If you’ve ever watched Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2003), you undoubtedly have a vivid memory of the first time Darth Plagueis was mentioned in the existing Star Wars canon — right as Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) was on the verge of fully turning young Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) to the dark side of the Force.
As he attempted to sway Skywalker — who eventually, of course, becomes iconic Sith Lord Darth Vader — Palpatine said:
“Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? 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.”
Palpatine, of course, was trying to persuade young Skywalker that the only way to save the woman he loved, Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), was to join the ranks of the Sith like Darth Revan, Darth Bane, and all the others before him.
Throughout the course of the conversation, it also became apparent that the future Emperor — or, Sith Lord Darth Sidious — had killed his former Master, Plagueis, in keeping with the Sith Rule of Two.
Thanks to James Luceno’s 2012 novel, “Star Wars: Darth Plagueis”, we know that Plagueis himself overthrew his own mentor, Darth Tenebrous, in a twisted foreshadowing of his own demise at the hands of a younger, even more ambitious man.
Recently, the Star Wars franchise has been giving fans a glimpse into the life of Darth Plagueis in canon for the first time — perhaps in preparation for his reported live-action debut in Leslye Headland’s upcoming Disney+ Original series, The Acolyte, set at the end of the High Republic era.
In the new “Secrets of the Sith” book, ostensibly written by Sheev Palpatine himself, Star Wars fans finally learn for the first time exactly when the young Palpatine took the life of his Sith Master — the event seems to have occurred not long before the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999):
“After centuries in the shadows, the Sith were poised to emerge once more. As a dark apprentice, I sensed that the Galactic Republic was in disarray. Its delegates held no interest in the common good. They would be easy targets for my influence. Serving as a senator, I manipulated their greed in my favor. With each new act of legislation, I rose through their ranks. Total control of the galaxy’s governing body drew ever closer. But ascension in the Senate would not be enough. My master, Darth Plagueis, had served his purpose. I struck him down, claiming his place as the one true master of the Sith.”
As one article noted, this timeframe makes a great deal of sense in the overarching Star Wars timeline, as it explains why Plagueis had seemingly vanished by the time George Lucas’s prequel trilogy picks up:
Palpatine’s ascension in the Senate fits with his operations in The Phantom Menace, where he ultimately rises to the position of Chancellor. His words here, though, suggest this takes before the Star Wars prequels as he’s still very much rising through the ranks, working on new acts of legislation, and so it’s likely before the events of The Phantom Menace. This makes some sense from a canon perspective, as it gives a much clearer indication of why there was no sign of Plagueis during The Phantom Menace…
At this time, Lucasfilm has not confirmed that Darth Plagueis will appear in the live-action Star Wars universe in the near future, but it certainly seems likely as the franchise is continuing to tease the Sith Lord’s backstory, giving fans just enough to keep them wanting more.
Do you hope to see Darth Plagueis in The Acolyte or another Star Wars series soon?