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  • Palpatine is a fictional character and the main antagonist of the Star Wars franchise. He is portrayed in the live action films by Ian McDiarmid. In the original trilogy, the character is depicted as the aged, pale-faced and apparently decrepit Emperor Palpatine of the Galactic Empire. In the prequel trilogy, the character begins as the charismatic Senator Palpatine of Naboo, who—through the use of deception and political manipulation—rises to the position of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine of the Galactic Senate at the end of the first film, and finally to Emperor Palpatine of the first Galactic Empire in the third installment. Though outwardly appearing to be a well-intentioned public servant and supporter of democracy prior to becoming Emperor, he is in fact Darth Sidious, the current Dark Lord of the Sith—a cult of practitioners of the dark side of the Force previously thought to have been extinct in the galaxy for a millennium.