After Sidious defended himself against his three would-be arresters, wouldn't there have been a full investigation? It was, after all, a major (in his words) assassination attempt on the most important political figure in the galaxy. It should have been obvious to any competent investigator that the Jedi Masters were killed by a lightsaber.

Wouldn't people have put two and two together that Palpatine fought with a lightsaber?

  • 5
    What an excellent question.
    – Valorum
    Mar 15 '15 at 22:37
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    Anakin was there too. Assuming the new Emperor even allowed an investigation, and anybody questioned it, Papaltine and Anakin would likely just have said that Anakin defended Papaltine against the other Jedi.
    – phantom42
    Mar 15 '15 at 22:48
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    @phantom42 - I agree with this. According to the novelisation, Palpatine called for help then stopped the recording device before any of the Jedi had been killed. You could easily pass the deaths off as Anakin's
    – Valorum
    Mar 15 '15 at 22:52
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    These would be the same medics carrying out the autopsy that diagnosed Padmé as dying of a broken heart?
    – Valorum
    Mar 16 '15 at 0:25
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    @Holger - the Jedi were only investigating the assassination attempts after being ordered to do so by the Chancellor. Normally, such things were the job of the Senate Guard (those guys in blue).
    – Omegacron
    Mar 16 '15 at 15:40

Aside from Palpatine being a high powered political figure who could have this swept under the rug, or that an investigation would take years in real life, or (if I recall correctly), Anakin's involvement in that scene could be used to explain it, the simplest reason is that a failed assassination attempted on a weak old man would be written off as the work of amateurs who injured themselves with their own swords.

Also, it could be stated that the light sabers usage was a way to frame the Jedi. Or as justification for Order 66.

In all cases, by the time anyone could figure it out, the people that could do anything about it are dead, under the empires heel, or in cahoots with the Sith lord. After the Jedi genocide, the Sith underpinning is no longer relevant, with open rebellion forming.

  • 16
    "written off as the work of amateurs who injured themselves with their own swords" Seriously? These are Jedi Masters and veterans of the Clone Wars. They went to arrest an old man, and all three of them just happened to fatally injure themselves with their own lightsabers? I don't think even Palpatine could get away with claiming that as an explanation. Mar 16 '15 at 9:26
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    We see them on the Jedi Council, therefore they are Jedi Masters. They also appear in combat in the Clone Wars animated series (certainly Kit Fisto does, the other two might as well). Their membership of the Council and service in the Clone Wars would have been public knowledge -- certainly Leia knew about Obi-Wan's military record, which is why she addressed him as "General Kenobi". Mar 16 '15 at 11:58
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    @Royal first, you assume the identities of the jedi assassins were made public, that the super secretive jedi order As you mention in your answer would publicly announce it's membership, and that Leia knowing about Obi-Wan was a general is proof of general knowledge, when leía is the adopted daughter of one of the founders of the rebellion, of which she is also a high ranking member. Her adopted father having direct connections to obi won.
    – user16696
    Mar 16 '15 at 14:13
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    @RoyalCanadianBandit " I don't think even Palpatine could get away with claiming that as an explanation." Why not? In the real world, deaths far more suspicious than this get successfully spun with PR explanations no more plausible than this one, all the time. Mar 16 '15 at 14:41
  • 2
    @MatthewNajmon "The witness committed suicide... He shot himself in the back four times and threw himself off a bridge."
    – KSmarts
    Mar 16 '15 at 19:51

The obvious explanation is that Anakin was there as well, so the lightsaber injuries could be explained away as Anakin defending Palpatine.

After the execution of Order 66, the Jedi were in no position to investigate what happened when Palpatine was attacked. As Schwern points out, the secrecy of the Jedi was their downfall; if they had made the evidence against Sidious public, they would have had a much better chance of resisting his coup d'etat.

Official responsibility for the Chancellor's safety lies with his bodyguard, which later became the Imperial Guard. As we know, some of the guards just stand around in red cloaks, but we can assume they have broader capabilities than that. They are a plausible group to carry out an official investigation into the "assassination attempt".

Of course, the bodyguard are under Palpatine's direct control, so it would be a simple matter to ensure they came up with whatever conclusion he wanted.

Anakin himself disappeared from public view shortly after the attack on Palpatine; his transformation into Darth Vader was not public knowledge. The likely "official" explanation would be that he was killed by Obi-Wan on Mustafar. So, any investigation would not have Anakin available as a witness, and would have to rely almost exclusively on Palpatine's word. This would make it even easier for Palpatine to manipulate it as he wished.


Palpatine relies upon the attack as a plausible excuse to execute Order 66. This murders or drives underground everyone who would effectively investigate him publicly or knew his secrets.

There probably was an investigation, but it was likely cursory and incompetent. Who's left to run it with competence and authority? The Senate may have the authority, but as a body they're incompetent; Palpatine has been puppetting them the whole time. The Jedi are all dead or in hiding. We never see a separate judicial branch.

And why would they investigate thoroughly? Palpatine portrays himself as an old man, and head of state, viciously attacked by traitorous Jedi intent on a coup and defended by his heroic and outnumbered protege. He's even wounded. Palpatine and Anakin are the only witnesses. The only people who knew Palpatine was a Sith, all Jedi, are now dead or fugitives or turned to the Dark Side. Had the Jedi made the evidence public in conjunction with their arrest they may have prevented Palpatine from being able to issue Order 66, or at least made it far more suspicious. The secretive nature of the Jedi council was their downfall.

A through investigation into an attack on your head of state in wartime when the assassins are all dead and their organization wiped out is an unnecessary distraction. The Republic is still in a war, a war they are finally winning, a war led by Palpatine.

After that it's a fait accompli. A done deal there's no going back from. The Republic/Empire now just has to deal with the new reality Palpatine has created for them, the Senate does not have the backbone to do otherwise.


Under normal conditions, the investigation of any incident which involves a Senate member - including assassination attempts - is the sole jurisdiction of the Senate Guard. The Senate Guard is also responsible for protection & ceremonial details, and can often be seen standing at attention in their vibrant blue armor. The guard answers directly to the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic.

Under special circumstances, the Chancellor can ask the Jedi to handle an investigation instead of the Senate Guard. This is usually done in high-profile corruption cases, and it should be noted that (internally, at least) many members of the Senate Guard see it as a slight insult. This would probably indicate that it's not done often.

In the case of the assassination attempt on Senator Amidala seen in Episode II, Palpatine directly involved the Jedi - thus replacing her normal Senate Guard detachment with Obi-Wan Kenobi & Anakin Skywalker. By extension, they also became involved with the investigation. As the audience, we know that this was done to further his own plans. Without that knowledge, it would seem that he was doing it because of his friendship/concern for Amidala - the senator and former Queen of his own homeworld.

In the case of the Jedi "assault" on Palpatine, any investigation would be handled by the Senate Guard, under the direct supervision of Palpatine himself. Obviously, given such a situation, Palpatine would be free to influence the investigation however he wanted. Therefore, it would be easy to blame the burns on something else, such as calling them blaster burns from the Senate Guardsmen who came to his rescue. For that matter, it would be easy to falsify the autopsy results altogether, making the "official" cause of death whatever was needed.

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