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"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."
―Sheev Palpatine and Anakin Skywalker[src]

The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise[2] was a so-called "Sith legend"[1] that recounted the murder of Darth Plagueis by the hand of his own apprentice,[2] Darth Sidious.[3] Toward the end of the Clone Wars, Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine recounted that tale to the troubled Jedi Anakin Skywalker on his private box at the Galaxies Opera House in hopes of luring him to the dark side of the Force. In fact, Palpatine was none other than the public persona of Darth Sidious,[2] and he only framed the tale of Plagueis' murder as an old legend so as to avoid suspicion when in reality, he had only recently murdered his master.[1]

Full tragedy[]

"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 midichlorians to create life… He had such a knowledge of the dark side that he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying. The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural. 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. Ironic. He could save others from death, but not himself."
―Sheev Palpatine or Darth Sidious.[src]

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[src]

The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis first appeared in the 2005 film Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, the third and final installment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy.[2]

The tale was originally intended to be told by Palpatine to Anakin Skywalker in his office rather than at the Galaxies Opera House. During principal photography of Revenge of the Sith, one of the onset changes that director George Lucas made was the alteration of Plagueis' "legend" from being staged in the office to the opera house, as Lucas had already shot several scenes at the office.[4] In 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.[5]

While developing the story of the 2019 film Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker, the third and final installment of the sequel trilogy, director J.J. Abrams felt that the scene of the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis, his favorite from the prequels, served like the greatest setup to bring back Emperor Palpatine in the movie, given the scene's highlighting on Palpatine's obsession for cheating death.[6]



Notes and references[]