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Why Palpatine Hated Darth Vader’s Red Lightsaber (Canon)

Why Palpatine Hated Darth Vader’s Red Lightsaber (Canon)

Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader worked together to rule the Star Wars galaxy. Once Anakin transformed into Vader, Palpatine made sure to use Vader and his powers of the Force to subdue the Rebellion.

Yet, the two had underlying tensions that came to fruition in Return of the Jedi. One disagreement was over Vader’s lightsaber.

Why did Palpatine hate Darth Vader’s red lightsaber? The answer has a lot to do with how the Emperor viewed the Force.

Why Did Palpatine Hate Lightsabers?

To Palpatine, lightsabers were the Jedi’s weapon. They depended on and placed too much emphasis on them. Palpatine thought the Force was more effective without lightsabers.

The Emperor opted for the dark side as his primary weapon. He could drive fear into his opponents and manipulate the Jedi, as he did with Anakin.

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Palpatine preferred Force or Sith Lightning too. The Emperor enjoyed casting electrical jolts at his adversaries to the extent that he became synonymous with the Force power.

Since Force lightning draws on the dark side and taps into hate and anger, it went with the Sith well. The Jedi could summon it too, as with Rey in The Rise of Skywalker, but Force lightning taps into the wrong side of the Force for them.

Darth Sidious’ preference for it makes sense, as it polarized him from the Jedi, like his rejection of lightsabers.

He only used a lightsaber in the prequels before he reached his full power. Then he rejected them.

We may best remember Palpatine wielding a lightsaber when Mace Windu came to confront him about being a Sith. He also used two lightsabers against Darth Maul. Yet, he preferred more subtle means of dark power.

Why Did Palpatine Hate Darth Vader’s Red Lightsaber?

The Emperor already hated lightsabers then, and that is one main reason why he hated Vader’s red lightsaber. As this video explains, Palpatine expected the Sith to use the Force to reflect their powers, not to be dependent on a lightsaber like a Jedi.

Why Palpatine HATED Darth Vader's Red Lightsaber(CANON) - Star Wars Comics Explained

According to the Star Wars comics, the Emperor challenged Vader to a duel after Revenge of the Sith. Palpatine won the fight and mocked Vader “for fighting like a Jedi.” Palpatine explained that Vader lost so badly because he used his lightsaber, and not the Force.

When Palpatine Challenged Darth Vader to a 1v1 Duel [Canon]

The Sith needed to use powers like Force telekinesis to throw things at their opponent, as Vader later did against Luke Skywalker.

But there is more to why he hated Vader’s red lightsaber.

If we look further at the Star Wars comics, we find out how Vader built his red lightsaber in a way that diverged from Darth Sidious’s with a larger ballast that resembled his former lightsaber when he was Anakin Skywalker.

Why Palpatine HATED Darth Vader's Lightsaber - Star Wars Explained

Vader’s red lightsaber was bigger and different from Sidious’s lightsaber. While Palpatine built a well-crafted lightsaber to show he was better than the Jedi, Vader sought function and a way to rule the galaxy.

Vader’s weapon was problematic for two reasons. One, its different design represented a challenge to Sidious, who sought to control Vader. Vader’s suit, for example, enabled him to live and increased his powers, but it also made him dependent on it and the Emperor for survival.

Two, the Emperor wanted the Sith to move beyond lightsabers, but Vader required it to bring order and to defeat his opponents. To Sidious, a lightsaber was a small part of the powers the Sith could wield. Vader always used it, and this went against Palpatine’s wishes.

Further, the Emperor was probably angry that Vader saw Palpatine’s lightsaber “as little more than an antique.” Palpatine must have sensed through the Force that Vader found his weapon to be lacking and not up to par. Surely this would create resentment.

Did Palpatine and Vader Hate Each Other?

We already have a sense that Palpatine and Vader vied with one another for power. The Emperor got the upper hand before Vader tossed him to his presumed death.

The comics also reveal that Vader despised Palpatine so much that it fueled his power. After further abuse from the Emperor in the Darth Vader comics, Vader gains power by hating the Emperor.

As fans contend, Vader hated Palpatine since Episode III: Revenge of the Sith because the Emperor took away Padme, enclosed Anakin in his suit, and ruined his life as a Jedi. Vader yearned for a chance to get back at “his Master” and feigned loyalty.

For his part, the Emperor oscillates between being Vader’s friend and hating him. His hostility toward Vader comes out in the Darth Vader comics, while the movies have Palpatine calling Vader his friend. This back-and-forth treatment manipulates Vader and is abusive, to say the least.

Why Palpatine Calling Vader "Friend" Was Insanely Offensive to Him

Palpatine may have hated Vader to the point of treating him like a slave. Palpatine had already preyed on Anakin’s emotions to turn him to the dark side. Once he became Vader, the Emperor used him to fulfill his wishes to dominate the galaxy and attempt to get Luke Skywalker to replace Vader.

So much for the master-apprentice partnership that seems to drive the relationship in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The rupture moment comes in Return of the Jedi.

Vader also appeared to hate himself for transforming into what the Emperor wanted. We may wonder if Palpatine felt the same about himself…probably not. He most likely loved his evilness.

Palpatine Hated Vader’s Lightsaber

Palpatine’s hate for Vader’s red lightsaber was the tip of a larger hatred that surrounded their relationship. Vader’s lightsaber represented the Jedi, not the Sith, and that was a main reason why the Emperor hated it.

Palpatine also hated this lightsaber because it reflected a degree of independence for Vader. Vader built it himself and relied on it to bring out his dark side.

Yet, Palpatine saw Vader as a threat and sought to dominate him. His lust for the dark side permeated out toward a mutual hatred that ended with Darth turning on the Emperor to save Luke.

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