believed the Sith Order to be destroyed. However, unbeknownst to the Jedi, the Sith Lord Darth Bane survived the destruction of the ancient Sith Order. In the shadows of the galaxy, Bane used tricks, tactics and schemes to destroy the Sith's enemies, conjuring a plan that would corrupt the Galactic Republic from within, diminish the Jedi, and allow the Sith to conquer the galaxy once more.
Desiring revenge and wanting to avoid the Sith being destroyed by greed again, Bane created the Rule of Two, which would allow the Sith to operate in secret. His rule mandated that only two Sith Lords could exist at any given time; a Sith Master and a Sith apprentice, and one had to die in order for another to come. Either the apprentice would grow more powerful with each subsequent succession, which was facilitated by the apprentice killing the master and then becoming the master of an apprentice they choose, or the master would train another apprentice to kill and replace their outgoing apprentice.
Bane was inspired by his personal experiences, ancient Sith documents, and the idea of a dyad in the Force, a Force-bond as strong as life itself that paired two individuals strong in the Force into one in the Force. According to Darth Sidious, the Rule of Two was a pale imitation of the older, purer Doctrine of the Dyad. Following Bane's death at the apparent hands of his apprentice, Darth Zannah, she and subsequent Sith continued his plan.
The rise of Darth Sidious
- "I am the first to restore the Sith to their rightful place in the galaxy. As we planned, the Jedi thought the Sith were long gone, we were so inconsequential. The pomp of the Jedi was insufferable. I set the galaxy aflame, my apprentice. I have purged all weakness and impurity. From the ashes, we would have a new age. I learned from the mistakes of my forebears. I used those who were not Sith to achieve my aims."
- ―Darth Sidious, to Darth Vader
Around a millennium after the time of Darth Bane, the Sith Lord's legacy was inherited by Darth Sidious who had learned the ways of the dark side of the Force as the apprentice of Darth Plagueis. Sidious eventually betrayed and killed his Master, and then took Darth Maul as his own apprentice. Sidious facilitated his rise to power through his public visage as Sheev Palpatine, the Senator of Naboo. Thus, he infiltrated and deceived both the Republic's Galactic Senate and the Jedi.
- "Our best choice would be to push for the election of a stronger Supreme Chancellor, one who could control the bureaucrats and give us justice. You could call for a Vote of No Confidence in Chancellor Valorum."
- ―Sheev Palpatine, to Padmé Amidala
Using his influence over the Trade Federation, Sidious orchestrated the blockade and invasion of his homeworld. His goal was to generate sympathy for the people of Naboo in order to become the next Supreme Chancellor. Although Queen Padmé Amidala escaped with the help of the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi, she fled to the Republic capital of Coruscant seeking Senator Palpatine's counsel. Palpatine convinced the Monarch of Naboo to call for a Vote of No Confidence in Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum. Amidala returned to Naboo to liberate her planet while Palpatine secured his election as the Republic's new chancellor.
Despite the loss of Maul, who was believed to have been killed by Kenobi on Naboo, the crisis presented a new opportunity in the form of a vergence in the Force—Anakin Skywalker, a child whom the Jedi believed to be the Chosen One, destined to bring balance to the Force. Sidious took a great interest in Skywalker; as Palpatine he influenced the young Padawan's views even as Skywalker trained with Kenobi, who was newly-knighted for defeating Maul.
A secret army
- "What if I told you that the Republic was now under the control of the Dark Lord of the Sith?"
"No, that's not possible. The Jedi would be aware of it."
"The dark side of the Force has clouded their vision, my friend. Hundreds of senators are now under the influence of a Sith Lord called Darth Sidious."
"I don't believe you."
"The Viceroy of the Trade Federation was once in league with this Darth Sidious, but he was betrayed ten years ago by the Dark Lord."
- ―Count Dooku and Obi-Wan Kenobi
Sidious chose Count Dooku, a Jedi Master who renounced the Order, as his new Sith apprentice. The former Jedi converted to the ways of the dark side and became the Sith Lord Darth Tyranus. Sidious and Tyranus learned that a former member of the Jedi High Council, Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas, secretly commissioned a clone army to protect the Republic. To ensure Sifo-Dyas' silence, Tyranus contacted Lom Pyke of the Pyke Syndicate and paid the Pykes to kill Sifo-Dyas. However, unbeknownst to Tyranus, the Pykes kept Chancellor Vallorum's aide, Silman, alive as insurance against the Sith Lord.
Following Sifo-Dyas' death, Tyranus recruited and paid bounty hunter Jango Fett to be the clone template for the Kaminoans. Tyranus also supplied the Kaminoan cloners with a behavioral modification biochip, which would allow Sidious to use his secret protocol to force the clones to destroy the Jedi, but Tyranus tricked them into believing that this was a safeguard that needed to be kept a secret.
The galaxy aflame
- "[…] Darth Tyranus…he was a proton torpedo. He served his purpose and was gone…I had a superior candidate in mind."
- ―Darth Sidious, to Darth Vader
Count Dooku continued to recruit corporations and star systems into the Separatist movement. With the outbreak of war on Geonosis in 22 BBY, the Jedi took up arms and led the newly-found clone troopers against the onslaught of the Separatist Droid Army. Thus began the Clone Wars, and as the conflict raged on and more Jedi fell to battle, Darth Sidious continued to amass economic and political power for the Office of the Chancellor, allowing himself, as Palpatine, to sway ever more support in the Senate and rule the InterGalactic Banking Clan that supplied financial aid to both the Republic and the Separatists.
Despite the power he was gaining and the Clone Wars going as planned, there were points throughout the war where Sidious' plans were nearly jeopardized and ruined. One was the return of Maul, who took over Mandalore and began building his own criminal empire. Sidious saw Maul as a threat to his plans as the former Sith apprentice had been able to amass so much power and declared himself and his brother, Savage Opress, the true Dark Lords of the Sith. Sidious went to Mandalore and dealt with the Zabraks, killing Opress and capturing Maul. Following a brutal campaign, Sidious and the Separatists were able to deal a deadly blow to Maul and his forces, forcing the Zabrak to operate in the shadows.
Another point in which Sidious' plans nearly fell apart was the malfunction of the inhibitor chip of clone trooper CT-5385 "Tup" during the Battle of Ringo Vinda. The malfunction caused the early activation of Order 66, and Tup betrayed and executed Jedi General Tiplar. Alarmed, Sidious ordered Tyranus to seize Tup so that the Jedi would not discover the true nature of Tup's breakdown. However, ARC trooper CT-5555 "Fives" found out the true purpose behind the conspiracy and the Chancellor's involvement, but before he could bring his findings to the Jedi Council, he was killed by the Coruscant Guard.
As the war was nearing its end, the Jedi reopened their investigation into his death, having found the ship belonging to Sifo Dyas. Kenobi and Skywalker were dispatched to Oba Diah to investigate the Pykes' involvement in Sifo Dyas' death. Knowing the stakes, Sidious sent Tyranus to the Pykes to prevent the Jedi from discovering their actual plans for the war. Though Dooku managed to kill Silman, an aide to Chancellor Valorum, and Lom Pyke, the Jedi learned of his Sith identity as Darth Tyranus, and that the Sith were responsible for the creation of the clone army.
A New Order
- "With your help, the Jedi can stop Sidious before it's too late."
"Too late for what? The Republic to fall? It already has, and you just can't see it! There is no justice, no law, no order, except for the one that will replace it!"
- ―Ahsoka Tano and Maul
After deciding that it was time to groom Anakin as his next apprentice, Sidious staged Palpatine's capture, in order for Anakin to kill Tyranus and be tempted to the dark side. After Anakin defeated Tyranus, Sidious betrayed the latter by having him killed by Anakin.
The Grand Plan came to fruition when the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Sidious, successfully seduced Anakin to commit fully to the dark side of the Force and anointed him as the Sith Lord Darth Vader not too long after Anakin killed Tyranus during the Battle of Coruscant. With Vader on his side, Sidious unleashed Order 66, compelling the clones to turn against their Jedi commanders under whom they had served for three years, thereby initiating the Great Jedi Purge. As thousands of members of the Jedi Order were slaughtered, Sidious addressed the Galactic Senate as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. Adopting the title of Galactic Emperor, he proclaimed that the reorganization of the Republic into the First Galactic Empire.
With an unrivaled military and a loyal bureaucracy under his grip, Darth Sidious had conquered the galaxy, destroyed the Jedi Order, and fulfilled the revenge of the Sith. Having achieved his goal of restoring the Sith to dominance, the Emperor dispensed with the persona of Sheev Palpatine and chose to live as Darth Sidious only.
Return of the Jedi
- "I am a Jedi, like my father before me."
- ―Luke Skywalker, to Darth Sidious
Although the Great Plan was realized, the New Order and the reign of the Sith did not last. Darth Sidious' Galactic Empire was toppled by the Alliance to Restore the Republic and surviving Jedi in the Galactic Civil War. Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda of the fallen Jedi Order trained the offspring of Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, in the Jedi ways, ensuring the return of the Jedi. Confronting his father and Darth Sidious, Luke Skywalker's plead for help against the wrath of the Emperor convinced Darth Vader—the Chosen One, Anakin Skywalker—to save Luke and overthrow Darth Sidious; the Dark Lord was destroyed as he fell into an abyss aboard his new battle station, and balance was restored to the Force.
However, death was not the end for Sidious; the Sith's spirit retreated to the hidden Sith redoubt of Exegol on the fringes of the galaxy, joining with Sith Eternal cultists through new clone bodies. From Exegol, Sidious manipulated the New Republic and forged the remnants of his fallen Empire into the First Order, something unbeknownst to even the highest echelons of First Order leadership. Sidious created Snoke, who went on to rule the First Order as Supreme Leader, his origins unknown to the First Order's leaders. Meanwhile, the Cosmic Force—an aspect of the Force that bound all things and communicated to living sentient beings, and which formed a balanced, symbiotic relationship with the Living Force, the energy of all life—became dormant after the Galactic Civil War, only to be reawakened with certain individuals' realization of their latent Force abilities in 34 ABY. Such individuals included Rey, a scavenger on Jakku, who did not know that she was, in fact, the granddaughter of Darth Sidious.
End of the Sith
- "You are nothing! A scavenger girl who is no match for the power in me. I am all the Sith!"
"And I… am all the Jedi."
- ―Darth Sidious and Rey
In 35 ABY, with the New Republic having been decapitated and large swathes of the galaxy having fallen to the First Order during their war against the Resistance, Darth Sidious returned to reconquer the galaxy in full force. With the Sith Eternal's armada of planet-destroying warships, the Final Order, the Sith Lord and cultists intended to establish a new Sith Empire. As the Sith fleet prepared to strike at the embattled galaxy, the Dark Lord made efforts to corrupt Jedi into his minions, reaching out to the heir of the previous war's heroes—Ben Solo.
When the Jedi student Rey guided Ben Solo back to the light thanks to her newfound understanding with him—which was formed by their Force dyad, the power of which was unseen for generations—and surfaced to the Emperor's attention, the Sith sought to abandon his crippled body and transfer his essence over to his granddaughter. However, with her affinity to the Force and the support of the Jedi before her, Rey resisted Sidious, ultimately obliterating the Sith Lord's physical vessel and putting an end to the threat of the Sith. Rey fell, but was resuscitated from death by Solo, who gave his life for hers.
Behind the scenes
The Grand Plan first appeared in the 1999 prequel trilogy film, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. It was first identified in the new Star Wars canon as the Great Plan in Star Wars Helmet Collection 2, released by De Agostini in 2016, and was identified as the Grand Plan in Star Wars Helmet Collection 44, released by De Agostini in 2017. It was originally identified as the Grand Plan in the 2012 Star Wars Legends novel Darth Plagueis, authored by James Luceno.
- Age of Republic - Darth Maul 1 (Indirect mention only)
- Queen's Peril (Indirect mention only)
- Queen's Peril audiobook (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Heroes on Both Sides" (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shadow Warrior" (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Escape from Kadavo" (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Revenge" (Indirect mention only)
- Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 4 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Phantom Apprentice" (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shattered" (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (First mentioned) (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 2 (Databank A-Z: Alzoc III–Antilles) (First identified as Great Plan)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 10 (Databank A-Z: Chewbacca–Cloud City)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 14 (Weapons & Uniforms: The Sith)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 15 (Databank A-Z: Dooku–Dwarf Spider Droids)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 16 (Highlights of the Saga: The Fall of the Jedi)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 20 (Databank A-Z: Saw Gerrera–Commander Gree)
- Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 92 (Guide to the Galaxy: Scipio – Banking Clan World)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 40 (Databank A-Z: Moraband–Muftak)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 44 (Databank A-Z: Zeb Orrelios–Pau City) (First identified as Grand Plan)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 49 (Databank A-Z: Serenno–Anakin Skywalker) (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 51 (Weapons & Uniforms: Dark Side Servants) (First identified as Great Sith Plan)
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary (First identified as Sith conspiracy)