Emperor Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious, was the main antagonist in the Star Wars saga. While his rise to power and role as a Sith Lord are well documented, less is known about Palpatine’s personal life, including whether he had a wife or children. In recent years, some new canon materials have hinted that Palpatine may have fathered a child, leading to much fan speculation about who the mother could be. Here is a look at the key evidence and theories regarding who Palpatine may have had a child with.
Did Palpatine have a child?
For many years in the old Star Wars expanded universe, Palpatine was not depicted as having any children. However, Disney’s reboot of the canon has suggested that Palpatine did produce some kind of offspring:
- In the Aftermath series of novels, it is revealed that Palpatine was interested in exploring the source of the dark side power beyond the edges of the galaxy. This exploration was carried out by research expeditions into the Unknown Regions.
- In the novel Aftermath: Empire’s End, one of these expeditions returns from the Unknown Regions with a group of child-like creatures strong with the Force. These beings are mysterious and unnatural, implying they could be the results of some kind of experiment by Palpatine.
- The exact nature of these Force-wielding creatures is left unclear, but it is hinted they could be Palpatine’s attempts at producing offspring or clones that can access the power of the dark side.
This storyline from the Aftermath novels provides the first canonical evidence that Palpatine may have tried to engineer Force-sensitive beings, potentially his own biological children.
The idea that Palpatine managed to produce a child before his death gained more prominence with the revelation in the Star Wars sequel trilogy that Rey is the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine. In The Rise of Skywalker, it is revealed that Rey’s father was Palpatine’s son. This definitively confirms for the first time in canon that Palpatine did manage to have at least one child.
However, the identity of Rey’s grandmother, Palpatine’s wife or lover, is not revealed in the films. So while we now know Palpatine had a son who fathered Rey, the mystery remains regarding who the mother was.
Who are the top candidates for the mother of Palpatine’s child?
Among fans, there has been much speculation about who could have mothered Palpatine’s offspring. Here are some of the most popular theories and candidates:
1. A woman from Naboo
As a senator from Naboo, it is possible Palpatine had a secret wife or lover from his home planet. This would explain how his son came to live on Naboo and raise a family there. However, no specific Naboo characters from canon have been linked romantically with Palpatine.
2. A secret Sith apprentice
Palpatine was known to take on many apprentices throughout his reign as a Sith Lord. It is plausible he could have had a female apprentice at some point who bore him a child. One theory is that Rey’s mother could have been a secret Sith acolyte trained in the ways of the dark side.
3. A Clone
Given Palpatine’s deep interest in unnatural dark side experiments, he may have used secret cloning technology to produce a direct clone or genetic copy of himself, born female. This clone would share Palpatine’s Force abilities and could have served as a mother to his heir.
4. A random consort
As Emperor, Palpatine likely had many potential concubines and secret lovers across the galaxy. He may have produced his child with a random woman of no importance, whose identity remains a mystery.
When did Palpatine have a child?
If Rey’s father was Palpatine’s son, he most likely would have been born in the early days of the Empire, between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Here is a possible timeline:
- c. 19 BBY – Palpatine seizes power at the end of the Clone Wars and establishes his Empire.
- c. 18-10 BBY – Palpatine sires a son with an unknown woman.
- c. 5-2 BBY – Palpatine’s son becomes involved with Rey’s mother and fathers Rey’s father
- c. 15 ABY – Rey is born
This would put the probable timeframe for Palpatine conceiving a child somewhere around 15-20 years before the events of A New Hope.
Did Palpatine love the mother of his child?
Given Palpatine’s ruthless nature as a Sith Lord, it seems unlikely he held any genuine affection for whoever mothered his offspring. The child was likely created solely out of Palpatine’s desire to produce a worthy heir and apprentice, not out of any love or passion.
- The mother could have been an unwilling victim of Palpatine’s experiments.
- She may have been an ambitious Sith acolyte who volunteered to bear Palpatine’s child in hopes of gaining power.
- If she was a clone, she would have been engineered to serve Palpatine’s will.
In any case, the maternal relationship was likely one of manipulation and coercion rather than genuine love.
The new Star Wars canon has established that Emperor Palpatine did succeed in producing at least one offspring – a son who went on to become Rey’s father. But the key question of who Rey’s grandmother was remains a mystery. There are several interesting theories – from a secret Sith apprentice to a clone to a consort from Naboo – but so far no definitive answer. Until Lucasfilm explores Palpatine’s backstory further, the identity of the mother of his child remains one of the biggest unanswered questions in the saga.