To ensure that we will always stand together, that we will always speak with a single voice and act with a single hand, the Republic must change. We must evolve. We must grow. We have become an empire in fact; let us become an Empire in name as well! We are the first Galactic Empire!
He's the ultimate puppet master. He seized control of the entire galaxy through a con more than a decade in the making. He commands armies, deceives Jedi Masters, manipulates from the shadows, and unleashes malevolent Force lightning from his fingertips. He's Darth Sidious, Senator, Chancellor, Galactic Emperor, Dark Lord of the Sith, otherwise known as Sheev Palpatine. His endgame machinations make for good storytelling, and that’s where the imaginations of Star Wars authors run wild.
In this guide you’ll find a considerable number of Prequel-era books, mostly Legends-era, which show the both the good-natured Chancellor and the shadow-dwelling dark sider operating as separate personas living separate lives—one attends meetings with Senators; the other unleashes unfiltered wrath upon his apprentices when they fail him. Some highlights are Labyrinth of Evil and Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter. The ultimate classic on Palpatine is James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis. But it’s not for the faint of heart! It is the most in-depth look at the long-term plan of the Sith to culminate in the domination of the galaxy. Although named after his master, Darth Plagueis is as much about Sidious as his wise Muun master. Matthew Stover’s Revenge of the Sith novelization is in many ways the best Star Wars book, putting some of the best Palpatine scenes such as the Mon Calamari opera in the hands of a masterful author dramatizing the Shakespearian tragedy in a perfectly heartbreaking way.
For a Palpatine-centric Legends deep-dive, don’t ignore Dark Empire. It was published at ground-zero for the Expanded Universe: 1991, the same year as Heir to the Empire. (The Emperor looms large in the Thrawn trilogy, but only in the memory of Mara Jade). It’s a drastically different look at what might have happened after Return of the Jedi than either Zahn’s envisioning or the current canon version of events as seen in the Sequel Trilogy. We’ll leave it at this: Palpatine reborn!
Recent canon books have done an excellent job with the Emperor. One of the first books out of the gate after the Legends/canon rebranding was Lords of the Sith, where we find Palpatine and Vader stranded on Ryloth. Both Kieron Gillen’s and Charles Soule’s Darth Vader comics are some of the strongest Star Wars comics in existence and explore Vader’s complicated relationship with his father figure.
Of course, now’s the time to get excited about the Emperor again with The Rise of Skywalker right around the corner. Palpatine looms larger than ever.
Our team is hard at work building out this collection. Stay tuned!
Books in this Collection
Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 1 (Trade Paperback)
From acclaimed writer Charles Soule comes a brand-new, exhilarating series exploring Darth Vader's early history. Picking up directly where Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith ends, follow Vader as he receives his legendary red lightsaber and witness Vader's rise to power as a Dark Lord of the Sith!
Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin (Hardcover)
A ninth assassin—more deadly than the eight who came before—has been hired to murder Darth Vader. Elsewhere, another threat to the Empire has made itself known, and will take Vader on a hunt for an ancient evil… All the while, the ninth assassin lurks, waiting for the perfect moment to strike! Collects the five-issue miniseries.
Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison (Hardcover)
A traitorous uprising against the fledgling Galactic Empire leaves Emperor Palpatine close to death. Saving the Emperor—and the Empire—appears to be a lost cause... unless Vader can uncover the secrets of the Jedi Council and locate the mysterious "Ghost Prison." Collects the five-issue miniseries.
Darth Vader (2015) Vol. 1: Vader (Trade Paperback)
The original Dark Lord of the Sith stars in his first ongoing series! Ever since Darth Vader's first on-screen appearance, he has become one of pop-culture's most popular villains. Now, follow Vader straight from the ending of A NEW HOPE (and the pages of the new STAR WARS comic book) into his own solo adventures – showing the Empire's war with the Rebel Alliance from the other side! But when a Dark Lord needs help, who can he turn to? As Vader pursues a very personal vengeance against the Rebels and investigates the Emperor's secret machinations, he clashes with weapons scavenger Aphra and deadly Battle Droids, and returns to Geonosis to build an army. But some very powerful people don't want him to learn the truths he seeks! Guest-starring Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett and more! Collecting DARTH VADER #1–6.
Labyrinth of Evil
Darth Sidious has expertly hidden his existence from the Jedi for many years. In Labyrinth of Evil, his elusiveness shines towards the end of the Clone Wars as his identity is being chased by Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
While Anakin and Obi Wan are occupied with their intense mission, Count Dooku and General Grievous work on setting their master's next plans into motion. Author James Luceno uses this opportunity to offer us the backstories of these two villains before foreshadowing Anakin's fall to the dark side.
The war that erupted in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones is nearing its boiling point, as the dauntless Separatist forces continue their assault on the teetering Republic–and the diabolical triumvirate of Count Dooku, General Grievous, and their Master, Darth Sidious, fine-tune their strategy for conquest. In Episode III Revenge of the Sith the fates of key players on both sides of the conflict will be sealed. But first, crucial events that pave the way to that time of reckoning unfold in a labyrinth of evil. . . .
Capturing Trade Federation Viceroy–and Separatist Councilmember–Nute Gunray is the mission that brings Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, with a squad of clones in tow, to Neimoidia. But the treacherous ally of the Sith proves as slippery as ever, evading his Jedi pursuers even as they narrowly avoid deadly disaster. Still, their daring efforts yield an unexpected prize: a unique holotransceiver that bears intelligence capable of leading the Republic forces to their ultimate quarry, the ever-elusive Darth Sidious.
Swiftly taking up the chase, Anakin and Obi-Wan follow clues from the droid factories of Charros IV to the far-flung worlds of the Outer Rim . . . every step bringing them closer to pinpointing the location of the Sith Lord–whom they suspect has been manipulating every aspect of the Separatist rebellion. Yet somehow, in the escalating galaxy-wide chess game of strikes, counterstrikes, ambushes, sabotage, and retaliations, Sidious stays constantly one move ahead.
Then the trail takes a shocking turn. For Sidious and his minions have set in motion a ruthlessly orchestrated campaign to divide and overwhelm the Jedi forces–and bring the Republic to its knees.
Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
Throughout the galaxy, it was believed that Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker–the Chosen One–had died on Coruscant during the siege of the Jedi Temple. And, to some extent, that was true. Anakin was dead.
From the site of Anakin Skywalker’s last stand–on the molten surface of the planet Mustafar, where he sought to destroy his friend and former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi–a fearsome specter in black has risen. Once the most powerful Knight ever known to the Jedi Order, he is now a disciple of the dark side, a lord of the dreaded Sith, and the avenging right hand of the galaxy’s ruthless new Emperor. Seduced, deranged, and destroyed by the machinations of the Dark Lord Sidious, Anakin Skywalker is dead . . . and Darth Vader lives.
Word of the events that created him–the Jedi Council’s failed mutiny against Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, the self-crowned Emperor’s retaliatory command to exterminate the Jedi Order, and Anakin’s massacre of his comrades and Masters in the Jedi Temple–has yet to reach all quarters. On the Outer Rim world of Murkhana, Jedi Masters Roan Shryne and Bol Chatak and Padawan Olee Starstone are leading a charge on a Separatist stronghold, unaware that the tide, red with Jedi blood, has turned suddenly against them.
When the three narrowly elude execution–and become the desperate prey in a hunt across space–it’s neither clone soldiers, nor the newly deployed stormtroopers, nor even the wrath of the power-hungry Emperor himself they must fear most. The deadliest threat rests in the hideously swift and lethal crimson lightsaber of Darth Vader–behind whose brooding mask lies a shattered heart, a poisoned soul, and a cunning, twisted mind hell-bent on vengeance.
For the handful of scattered Jedi, survival is imperative if the light side of the Force is to be protected and the galaxy somehow, someday reclaimed. Yet more important still is the well-being of the twin infants, Leia and Luke Skywalker, the children of Anakin and his doomed bride, Padmé Amidala. Separated after Padmé’s death, they must be made safe at all costs, lest the hope they represent for the future be turned to horror by the new Sith regime–and the unspeakable power of the dark side.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
The Sith are a thing of ancient history. Some even question their existence to begin with since not a single one had been seen for centuries. But as a long-awaited prophecy starts to come to fruition, the Jedi will soon learn that their greatest fear is emerging from the shadows.
Soon, they will reveal themselves to the Jedi.
Soon, they will have their revenge.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, an evil legacy long believed dead is stirring. Now the dark side of the Force threatens to overwhelm the light, and only an ancient Jedi prophecy stands between hope and doom for the entire galaxy.
On the green, unspoiled world of Naboo, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, arrive to protect the realm’s young queen as she seeks a diplomatic solution to end the siege of her planet by Trade Federation warships. At the same time, on desert-swept Tatooine, a slave boy named Anakin Skywalker, who possesses a strange ability for understanding the “rightness” of things, toils by day and dreams by night—of becoming a Jedi Knight and finding a way to win freedom for himself and his beloved mother. It will be the unexpected meeting of Jedi, Queen, and a gifted boy that will mark the start of a drama that will become legend.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Every Star Wars movie has an accompanying novelization, but none so impressive as Revenge of the Sith. While it expertly tells the story of the film, it also manages to add to it in unexpected ways. Not only is it the best novelization, it’s a fantastic work of fiction in and of itself.
Matthew Stover outdoes himself in this novelization by painting Obi Wan, Anakin, and the rest of the Jedi as glorified super heroes in the eyes of the common man in the Star Wars universe. Somehow, this raises the stakes of one of the most intense episodes of the saga and makes Anakin’s ultimate fate even more impactful.
The turning point for the entire Star Wars saga is at hand
After years of civil war, the Separatists have battered the already faltering Republic nearly to the point of collapse. On Coruscant, the Senate watches anxiously as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine aggressively strips away more and more constitutional liberties in the name of safeguarding the Republic. Yoda, Mace Windu, and their fellow Masters grapple with the Chancellor’ s disturbing move to assume control of the Jedi Council. And Anakin Skywalker, the prophesied Chosen One, destined to bring balance to the Force, is increasingly consumed by his fear that his secret love, Senator Padmé Amidala, will die.
As the combat escalates across the galaxy, the stage is set for an explosive endgame: Obi-Wan undertakes a perilous mission to destroy the dreaded Separatist military leader General Grievous. Palpatine, eager to secure even greater control, subtly influences public opinion to turn against the Jedi. And a conflicted Anakin–tormented by unspeakable visions– edges dangerously closer to the brink of a galaxy-shaping decision. It remains only for Darth Sidious, whose shadow looms ever larger, to strike the final staggering blow against the Republic . . . and to ordain a fearsome new Sith Lord: Darth Vader.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Ten years have passed since Obi Wan Kenobi defeated the mysterious Sith warrior on Naboo. His apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, has grown into a young man with exceptional potential in the Force. However, as tensions in galactic politics reach a boiling point, Obi Wan must allow Anakin to undertake a mission on his own to protect Padmé Amidala from those seeking to assassinate her. He can only hope his young apprentice will continue to walk the path of a Jedi while out from under his tutelage…
RA Salvatore, celebrated science fiction/fantasy author, delivers a wonderful rendition of the second film in the Prequel Trilogy. With just enough small changes to keep even veteran fans of the saga on their toes, this novelization is an absolute must-read.
There is a great disturbance in the Force. . . . From the sleek ships of the glimmering Coruscant skyscape to the lush gardens of pastoral Naboo, dissent is roiling. The Republic is failing, even under the leadership of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, elected ten years earlier to save the crumbling government. Separatists threaten war, and the Senate is hopelessly divided, unable to determine whether to raise an army for battle or keep the fragile peace. It is a stalemate that once broken, could lead to galactic chaos.
Mischievous and resolved, courageous to the point of recklessness, Anakin Skywalker has come of age in a time of great upheaval. The nineteen-year-old apprentice to Obi-Wan Kenobi is an enigma to the Jedi Council, and a challenge to his Jedi Master. Time has not dulled Anakin’s ambition, nor has his Jedi training tamed his independent streak. When an attempt on Senator Padmé Amidala’s life brings them together for the first time in ten years, it is clear that time also has not dulled Anakin’s intense feelings for the beautiful diplomat.
The attack on Senator Amidala just before a crucial vote thrusts the Republic even closer to the edge of disaster. Masters Yoda and Mace Windu sense enormous unease. The dark side is growing, clouding the Jedi’s perception of the events. Unbeknownst to the Jedi, a slow rumble is building into the roar of thousands of soldiers readying for battle. But even as the Republic falters around them, Anakin and Padmé find a connection so intense that all else begins to fall away. Anakin will lose himself—and his way—in emotions a Jedi, sworn to hold allegiance only to the Order, is forbidden to have.
The Force Unleashed
What if Vader had taken on a forbidden apprentice with whom he planned to overthrow the Emperor’s reign? The Force Unleashed answers this question by following the story of the nameless apprentice as he carries out several missions at Vader’s bidding. However, as he explores the galaxy and builds new relationships with those other than his merciless master, the apprentice begins to question his own role in the fate of the galaxy.
In The Force Awakens, Sean Williams composes a brand new story perfectly wedged into a well-known time period complete with a full cast of refreshing new characters. As a stand-alone or a part of the larger saga, this story is a fun read for any fan.
The overthrow of the Republic is complete. Absolute power now rests in the iron fist of Darth Sidious–the cunning Sith Lord better known as Emperor Palpatine. But more remains to be done. Pockets of resistance in the galaxy must still be defeated and missing Jedi accounted for . . . and dealt with. These crucial tasks fall to the Emperor’s ruthless enforcer, Darth Vader, who in turn has groomed a lethal, nameless Sith apprentice to secretly dispatch the last of his masters’ enemies. This acolyte’s journey will take him across the far reaches of the galaxy and test him with shattering revelations that strike at the very heart of all he believes, stirring within him long-forgotten hopes of reclaiming his name . . . and changing his destiny.
Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? It's a sprawling tale that establishes several important origin stories for characters fans know well. Readers learn how Plagueis seduced Palpatine to the dark side and how their alliance led to the Sith apprentice’s ultimate betrayal of his master. This is how darkness truly began to rise.
Darth Plagueis: Like all Sith Lords before him, he craves absolute power. But like no Sith Lord ever, he possesses the ultimate power—over life and death.
Darth Sidious: In secret he masters the power of the dark side, while publicly climbing to the highest government office.
One desires to rule supreme; the other dreams of living forever. Together, they will destroy the Jedi and rule the galaxy. Unless merciless Sith tradition becomes their undoing. . . .
Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter
Plans for the Trade Federation’s blockade of Naboo is at risk of being compromised, so Darth Sidious sends his skilled apprentice to Coruscant to take care of the problem. Completely loyal to his master, Darth Maul vows to crush any threat that is prone to delivering their secret agenda to the Jedi.
Shadow Hunter is a spectacular display of a Sith apprentice’s devotion to their master. Darth Maul had been trained by Darth Sidious since he was a child, and it shows in the way he hunts his prey and fuels on his anger to finish the job.
For the infamous, power-hungry Sith, beholden to the dark side, the time has come to rise again.
After years of waiting in the shadows, Darth Sidious is taking the first step in his master plan to bring the Republic to its knees. Key to his scheme are the Neimoidians of the Trade Federation. Then one of his Neimoidian contacts disappears, and Sidious does not need his Force-honed instincts to suspect betrayal. He orders his apprentice, Darth Maul, to hunt the traitor down.
But he is too late. The secret has already passed into the hands of information broker Lorn Pavan, which places him right at the top of Darth Maul’s hit list. Then, in the labyrinthine alleyways and sewers of Coruscant, capital city of the Republic, Lorn crosses paths with Darsha Assant, a Jedi Padawan on a mission to earn her Knighthood. Now the future of the Republic depends on Darsha and Lorn. But how can an untried Jedi and an ordinary man, stranger to the powerful ways of the Force, hope to triumph over one of the deadliest killers in the galaxy?
Cloak of Deception
It may be lonely at the top…but it’s also dangerous. Chancellor Valorum learns that fact when a terrorist group makes an attempt against his life. However, there is no shortage of enemies for the leader of the Republic, and Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are soon assigned to the case. As arguments spark in the Senate and the jockeying for power intensifies, it seems that someone must be benefitting…but who?
James Luceno delivers a story filled with conspiracy, duplicity, and political intrigue as he fleshes out the character of Chancellor Valorum and enlightens readers to just some of the turmoil that ultimately led to the vote of no confidence in his leadership.
Mired in greed and corruption, tangled in bureaucracy, the Galactic Republic is crumbling. In the outlying systems, where the Trade Federation maintains a stranglehold on shipping routes, tensions are boiling over?while back in the comfort of Coruscant, the hub of civilized space and seat of the Republic government, few senators seem inclined to investigate the problem. And those who suspect Supreme Chancellor Valorum of having a hand in the machinations are baffled?especially when Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi foil an assassination attempt on the Chancellor.
With the crisis escalating, Valorum calls for an emergency trade summit. As humans and aliens gather, conspiracies sealed with large sums of money run rampant, and no one is entirely above suspicion. But the greatest threat of all remains unknown to everyone except three members of the Trade Federation who have entered into a shadowy alliance with a dark overlord. While the trio will be content with more money and fewer problems, Darth Sidious has grander, far more terrifying plans.
It is a time that tests the mettle of all those who strive to hold the Republic together?none more so than the Jedi Knights, who have long been the galaxy's best hope for preserving peace and justice. Yet despite their most valiant efforts, the meeting will explode into fiery chaos beyond everyone?s worst fears . . .
Lords of the Sith
The most iconic Sith duo is that of Darth Sidious and Darth Vader. When it comes to the films, the immense power of their strengths combined remains to be seen. Lords of the Sith offers the display of unrivaled power that we deserve, and Paul S. Kemp delivers those brutal moments in vivid detail.
The magnitude of chaos and destruction unleashed by the Sith Lords is emphasized alongside the sheer terror and hopelessness of the rebels attempting to fight against them. Their despair is even more apparent through the eyes of Cham Syndulla, Hera Syndulla’s father and rebel leader of Ryloth, showing that even the most courageous minds are no match for the dark side.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .
When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.
“It appears things are as you suspected, Lord Vader. We are indeed hunted.”
Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor’s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters—and the truest measure of Vader’s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.
On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as “spice,” an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources—by political power or firepower—and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.
For Syndulla and Isval, it’s the opportunity to strike at the very heart of the ruthless dictatorship sweeping the galaxy. And for the Emperor and Darth Vader, Ryloth becomes more than just a matter of putting down an insurrection: When an ambush sends them crashing to the planet’s surface, where inhospitable terrain and an army of resistance fighters await them, they will find their relationship tested as never before. With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force, and each other to depend on, the two Sith must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries.