Since it is a known fact that some Jedi disappear when they die, why did Palpatine/Sidious state so surely that Yoda wasn’t dead when they couldn't find his body in the Senate Chambers at the end of Episode III?

Shouldn’t he have at least considered the possibility of Yoda having disappeared via the Force?

  • 4
    IIRC, becoming a Force Ghost, and disappearing on death was a lost art, only "re-discovered" by Qui-Gon, and Yoda doesn't mention it to anyone until the end of Ep 3.
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 15:49
  • 1
    The relevant scene is on Youtube. Yoda just escapes -- why would Palpatine think Yoda was dead?
    – Null
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 15:51
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    @LcSalazar Palpatine knows he didn't kill Yoda, and that he lost sight of Yoda during the fight. Why would he have to see Yoda escape in order to reason that Yoda escaped?
    – Null
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 15:58
  • 2
    Underestimate Yoda, Palpatine did not.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 16:25
  • 1
    Did Palpatine find Yoda's underwears? I don't think Yoda escaped naked.
    – user931
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 17:35

2 Answers 2


Palpatine knew that he didn't kill Yoda, from knowing and seeing what had happened.

From Mathhew Stover's "Revenge of the Sith" novelization:

The base of the Arena was a hundred meters below, littered with twisted scraps and jags of metal from the pods destroyed in the battle, and as the little green freak fell, finally, above, the victorious shadow became once again only Palpatine: a very old, very tired man, gasping for air as he leaned on the pod’s rail.

Old he might have been, but there was nothing wrong with his eyesight; he scanned the wreckage below, and he did not see a body.

He flicked a finger, ... Clone troops were already swarming into it.

“It was Yoda,” he said as he swung out of the pod. “Another assassination attempt. Find him and kill him. If you have to, blow up the building.”


In Heir To The Empire it's explained that Yoda is hidden and can't be sensed due to his proximity to the Dark Side cave. Conversely that suggests that he could be sensed prior to his arrival on Dagobah. As phantom42 says, Force Ghost was a lost art, so even if it's possible that Force Ghosts trigger the same sense as the living, there's no reason to assume Palpatine wouldn't just believe Yoda to have survived.

  • I believe LcSalazar is asking about a more immediate timeframe. The conversation he references occurs before Yoda heads to Dagobah and the Dark Side Cave.
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 16:07
  • 1
    That's what I'm saying, the source suggests Yoda had reason to hide near the cave so that he couldn't be sensed. That means that before Yoda headed to Dagobah (i.e. during the time frame mentioned above), Palpatine likely would be able to sense he was still alive.
    – delinear
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 16:31
  • @phantom42 - nonetheless it seems relevant. If the DS cave is hiding Yoda then he can be sensed when he's not near it, and when he escaped from Palaptine he wasn't near it, so therefore Palaptine could sense him.
    – user8719
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 16:32

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