In the leadup to the end of the prequel trilogy, Jedi Master Yoda confronted Sith Lord and newly minted Emperor of the Galactic Empire Darth Sidious in the Senate hall, leading to one of the most iconic duels in the franchise. The match ended in a draw of sorts, with Yoda escaping and living to train Luke Skywalker, with the Empire seemingly never coming for him.
So why didn’t Palpatine go looking for Yoda?
Here’s what you need to know.
Why Didn’t Palpatine Look for Yoda?
The question of why Palpatine didn’t look for Yoda can be answered in 2 ways, depending on how you see things.
- Palpatine was too paranoid to take any action
- He did, just not by himself.
#1 Palpatine was too paranoid to take any action
Master Yoda was the embodiment of all the best parts of the Jedi, including his martial prowess. We see this clearly in the duel with Palpatine, where Yoda seized the upper hand despite the Sith Lord getting an early advantage with Force Lightning. Palpatine was visibly shaken by this, a response that is actually emblematic of his attitude throughout the reign of the Empire.
Despite his great power and intellect (or because of these, really) Palpatine was consumed by fear and paranoia.
In all likelihood, if the Sith Lord had given chase and stayed vigilant, he might have rid himself of what Vader would go on to describe as the biggest threat to his power. Instead, Sidious breathed a sigh of relief and considered the battle a victory.
#2 He did, just not by himself
Despite his paranoid attitude, Palpatine wasn’t blind to the danger that the remnant Jedi and Yoda specifically posed to his ambitions. Over the course of his rule, he would send spies and other Imperial operatives in search of any known or rumoured survivors of Order 66, including Yoda. These operatives ranged from conventional military to bounty hunters and even his apprentice Darth Vader.
Fortunately for fans and the Rebellion, Yoda evaded detection long enough to train Luke and join the Force on his own terms.
Yoda’s evasion of Palpatine is both well-planned and integral to the plot of the original trilogy, making the retroactive implementation of his self-imposed exile commendable. Additionally, the battle between the two did a lot to further the story, displaying the awesome power of elite Force users as well as Palpatine’s easily broken poker face and lack of emotional control in a pinch.
Yoda’s admission of failure despite technically reaching a stalemate also gives us our final noble portrayal of the character before his disappearance into the Dagobah swamps.
You can find out why Yoda went into exile here.
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