- "Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?"
"I thought not. It's not a story the Jedi would tell you. It's a Sith legend."
- ―Chancellor Palpatine and Anakin Skywalker
The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise was a "Sith Legend" that was shared with Anakin Skywalker by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who was secretly Darth Sidious. The tale told that Darth Plagueis, Sidious' Sith Master was so powerful and so wise that he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life—which Plagueis could in fact do, and even save others from death, which he proved by killing and bringing back to life his own master's secret apprentice, Darth Venamis.
The tale also told that the only thing Plagueis was afraid of was losing his power, which he ultimately did, as he attempted to end Darth Bane's Rule of Two and make his apprentice, Sidious and himself immortal through his experimentation with the midi-chlorians. Plagueis trusted his apprentice and thought Palpatine wouldn't assassinate him as they shared a "bond", however, the Dark Side of the Force told the—at that time senator of Naboo—senator to take his place as the ruling Sith Lord, which he did as he tortured Plagueis and ultimately killed the Muun.
According to Palpatine, what made it a tragedy was the irony that he could not save himself from his death, despite being able to save others. When Palpatine told this story to Skywalker, Skywalker countered that it was only a tragedy for Plagueis, and for the apprentice it was a happy ending. Palpatine later revealed that he was the unnamed apprentice, and that Plagueis' ability had been real. This was one of the steps towards turning Skywalker to the dark side of the Force.
"The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise" was a "Sith legend" created by Darth Sidious, the Sith apprentice of the Muun Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Plagueis. The tragedy told of how a "so powerful" Sith lost all of his power, although he could save others from death, however, not himself.
Death of Darth Plagueis
- "Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?"
"I thought not. It's not a story the Jedi would tell you. It's a Sith legend. 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."
"He could actually... save people from death?"
"The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities... some consider to be unnatural."
"Wh– What happened to him?"
"He became so powerful, the only thing he was afraid of was... losing his power. Which eventually, of course, he did. Unfortunately, he taught his apprentice everything he knew. Then his apprentice killed him in his sleep. It's ironic. He could save others from death, but not himself."
"Is it possible to learn this power?"
"Not from a Jedi."
- ―Darth Sidious and Anakin Skywalker
The tragedy began by defining Darth Plagueis, a Dark Lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise. The tale continued by defining his abilities, that could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life, and keep the ones he cared about from dying, the tale also defined the dark side of the Force as a pathway to many abilities some considered to be unnatural. It ended by saying that Plagueis became so powerful the only thing he was afraid of was losing his power, which he ultimately did. The tale ended by saying that the Dark Lord was killed by his apprentice in his asleep, which was ironic, as he could save others from death but not himself.
Behind the scenes
- "Of all of the deliciously evil scenes--and there are many--the one that stands out for me is in Revenge of the Sith. And that's when we all get to go to the opera. George [Lucas] will remember that he wrote that scene originally in another office [set]… and then he said, 'No, I think we should go somewhere else for a change.' So we went to a theater and the reason I liked that so much is because I'm a theater actor too, but more than that Hayden and I could really sit down and from my point of view anyway, have an evil chat. And I think it's one of the longest dialogue scenes in the whole of the saga."
- ―Ian McDiarmid
Originally, the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis tale was intended to be told by Palpatine to Anakin Skywalker on his suite rather than at the Galaxies Opera House. During principal photography of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, which began on June 30, 2003, one of the onset changes that director George Lucas made was the alteration of Plagueis' "legend" from being staged in the suite to the opera house. At Celebration Orlando 2017, Ian McDiarmid revealed that the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis scene was his most evil from all the Star Wars scenes he filmed.
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith comic
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith novelization (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith unabridged audiobook
- Darth Plagueis (Mentioned only)