Star Wars Week

We asked 1,300+ Star Wars fans who Palpatine was afraid of. Here's what they said.

Inverse readers share their takes on which Jedi strikes the most fear into Sheev's cold Sith heart.

Emperor Palpatine is the most prolific villain in the Star Wars movies, but his true intentions are enveloped in mystery. To solve some of those lingering questions, Inverse polled more than 1,300 of our readers on their Palpatine opinions and theories. Today, we're using this data to try and figure out which Jedi Palpatine feared most — if he feared any of them at all.

It's obvious Palpatine had a genocidal level of hatred for all the Jedi, but which of them truly made him feel threatened? Here are seven possibilities, and a surprising dark horse from a write-in campaign.

Welcome to Star Wars Week! To celebrate the 15-year anniversary of Revenge of the Sith (May 19) and the 40-year anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back (May 21), we're talking about our favorite sci-fi franchise for nine days straight.

7. Obi-Wan Kenobi


Obi-Wan is one of the small handful of characters to see Sheev Palpatine across two trilogies. So while Palpatine may mean a lot to Obi-Wan, what does Obi-Wan mean to Palpatine?

Don't forget the entire "lost planet" plotline in Attack of the Clones where Kenobi uncovers the whole Clone Wars plot. Plus, even as a padawan, Obi-Wan was able to defeat Palpatine's apprentice Darth Maul in combat.

Still, only 171 Star Wars fans believe Palpatine would be terrified by Obi-Wan.

In the prequels, Obi-Wan is the biggest threat to Palpatine emotionally. As Anakin's Jedi Master, he's got direct responsibility to raise him and train him as the Chosen One. Unfortunately, we know how that turns out. Palpatine cunningly uses Obi-Wan as a tool, driving a wedge between him and the future Darth Vader.

So even if Obi-Wan was an obstacle, he was never much of a real threat to Sheev Palpatine.

6. Rey


180 Star Wars fans believe Palpatine considered his greatest threat to be his own quasi-granddaughter.

The biggest selling point in Rey's case against Palpatine is obvious: she's the one who beat him in The Rise of Skywalker. (For now, anyway.) All the Jedi are within her, so naturally, that would make her as intimidating as all the Jedi who came before her combined, right?

Then again, Rey does have Palpatine blood, and her Dark Rey side is a fundamental part of who she is. Perhaps that family connection takes the edge off the dynasty of Jedi that came before her. Without her intense Force bond with Kylo Ren, the situation may have turned out far differently.

5. No one


He's Palpatine! He fears no Jedi!

231 fans say Jedi don't pose any threat at all from the Emperor's perspective. Instead, he sees them as pawns on his chessboard. This seems like the ideal choice for this quintessential Star Wars villain, but where does it leave the pathos behind Sheev the person? Beyond the cloning and genocide, Palpatine is a human being with emotions, right?

In the wise words of one Yoda: Fear is the path to the Dark Side. How could Palpatine lead the Dark side without knowing that fear?

4. Luke Skywalker


Luke Skywalker: Jedi Master, lover of Bantha milk and power converters from Tosche Station, and according to 287 Inverse readers, Palpatine's worst nightmare.

This makes a lot of sense in hindsight. Luke was successful in turning Vader against Emperor Palpatine due to their family connection. He's a living link to the happy family life Anakin lost forever at the end of Revenge of the Sith.

Palpatine never referenced Luke directly in The Rise of Skywalker, but the Jedi's influence on the Emperor's plan to retake power can't be overstated. He trained Rey, albeit briefly, and he sacrificed his very life to help the last remnants of the Resistance escape Kylo Ren's assault on Crait in The Last Jedi. Palpatine's demise at Rey's hand wouldn't have been possible without Luke's help, in life and beyond.

3. Anakin Skywalker


The prequel trilogy revolved around Anakin's turn to the Dark side, but was Palpatine secretly expecting his apprentice to eventually turn against him? 348 readers seem to think so.

It does make sense. Anakin's switched sides before, but the Darth Vader we see in the original trilogy seems wholly committed to his role as the Emperor's enforcer until he encounters his son, something Palpatine couldn't have anticipated.

Perhaps Sheev wanted Anakin to kill him, thus transferring on his spirit and enabling Vader to become the embodiment of the Sith. (He later tried the same trick on Rey.)

Regardless, we know how this one turned out: One of the most powerful emotional moments in all of Star Wars when Anakin turns against the Emperor.

2. Mace Windu


Mace Windu surely struck fear into Palpatine during their epic duel in Revenge of the Sith, and 472 Star Wars fans think nobody else surpassed that.

Mace Windu is the first line of defense upon learning Sheev's true identity, and upon confronting Palps with that fact, they duel and Mace ends up falling out a window onto the busy street below. Of course, Master Windu managed to melt Sheev's face in the process, and he only lost the fight after Anakin intervened.

Why Mace Windu? He was consistently the most proactive of the Jedi Council, and when he found out Palpatine's true intentions he didn't hesitate to take action against him, even if it cost him his life. Regardless of his grisly fate, Windu was the first Jedi to confront the evil lurking in the Senate, and that's pretty terrifying.

Also, he's Samuel L. Jackson, a fact that is quite intimidating just on its own.

1. Yoda


At a whopping 622 votes, the most popular pick for Palpatine's nemesis is Master Yoda.

Just based on Yoda's epic duel with Darth Sidious at the end of Revenge of the Sith, we'd have to agree. As the leader of the Jedi Council, Yoda is also the only one with comparable Force expertise and enormous influence in the Republic.

To someone who has never heard of Star Wars, the fact that a small green alien with six fingers was voted to be Palpatine's worst nightmare would seem preposterous, but that's the beauty of Star Wars. We don't judge him for his size, we know just how powerful he can be with The Force.

Palpatine is right to be scared.

The Wild Card: Qui-Gon Jinn


Even though there wasn't a listed option for him, Qui-Gon Jinn tallied an impressive 34 votes in a write-in campaign.

There's a strong case for Liam Neeson's rebellious Jedi, even if his time within the canon was cut short by Darth Maul. As a student of the Living Force, he would have advanced knowledge of midi-chlorians and how the Sith approach the way the Force works. And it was Qui-Gon who championed Anakin to be trained, even if he couldn't follow that up.

The biggest piece of evidence Palpatine was terrified of Qui-Gon? He had Darth Maul off him to take out the threat before it could develop. We can only speculate what the galaxy would look like if he survived.

See all responses from our survey below:


Welcome to Star Wars Week! To celebrate the 15-year anniversary of Revenge of the Sith (May 19) and the 40-year anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back (May 21), we're talking about our favorite sci-fi franchise for nine days straight.

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