Jeremy hopes the Force is with him as he pursues a forensics career in the swamps of Louisiana.
Yoda vs. Darth Sidious
Considered the epitomes of light and dark, Yoda and Darth Sidious are two of the strongest warriors not just of their era, but from all Republic history. After Sidious (in the guise of Palpatine) executes Order 66, Yoda deciphers his Sith nature and engages him in a brutal battle.
Based on the film's depiction of this fight, most would argue that either Sidious won or it was a draw—yet I'm convinced Yoda is actually the superior warrior. What evidence supports this view? Using information from both the canon and legends timelines, here are 10 reasons why Grand Master Yoda is stronger than even Darth Sidious! Spoilers ahead.
1. Dooku and Sidious Both Fled From Him
Count Dooku and Darth Sidious are both undoubtedly two of the strongest warriors during the prequels, so it's pretty telling that both of them retreated (or in Sidious' case, attempted to) from Yoda.
As a recap, in Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, Yoda quickly gains the upper hand against his former Padawan, who only escapes by using the Force to endanger Anakin and Obi-Wan, distracting Yoda long enough to flee. In Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, Sidious tries to exit his chamber when confronted by Yoda, only to be cut off by the diminutive Jedi.
Heck, even Sidious' dialogue before he battles Yoda "...Darth Vader will become more powerful than either of us!" hints he knows he might not survive the clash.
2. Yoda Did Better Than Displayed in Film
In the film fight, we never actually see Sidious lose his lightsaber—he simply switches to a Force-based assault. But according to the official Star Wars Wookiepedia, Yoda did in fact overpower and disarm Sidious in their blade contest, forcing the Sith to change tactics. The battle's description also implies Yoda was close to conquering Sidious in their Force clash before the energy burst. Here's the excerpt:
Yoda's newfound hope gave him the strength to resist Sidious's might, and he quickly managed to coalesce the energy of Palpatine's lightning into a blue orb, slowly redirecting it back to an astounded Sidious, who was slowly being pushed back by the strength of Yoda's counterattack. But just as Yoda appeared to be on the brink of succeeding, the combination of both of their powers caused the orb to explode.
3. Yoda Was Tired, Sidious Wasn't
Yoda's in somewhat rough shape by the time he battles Sidious. After Order 66, he felt the death of hundreds of Jedi throughout the galaxy, and he had to fight clone troopers and sneak into Sidious' chamber, where he also Force-blasted two royal guards. Meanwhile, Sidious enters the battle fresh (presumably having recovered from his fight with Mace Windu).
Now, I'm not saying clones or guards are much challenge for Yoda, but the slight drain they required in tangent with the emotional trauma of recent events may have given Sidious an edge.
4. He's Considered Better Than Windu (Who Beat Sidious)
Most fans agree Yoda's Force prowess surpasses Mace Windu's, but some argue Mace had better bladework. But the evidence contradicts this view, with the Wookiepedia stating "[Yoda] was known to be the only Jedi who could best Mace Windu and Count Dooku".
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In other words, Yoda is superior to the guy who maybe defeated Sidious (whether Sidious threw that fight or not is itself worth an entire article).
5. Dooku Believed Dark Yoda Would Defeat Darth Sidious
In the book Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, Yoda comes remarkably close to convincing Count Dooku to return to the light side (only thwarted by an untimely interruption from Anakin and Obi-Wan that makes Dooku suspicious). Boy, wouldn't that have ruined Sidious' plans?
But before the interruption, Dooku gauges Yoda's strength and admits that an evil Yoda would be even more threatening than Sidious. Here are Dooku's thoughts:
...with Darth Tyrannus holding his former master's strength in the Force in high enough regard that he believed that should Yoda fall to the dark side, he would be so powerful that not even Darth Sidious would be able to stand against him.
6. Yoda Repelled Sidious in Their Clone Wars Fight
In an illusion induced by Sidious in the Clone Wars animated series, Yoda and Anakin battle Sidious and Dooku. Yoda does well against Sidious, successfully repelling his Force Lightning and gaining a small advantage until Anakin makes a foolish attack.
Even while having to protect an unconscious Anakin, Yoda is able to fend off Sidious, who ultimately disengages the illusion after realizing he won't be able to corrupt Yoda.
7. Yoda Was Stronger Before the Films
Even if you think Sidious is stronger than or equal to Yoda as shown in the movies, perhaps you'll agree that Yoda in his prime was superior. Yoda is nearing 900 during the prequels, and two sources confirm he was stronger in prior days.
The book The Jedi Path states "despite his advanced skill and power in the Force, he was only able to lift five of the seven Muntuur stones while in meditation once he passed his seven hundredth year". And here's a thought from Mace Windu in the novel Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter: "...[Yoda] had slowed slightly in the years that Mace Windu had known him..."
From these, we can deduce that both Yoda's bladework and Force power are no longer at full potential, making his challenge to Sidious all the more impressive.
8. Yoda Gained What Sidious Wanted (Eternal Life)
For all Sidious' schemes, he never really gained what he sought: immortality (you might bring up Sidious' backup clones, but those vessels were eventually destroyed). Meanwhile, Qui-Gon teaches Yoda the secret to retaining individuality after death, and Yoda perfects the technique to the point of maintaining a corporeal form (something Qui-Gon couldn't do).
This not only showcases Yoda's immense Force knowledge, but also how he maintains direct influence over the galaxy even after death—which not even Sidious can duplicate.
9. He Believed in Vader When Sidious and Obi-Wan Didn't
After the Jedi Purge, both Darth Sidious and Obi-Wan Kenobi believed Anakin had forever warped his fate down the dark path (Obi-Wan expresses in Return of the Jedi that Luke must kill his father). At first, it seemed Yoda shared this view, telling Luke in Empire Strikes Back that venturing down the dark path would forever consume one's destiny.
However, as revealed in the comic The Power of the Force, despite Yoda's misgivings, he ultimately believed in both Luke and Anakin—faith was eventually rewarded. Here's the passage:
...[Yoda] also noted that Luke was both strong and good-hearted, which might mean that not only would he not turn to the dark side, but also that Anakin Skywalker might be redeemed. He then proclaimed his faith in the light side and the return of the Jedi Knights.
10. Yoda Had the Highest Midi-Chlorian Count (Before Anakin)
Okay, to be fair, we don't know exactly what Sidious' midi-chlorian count was. But we do know that not only did Yoda have the highest value before Anakin, his was the highest in Jedi history until that point. I'd argue chances are this makes his Force potential superior to Sidious'.
In terms of swordsmanship, we also know that Yoda mastered all forms of lightsaber combat except the dark-tinted Vaapad style (he preferred Form IV, Ataru), while Sidious never had his preferred style revealed. So Yoda had a specialty, but was able to switch when required.
The Legacy of Yoda
With a career spanning hundreds of years, Yoda is arguably the most influential Jedi in all recorded history, guiding the Order through some of its darkest times and helping overthrow Palpatine's Dark Empire.
As shown in The Last Jedi, Yoda can still affect the environment as a spirit (he summoned lightning), and we'll likely see more of his ghostly appearances in future media. But until our next Star Wars countdown, you can get your Yoda fix by watching Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian, which may reveal more details about his mysterious species.
© 2019 Jeremy Gill
Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on December 17, 2019:
Excellent. I agree Yoda is probably the superior warrior. Arguably, the light side understands the dark side, while the dark side has trouble comprehending the light. I think that was part of the power of Yoda. I remember he always spoke of the "balance" the Force sought, and the dark side cares little for balance just conquest.
I'm looking forward to the new movie, although I've read Ray may surprise us at the end. Really, Ray a Skywalker, but descended from the Emperor? Well, it doesn't matter. I rather have the franchise with great stories than no Star Wars. You were right: Disney is doing it's homework, and you are writing great articles. Thank you as always.