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Nightmare Fuel / Star Wars

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Luke: I won't fail you. I'm not afraid.
Yoda: Ohh... you will be... YOU WILL BE.

While the galaxy may seem like a wondrous place, under the exterior it also has a dark underbelly of some of the most terrifying things imaginable. From all-devouring monsters to extremely powerful galaxy-wide dictatorships to a violent criminal underworld to the power of The Dark Side, you'll definitely be relieved that all of this took place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

All spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned.


In General

  • Emperor Sheev Palpatine/Darth Sidious, the Big Bad of the Skywalker Saga, is one of the most chilling characters of the franchise and one of the definitely monstrous main villains.
    • He resembles power-hungry, selfish politicians in the real world (past, present, and future), and his Force Lightning is absolutely terrifying - so terrifying that only Yoda has managed to push it off. And it's stated by him in Revenge of The Sith that it's only Anakin, Chosen One, who's more powerful than him...until the latter lost all of his limbs, severely limiting his potential and had to be in a black, intimidating life support suit for the rest of his life with the only exceptions being in special chambers meant for recuperation. The fact that the sadistic and tyrannical Sith Lord with an intimidating, but crippled servant is a much reassuring notion for the galaxy than a godlike Sith Lord with unlimited potential is a scary thought on its own merits.
    • Then there's his actual physical appearance that's a mockery of an elderly man. Unlike Darth Vader, he's not immediately scary until you get a better look of his face that has wrinkles and brow ridges too large to be normal, his brow ridges, pale skin and sunken-in eye sockets make him look vaguely corpse-like and make his eyes look far larger than they should be.
      • His most terrifying power isn't the Force but his mind. He created the Empire mostly through his cunning manipulation of all sides, including those who knew he shouldn't be trusted (Dooku, Trade Federation, etc). In Legends, in Dark Empire, when he returned, he acknowledged his mistakes and nearly won.
      • Palpatine is also so talented at impersonating a Reasonable Authority Figure that he comes across to the uninformed as a nice, even likable senior. Even with that facade, there's a hint of artificialness, as if a latex mask is hiding his true hideous face underneath. By the time the charade falls apart, it's too late for the Jedi. Indeed, his normal human appearance can be creepier than his withered and discolored appearance that is revealed from fighting Mace Windu as he an relatively ordinary human and is no less dangerous; his smug smirking provide a glimpse of who he really is underneath the facade.
    • The Expanded Universe shows us that he also killed his own parents and siblings, only further emphasizing how monstrous he really is.
    • Worse, in Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader himself says that the Emperor is not as forgiving as him, ominously foreshadowing Palpatine's Electric Torture of Luke Skywalker later in the movie. The Legends continuity backs it up, showing how Palpatine killed Bevel Lemelisk (the chief engineer of Death Star project) many times, each time more gruesome than the last, as he hadn't corrected the error in the 1st Death Star, resurrecting him again and again.
    • Throughout the films, we find out that Palpatine's behind damn near every bad thing that's happened — he engineered the invasion of his own home planet, started the Clone Wars and used the start of the war to gain considerable emergency powers, nearly annihilated the Jedi Order including the children, turned Anakin to the Dark Side, killed and disposed his loyal Separatist allies when he had no use for them anymore, and made the Republic into a fascist dictatorship, ruling by fear and using planet-destroying superweapons like the Death Star against any potential uprising, and personally destroying entire populations that conspired against him. He's loyal only to himself— it's implied in Episode VI that he saw Vader as expendable when Luke defeated him, and wanted to make Luke his apprentice instead while leaving Vader to die. Even after his death, his terrible legacy still casts a shadow over the Sequel Trilogy, with his chilling laughter being heard in the teaser of The Rise of Skywalker.
      Palpatine: Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design!
    • To get an idea of how terrifyingly evil Palpatine is, Ian McDiarmid directly compares him to the Devil. Not just that, but he claims that Palpatine is far more evil.
    • Aftermath: Empire's End reveals some more unsettling details on Palpatine.:
      • Apparently, during the reign of the Empire, Palpatine sensed a signal emitting from the Unknown Regions through the Dark Side, one that not even Darth Vader could sense. He sent out probes and ships out into the Unknown Regions, becoming obsessed with mapping it, theorizing that what he was sensing was an origin of sorts of the Dark Side of the Force. He established an observatory on Jakku, which housed Sith Artifacts and other such things. What's out there that has Palpatine this spooked and obsessed?!
      • He also planned the Contingency, a scenario where the Empire is to retreat into the Unknown Regions using Palpatine's research in the event of Palpatine's death and establish a new Empire elsewhere. The end of Empire's End reveals that Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, Brendol Hux, and the parts of the Empire that fled after the Battle of Jakku spent months traveling in the Unknown Regions, before coming across Palpatine's personal Super Star Destroyer, the Eclipse, thus beginning what will eventually become the First Order.
    • Palpatine's theme (this extended one in particular) is easilly one of the creepiest's Leitmotif of all Star Wars universe. It perfectly describes the unholy and wicked monster old Palpy is. The omnimous male choir in the background humming the melody also sound like something coming out from some sort of demonic beings of hell.
  • Three words: Supreme Leader Snoke.
    • His appearance makes Palpatine's face look tame in comparison. And the Face Framed in Shadow doesn't make him any less creepy either.
    • Although in The Last Jedi, he is rather unexpectedly offed in the third act, he makes up for it by being utterly terrifying in all his scenes prior. His power in the Force is immense. He can use Force lightning...without even raising his hand, instead seemingly projecting up from the floor. He can bodyslam people with the Force while not even being on the same ship. When Rey meets him, he uses the Force to toss her around the room like a ragdoll or leaves her immobilised by simply flicking his wrist, if that. Kylo Ren also clearly learned his mind probing abilities from Snoke...only Snoke's are much, much more potent. When Kylo read Rey's mind, it was uncomfortable but she was able to resist. When Snoke does it, she is defenceless against him and is left screaming in pure agony. Even Kylo looks disturbed by it. Worse, his mind-reading capabilities means he can just about predict your every move, leaving him reasonably justifiably confident he "cannot be betrayed". Kylo only kills him by exploiting Exact Words and using some remarkable cunning.
    • Snoke's general demeanor and behavior towards both Kylo and Rey is insanely creepy and predatory. Especially given that he had apparently been preying upon and using the dark side to corrupt Kylo since he was a small child (or possibly even while he was still in his mother's womb). He takes all of the creepy child-grooming subtext between Palpatine and Anakin and dials it right up.
    • The Rise of Skywalker reveals a bit of his origins and, contrary to earlier EU materials which implies that Snoke is a greater evil that even Palpatine feared, it's revealed that Snoke is nothing more than a Sith artificial lifeform created by the Sith Eternal to act as a Puppet King for the resurrected Palpatine. This dreaded Supreme Leader, shrouded in mystery and fear, is ultimately a pawn for Darth Sidious, a chilling reminder that the greatest evil in the whole galaxy is still a mere human from a peaceful, pacifist planet.
  • In-Universe, when you hear Vader's breathing, you. Are. Screwed.
  • Revenge of the Sith especially, but the prequels as a whole, drew some flack from those claiming that George Lucas was taking shots at the current US government (at the time, the George W. Bush administration.) despite his claims otherwise. But anyone who's done their homework knows that the fall of the Old Republic directly mirrors the transition of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire, and its eventual fall...
  • The sound of the TIE Fighters, inspired by the real-life Jericho sirens that German dive bombers used during World War II, with the intention of provoking psychological distress on the enemy. Needless to say, both really work.
  • Recent works have used modern special effects to showcase how terrifying and unstoppable a Sith Lord is. A normal citizen has no chance against them, they can tear starships out of the sky, they can slaughter armies unarmed. Your only hope is to run and pray they don't have a personal reason to hunt you down.