Palpatine tossed around Senate "pods" with no problem, Yoda picked up X-wings and such, and there are many other examples of pretty impressive levitation feats. So why couldn't Sidious/Palpatine stop himself from falling to his death? Why couldn't Maul levitate himself away instead of falling to his (assumed for a while until The Clone Wars) death?

Is it a Sith thing?

  • 1
    I editted as the question you referenced doesn't really answer the question I wanted to ask...
    – Iceman
    Dec 16, 2015 at 3:45
  • I think they could have, but Maul was incapacitated and Sidious was incapacitated/ had nothing to land on.
    – user45549
    Dec 16, 2015 at 3:47
  • In each case, the Force-user is pretty seriously injured. Ditto for Mace WIndu... Dec 16, 2015 at 3:48
  • 3
    His Midichlorian count is OVER 9000!!!!!!! Dec 16, 2015 at 4:00
  • 1
    The power of the bad plot hole far exceeds the power of the Force.
    – Oldcat
    Dec 16, 2015 at 17:48

3 Answers 3

  1. Palpatine was:

    • Exhausted from using Force-Lightning. Remember the ill effects it had on him in ROTS, when he used it on Mace Windu.

    • Likely injured from bouncing off the walls (as we see in ROTJ novelization by James Kahn)

      Palpatine struggled in the grip of Vader’s unfeeling embrace, his hands still shooting bolts of malign energy out in all directions. In his wild flailing, the lightning ripped across the room, tearing into Vader. The Dark Lord fell again, electric currents crackling down his helmet, over his cape, into his heart.
      Vader stumbled with his load to the middle of the bridge over the black chasm leading to the power core. He held the wailing despot high over his head, and with a final spasm of strength, hurled him into the abyss.
      Palpatine’s body, still spewing bolts of light, spun out of control, into the void, bouncing back and forth off the sides of the shaft as it fell. It disappeared at last; but then, a few seconds later, a distant explosion could be heard, far down at the core. A rush of air billowed out the shaft, into the throne room.

    • It appears Palpatine wasn't entirely in his right mind. Aside from the fact had he been rational and in control, he'd have stopped Force Lighting the moment he fell, we also have his prior "maniacal" laugh trying to kill Luke:

      He laughed maniacally; and although it would not have seemed possible to Luke, the outpouring of bolts from the Emperor’s fingers actually increased in intensity. The sound screamed through the room, the murderous brightness of the flashes was overwhelming.

    • Also, this is purely my speculation, BUT, remember: Anakin was the Chosen One of the Prophecy. Perhaps, the Force refused to answer to Sidious for that reason, the same way Midichlorians created Anakin as pushback to Plagueis.

  2. Maul was:

    • Cut in half.

    • And, according to C-canon EU, he actually DID indeed use the Force to slow himself down and save himself:

      He fell past an oval shadow, and then a similar shadow raced by, along with a whooshing sound.
      Maul hoped that there was at least one more vent below, that it would be large enough to accommodate his diminished body. He extended his arms, and his left hand’s fingertips suddenly burned with friction as they brushed against the cylindrical wall.
      Must live!
      Hoping, wishing, praying for one more air vent...
      Must kill Obi-Wan!
      ...he reached out with the Force.
      (source: "Star Wars: The Wrath of Darth Maul")

  • 1
    Indeed...cut in half...
    – Iceman
    Dec 16, 2015 at 4:20
  • 1
    I always understood Palpatine's deformation in RoTS came from Windu reflecting his lighting back at him - not from just the execution of the force lighting.
    – NKCampbell
    Dec 16, 2015 at 15:12
  • @NathanK.Campbell - Sorry, I meant exaustion, not his cosmetic surgery Dec 16, 2015 at 15:14
  • 4
    For Evil Overlords, Maniacal Laughter is a lifestyle, not a sign of insanity.
    – Oldcat
    Dec 16, 2015 at 17:51
  • 1
    You need to call Darth Maul "Dar Ma" after the fall.
    – Oldcat
    Dec 16, 2015 at 17:52

Though not really featured too much in the films, Jedi (and presumably Sith) can use the Force to fly.

We see Jedi break their falls, Aresto-momentum-style, quite often in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Out-of-universe: Lucas simply wanted these Sith to die and chose to have them fall into deep chasms to make it visually interesting.

  • I would assume the force is used quite often in a similar manner. Jedi often jump down/fall distances which (I assume) would easily break a normal persons legs, yet they are unharmed. Mar 10, 2016 at 17:47

For anyone who cares for a partial answer: In the EU canon, Sidious does not die at that time. Presumably, he realized that he had been beaten and either could not levitate out, or realized that his goals would not be furthered by doing so. He instead evokes the ritual of essence transfer, destroying his body, turning himself into a spirit, and flies to Byss to inhabit a cloned body. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Transfer_essence

He knew his apprentice was about to die and he couldn't recruit Luke at that time. When he returned he made a better showing of turning Luke to the Dark Side. He also likely knew that the Death Star II was going to be destroyed once his battle meditation was disrupted.

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