Darth Sidious Unlimited Power
Darth Sidious Unlimited Power is a reaction image depicting Darth Sidious / Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars Episode: III Revenge of the Sith shooting force lightning from his fingers. The still and catchphrase are either used together or separately to react to an image or caption that evokes feelings of power. This meme is also often associated with the line “I’m too weak,” which appears alongside it in multi-frame formats.
The clip the image used in the meme comes from is taken out of Star Wars Episode: III Revenge of the Sith (released in 2005), particularly the scene towards the end where Emperor Palpatine and Jedi Mace Windu battle in his office above the Senate District on Coruscant, the capital world of the Republic. The scene is quite famous, as it’s where Anakin Skywalker first makes the decision to betray the Jedi and join forces with the Sith.
During the clip (featured below), Mace and Palpatine fight briefly before Palpatine loses his strength and begs for mercy. Mace then decides “he’s too powerful to be left alive” (another meme format) and decides to kill him despite Anakin’s protest. In a sudden twist, Anakin cuts off Mace’s hand holding the lightsaber and gives Palpatine the opening he needs. It’s at this moment when Palpatine can be heard saying, “Power! Unlimited Power!” as he uses force lightning to shock Mace and throw him from the window, thus killing him.
The exact origin of this scene being used as a meme is somewhat mysterious, but the earliest examples that exist online date all the way back to 2012. The oldest version of Unlimited Power in meme format comes from Slappytickle.com, which can be seen here (dated September 9th, 2012).
In 2012, other examples of the meme exist but are quite rare, and they usually include just the phrase, rather than the scene. One such example of this was uploaded to Memecrunch on March 24th, 2012, using the title “Unlimited Power” in conjunction with Joseph Ducreux rewritten as “Infinite Energetic Prowess.”
Additional early examples dating from 2012 can be found on Memebase, one of which uses the scene as a reaction to a “”Birthday Scenario Game”:/memes/birthday-scenario-game” revealing the answer “create clones of Chuck Norris”.
While no real template was established for a number of years, various examples of the meme continue to surface online from 2012 to present day with a multitude of variations including gifs, reaction images and catchphrases accompanying relevant content. One such meme can be found again on Memebase from 2014 referencing the charge on a phone battery, which has been recycled many times over the meme’s extensive lifetime.
Resurgence in 2019-2020
Particularly on Reddit, Unlimited Power saw a strong resurgence between 2019 and 2020 despite its age. Especially prevalent on r/PrequelMemes, several examples of the meme can be seen in different forms. On June 26th, 2019, u/we-in-this-bitch uploaded a two-frame version of the meme with the title “Unlimited Power” and received 335 upvotes.
Over on r/DankMemes, u/LouisTheXIIIth reposted a popular version of the meme (featured below) with a newer format on July 29th, garnering nearly 21,000 upvotes and 113 comments, though they were not the original creator.
After a post from u/Pizza64210 to the r/MemeTemplatesOfficial sub where they requested the template, u/NH-2B375 commented with links to the format that’s most frequently seen in recent years, likely contributing to its resurgence.
Popping up again on r/DankMemes with strong positive response, u/Dr_Dre669 posted another variation on October 3rd, that was upvoted over 21,000 times.