Palpatine certainly claims to foresee a lot. He obviously worked on Anakin and Vader for a long time.

Is it ever made clear, in the films or Legends, that he foresaw or even planned for Darth Vader to become encased in an intimidating black suit and mask? Did he expect Darth Vader to be young and whole (physically at least)?

2 Answers 2



"Anakin, as Skywalker, as a human being, was going to be extremely powerful,” he says. "But he ended up losing his legs and an arm and became partly a robot. So a lot of his ability to use the Force, a lot of his powers, are curbed at this point, because, as a living form, there’s not that much of him left. So his ability to be twice as good as the Emperor disappeared, and now he’s maybe 20 percent less than him. So that isn’t what the Emperor had in mind. He wanted this really super guy, but that got derailed by Obi-Wan. So he finds that, with Luke, he can get a more primo version if he can turn Luke to the Dark Side. You’ll see, as this goes on, Luke is faced with the same issues and practically the same scenes that Anakin is faced with. Anakin says yes and Luke says no."
- George Lucas, "The Last Battle", Vanity Fair

My answer here lays out quite a bit of evidence from the original scripts and a now noncanonical materials that expose the mutual animosity between Palpatine and Vader. Much of Palpatine's dislike for Vader stems from his disappointment at Vader's limitations due to these unforeseen injuries.

From Wookieepedia:

Even as he made his way to the body, Sidious wrestled with anger and indecision. Part of him wanted to leave what was left of Vader to burn to ashes in the rising lava for his failure. As he walked however, he reasoned that, after having spent almost twenty years in preparation for turning Vader, to let him die would be a waste.


Though he had nearly left Vader to die back on Mustafar, Sidious held, perhaps, the merest sliver of affection for him that he had never held for Maul or Tyranus. The reason for this may lie in Vader's one-of-a-kind potential. To find another being even half as powerful could take many years, and even then it would probably never happen.


Back in the capital, at the Emperor Palpatine Surgical Reconstruction Center, Palpatine commanded that Vader be rebuilt using prosthetic replacements, a long and painful process that Palpatine made sure Vader would be kept conscious for, in order to make him stronger through pain. Upon being completely rebuilt and outfitted in a life-supporting suit of armor, Vader asked his master what had become of Padmé. How much of the story Palpatine knew is unknown, but he apparently believed Vader himself had killed his wife in his anger, which worked to his own advantage by breaking Anakin Skywalker's spirit once and for all; Anakin's transformation to Vader was now fully complete. Vader fell into a rage and destroyed the operating theater, and even attempted to reach out and kill Sidious. However, he proved unable to do so; his injuries had reduced his power in the Force as they had his physical capabilities, and would need to be similarly rebuilt. His knee-jerk reaction having failed to destroy Palpatine, Vader quickly ceased his efforts, realizing that Palpatine was all he had left; the only one who would accept him. Palpatine was pleased: one of the most powerful Sith Lords of all time was born in pain and suffering, and it was his apprentice.


Ever since the setback on Mustafar, Palpatine was disappointed to see his apprentice wither away into a broken shell of the man he once was. Palpatine had spent years engineering Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side, only to see his life's work all but destroyed because of Vader's carelessness.


No, at least not according to the film's Junior Novelisation. Palpatine was both surprised and highly disappointed to find that Anakin had been so severely injured. He seems to have been tempted to allow him to die, but quickly decided against it. There's no indication that he foresaw it:

That’s it. As quickly as he could, Darth Sidious followed the troopers outside, onto the black sand banks of a lava river. A charred heap lay on one side. No; it can’t be!

But it was. His promising new apprentice, who was to be the greatest Sith who’d ever lived — maimed and burned, perhaps dead. Darth Sidious ground his teeth in frustrated anger. Part of him wanted to turn on his heel and leave what was left of Darth Vader to burn to ashes in the rising lava. Even if he was alive, even if he could be saved, Vader would be crippled.

And not just with his mechanical limbs. The Force — dark side as well as light — was generated by living beings, and it took living flesh to manipulate it. Darth Vader would never be able to cast blue Force lightning; that required living hands, not metal ones. And with so much of his body replaced by machinery, he would never come close to the potential he’d had.

It was a great pity, Darth Sidious thought, controlling his anger, but perhaps not irreparable. Even diminished, Darth Vader would still be very strong, and there were no Jedi left to challenge him. Darth Sidious had seen to that himself. So he kept walking until he could bend over the body. And to his surprise, his apprentice was still alive.

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    Ah, very clear here when I always thought it was fairly ambiguous in the films. Out of interest, do you know who gives the green light for ideas expanded in the novelisations? I can't imagine George Lucas reading it and giving comments, but you certainly wouldn't want authors making assumptions in novelisations for films like these.
    – ThruGog
    Jan 2, 2016 at 21:59
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    @ThruGog - My understanding is that the novels are a collaborative work between Lucasfilm and the author. Where they expand on the canon, those are things that have been cleared by the studio. In the case of the new novels, those are cleared with the Star Wars Story Group.
    – Valorum
    Jan 2, 2016 at 22:43

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