Palpatine is a fictional character
Fictional character
A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

 and the main antagonist of the Star Wars saga, portrayed by Ian McDiarmid
Ian McDiarmid
Ian McDiarmid is a Scottish theatre actor and director, who has also made sporadic appearances on film and television.McDiarmid has had a successful career in theatre; he has been cast in many plays, while occasionally directing others and although he has appeared mostly in theatrical productions,...

 in the feature films
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...


Palpatine first appeared as the unnamed Emperor of the Galactic Empire
Galactic Empire (Star Wars)
The Galactic Empire is one of the main factions in the fictional universe of Star Wars. It is a galaxy-spanning regime established by the series' lead villain, Palpatine, to replace the Galactic Republic in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The Galactic Empire is introduced in Star Wars...

 in the 1980 film Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. The screenplay, based on a story by George Lucas, was written by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan...

. In this film and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand and written by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan. It is the third film released in the Star Wars saga, and the sixth in terms of the series' internal chronology...

, he is an aged, pale-faced figure who wears dark robes.

In the prequel trilogy, Palpatine is a middle-aged politician of the Republic
Galactic Republic (Star Wars)
The Galactic Republic is the name of the interplanetary State used in the fictional Star Wars universe prior to the establishment of the Galactic Empire. The form of this government, created by the Senate, was introduced in the Prequel Trilogy. By the time of the original Star Wars trilogy, it is...

 who rises to power through deception and treachery.