Palpatine, in his secret persona of Darth Sidious, goaded the Trade Federation to invade Naboo, and then force Queen Amidala to legitimize the occupation. This is ostensibly to protest taxation of trade routes imposed on Trade Federation, but what would he gain from all of this?

He was already Senator from Naboo, if the Trade Federation legally occupied his homeworld, they may even replace him (not knowing he is Darth Sidious.) Even if they didn't replace him, with the crisis glossed over, how would that help his plans to replace Valorum as Chancellor?

In Episode I, Amidala appears unexpectedly ("A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one") and is influenced by Palpatine to call for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum's leadership. Did he plan all along for this to happen and if not, what was his original intention?

  • 2
    Not sure if this question is exactly a duplicate, but there is relevant information about the subject matter here and here.
    – Phyneas
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 21:56
  • @Phyneas Yes, but ... :) Assuming they capture Naboo, what then ? What would Palpatine gain from capture of Naboo ?
    – rs.29
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 22:23
  • 2
    I think the general plan was to get himself elected Chancellor by stirring up trouble and making Valorum look weak. If Amidala had signed the treaty, or been killed (as Keith Morrison suggests), in both cases Naboo would look sympathetic, the Chancellor would look weak (his sending of the Jedi having failed) and 'crisis' would be in the air. Once elected Chancellor, Palpatine could control both sides of the coming war that he had set in motion. I think the general plan was cause chaos, get in charge, and control the chaos to eventually take over the galaxy.
    – Phyneas
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 22:43
  • This answer discusses it somewhat as well, Palpatine explaining to the dying Plagueis that the goal was to get to the position of Chancellor and then implement the rest of the Grand Plan.
    – Phyneas
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 22:48
  • @Phyneas But if Queen Amidala signed the treaty, why would that cause the chaos, considering that Senate already wanted to bury things in some committee ? In fact, without her calling for a vote of no confidence, Valorum would likely remain in place.
    – rs.29
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 5:57

2 Answers 2


If Amidala had been captured or killed, Palpatine would have been in a position to play the role of distraught native of Naboo whose homeworld had been illegally seized while the Chancellor did nothing to prevent it. Odds are, in fact, that as Sidious he would have arranged to make sure something terrible did happen to Amidala if she'd been captured so he could play up the tragedy for all it was worth. He would have made the rounds, the Senator in exile, unable to go home, mourning the loss of the beloved young Queen due to the loathsome acts of the Trade Federation and the spineless inaction of Valorum.

In the film, he makes a big deal about getting her captured and being forced to sign the treaty, but that's during the period when he doesn't know she escaped--so the "get her into a position where she dies rather than sign a treaty" plan is still in effect--and then after she fled Naboo and it wasn't certain where she was or where she was going. If she threw in the towel and just ran, that would have been a problem. It's obvious from his manipulation of her on Coruscant that he believed she'd not back down; had she been captured, she'd have died rather than give in and probably would have been killed. This works into his plan. But if he misjudged her and she'd just given up and went into exile, that likely would have been a disaster to the human population's morale on Naboo and they probably would have just folded, ending the crisis, and losing him sympathy in the Senate. Having Maul capture her and hand her over, where a tragic "accident" could have been arranged, gives him the martyr he could use.

When she shows up on Coruscant, clearly not backing down, well, he doesn't need to go through the whole fiction of the treaty any more. She's manipulated into calling the non-confidence vote, and then is determined to go back and fight. Now he sends Maul to deal with the Jedi and her. If she dies in battle, he gets the sympathy vote, and without her and the Jedi, the Trade Federation is likely to succeed with their invasion, but Naboo is likely in open revolt, and the Trade Federation has already been ordered to begin executing Naboo leaders, so he gets an ongoing crisis he can use to ride to more power.

Anakin and Obi-wan end up being the flies in his ointment: while the crisis gets him elected Chancellor, Anakin unintentionally causes the complete and total failure of the Trade Federation armed forces, while Obi-wan manages to kill Maul (well, so everyone thinks for a few years, anyway), so Amidala lives and is victorious. This ends the crisis, so Palpatine's consolidation of power is stalled out until a new crisis comes to a head with the Seperatists. On the bright side, there's this Anakin kid who seems potentially useful...


Maul acting openly on behalf of the Trade Federation also works into the initial plan; not only do you have the Trade Federation committing atrocities (which Palpatine can use for PR reasons), they're clearly aligned with the Sith. As some point the Sith would be revealed, but doing so on Palpatine's schedule means he's got the Jedi looking over that-a-way, toward the people acting against the Republic, while he's working at consolidating power in the center of the Republic, right under their noses.

  • 3
    Not to mention, if it was his plan that Amidala was going to narrowly escape Naboo and come to him (and maybe it should've been, imagine how sensationally that must've played in the media!) he was hardly going to say so to her face.
    – Cadence
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 23:03
  • This sounds like speculation, from various sources their goal was to capture her and force her to sign the treaty legalizing occupation. Killing her could invalidate treaty.
    – rs.29
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 6:03
  • 4
    Palpatine/Sidious didn't give a crap about a treaty, he wanted a crisis that would force Valorum out and put him in position to become Chancellor. A signed treaty everyone accepted would work against that goal because people would think "Crisis over, shame Naboo gave in so easily" and get on with their lives. The Trade Federation thought Sidious wanted a treaty. They wanted a treaty because it would legalize their actions. That wasn't what Sidious wanted. He wanted people outraged at their actions. Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 6:18

The events we see at the end of the film are exactly what he planned - he gains additional power in the Senate, being named Supreme Chancellor. The blockade and the tension cause by same was designed to generate instability, and he would be given various emergency powers that he would use as his plan unfolded. The same play is used in the second film - demurring and refusing all the way, he is handed more and more power, all as a result of his machinations.

That the details of the events are potentially not as he foresaw is largely unimportant.

  • Can you offer any evidence other than "we see"?
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 22:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.