How Old Palpatine Really Is In Each Star Wars Trilogy
Thanks to The Rise of Skywalker – feel free to add as much sarcasm to that statement as you like – Palpatine is perhaps the most important character in all three Star Wars trilogies as he’s the root of all evil across nine films. When we first met him in the Original Trilogy, the Emperor seemed to be an ancient overlord, but in the prequels we learned that he wasn’t as old as you might think and had once been a successful politician. In the sequels, meanwhile, Palpatine was depicted as little more than a corpse clinging on to life. Let’s examine Darth Sidious’ life though and deduce how old he was in each of the trilogies.
It’s been established that Shreev Palpatine was born in 84 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), which makes him 52 years old in The Phantom Menace. Following the decade-long jump in Attack of the Clones and the further three years in between that and Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine ascends to the position of Emperor at the age of 65.
The 19-year gap between Episode III and A New Hope then puts Palpatine at 84 at the start of the Original Trilogy. Three years occur between ANH and The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi is set one year later, so that means ol’ Sidious is thrown to his death by Vader when he’s 88.
Of course, we now know that he didn’t die at Vader’s hands, after all. Though his body perished, Palpatine was able to transfer his consciousness over to a faulty clone body that couldn’t properly contain his evil lifeforce. The question of his age becomes slightly trickier from here, then, but Palpatine’s soul would’ve been 118 at the time of The Force Awakens, due to the 30-year passage of time in between the originals and sequels. There’s then just a single year between The Last Jedi, which starts immediately after TFA, and Rise, so he’s 119 years old when Rey destroys her grandfather for good. We hope.
Given his constant presence in the Star Wars franchise, Palpatine’s age helps us track how long the entire Skywalker saga unfolds over as well – it’s 67 years, from the origins of one Skywalker to the rise of another.