Rewatching Episode 1 the Republic seems pretty helpless against the invasion of the separatists and crippled by their own bureaucracy. I don't see how Republican forces would have dealt with a full-scale invasion of Coruscant given that no official order was issued to build an army (until we learn about an unoffcial order in Episode 2). From Episode 2 on, the Republic was able to hold up against the Separatists.

Why did Darth Sidious create an overly complicated political plot to create an enemy (the separatists' army) that would hence grant him emergency powers to eventually rule the Republic as a dictator, if he could have ruled the Republic with Droids in the first place? (Basically I am asking whether Episode 2 and 3 could have been avoided)

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    You might as well ask What kind of megalomaniac seeks chaos and destruction so badly that he becomes the 'commander-in-chief' to both sides of a war?
    – user62584
    Oct 29, 2017 at 20:00
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    Because then it wouldn't have made as much money for Lucas. Oct 30, 2017 at 0:27
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    Why did Darth Sidious create an overcomplicated political plot ...because Lucas isn't a good writer? Maybe someone can provide a decent in-universe answer, but really, this is just another plot hole in a franchise with an infinity of them. Oct 30, 2017 at 16:37
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    To borrow a line from a totally different movie "I see plans within Plans" I see Palpatine as the guy who did not put all of his eggs in one basket. Plot A fails, but he makes incremental profit along the way. Padme survives, so he uses her to get High Chancellor. He extends the war in various way to create Chaos, to keep Jedi extended. Individual little plots can easily go either way and he is going to gain something every time. Jedi Win, he keeps reputation, Jedi Lose, they become weaker and more vulnerable. This may be giving Lucas more credit, but it works for me
    – Paul TIKI
    Oct 31, 2017 at 16:58

6 Answers 6


Conquering Coruscant (in Episode 1) wouldn't have been the decapitating move you think it is.

  • The planet has excellent planetary defences and should be all but impregnable to the sort of attack you're suggesting. It's not until later in the war when the Trade Federation joins forces with all the other malcontents on the Outer Rim that they're powerful enough to even contemplate a quick (and abortive) strike on Coruscant.

  • Even if they could somehow get a force of droids to the surface, there's an army of Jedi at the Temple (and elsewhere on the planet) who'll cut the droid armies into robot sushi.

  • Even assuming the droids somehow take control of the planet, they're now faced with the fact that most of the planets in the Republic aren't going to knuckle under just because Coruscant is under Trade Federation control.

So what you're left with is an strategic asset that has little use as a bargaining chip, will cost most of your forces to capture and that you probably don't have enough forces to hold.

Or, to put it another way, if they hadn't had the Clone Wars, Palpatine couldn't have ...

  1. Put the Jedi into a position where their 10,000 or so members, most of whom aren't living on Coruscant, are vulnerable to Order 66.

  2. Made the general public weary of war and willing to accept control in return for peace.

  3. Had an excuse to station thousands of his own loyal soldiers on each and every planet in the Republic.


  1. Had a pretext to kill all of the Jedi and have people thank him for it.
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    And yes, the films (by themselves) were truly incomprehensible. It's only by reading the additional materials that it's possible to puzzle this stuff out.
    – Valorum
    Oct 29, 2017 at 19:59
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    And of course, the Republic would not have ended “with thunderous applause” if Droids just attacked Coruscant directly. Oct 29, 2017 at 21:16
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    E) Could not get Darth Vader.
    – user65648
    Oct 29, 2017 at 22:29
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    @C.Koca - E) Because it would have ballsed up the timeline
    – Valorum
    Oct 29, 2017 at 22:38
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    F) (related to B). The droid army does not belong to Darth Sidious, but to the Confederacy. Have the Confederacy win the war, they no longer need to obey his orders. No matter how powerful his army (or he personally) is, his hold of the Empire is political (i.e. people are ok with the exchange of freedoms for stability).
    – SJuan76
    Oct 30, 2017 at 8:41

The attack on Naboo was to demonstrate that the Republic couldn't maintain the peace and protect its members, which would encourage dissension and conflict. Palpatine didn't want to win a battle right away, he wanted to weaken everyone. As it happens, Naboo didn't fall due to a bit of pure dumb luck, but everyone could still see the Republic had failed, and so Palpatine becomes Chancellor, albeit with the support of Amidala instead of using sympathy for her death to get the job. While that set the Trade Federation on its heels and delayed starting a widespread conflict, it still left them as bitter losers and demonstrated the weakness of the Republic. Palpatine can work with that.

Perhaps the original plan was for the Trade Federation, after winning at Naboo, to start doing the same thing to other planets which would have eventually led to a general war to break out. Sadly, that didn't happen, but there's still a way forward. He uses the Trade Federation's bitterness and gets them in bed with others who are ticked off by the Republic, forming the Separatists led by a charismatic ex-Jedi who'd been spending some time working the propaganda side of things talking about how inept yet oppressive the Republic was. Under the guidance of Tyrannus, the Separatists build up their forces and do it unopposed because on the other side, Chancellor Palpatine is being all "Give Peace a Chance" and not building up the Republic's forces and quietly making sure that no one investigates the Separatists too carefully, keeping them as apparently a simple political issue.

When the time is right, and the Separatist forces and Republic forces and the secret clone army no one else knows about are at sufficient strength, he arranges for the attempted assassination of Padme. Doesn't matter if it succeeds or not, he just wants the Jedi, especially that young hothead with the hots for her, Anakin, to investigate. Eventually, they'll find the link to the Separatists, and then they'll discover the ridiculously huge military force they've built up.

He also arranges for the Jedi to track down the Clone Army and discover it exists. That Obi-wan guy seems pretty clever, he'll do.

And then, when the Separatists find out that their secret is blown, Tyrannus convinces them the only way to save themselves is to launch a pre-emptive war to secure position before the Republic can get its act together. Palpatine, meanwhile, makes sure people in the Republic feel terrified because holy crap, we can't defend ourselves! Wait, what's that? A Jedi secretly arranged for a whole army to coincidentally be available in our hour of need? Hooray!

After that, he just needs the war to drag out. Get the civilians desperate for peace. Get the politicians to give him more and more power. Get his people in the bureaucracy. Get the Jedi out in the field, dispersed, where the odd couple can be picked off in battle cutting down their numbers. Cement the loyalty of most of the Republic military to him. Take the time, with him having power on both sides, to identify who might be significant threats and deal with them accordingly or subvert them. And after a few years, when the time is right, make his move.

Once everything was set up, it's the trivial matter of manipulating emo-douche Anakin and then making it look like the Jedi attacked him, justifying Order 66. Then a decapitation strike on the Separatists, which he could have done at any time, and Papa Papaltine's your uncle. He ends the war and prevented the insidious (no pun intended) plot of the Jedi to carry out a coup, he's got his people everywhere making a seamless takeover, and he's got the military to enforce it.

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    I don't believe Palpatine knew that the Jedi were on the trail of the clone army. He and Dooku had taken great pains to hide it from them.
    – Valorum
    Oct 29, 2017 at 22:18
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    No, they'd taken great pains to hide it until it was ready and needed. Someone arranged for the attempted assassination of Padmé, and then it was Palpatine who specifically requested Kenobi and Skywalker be her guards. After they foiled the second attempt, it wouldn't take a genius to figure out the Jedi would investigate, and Kenobi was the obvious choice to do so. Oct 30, 2017 at 3:07
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    "That Obi-wan guy seems pretty clever" -- from a certain point of view.
    – Jules
    Oct 30, 2017 at 6:32
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    The attempt wasn't meant to fail, nor was Obi-Wan meant to be able to locate Kamino. His discovery of the Clone Army was very premature
    – Valorum
    Oct 30, 2017 at 7:56
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    @Flummox - Sources and sources and sources. There seems to be a gross misunderstanding about Jango's role in these films.
    – Valorum
    Oct 30, 2017 at 8:30

  Main goal of Sith Grand Plan was destruction of Jedi Order, not conquest of the Republic per se.

Reason for that is easy to understand: Sith held enormous power in the Dark Side, and they were aware of that. No other organization in Galaxy (Force sensitive or not) could match that except Jedi. Indeed, throughout the history, Jedi regularly thwarted Sith plans. So, in words of Darth Maul, Sith were looking for revenge. And with Jedi out of the way, there was barely any one left that could stop Sith. Indeed, when Palpatine become Emperor, all attempts of Rebellion were realistically insignificant until Luke Skywalker appeared. Without him, rebellion would have ended on Yavin 4.

Sith did wage war directly against Jedi many times, and as a rule, Jedi would then unite among themselves and would unite Republic behind them, and finally would defeat Sith. Therefore, Sith prepared more elaborate plan this time. Jedi would fight against almost faceless enemy (Droid army), with their almost faceless army (Clones). Note that both opposing sides have almost no emotions, they are prepared to do their duty (i.e. fight) indefinitely. War becomes its own purpose, senseless slaughter that population of Galaxy does not understand or want. Some Jedi are killed, but even more of them are influenced by "decadence of war" as Yoda put it, i.e. Dark Side. So, Jedi are becoming weaker and despised by population. No-one would care much if they let's say become enemies of the Republic and are dealt with. Much different situation then only few years before that.


While most of the answers given explain a great deal of technical detail and environmental exposition, I'd like to offer a more philosophical response.

History is littered with the creation of an enemy to galvanize people behind those seeking power. How did Hitler rise to power? Did he claim to be an evil guy [Sith lord] and say that he wanted to take over the world? No, he built a sense of national populism to which people freely gave him power.

In much the same sense, Darth Sidious created the enemy which he rallied the Republic against and garnered all of the power as Palpatine. Only after amassing the power did he reveal himself.

Now, from a technical standpoint, clones are a better military force than droids if your chief method of control is mental force. Droids can be disabled, in fact they were all shut down by a single command. Should the access to the command fall into the enemy hands [those resisting control by a maniacal Sith lord emperor] the whole scheme could come crashing down.

On the other hand, if you built an army of guys who all think and act alike and are trained to never question, then any old Sith lord could hold sway over the entire group without much effort. Genius. Evil genius.

As I consider it further, this genius trick is played out multiple times across Science Fiction and Fantasy. Case in point, consider Loki's actions in the first Thor movie. If that's not subtle enough, maybe try Prince Humperdink's attempted framing of Gilder in the Princess Bride.

  • This is a good answer. One thing that could make it better is if you found a quote to this effect from in-universe. Perhaps there is something in season 6 of Clone Wars you could use.
    – amflare
    Oct 31, 2017 at 15:56

Darth Sidious was aware of the Sith Rule of Two and that the true nature of the Sith should be to gain power through lies, deception and cunning - not brute force.

Centuries earlier, Sith armies fought Jedi armies to little avail. A Sith upstart called Darth Bane sought to learn the power of the dark side from ancient Sith scrolls and his searching led him to this practice.

With Palpatine in place, The Republic was already the Empire before anyone could do anything about it. Sidious succeeded where many Sith had failed; they didn't see him coming.


Wiling acceptance of a ruler always works better compared to any type of direct conquest.

This can be seen through out history and even it can be seen today. The Easter Europe ex-Soviet countries are now practically under the occupation of corporations that own their corrupt governments that in turn made their population slaves aboard or inside. That could not of happened without the initial support of the population. The population wanted to taste how west is, they got the candy and then got tricked into giving everything from their freedoms to their basic resources absolutely for free and without any opposition.

In an advanced era, either it being fictional or not, war is the last resort of getting something. The easiest way is to bribe them (1), to offer them fake advantages that practically have no use for their people and get all resources in exchange for free. After that happens, you make sure your puppets stay in power and continue to comply with the current policy by bribing and/or threatening them. If that does not work (or doesn't work any more), the leaders must be changed with a new formatted set of compliant puppet leaders. That's where assassination of the leaders (2) comes in. If successful, you get back to situation (1). Only if both of the above fail, then you go in guns blazing (3) and do what you want in the directly oppressive obvious way. But in that case, the people may be mostly against you.

If Darth Sidious would of directly attacked, he would of had 2 major disadvantages: the first - heavy constant opposition even if he would of won a direct war, because he would of been seen as an occupant/tyrant; the second - lower probability/success rate of getting rid of the Jedi, since the Jedi would of had plenty of time to act in more advanced manners, to adapt, to decide if they keep fighting or if they retreat out of the way of Darth Sidious. Instead, he devised a problem-reaction-solution plan.

A Problem-Reaction-Solution is a manipulation technique oppressors use to shape public opinion about current events, condition the meatbags to comply with future agendas. This technique works in the following way:

  • A problem is invented/created.

  • The desired reaction from the meatbags is obtained (like fear, anger, etc).

  • The solution to the problem is offered - which solution actually accomplishes the planned agenda (i.e. meatbags giving up power). This is happening today way too often.

This lead to the desired result: he was seen by the people as a savior, as the guy who solved the biggest problem, not a tyrant who oppressed them. Way easier to rule, way less opposition, very few Jedi alive.

Superior planning prevails.

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