"The Sith Emperor was a Dark Lord of the Sith who reconstituted the Sith Empire after the Great Hyperspace War and went on to rule it for more than a millennium, becoming, arguably, the longest reigning Sith Lord in galactic history. According to legend, he was born Tenebrae, the illegitimate son of Lord Dramath of Medriaas and a poor farm woman, and was granted the title of Lord Vitiate by then-reigning Dark Lord of the Sith, Marka Ragnos."
Source: Wookieepedia - The Star Wars Wiki
Lord Vitiate: the ultimate badass or the mary sue-like character?
Before you even consider to join this endless debate, I strongly suggest you make yourself familiar with this following short text:
Q: Who’s stronger – Darth Bane, Darth Revan or Darth Vader?
A: It’s a tie. Seriously, I can’t answer this. First, it’s not really up to me to make that kind of call. Second, it really depends on the situation. You can probably find rule books for various Star Wars role-playing games that will give you stats allowing you to compare relative strength. But from an artistic and dramatic standpoint, this kind of question has no “right” answer. Each character has strengths and weaknesses, and they grow and change as their stories progress. On any given day, at any given time, under any given circumstance anyone can win or lose. That’s what dramatic conflict is all about.
Source: Drew Karpyshyn's website FAQ
Now, to begin with - I am aware that George Lucas, the creater of Star Wars universe stated the following fact: Palpatine is the most powerful sith lord to ever live. Period. So this sentence alone should technically disqualify all arguments against Vitiate being superior to Sidious. Lucas has the final say in those things.
On top of that, let me show you some direct quotes from the official canon sources:
"The Rebels were turning out to be more troublesome than many had expected. The Emperor had known it would be thus, of course; the resistance had not been a surprise to him. The Emperor was completely in concert with the dark side of the Force. He was the most powerful Sith to have ever existed."
-- Death Star, page 76. Emphasis mine.
"...Yoda could not hope to defeat the most powerful Sith Lord in history."
-- The New Essential Chronology, page ??? (I don't own the book). Emphasis mine.
"Beyond the vision of the Jedi Knights, somewhere within the darkness, the greatest master of evil ever to use Sith power bides his time. As his strength grows, his plans begin to shape the course of the galaxy, and his snares await the unsuspecting."
-- The Complete Visual Dictionary, page 72.
Page 109 from the Dark Empire sourcebook:
"Palpatine has risen from the dead. The most powerful Sith Lord who ever lived had returned."
But hold on...
When Sidious was labeled as the 'most powerful sith lord ever', Vitiate's character was not even invented yet. You have to realize that the Star Wars universe is constantly expanding - some stuff will get retconned to lesser or greater extent. It is inevitable. As the time passes, some new, far more powerful character than Vitiate might be created. Noone is arguing with that. Actually that is the whole point I am trying to make here.
But for the time being, just read "Revan" novel and play through Jedi Knight's whole storyline and after you do those things ask yourself who is really more powerful - Vitiate or Sidious.
Here is some very intriguing quote from codex entry related to the Emperor and his ultimate plan:
Every decision the Sith Emperor has made for the last millennium has been in the service of one dark goal: the complete annihilation of every living thing in the galaxy. The Emperor's desire is not destruction for its own sake, however. He is not a nihilist. The Emperor intends to feed on the galaxy's extinction and draw that energy into himself, giving him true immortality--and a godlike mastery of the Force.
The Jedi can only speculate on what the Emperor will do if his plan succeeds. Does he intend to preserve any followers, or live on alone? With such unlimited power, could he plant the seeds of life and raise a new galaxy from the old one's ashes?
Basically the Emperor wants to exterminate every living being in the galaxy by performing a ritual that will begin on the planet Belsavis. He will consume entire life present on Belsavis and after that, nothing will stop him. Of course Jedi Knight i.e. the player stops him. If Vitiate's plans would succeed and if he would have managed to sustain his ritual by ensuring the death of trillions, he would become as it says in the codex: godlike.
After you find out more about the Emperor you realize what kind of creature of pure evil he is. The way he speaks, everything about him is just terrifying and causes chills to go down your spine. I mean, he killed a sith lord when he was like what, twelve years old? When he was an infant, his eyes were filled with terrible blackness and void (Wth?! Seriously, how sick and creepy is that?).
He is unlike any being that was ever born, when Lord Scourge who was a Sith Lord took a not even second long glimpse at the Emperor, he cried out like a child.
Let me give me you some quotes from the "Revan" novel about Vitiate:
"As he spoke, the dark circles of his eyes seemed to fill with a swirling red mist, and for a brief instant the Emperor gave Scourge a glimpse of his true self. Scourge cried out in anguish as the Emperor's mind brushed against his, then he collapsed to the floor, shaking like a child."
"Scourge expected them to search him, or at least instruct him to turn over his weapons. But Yarri and the others simply stood at attention, waiting for him to enter. The fact that they showed no concern over letting an armed Sith Lord speak to the Emperor face-to-face without any kind of preparation was a testament to the Emperor's unfathomable power. "
Some of his abilities on top of my head:
- Being able to perform most complex sith rituals ever attempted (consuming life of the entire planet - billions of lives beings destroyed in matters of seconds).
- Being immortal? "My life spans millennia. Legions have risen to test me. […] My ascendance is inevitable. A day, a year, a millennium—it matters not. I hold the patience of stone and the will of stars. Your striving is insignificant. Let your death be the same." - The Sith Emperor, to a lone Jedi sent to kill him. Also from what I understand, it is almost impossible to completely kill the Emperor. His essence will always live on, attempting to find another host it can possess. For sure the Emperor got some weakness that can be exploited in order to defeat him, as everyone, but noone knows what it is yet.
- Being able to mind control pretty much anyone (though it is possible to resist the Emperor, as an example: Revan being the proof of that).
I mean, don't get me wrong: Sidious definitely achieved a lot with his political capabilities, intellect and manipulation skills. But it's hard to be sure that he was more powerful than all other ancient sith lords who ever lived, or even his former master Darth Plagueis. Plagueis discovered the ultimate secret of immortality - Palpatine did not. Hell, Plagueis could even bend midi-chlorians to his own will in order to create life out of nothing - and he probably created the most powerful force user to ever exist. Palpatine knew that he could lose face to face duel with Plagueis so he used his cunning to kill him in his sleep. Also, I find it hard to believe that Palpatine could be even a match for Lord Vitiate. We know very little about the Sith Emperor (the TOR one) and yet it seemes that he is capable of wiping out entire life in the galaxy. I don't think Palpatine comes even close to that, all he gets are some over powered abilities that I do not know where and how he managed to learn/obtain. Sometimes I get the feeling that in Expanded Universe, Palpatine is really a mary sue-like character. Seriously, who can create hyperspace wormholes? Sidious in EU is just absurd. I am sorry to say this but it is true. I love his character but some authors just crossed the line. Yes, Vitiate got some OP abilities in his arsenal as well, but I would say that his back-story allowes us to imagine that he is actually capable of such prowess. A for Palpatine that is not the case, at least for me.
You also have to look at this from another angle. Lets say that Sidious could defeat Vitiate in face to face duel (or the other way) but what about other skills? Palpatine managed to transform the Republic into his own Galactic Empire and at the same time do something no sith ever managed - wipe out
almost entire jedi order. Vitiate on the other hand also accomplished something to behold. He escaped with handful of morally broke people and over the course of thousand years managed to create the most powerful empire to ever exist. He created entire civilization from literally nothing. It all comes down to your very own definition of power. Power can vary a lot you know... Also, I think it is safe to assume that the Galactic Empire from the original Star Wars movies is based on Vitiate's Empire. I know that in reality it is the other way around, but in our fantasy world The Great Galactic war occured way BEFORE The Galactic Civil war.
I tried to keep this article/debate as non-biased as possible, attempting to show you both sides of the picture but as you probably noticed by now, my personal opinion on this matter is as following: Sidious is overrated. There you go, I said it! I know I may get bashed for this. If you want to call me a Vitiate fanboy, feel free to do so. I just think that he is the one who deserves the title of the most powerful sith lord. He is the ultimate badass - nothing to add here. :)
To hell with being objective! It is impossible to avoid some dose of subjectivism. Just two small things I noticed that I wanted to add to the whole discussion:
If Palpatine is so mighty and exceptional duelist, how come he lost to Mace Windu? Yes, I know that Windu is "one of the finest swordsman of the jedi order" and all. But still, Sidious lost. And don't tell me that he would have won without Anakin's interference because it is clearly not what movie portrays.
Also, some people say that Palpatine's 'lightning bolts' are the most powerful ones in whole SW universe. It's one of the arguments for Palpatine's superiority over Vitiate. I mean, really? He electrocuted Luke Skywalker with them for like half an hour and the guy still managed to survive. And no, Palpatine was not playing with Luke or attempting to influence his will. He decided to kill Skywalker because he understood that he could not turn him to the dark side, this line kind of confirmed that: "The Emperor: And now, young Skywalker... you will die." (at least that is how I interpreted this scene from RotJ). Anyway, just read what I wrote before about Sith Emperor, (information coming from OFFICIAL GAME CODEX). Could Palpatine really become godlike like Vitiate and create new galaxy from the ashes by himself? Could he wipe out entire life in the galaxy? I don't think those statements are mere hyperbols. I mean, while they never actually happened, Vitiate indeed had potential to perform them and was in fact very close in doing so if it weren't for the invervention of Jedi Knight.
And most important of all, was Palpatine really immortal as well as Vitiate? Immortal meaning actually IMMORTAL - from what I know he needed to use clones in order to prelong his life (I don't know a lot about EU post EP6 tbh so I may be wrong about that).
I know I am repeating myself but when you read "Revan" novel and play through JK's storyline you get this feeling about the Sith Emperor - he is like this terrible being of pure darkness and void, almost not human but monster. You don't get the same feeling with Palpatine (at least I don't feel this way about his character). Palpatine is just an ordinary person (well, you know what I mean). I am not saying that he is not a powerful sith lord who accomplished A LOT, but to me he is clearly not even half as 'terrifying' as Vitiate.
I am pretty sure that it is BioWare's intention to make us feel that Vitiate is in fact the most powerful, evil and dangerous sith/living being to ever exist (including the movies and all post EP6 expanded universe).
Still, as I said before - it all comes down to your subjective opinion and the way you interpret canon lore. It's a fantasy world, you can think whatever you want! As far as I am concerned, you may claim ewok that helped Leia (was he called Wicket?) to be more powerful than both Vitiate and Sidious together.
And what do you think? Who is more powerful according to you: Vitiate or Sidious? Post what you think in the comments below! Make sure to include some constructive, logical arguments in your posts if you want to persuade people who don't think the same way as you do. Don't just write: "Vitiate/Sidious because that's what I think!" But please, let's keep this discussion as close to civilized as possible.