When Mace Windu and the 3 other Jedi Masters confront Chancellor Palpatine as the Sith Lord, Darth Sidious unveils himself and attacks the Jedi. In one move he takes out Agen Kolar, who wasn't even facing Darth Sidious.

How did that happen? Was this some kind of special move Sidious deployed to disorient the Jedi?

11 Answers 11


No, he just moved with extreme speed and surprised them. There seems to be no canon information to indicate anything else.

NOTE: Matthew Stover's novelization (which isn't canon as they died in a slightly different way than the movie depicts) isn't very clear on this either. It says:

"Resist? How could I possibly resist?" Still seated at the desk Palpatine shook an empty fist helplessly, the perfect image of a tired, frightened old man. "This is murder, you Jedi traitors! How can I be any threat to you?"

He turned desperately to Saesee Tiin. "Master Tiin—you're the telepath. What am I thinking right now?"

Tiin frowned and cocked his head. His blade dipped.

A smear of red-flashing darkness hurtled from behind the desk. Saesee Tiin's head bounced when it hit the floor. Smoke curled from the neck, and from the twin stumps of the horns, severed just below the chin.

Kit Fisto gasped, "Saesee!" The headless corpse, still standing, twisted as its knees buckled, and a thin sigh escaped from its trachea as it folded to the floor.

"It doesn't..." Agen Kolar swayed.

His emerald blade shrank away, and the handgrip tumbled from his opening fingers. A small, neat hole in the middle of his forehead leaked smoke, showing light from the back of his head.

As you can see, Saesee Tiin fell for a ruse and relaxed his guard, and they both were merely too shocked to react swiftly, and too unprepared for a skill and speed of a Sith Master.

  • 2
    If anything, they were probably expecting guards to come rushing in, not the screaming fury of a Sith Lord. Even on-screen, Palpatine went from tired old man to roaring Sith in a second flat. Heck, I already knew what he was capable of and it caught me by surprise.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 20:23

It is also because the jedi were quite apathetic at this time. The purpose of Darth Bane's rule of two was to create a scenario very similar to the one that transpired. Though it is unlikely to surprise two jedi knights they were most likely in some degree of doubt that Sideous was even a sith. Several things support this...

  1. Sith were believed to be extinct as referenced on tattoine in episode I

  2. Palpatine had been a trusted friend of the council for many years and had even shaken hands or been close to the most powerful of jedi as in seen in episodes I-III. This would leave many people confused and doubting because, they would have presumed that these jedi would have detected that.

Granted there is no canon that directly says this as far as I can tell... This is a valid theory based on in universe evidence.


This is discussed by Nick Gillard (Stunt Coordinator and "Swordmaster"), George Lucas and visual effects supervisor John Knoll in the The Making of Star Wars Revenge of the Sith;

As they approach the end of the climactic battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin, Gillard explains how he's rated the various Star Wars swordsmen in Attack of the Clones "I had to give them levels," he says. "Sidious is a level eight out of ten. On this film. Obi is eight - he's moved up - Anakin is a nine; Mace is a nine, Yoda is a nine. They're up with Sidious. Once you get to l0, you have a Pandora's box. You could go any way with it. The way not to go is the dark side. But it would tempt you, because that would jump you right past the others. So you need to arrive at level eight at the right age - not as young as Anakin. That young, the dark side is just too tempting."

By the time of Episode III, Palpatine is so powerful that only the most three powerful Jedi can possibly hope to compete with him. Everyone else is simply somewhere for him to park his lighsaber.

The actors rehearse in their dressing gowns and then adjourn for final costume adjustments, while Lucas and Knoll continue to examine the footage. When Palpatine easily strikes down Mace's three associate Jedi at the outset of the scene. Knoll says, "Look at this. Mace brought the B-team!" "You have to be either Mace or Yoda to compete with the Emperor," Lucas says. "If Anakin hadn't got all beat-up, he could've beat the Emperor". "But Mace was going to arrest Palpatine," Knoll says, "and a few moments later he says Palpatine's too dangerous to live. What happened?" "Mace was going to do the right thing by arresting him. but after Palpatine does the lightning, he changes his mind."


This is an old question by now, but I wonder if a plausible explanation can be expounded based on Palpatine's mastery of the ability known variously as "Force stealth", "Force Concealment", and "Buried Presence"?

It is universally accepted that Palpatine was one of the most formidable Force users in the entire canon and expanded universe. He even prevailed against Yoda, a centuries-old Jedi and one of the most gifted masters in the Order's long history. To conceal his presence in the Force would have been a monumental task, and that Palpatine managed to hide his dark nature even from wise masters in the same room for over thirty years is testament to the Sith Lord's ability.

I hypothesise that when Palpatine attacked the Jedi masters who had arrived to arrest him, he also stopped concealing his presence in the Force. The effect of this would be overwhelming to the Jedi for all the reasons posited above: they struggled to believe that the Sith were actually still around, they couldn't fathom that Palpatine was the Sith Lord. Suddenly, they were faced with Palpatine's overwhelming dark side presence, perhaps even strong enough to temporarily disrupt their own affinity with the Force.

Stunned and bereft of their supernatural reflexes and instincts, the Jedi masters couldn't even raise their lightsabers to defend themselves against the Sith Lord's blitz. Only Kit Fisto and Mace Windu, both possessed of notable Force affinity, survived the first few moments to even begin fighting. But Palpatine's gambit had paid off; he had been able to use the element of surprise by negating the Jedi's Force-enhanced reflexes and limited precognition in order to mostly even the odds. It was now two against one instead of four against one. Maybe Fisto remained somewhat disoriented for a few more moments, so he was easily cut down. Maybe even Windu was also disoriented; as the duel spilled out into the corridor, it still seemed that Windu was getting his bearings, and was nearly stabbed as well.

Again, this is simply my headcannon--grounded loosely on what we know of Palpatine's abilities and the nature of the Force. It was the only way I could think of that would explain why four of the Order's best swordmasters were so quickly dispatched... and not even with what appeared to be much technique from Palpatine. I mean, I was really rather disappointed by how the whole thing went down until I started justifying the events in my head this way. This would be the only mitigating factor I can conceive that would redeem the whole event.


Seems to me Agen Kolar wanted to admire the vase Sidious had in the corner and then was stabbed. Saesee Tinn saw Kolar being killed and was to shocked to react.


I do not have a source for this, but I read somewhere that the stunt double for the actor who played Palpatine was injured right before the scene, causing them to make it much more simple/lame

  • Okay, but do you know of an in-universe reason?
    – Null
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 4:27

Now this is partly my speculation, but supported by the development of the Clone Wars S5 and S6 story. Right before Great Jedi Purge, the Order was arrogant. Most Jedi succesfuly solved things by marching in and proclaiming they're jedi. You can see they used same tactic while trying to arrest Sidius. They've grown too confident and were not prepared to face Sith Lord. And Sidius was not particularly great and powerful, at least in comparison with likes of Bane and sith lords of the past, but still.


This scene, in the movie at least, was shocking. It almost seemed as if Sidious managed to stun or mesmerize the weaker Jedi. He doesn't even make a quick motion. The first Jedi to fall doesn't even react. He just stands there as Sidious pulls back his lightsaber and almost casually stabs him in the chest, as if he were completely paralyzed or frozen. I'm not saying this is supported by canon, but it would be cool and it would make sense that a powerful Sith Lord would be able to use the force to immobilize an inferior opponent. I can't see any other reason why a trained Jedi would simply fail to react. The Jedi are trained to feel the force and react on instinct. How could they be taken so easily without the influence of the force being used against them? It's hard to believe that Jedi would fail to react due to simple shock.


You know that sound that you hear in the movie while palpatine is jumping toward the Jedi? That's called a force shout. A force shout is a very difficult skill to master, but if you do it will momentarily confuse and strike fear in to the hearts of the weaker jedi. I believe that the shout may have worked on Kit Fisto, as well as Agen Kolar and Saesee Tiin, but Fisto had more time to recover.

  • 1
    I never heard of a Force Shout. Do you mean a "Force Scream"? Because that's a strictly Legends invention...
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 17:43
  • @Valorum Or a Wilhelm Shout? :-P
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 18:32

The force betrayed the Jedi, I have taken to believe. They couldn't sense or alter their impending doom because it was destined to occur within the realm of the force. The force had given to the dark side for quite a while and, at that time, was in its culmination.

  • I kinda see what you're getting at. But were they using the force to guide their actions at the start of the fight?
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 11:08

I would like to give an answer that would not undermine the story , but that whole scenario was shortened because Mr. Lucas did not want to distract the audience away from the main story of the convertion of Luke to the dark side and the confrontation of Obi Won Kenobi and Darth Vader and Yoda and Darth Sidious ! This decision made us not witness the skills of the other Jedi Masters .

  • 2
    Is this solely based on your own opinion?
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 19:54
  • 1
    I agree that this looks like opinion. Also, Luke wasn't quite born yet.
    – Null
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 20:09

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