"The Emperor's Theme" is a recurring musical theme of the Star Wars movies. It was composed by John Williams and first appeared in the film Return of the Jedi.

It is first heard in the scene when Palpatine arrives on the second Death Star, and later is heard in several scenes taking place in the Emperor's throne room. It is an incredibly dark vocal piece performed by a foreboding male choir, thematically representing the pure evil that is Palpatine. Portions of it also played when he was torturing Luke Skywalker before meeting his demise at the hands of the redeemed Anakin Skywalker.

In The Phantom Menace, "The Emperor's Theme" is heard whenever Darth Sidious speaks to Nute Gunray. A variation of the theme in a major key, Symponik Nabooalla, is also heard during the parade scene in Theed.

In Attack of the Clones, "The Emperor's Theme" is heard in the Lars' garage scene where Anakin confesses to Padmé about his slaughter of the Tusken Raiders. It is also heard in the scene towards the end when Count Dooku approaches The Works on Coruscant and meets with Sidious.

The theme is most prevalent in Revenge of the Sith. It is played when Yoda, Mace Windu, and Obi-Wan Kenobi discuss Palpatine's intentions prior to Yoda leaving for Kashyyyk; after Sidious bestows upon Anakin the title of Darth Vader, and when the Emperor rescues Vader from Mustafar.

In 1999, "The Emperor's Theme" was the background music for the television commercials for The New Jedi Order: Vector Prime.

One of the musical pieces in Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, played during several stages, incorporates an up-tempo variation of the Emperor's theme as its bridge. The normal version of the theme is included as well and is played on the 'Game Over' screen.

In Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, part of "The Emperor's Theme" is played after a mission failure.

A more-prominent version of the theme is played throughout the final level of Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, "Yavin–Final Showdown", and is continuously used in the duel against Desann.

A variant of "The Emperor's Theme" is the background music for both the main screen and the Korriban areas in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, it is also the background music onboard the Ravager in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. A segment of "The Emperor's Theme" is played whenever the player has gained a dark side point in the latter game. "The Emperor's Theme" plays during the mission briefing screens in Star Wars: Republic Commando.

The theme is played in Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 5 Episode 16 "The Lawless", when Palpatine tells Mas Amedda to prepare his ship, and again when he confronts Darth Maul and Savage Opress on Mandalore. It is also played in the Season 6 Episode 4 "Orders", when Count Dooku speaks with Palpatine about Order 66.

In the Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 12 episode, Wolves and a Door, a variation of the theme is heard when Minister Hydan is talking with Emperor Palpatine about the Jedi Temple on Lothal. The theme is heard next in episode 16 when Emperor Palpatine's Hologram revels his true appreance to Ezra Bridger.

Prior to the DVD re-release of the movies in 2004, there was speculation that "The Emperor's Theme" would be included in Palpatine's scene in The Empire Strikes Back

In the trailer for Angry Birds Star Wars 2, "Join the Pork Side", at the end of the video a short section of the theme is played.

In The Last Jedi, "The Emperor's Theme" is heard when Snoke tortures Rey with the Dark side of the Force in his throne room.

In The Rise of Skywalker, the theme is heard throughout the film when Palpatine appears or is mentioned by other characters, including the prologue, when the Resistance learns of his survival and throughout the Battle of Exegol. Its appearance in the scene immediately following the Destruction of Kijimi appears to be directly lifted from a track in Revenge of the Sith.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Themes and leitmotifs
Introduced in Episode IV
Main Title (Luke) · Rebels · Imperials · the Force (Ben Kenobi) · Princess Leia · Death Star · Jawa · Tusken Raider · dies irae
"Star Wars Main Title" · "Mad About Me" (Cantina Band) (IV) · "Dune Sea Special" (Cantina Band #2)
"Here They Come!/TIE Fighter Attack" · "The Final Battle" · "The Throne Room"
Introduced in Episode V
the Empire/Darth Vader · droids · dark side · walkers · "Han Solo and the Princess" (IV) · Yoda · Boba Fett I
Lando Calrissian · "May the Force Be with You" · "The Asteroid Field"
Introduced in Episode VI
Jabba · funeral · "Parade of the Ewoks" · Luke and Leia (IV, IV) · The Emperor (Sith) · trap
Jabba the Hutt" · "The Forest Battle" (V) · "Victory Celebration" (VI)
Introduced in Dark Forces, Shadows of the Empire, and Rogue Squadron
mystery (IV, V) · Xizor's Theme · Dash's theme · Rogue Squadron theme
Introduced in Episode I
droid march · "Duel of the Fates" · Qui-Gon · Jar Jar · Darth Maul · Anakin Skywalker (V) · Shmi
"The Flag Parade" · "Escape from Naboo" · "Symponik Nabooalla" ("Augie's Great Municipal Band") (VI)
Introduced in Episode II
conspiracy (IV, II) · "Across the Stars" (IV, IV, IV) · "The Meadow Picnic"
descent (IV, II) · "The Arena" (Republic) · Palpatine's machinations
Introduced in Episode III
General Grievous · Sith mystery · "Padm√©'s Ruminations" (III) · "Anakin's Betrayal" (II)
"Anakin's Dark Deeds" (V, II, III) · "Battle of the Heroes" · "Padm√©'s Destiny"
Introduced in Knights of the Old Republic I and II
Revan · Bastila Shan · Kreia · Sith Triumvirate (II) · Nar Shaddaa · Korriban
Introduced in Clone Wars and Empire at War
Advanced Recon Commandoes · Zann Consortium
Introduced in The Force Unleashed and The Old Republic
The Force Unleashed · Rahm Kota · Juno Eclipse · Redemption · the Commander · Valkorion
Introduced in The Clone Wars and Rebels
Admiral Yularen (V) · clones · Ahsoka Tano · Plo Koon · Padm√© Amidala
Savage Opress · the Force (mystery) (IV) · Satine Kryze
Rebels (VI) · Ezra Bridger · the Grand Inquisitor · "Glory of the Empire" (V) · Maul · Thrawn
Introduced in Anthology Series
Galactic Empire · Jyn Erso & Hope Suite (Jyn Erso (IV) · hope (IV)Guardians of the Whills · messenger (IV) · Rogue One (IV)
Secrets · Han Solo · Han and Qi'ra · "Empire Recruitment" · Enfys Nest · L3-37 (VI)
Introduced in Episode VII
Kylo Ren (V, V, VI, I, I, II, VII) · Rey (IV, V, VI, II, II, III, VII) · Poe Dameron · the Resistance · tension (II) · Snoke · "Jedi Steps"
"Adagio" · "Scherzo for X-Wings"
Introduced in Episode VIII
"The Rebellion Is Reborn" · Rose Tico · desperation (VII) · Luke in exile
Introduced in Episode IX
"Anthem of Evil" (II, II, III, VI, VII, VIII) · Knights of Ren · "The Rise of Skywalker" (victory motif (II, VII) · friendship motif)
Introduced in Battlefront II, Jedi: Fallen Order, and Squadrons
Iden Versio's Theme · Cal Kestis · Second Sister · Eno Cordova · Main Theme
Introduced in The Freemaker Adventures, Galaxy's Edge, and LEGO Holiday Special
Main Title (Freemakers) · Symphonic Suite · "Tara's Theme" · "Pinteeka Dub" · "Age of Jedi" · connection
Introduced in The Mandalorian
Din Djarin (main theme) · Grogu · Gideon · Bo-Katan Kryze · Boba Fett II
See also: Songs
Real-world music
I · II · III · IV · V · VI · VII · VIII · IX
Original Soundtrack Anthology · Ultimate Vinyl Collection
Ultimate Soundtrack Edition · Ultimate Digital Collection
Spin-off films & TV:
Ewoks ¬∑ The Clone Wars: film, Seasons 1–6, Season Seven (1–4, 5–8, 9–12) ¬∑ Rebels: One, Two
Rogue One · Solo · The Mandalorian (Chapter 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9-12 · 13-16)
Video games:
Shadows of the Empire · Republic Commando · The Old Republic: Collector's Edition · YouTube playlist
Battlefront · Battlefront II · Jedi: Fallen Order · Squadrons
Galaxy's Edge:
Oga's Cantina: R3X's Playlist 1
Brennan Anderson · Clint Bajakian · Stephen Barton · Peter Bernstein · Paul Dinletir · Michael Giacchino · Patrick Gleeson
Ludwig G√∂ransson ¬∑ Mark Griskey ¬∑ Gordy Haab ¬∑ Jesse Harlin ¬∑ Jerry Hey ¬∑ Chris H√ľlsbeck ¬∑ Nick von Kaenel ¬∑ Dean Kiner
Kevin Kiner · Sean Kiner · Frank Klepacki · Peter McConnell · Bear McCreary · Joel McNeely · Lin-Manuel Miranda
Danny Piccione · John Powell · Ryan Shore · Jeremy Soule · Joseph Trapanese · James L. Venable · Paul Webb
John Williams · Joseph Williams
London Symphony Orchestra · London Voices
City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra · Royal Scottish National Orchestra
New London Children's Choir · Seattle Sinfonia Orchestra
Los Angeles Master Chorale · Jefferson Starship · The Hu
Sheet music books
The Phantom Menace · Attack of the Clones · Revenge of the Sith
Music from the Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition · Selections from Star Wars
Star Wars: A Musical Journey: Episodes I-VI · Star Wars Episodes I, II & III Instrumental Solos
Star Wars for Beginning Piano Solo · The Force Awakens · Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Music videos
"Lapti Nek" · The Duel of the Fates · A Hero Falls
Bantha Music · Christmas in the Stars · Lapti Nek Dance Remix · Tusken Music · Headspace
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