- "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."
- ―Palpatine and Anakin Skywalker
The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise was a "Sith legend" that was relayed to Anakin Skywalker by Palpatine, telling of his master, Darth Plagueis. Plagueis, the legend went, was "so powerful and so wise he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life," and even save others from dying. "He became so powerful, the only thing that he was afraid of was losing his power. His apprentice, Sidious"—though Palpatine did not name himself when first recounting the story to Anakin and referred to himself in the third person—"killed him in his sleep."
According to Palpatine, what made it a tragedy was that he could not save himself from 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. 
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