As per Wookieepedia

To hinder transgression, those who showed an aptitude for the Force were taken directly from birth (or soon afterward) to train in the Jedi Temple headquarters on Coruscant or at smaller Jedi Enclaves as Padawans.

Why was Palpatine, who was strong in the Force, not identified as a potential Jedi at birth?

  • 2
    Why wasn't Anakin identified as a potential Jedi at birth?
    – zzzzBov
    Jul 30, 2012 at 16:22
  • 17
    @zzzzBov in The Phantom Menace Qui-Gon said to Shmi (Anakin's mother) : "Had he been born in the Republic, we would have identified him early, and he would have become Jedi, no doubt...he has the way.". So the fact Tatooine was outside of the republic's influence played against him. Meanwhile, Naboo was part of the Republic when Palpatine was born.
    – DavRob60
    Jul 30, 2012 at 16:38

3 Answers 3


This is speculation as I have not read any definitive reason.

I've never read anything regarding the Jedi testing/identification implying that it was mandatory.

Palpatine's father was concerned regarding his son's murderous nature from the child's infancy (explained in the book "Plagueis"). Coupled with being a reasonably wealthy house, I don't find it out of the realm of possibility that his father just didn't want his son tested.

  • 2
    There are thousands of Jedi, but billions of people in the galaxy (on Coruscant alone, there were billions). It is not feasible that everyone would be tested or even noticed.
    – The Fallen
    Jul 30, 2012 at 15:52
  • SSumner: Trillions, in fact! Jul 30, 2012 at 17:33
  • Yeah...I didn't feel like looking up how many there were. I realized after I posted it there were trillions but...it's just a comment
    – The Fallen
    Jul 30, 2012 at 19:29
  • 2
    @AdamDavis - Yes, but even at the height of the Jedi Order, there were only thousands of Jedi for the entire galaxy. And I don't recall how many worlds there were with populations, but it was certainly in the thousands. There's no way every Jedi could test millions of people, even if that's all they did
    – The Fallen
    Mar 12, 2014 at 13:00
  • 1
    For one, it's very difficult to escape detection if you're born on a Republic member world: the test so easy to administer it's ubiquitous. Few would want to reject a test: Having a Force sensitive in the family is considered to be extremely beneficial to one's social and political standing, especially in advanced galactic society. The top 0.01% have the least reason to reject opportunities to be associated with the Jedi. Apr 14, 2016 at 6:51

In the book Darth Plagiues, Plagueis meets Palpatine as a young boy and cannot sense the Force in him. He wondered if Palpatine had learnt to hide his presence at an early age and later uses an incident with Palpatine's father to show his true nature.

Both Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious learn to hide their dark side from even Jedi masters.

So the short answer is that Palpatine probably learnt to hide it at a young age and since Naboo was fairly far out near the Outer Rim it's conceivable that he slipped by unnoticed by the Jedi order.

  • 4
    +1 I believe it is talked about in the book that he used the force to hide because his father was cruel to him.
    – Chad
    Jul 31, 2012 at 14:23
  • 2
    He didn't meet Palpatine as a "Young Boy" but rather as a Young Adult. Apr 14, 2016 at 5:59

From Wookieepedia,

Trained Jedi could sense high levels of the Force in persons. The presence of Force-sensitives in a vicinity could also be sensed. For more accuracy, they performed midi-chlorian counts to detect Force-sensitivity in candidates

Maybe no sufficiently-trained Jedi ever passed near Palpatine when he was a child. Thus, he was not detected and was never tested.

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