In Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Chancellor Palpatine tells Anakin the tale of Darth Plagueis the Wise. He told Anakin that if he joined the dark side he could save the people he loved from death by extending their midichlorian count, just as Darth Plagueis had done (obviously more subtly than that).

When Anakin asked what had happened to Plagueis, Palpatine says:

Unfortunately, he taught his apprentice everything he knew. Then his apprentice...killed him in his sleep.

It is revealed (not in the movie) that it was Palpatine himself that was Plagueis' apprentice

After Anakin and Palpatine kill Mace Windu, Palpatine says,

To cheat death is a power only one has achieved, but if we work together I know we can discover the secret.

This implies that Palpatine doesn't already know the secrets but if Plagueis taught him "everything he knew" then surely he would have.

So did Sidious know the entire time or was "everything he knew" an exaggeration?

Just to be clear when I say "cheat death" I only mean extending someone's midichlorian count, not "transfer essence" or anything else like that.

  • You mean, like not getting thrown down a hole in a Death Star?
    – Dale M
    Nov 12, 2015 at 0:44
  • @DaleM The context very clearly shows that it means death by aging (and maybe sicknesses).
    – Gray Sheep
    Nov 21, 2015 at 10:53

3 Answers 3



We don't know. Plagueis' story has not been told in entirety yet within G-Canon.


Referencing the book Darth Plagueis, I would say that while Plagueis taught Palpatine all that he could, Palpatine did not know everything Plagueis did. Palpatine wanted the power to rule, which by his actions we know to be the power to manipulate and destroy, not to save life. Plagueis spent decades meditating and experimenting on how to use the Dark Side to bring people back to life, and his mastery over midichlorians (NOT the Dark Side in general) was certainly far greater than Palpatine's, who spent those same decades working towards gaining control over the galaxy and learning how to use the Dark Side to manipulate people, including eventually his own master.

So I would say that while Sidious knew the basics of how to resurrect people, he did not know the specifics and was incapable of actually doing it.


We don't know. But if Sidious does know the secret, he is choosing not to tell Anakin.

Sidious wants Anakin to obey him and follow his teachings. If a) Sidious knows how to cheat death, and b) Sidious immediately passes on the knowledge to Anakin, Anakin will get busy trying to apply his knowledge to save Padmé. By holding the promise of knowledge in front of Anakin, Sidious maintains a hold on him and ensures his continued cooperation.

Now, it's true that Sidious' later remarks contradict his earlier hints that he knows how to cheat death. But Anakin is probably too emotional at that moment to notice (and isn't terribly bright at the best of times). In addition, after killing Mace Windu, Anakin is committed to following Sidious; he has little choice but to do as Sidious says and hope to be rewarded with the knowledge he wants.


Well, Palpatine did actually know how to cheat death. He did so after his apprentice body slammed him into the abyss. His method was to use Transfer Essence, which allowed him to transfer his "soul" into a new vessel.

When he was killed, he used this to transfer his form into a younger clone. Effectively, despite having his physical body destroyed, he managed to persist and take a new host.

This is different from Plagueis' alleged method of manipulating the Midichlorians directly, but at least this shows that he knows "a secret", rather than "the secret".

  • 3
    You should make clear this answer only covers the old EU canon (what is now called "Legends"), not the current Disney canon.
    – Hypnosifl
    Nov 11, 2015 at 18:07
  • Apologies. I shall edit in now. Nov 11, 2015 at 19:09

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