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At the end of Revenge of the Sith (Warning: This question is obviously full of spoilers), when Darth Sidious stands near Vader in the surgery lab, there is this small, but quite important dialog between the two I always had a problem with. According to the ROTS script:

DARTH VADER: (continuing) Where is Padme? Is she safe, is she all right?
DARTH SIDIOUS: I'm afraid she died. ... it seems in your anger, you killed her.

This implies that Darth Sidious did know about the argument between Vader and Padme on Mustafar. Even more, he knew that Vader tried to kill her. But how did he came to know that? He was not there when they met, and even Vader didn't know Padme was about to visit him.

Does Sidious even know about how the relationship between Vader and Padme developed in those last days? Actually, Padme did change her mind in relation to Vader just at this moment on Mustafar. Even Vader himself did not know about (or recognize) her true feelings until that climatic point. There was no sign that sudently, Vader would try to kill her.

So even if Sidious had complete control over Vader and was able to read his mind (I don't think he was able to do so, or was he?), he didn't have any information at that point about: (a) their argument on Mustafar and (b) that Vader did actually even try to "kill her in anger".

So: How did Sidious get this information? Is there any canonical information I have missed?

  • I have no proof (hence comment, not answer), but I always thought it was implied that Anakin told Palpatine about the argument, possibly in a fevered delirium/not-quite-conscious state, but enough to let Palpatine jump to a reasoned conclusion about what answer would hurt Vader the most. – Martha Jun 6 '13 at 13:45
  • Well done, you have found the one millionth plot hole in Star Wars, here is your prize... – user8416 Jun 6 '13 at 15:53
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    I'm with @ClaraOnager, here. This plot hole is the least of concerns raised by the prequels. It's basically a big mess of incoherent parts of what distantly resembles a plot and as much shoving in choreographed blue/green-screen action scenes as possible. </rant> – bitmask Jun 6 '13 at 22:53
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Through the Force,presumably. Canon is full of examples of the Force allowing people to see what others are, have been, or will be going through.

For example, Luke, a relative novice with far less experience and training saw Han and Leia's torture in the Cloud City. Yoda was able to ascertain that "it is the future you see", so he not only saw the events, but knew whether they were past, present, or future.

Palpatine was more experienced, and was monitoring Anakin very closely (as he sensed that Anakin was in grave danger after being injured). That he saw such an emotionally charged event as the argument with Padme is not surprising at all.

Further, from Wookipedia, there's a term for this force power: Force vision. From the Wookipedia article (which isn't canon in and of itself, but does cite canon)...

The Sith were also very vision-prone, but unlike the Jedi, they believed—either through experience or just because they wanted to believe it—that visions would always come to pass and that they must work to make it so. Some Sith would even input their own ideas of what might come to be into their visions. Darth Sidious was perhaps the most vision-prone Dark Lord of the Sith in history, and used it to ensure his own election as Supreme Chancellor, and his ascension as Galactic Emperor.

  • The reason he saw their torture in cloud city was because Vader sent him that in a vision. – The Fallen Jun 6 '13 at 13:28
  • Okay, I guess in this case, "it's because of the the Force" is an acceptable answer as it's really all about two highly Force sensitive beings. – nikopolus Jun 6 '13 at 14:58
  • There is no cannon that actually supports that this IS what happened. This is complete conjecture that it is what May have happened. – Chad Jun 7 '13 at 19:35
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    And my opening sentence included the word "presumably" because I knew it was not definitive, but rather conjecture based on precedent as the rest of the answer explained. – David Stratton Jun 8 '13 at 13:49
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Just my two cents -- basically, I think Sidious knew Padme was dead and sensed guilt toward her in Vader, and he used that to his advantage (to drive Vader deeper into the Dark Side).

News of Padme's death surely spread far and wide, given her membership in the Senate, the fact that she was a former monarch, etc.

Vader was kept awake while put into his life-support system. We saw him howling in pain, and surely he experienced a broad range of negative emotions Sidious could read. My intuition would be that among these would be anxiety about Padme and guilt about what he'd done to her.

Sidious didn't even need to know about the force-choking incident. He knew Padme was dead and that Vader felt guilt when thinking about her (which is even hinted at by his line, which you quoted), and Sidious was able to use these facts to spin a story of Vader killing her in his anger. It wouldn't have mattered to him whether that was true, of course, and as he was Vader's last "friend," didn't expect to be doubted.

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    I think this is close. The process of recreating vaders body functions likely took several days if not weeks, though I know of no canon as to how long it actually took. The emperor would have had plenty of time to get intel and reports of what happened on Mustafar. – Chad Jun 7 '13 at 19:41
  • We don't even know from the movies themselves whether Padmé was dead by that time or not. There are no real hints towards how much time elapsed between Mustafar and Padmé's death, nor between Mustafar and Vader's reawakening. Either could be hours, days, or weeks. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 6 '16 at 22:50
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This not canonical, but I wouldn't be surprised if

  1. ... the answer is a simple "he did NOT know - it was just a way to emotionally hit Anakin". Anakin couldn't prove the opposite no matter what happened in reality.

  2. ... Or, he had sigint from Mustafar. it WAS after all a place where he built a fortress for Separatist bigwigs. He would have had it full of sensors.

However, I agree with @David's excellent answer that the most likely scenario - even if not openly stated - is "use the Force, Palpatine"

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