In Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, the young Anakin Skywalker is discovered on Tatooine by Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, who immediately recognize in him a powerful Force potential - even his blood, when examined, reveals that Anakin has an unusual large amount of midichlorians. On Coruscant, even the Jedi Masters of the Council seem to recognize this great power and Force potential.

The only one who does not seem to notice this at all is Palpatine. One would imagine that being himself a (powerful) Force user, he should have been able to at least sense something unusual about the young boy.

He is present at the platform when Anakin arrives on Coruscant with the Nabooian ship, but he doesn't really seem to give the boy much attention; he does not seem to sense anything.

The same thing happens at the end of the movie, during the celebrations on Naboo, Palpatine has a few words for Anakin but again he behaves naturally, without anything that could make one think that he has sensed something unusual.

Why is that so? Was Palpatine really unable to sense Anakin's strong Force? Was he concealing his feelings (and avoided showing himself surprise or concerned) in order not to betray himself? What was going on?

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    As I recall, Palpatine was concealing his own strength... I always assumed that doing so had the side effect of blinding him to such thing, as well.
    – K-H-W
    Jan 12, 2018 at 1:54
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    I think you basically answered your own question: "without anything that could make one think that he has sensed something unusual." That was his desire. If he openly spoke about that, people/ jedi would start to ask questions. Of course he doesn't make a fuss about it and stays hidden, manipulating everything from the distance.. Jan 12, 2018 at 5:57
  • @MatthiasNicklisch I was referring more about his immediate "passive" reaction, not about what he could have actively said or spoken in public. When he encounters Anakin, not even the slightest doubt, surprise or anything else crosses his face, he really seem not to have a clue about it.
    – Sekhemty
    Jan 12, 2018 at 14:21
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    @Sekhemty Are there any references in the novelisations that this is the case, that he really has no idea? Judging only by the movies, it would be impossible to know what he thinks on the inside. He fooled the senate and the jedi council, so it would be possible that he knew very well who Anakin was and what were his powers, but nobody could tell that he knew. Also there are some rumors (afaik unconfirmed) that Palpatine had something to do with Anakin and somehow planned for Anakin to be found by the Jedi, in which case he wouldn't be suprised either. Jan 15, 2018 at 8:46

1 Answer 1


Given that his entire career as a Sith has been in secret, I would postulate that he would not do anything to give himself away as force sensitive, especially with Yoda, Windu, and Kenobi all being around the kid for the next few years, and at the funeral and party later that day. He does mention "watching his career with great interest" and becomes a close friend and confidant, and subtly corrupts him to the dark side.

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    Yeah, I didn't think the chancellor's comments to Anakin were at all subtle as foreshadowing.
    – Buzz
    Jan 12, 2018 at 1:44
  • it can't be foreshadowing if we already know how it ends...
    – Derek
    Nov 26, 2020 at 8:15

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