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Voice Compare » Star Wars » Emperor Palpatine / Darth Sidious

Comparision of the voice over actors who have been the voice of Emperor Palpatine / Darth Sidious with sound clips and images.


Created by Cypo on Mon Nov 15 2010, 135 Comments, Add Comment
Special thanks to Jackson_H, Pokejedservo for additional sound clips.
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Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Emperor Palpatine / Darth SidiousClive Revill
Clive Revill
Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)
Darth SidiousNick Jameson
Nick Jameson
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
Darth SidiousIan Abercrombie
Ian Abercrombie
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008)
Emperor PalpatineSam Witwer
Sam Witwer
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
Darth SidiousTim Curry
Tim Curry
Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles (2013)
Darth SidiousTrevor Devall
Trevor Devall

EDITOR'S OPINION

The greatest evil in the Star Wars universe now joins the Voice Compare.



Emperor Palpatine first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back, portrayed by an uncredited woman wearing a mask, with the voiced dubbed over by Clive Revill.  This was until 2004 with the DVD release, as Clive would be replaced with new footage shot of Ian McDiarmid, who was cast in the role for Return of the Jedi and reprised said role for the prequel trilogy. 

Clive gave a pretty decent take, though sadly how the character evolved past this appearance over the years, it doesn't have the same impact or sense of dread the later performers gave it.


For the 2003 Clone Wars series and Star Wars video games from 1995-2008, Emperor Palpatine has been voiced Nick Jameson.  Nick's take on Palpatine really comes off almost reptilian in the role, which oddly is fitting.


In the 2008 Clone Wars series and movie, Palpatine was this time handled by Ian Abercrombie.  Not really sure what to say about Ian, as he plays the role well enough.  It feels a bit more natural than Nick's take.


And finally we have Sam Witwer from The Force Unleashed, and... wow.  I am in shock and amazement, as I think Sam perfectly nailed Ian McDiarmid's voice.  This is no doubt my favourite out of the four actors performances.


Cypo

Latest Comments

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gtnish>7
said at 7:28 PM on Sun Mar 16 2014
 1 Shout Out! [?]
Tim Curry never ceases to amaze.
TheVengeanceKnight
said at 3:02 PM on Sat Mar 8 2014
Loved hearing some more of Abercrombie in Season 6. Still not really digging Curry's take, I'm afraid.
DreamMaster08X (Probationary Moderator)
said at 12:59 PM on Sat Mar 8 2014
 4 Shout Outs! [?]
John Noble as the Emperor.

I want to see this happen in the near future.
Red524
said at 10:08 PM on Tue Mar 4 2014
 1 Shout Out! [?]
Ian's new clip is making me seriously consider switching my vote to him.
skeletonking1234
said at 6:49 PM on Fri Feb 28 2014
 2 Shout Outs! [?]
Clive Revill- for a first portrayal of the character, it does sound good, and does sound a bit creepy, the only thing holding this performance back from being fantastic is that it was somewhat of an experimental voice until the current voice came around. But it still is a good performance for the amount of screen time he was given. 7/10

Nick Jameson- I don't know what it was about this voice, it just never really clicked with me. It sounds too reptilian and snake like for the emperor, and a bit too high. It's not bad, its just something about it that doesn't sit well with me. 6/10

Ian Abercrombie- A top notch and chilling performance, and a fantastic take on Ian McDiarmmids portrayal, which to be honest I thought that's who it was when seeing the film. One of the most creepy performances of the emperor IMO. 9/10

Sam Witwer- I never really thought it was the best Ian impression to be honest, because I could tell everytime I played the game it wasn't Ian. He seemed too low at points and I never really thought he got Ian's mannerisms down in the game or in any of his other performances. It still is a great performance, I could just always tell it was some young guy doing the voice, but I will admit that is a very impressive range that Sam has. 7.5/10

Tim Curry- I still think this is one of the most bizarre casting replacements I've ever seen. As I've said before, Tim sounds good in the role for the one line he was given, but my two problems are, 1, he sounds nothing like Ian Abercrombie, and 2 it's so obvious its Tim. I'm not saying I hate it, anything with Tim Curry in it, I will gladly take it, It's just so bizarre. Though I am curious if he does appear in the new star wars series if he will still play Sidious. 8/10

Trevor Devall- for a comedic portrayal Trevor definitely nailed it. Not only being one of my favorite Canadian voice actors, Trevor gets the mannerisms of Sidious down well but makes it very funny at the same time, switching back and forth between Palpatine and Sidious. It's a role I wish more people would give credit, but I can see why since it is a more comedic version of the character. 7.5/10

1. Ian Abercrombie
2. Tim Curry
3. Trevor Devall
4. Sam Witwer
5. Clive Revill
6. Nick Jameson
MilanTheVillain01
said at 5:07 AM on Thu Feb 27 2014
 5 Shout Outs! [?]
I'm really loving Ian Abercromie's new clip!
If I'm not mistaken it's from the same episode as Tim Curry's clip.
pete
said at 3:54 PM on Thu Feb 27 2014
@MilanTheVillain01 Yeah Ian didn't finish his lines, so Tim took over.
Polyester Funk
said at 11:28 PM on Thu Feb 27 2014
@MilanTheVillain01 He sounds really great in the new clip.
MilanTheVillain01
said at 11:07 PM on Sat Mar 1 2014
@Polyester Funk I know, right? It sounds just like Ian McDiarmid's prequel voice.
Polyester Funk
said at 11:39 PM on Sat Mar 1 2014
@MilanTheVillain01 After that performance I'm really going to miss Abercrombie as Palpatine. Don't know if they'll stick with Tim Curry or not. He's certainly not bad, however he is a bit recognizable and doesn't really sound like either of the Ians. Can't say I have a problem if they keep him.
chaosincarnate
said at 10:10 PM on Sat Dec 14 2013
 2 Shout Outs! [?]
1-: Tim Curry: Deliciously sinister while still delivering a unique take on the character. I hope he sticks with this role.
2-:Ian Abercrombie: I like it quite a bit, he sounds unique from Ian Mcdiarmid's voice, but it wasn't threatening enough. RIP though, he was a great fit for the character.
3-: Sam Witwer: A nice change of pace for him, and while it's a good Ian impersonation, it comes off as forced at points, mainly because of the accent and some of his long emphasis on words.
4-:Nick Jameson: It's way too high pitched and raspy for me to fully enjoy, but he has his moments and does a good job as his alter ego Chancellor Palpatine.
5-: Clive Revill: Not a good originator of the role. OK as its own performance, but way more generic than anyone else here.
6-: Trevor Devall: He's trying his hardest to channel Ian, but good god is the accent just terrible.
pete
said at 12:51 PM on Thu Feb 27 2014
@chaosincarnate You just managed to mimic my thoughts on the VA's. Congrats.
chaosincarnate
said at 2:24 PM on Thu Feb 27 2014
@pete I can read minds, doncha know....
JTurner
said at 12:06 AM on Fri Nov 15 2013
 4 Shout Outs! [?]
What?! No vote choice for Ian McDiarmid? For shame! Don't get me wrong, I do like some of the takes here, but Ian DEFINED Palpatine.
Aussieroth
said at 5:32 PM on Thu Feb 13 2014
@JTurner Only because he hasn't chosen to voice him in a game or series.... thus far.
Galactic_Cyrus
said at 8:22 AM on Sat Mar 1 2014
@JTurner Ian's not a VOICE actor.
JTurner
said at 10:57 AM on Sat Mar 1 2014
@Galactic_Cyrus Too bad about that. He SHOULD be, though. He's got an AWESOME devilish badguy voice.
Polyester Funk
said at 12:53 AM on Sat Nov 9 2013
Sam Witwer sounds just like Ian McDiarmid!

Ian Abercrombie was very good, too.

Trevor Devall is quite good when he's more serious as you said Galactic.

Nick Jameson was alright. As was Clive Revill.

Tim Curry sounds better doing the Sidious voice than Palpatine cuz he is too recognizable.
Lpfan120
said at 6:18 PM on Fri Nov 8 2013
 3 Shout Outs! [?]
If he was still with us, I'd say Tony Jay would make an excellent Darth Sidious
Galactic_Cyrus
said at 11:03 AM on Mon Oct 7 2013
1. Sam Witwear - It's like he IS Ian McDiarmid!

2. Ian Abercrombie - A perfect take on the character. Different from Ian, but still distinctive and age approrpriate.

3. Trevor Devall - When he's not going all out in playing it for laughs, he sounds surprisingly good!

4. Nick Jameson - It's an okay voice, but also sounds like a caricature of Palpatine. A bit too highy and raspy.

5. Tim Curry - Solid performance so far, but I'm sorry, his voice is way too recognizable. This was something of a miscast.

6. Clive Revill - He sounds like...just a guy. There's no menace or presence in that voice and performance. Thank God they changed the Emperor's character for the next movie.
Aussieroth
said at 5:34 PM on Thu Feb 13 2014
@Galactic_Cyrus I don't know man, recognizable or not, his Sidous voice has really grown on me.
Galactic_Cyrus
said at 11:58 AM on Sun Feb 23 2014
@Aussieroth I'd need to hear more of him to judge. I think he'd be very good as Chancellor Palpatine, but the Sidious voice in this clip could use working on.
Mattonex
said at 5:11 AM on Mon Sep 30 2013
Tim Curry is a favourite for me i thought it was ian who did the last line of the maul episode but that and his second and last time in the role makes him sound more darker.
Finister2
said at 2:28 AM on Thu Sep 26 2013
 11 Shout Outs! [?]
I wonder if Steven Blum would make a good Palpatine?
PsychicVoiceSpy
said at 8:49 PM on Thu Sep 26 2013
@Finister2 A bit of an out-of-the-box idea, but I think he could do it!
Red524
said at 9:35 PM on Sun Sep 29 2013
@Finister2 I think his Uatu The Watcher voice would fit Palpatine better than it fit Uatu.
Ross123
said at 6:54 AM on Sun Oct 13 2013
@Finister2 Steven is not some1 I would have thought of to do the voice but there's a good chance he could pull it off.
pete
said at 8:55 PM on Fri Nov 15 2013
@Finister2 he is in Rebels. I hope he's Palpatine. He's done voices like his before.
Ross123
said at 11:23 AM on Mon Nov 25 2013
@pete Aren't they more likely to call Tim since he never really had a big shot at the role.
pete
said at 12:34 PM on Mon Nov 25 2013
@Ross123 Steve Blum does work for Greg Weisman shows. Greg likes to use actors he's worked with before. Plus he's not a fans of reprisals so he'll most likely cast someone new. For someone else's take on the franchise, Tim would probably return but they're still releasing Season 6 of Clone Wars just not on CN or on television.
Ross123
said at 8:52 AM on Tue Nov 26 2013
@pete I thought it was still uncertain about how Season 6 of The Clone Wars was going to be broadcast.
pete
said at 12:18 PM on Tue Nov 26 2013
@Ross123 It is shouldn't have said the television part.
Ross123
said at 12:29 PM on Sun Sep 22 2013
Ian was the best as he sounded more like the emperor in the films but it's ashame he died of kidney failure in 2012 before he could finish recording the final episode of the clone wars.

Nick is ok but isn't brilliant.

Sam & Trevor 2 me don't sound anything like Ian McDiarmid.

Tim only got 2 do the final episode of the clone wars so he really shouldn't get as much credit 4 the character as it was mostly Ian in that tv series though star wars Rebels is comin up soon so he might be in that.

Clive earns my respect 4 bein the original which makes it hard 4 him 2 know what the character is supposed 2 sound like.
Tyler Reznik
said at 6:19 PM on Fri Sep 20 2013
 3 Shout Outs! [?]
I love Ian Abercrombie and Sam Witwer's performances. Tim Curry, I think, didn't really get a chance to strut his stuff before the series came to it's untimely conclusion.
GerPer92
said at 1:54 AM on Sat Sep 7 2013
 4 Shout Outs! [?]
Tim's Sidious-Voice is great, but his palpatine-Voice just sounds......off.
LordofEvil96
said at 7:26 PM on Wed Aug 14 2013
 1 Shout Out! [?]
Trevor isn't bad at all but I only wish he voiced Palpatine in a more serious show (and with how much actually good and serious work Ocean is given these days there's a better chance of solving a rubix cube with a blind fold then that happening.)
pete
said at 2:20 PM on Tue Aug 13 2013
 1 Shout Out! [?]
If Tim isn't available Trevor would be a great replacement in the next installment Palpatine appears in.
SharpShot Shockwave
said at 6:24 PM on Fri Aug 2 2013
 1 Shout Out! [?]
My vote goes to Ian Abercrombie. R.I.P.
His take on Both Sides Of Palpatine Live Up To Mcdiarmid's Live Performance uncannily.
I was surprised to find out Tim Curry Took Abercrombie's place in the Series 5 Finale, I'm looking forward to hearing more of Tim's Voice in the remaining Clone Wars Episodes...
PacoSlimee
said at 4:10 PM on Fri Jul 12 2013
 2 Shout Outs! [?]
I'm blown away by Sam Witwir. Normally I can pick up traces of the actor, like mannerisms and such, but he really gave a fantastic impression.No clue it was him until recently.
Torak
said at 3:49 AM on Thu Jul 11 2013
 1 Shout Out! [?]
Personally, i thought Tim Curry was pretty meh... It's hard to judge with such small lines. On a side note, from the emperors voice in the episode I reckon Ian recorded most of the lines: but then was unavailable or something so Tim Curry was left with this.
What do you guys think?
Aussieroth
said at 3:34 AM on Fri Jul 12 2013
@Torak Yeah that was pretty much the case. The late Ian Abercombie was not able to complete or redo some of his work in his final appearances so Tim Curry did the rest, and so far he has potential.
Torak
said at 9:53 AM on Fri Jul 12 2013
@Aussieroth I agree, he does have potential.
Thanks for clarifying the fact up by the way. :)
Joop
said at 4:58 AM on Tue Jul 16 2013
@Aussieroth I don't watch the series, so I wouldn't know, but do Ian Abercrombie and Tim Curry appear in the same episode? Or are they seperate episodes?
MilanTheVillain01
said at 8:48 AM on Wed Jul 17 2013
@Joop Technically, yes they do. As Aussieroth said in another comment, Curry did the lines that Abercrombie never finished.


For example, the first episode of Season 5, "Revival", is all Abercrombie, except for one line. Curry's only line for the episode is, "They're just petty crooks".

& in episode 16, "The Lawless", the same thing happened again.
Curry's voice clip that you hear on this site is from that particular episode.
Joop
said at 8:54 AM on Wed Jul 17 2013
@MilanTheVillain01 Wow, must be weird hearing that... I'm not sure if I would've used Curry for "missing lines" then. He does a good job, but you can tell it's him and not Abercrombie. I probably would've used a standin that sounded more like Abercrombie for those lines and Curry for a new season.
MilanTheVillain01
said at 12:57 AM on Thu Jul 18 2013
@Joop & the Season 5 finale, "The Wrong Jedi", is where Tim Curry makes his first appearance in full.
Joop
said at 3:51 AM on Thu Jul 18 2013
@MilanTheVillain01 It's too bad that Abercrombie's voice clip has that hologram filter over it. It takes all the bass out of the sound. I'd like to compare his and Curry's voice without the filter. Maybe I'll be more impressed.
MilanTheVillain01
said at 3:25 AM on Fri Jul 19 2013
@Joop In "The Lawless" you actually get to hear Abercrombie's Sidious voice without the hologram effect, at one point.
coolgeek176
said at 4:48 PM on Sun Jul 7 2013
Tim Curry was alright with the little material he had. I still prefer Sam though.
VctrBnsn
said at 3:09 PM on Sun Jul 7 2013
 3 Shout Outs! [?]
Tim Curry...really?
pete
said at 7:52 PM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@VctrBnsn Are you saying that as a good thing or a bad thing?
VctrBnsn
said at 8:25 PM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@pete It just seemed like an odd choice because of how instantly recognizable his voice is. I never thought he would voice this character, I honestly thought they would get Nick Jameson back, or possibly Sam Witwer. But as is, it's A LOT better than I expected.
pete
said at 11:02 PM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@VctrBnsn Tim's range is so impressive here and a few other roles I recently heard. I prefer him over anyone for being original while basing off Ian as well. He obviously knew what he was doing when he auditioned.
TheVengeanceKnight
said at 1:13 AM on Tue Jul 9 2013
@pete What range? It's just Tim Curry being Tim Curry.
MilanTheVillain01
said at 1:20 AM on Tue Jul 9 2013
@TheVengeanceKnight He does a pretty decent job at disguising the signature twang in his voice.
pete
said at 3:40 PM on Tue Jul 9 2013
@MilanTheVillain01 Thank you.
pete
said at 3:43 PM on Tue Jul 9 2013
@TheVengeanceKnight Maybe it's just how much I love some recent stuff I heard from him but like Milan says he does a pretty good job hiding his normal voice and this isn't the only time he's done this awesome with his normal voice either.
TheVengeanceKnight
said at 12:32 AM on Wed Jul 10 2013
@pete His, er, Tim Curry-ness is much more obvious in his Chancellor persona. For that, I don't think he can work for the character.
pete
said at 12:56 AM on Wed Jul 10 2013
@TheVengeanceKnight To be fair this set in the Clone Wars when he was hiding his identity. Altering his voice as Sidious but lightening his Chanccelor fits.
TheVengeanceKnight
said at 1:19 AM on Wed Jul 10 2013
@pete

My problem isn't with Chancellor and Sith Curry-Palps sounding different. It's how Curry as Chancellor Palpatine sounds WAY too much like Curry does normally, and that's why I don't think he can work as the character.
pete
said at 1:19 PM on Sun Jul 7 2013
Never tracked my opinion so here it goes. Tim Curry for the win. Sure he's not imitating Ian but who says he's supposed to. I love him in roles like this where he can show off his range. Can barely tell it's him. He knows what he's doing, makes the character his own, still basing off Ian, not as obvious as the rest. gets to show off his range, go all out and get evil as he wants without going over the top or slipping into his normal/usual voice that much at least for the time being. Hope Season 6 comes out in DVD form or whatever fast so I can hear the rest. Ian Abercrmbie (RIP) is the best besides. him. Nick and Sam are good but do sound a bit forced. Clive is bland but good for a movie at the very start of the 80's before Palpatine became the version we know from from McDiarmid's portrayal.
MilanTheVillain01
said at 5:33 AM on Sun Jul 7 2013
# 1: Sam Witwer - Much like Cypo said in the Editor's Opinion, I'm in shock & amazement at just how close Witwer nailed McDiarmid's voice.

# 2: Ian Abercrombie - Probably the most natural-sounding out of the Palpatine/Sidious VAs & he plays the role well enough.

# 3: Tim Curry - OK, I'll admit it. The decision to cast Curry after Abercrombie's passing (may he rest in peace) was completely out of left field. & listening to him as the Emperor for the very first time (after being so used to Abercrombie) was really odd at best. But after playing the clip through a few more times, I quickly got used to him. He's certainly got the "Ian McDiarmid gruffness" downpat. & even though the "Tim Curry twang" is still partially there, he does an admirable job at hiding it!

# 4 - Nick Jameson: Granted, he may sound really forced compared to the the others. But, I really gotta give Jameson props for that cool, slithery, reptile-like tone he has.

# 5 - Clive Revill: Again, like Cypo said in the Editor's Opinion. Revill gave a pretty damn decent take for its time, back in the mid to late 70's. But sadly, with the way that Palpatine's portrayed nowadays, Revill's voice seems pitifully weak by comparison.
But that's just my two True Blue Aussie cents on the matter.
pete
said at 12:18 PM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@MilanTheVillain01 It was 1980 when The Empire Strikes Back came out.
MilanTheVillain01
said at 11:45 PM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@pete My bad.
pete
said at 2:49 AM on Mon Jul 8 2013
@MilanTheVillain01 Easy mistake. When they were rereleased in the 90's I was little and thought that was when they actually came out. Only the original was the 70's.
MilanTheVillain01
said at 3:43 AM on Mon Jul 8 2013
@pete Yeah, I was thinking of the original too.
TheVengeanceKnight
said at 10:30 PM on Wed Sep 4 2013
@MilanTheVillain01 The "Tim Curry twang" is more noticable in his non-Sith persona.
MilanTheVillain01
said at 1:29 AM on Fri Sep 6 2013
@TheVengeanceKnight Yeah, I've gotta agree with you on that one.
pete
said at 2:04 AM on Sun Jul 7 2013
Tim is one of my favs honestly. Sure he's not imitating Ian but who says he's supposed to. I love him in roles like this where he can show off his range. Can barely tell it's him.
pete
said at 1:12 PM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@pete I'm changing my voe to Tim Curry. Most are Ian McDiarmid impressions or at least inspired by them that(Ian Abercrombie aside) sound pretty forced. Clive is bland but good for movie at the very start of the 80's before Palpatine became the version we know from from McDiarmid's portrayal.
pete
said at 1:13 PM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@pete *vote could have sworn I corrected that. Oh well.
TheVengeanceKnight
said at 11:43 PM on Sat Jul 6 2013
 1 Shout Out! [?]
You should've updated Abercrombie's clip
Aussieroth
said at 12:24 AM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@TheVengeanceKnight Yeah, that would be a good idea.
skeletonking1234
said at 11:13 PM on Sat Jul 6 2013
 4 Shout Outs! [?]
Tim Curry is just a straight up bizarre choice for Sidious to me. It just seems odd because he doesn't sound any bit similar to Abercrombie. I mean anything with Tim Curry in it I'll take it, I just find it bizarre casting since he sounds nothing like Abercrombie did.
Aussieroth
said at 12:26 AM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@skeletonking1234 Yet you have to admit, that is a surprisingly evil voice and performance. Makes me wonder what it would've been like if HE was Palpatine instead of Ian McDiarmid.
pete
said at 2:04 AM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@skeletonking1234 Who said he was supposed to imitate Ian?
skeletonking1234
said at 2:06 PM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@Aussieroth of course its Curry he's one of the masters of evil voices
Nightmare Crusher
said at 10:52 PM on Sat Jul 6 2013
 6 Shout Outs! [?]
I'm not sure what to think of Tim Curry's Palpatine. It's weird hearing such a recognizable voice from Palpatine, but Tim gives his voice a really cool texture.
loredragonmaster
said at 10:47 PM on Sat Jul 6 2013
Uhhh I don't think that clip of Tim Curry's from the right episode. That was still Abercrombie, and according to the Star Wars Wiki he only played the role in the Season Five finale.

And I must say, he doesn't do a good Chancellor Palpatine. He might be good for a Sidious, but that wasn't seen either.
Nightmare Crusher
said at 10:51 PM on Sat Jul 6 2013
@loredragonmaster It sure sounds like Tim Curry to me.
Cypo (Moderator)
said at 12:03 AM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@loredragonmaster Tim Curry did some uncredited additional lines for two other episodes in season 5. The first was the first episode (Revival), and the second was episode 16 (The Lawless). Which is what the audio clip is from.
Aussieroth
said at 12:12 AM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@loredragonmaster Actually, Curry DID do that particular line, in some of the later episodes of season 5, he did the lines Abercombie wasn't able to finish.
Aussieroth
said at 12:12 AM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@Cypo Yeah, I've been trying to find him in the revival episode.
Cypo (Moderator)
said at 12:43 AM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@Aussieroth It's right at the end when Palpatine is dissuading the Jedi from pursuing Maul. Curry has the single line, "They're just petty crooks".
VctrBnsn
said at 3:18 PM on Wed Apr 10 2013
 4 Shout Outs! [?]
....and then you will die.

HAH!
Ringworm128
said at 5:09 AM on Sun Mar 10 2013
Non of them are perfect, I suppose Sam Witwer is the best one but even he sounds like a cheap over the top impression of Ian Mcdiamid.
Red524
said at 11:18 AM on Fri Mar 8 2013
 2 Shout Outs! [?]
Clive Revill is okay. The character wasn't really established at the time, so he sounds quite a bit younger than the others and more like a generic Evil English Guy.
Nick Jameson's voice is serpentine, old-sounding, and positively dripping with evil. I love it!
Ian Abercrombie sounds the oldest of them (probably because he is the oldest) and does a decent job, making the emperor sound mysterious and powerful in a subtle way.
Sam Witwer sounded like he was focusing too much on trying to do an Ian Mcdiarmid impression and it frequently sounds awkward.
I went with Nick Jameson.
Red524
said at 8:33 PM on Mon Jul 22 2013
@Red524 Switching to Tim Curry; he has the sinister edge of Nick Jameson's take combined with the age of Abercrombie's.
Red524
said at 7:39 PM on Mon Aug 12 2013
@Red524 Trevor Devall's sounds a lot like Seth Macfarlane's Palpatine, oddly enough. I like it.
Red524
said at 10:35 PM on Sat Dec 7 2013
@Red524 Switching back to Jameson.
MilanTheVillain01
said at 2:59 AM on Wed Mar 6 2013
 2 Shout Outs! [?]
Allegedly, for Season 5 of the Clone Wars, Palpatine/Sidious is gonna be voiced by Tim Curry.

& I have to say, I think I'm OK with this....
Emphasis the word, "think".
TheVengeanceKnight
said at 8:25 AM on Tue Mar 12 2013
@MilanTheVillain01 I wasn't impressed.
MilanTheVillain01
said at 9:26 PM on Tue Mar 12 2013
@TheVengeanceKnight Again, my friend, emphasis on the word, "think"....
jonhardwick
said at 3:58 PM on Wed Mar 13 2013
@MilanTheVillain01 Why couldn't they get Ian McDiarmid or at least Sam Witwer to replace him.
MilanTheVillain01
said at 8:51 PM on Wed Mar 13 2013
@jonhardwick That's for us to know & them to find out.
coolgeek176
said at 6:36 PM on Thu Feb 7 2013
I'm going with Sam. Ian Abercrombie is good too.
TheVengeanceKnight
said at 1:49 AM on Thu Jan 31 2013
Can't wait for the next episode of Clone Wars where Ian Abercrombie finally gets to let loose as Darth Sidious! XD
LordofEvil96
said at 11:08 PM on Mon Dec 17 2012
1. Sam Witwer: Of all these guys he sounds the closest to McDiarmid. The only problem with him is that he sounds a little like he has a speech impediment at points.

2. Ian Abercrombie: While he is a little high in range for the role he does sound a little like McDiarmid just higher.

3. Nick Jameson: He doesn't sound as Natural as Ian and Sam. Although he gets points for sounding almost snakelike.

4. Clive Revill: It pains me to say that while I do like this take it gets the number 4 spot because it sounds a little too generic. It's not bad but it's such a different take from the other 3.
GerPer92
said at 5:19 AM on Sat Oct 27 2012
Sam sounds closest to McKellen, which is impressive, if you look at his age.
CatsTuxedo (Moderator)
said at 2:26 PM on Sat Oct 27 2012
@GerPer92 I think you mean McDiarmid, not McKellen.
GerPer92
said at 5:59 PM on Wed Nov 7 2012
@CatsTuxedo Yeah of course^^
I somehow always mix up these 2 names.
Cheesyfeet106
said at 5:48 PM on Mon Jul 9 2012
 2 Shout Outs! [?]
Also, I think Ian really works because he is the oldest.
Cheesyfeet106
said at 5:46 PM on Mon Jul 9 2012
 3 Shout Outs! [?]
Clive Reville: As the very first voice, he was menacing and sinister. However, after Ian McDiarmuid took over, Palpatine's depiction has completely changed.

Nick Jameson: As Cypo said, he is almost reptilian, which does fit Palpatine, or atleast when he's Sidious. He normal Palpatine was also awesome though.

Ian Abercrombie: I was a bit skeptical at first but now I really like his performance. RIP.

Sam Witwer: Although he did sometimes sound like he might have an accent, I think he really nailed the Ian McDiarmuid voice. However, I don't know what his Chancellor voice would sound like.

I think its a tie between Nick and Ian. Btw, does anyone know who will do Palps in S5 of Clone Wars as Ian has sadly died?
Beaux
said at 1:11 PM on Sat Jun 16 2012
*Sorry about the big block of text, but my posts don't seem to be working right... I've tried hitting Enter normally and I've tried Shift + Enter, but the blockage persists*
Beaux
said at 1:10 PM on Sat Jun 16 2012
 4 Shout Outs! [?]
Clive Revill is decent, but the character hadn't really been developed enough at that point for him to really stand out. I think he might have done a better job if he was given the role today, but he gets an arguable last place (read on to find out who battles with him for the spot).

Nick Jameson sounds the most evil out of the actors here and delivers a good, sinister performance. Probably my favorite as he puts a lot of energy and evil into the voice without going too over-the-top.

Ian Abercrombie is also good and probably what Palpatine would sound like if he were a real old man in his situation (which makes sense given that his actor is the oldest at the time of the role). Still, Star Wars isn't a very realistic series and Darth Sidious should be a bit more... insidious. He gets my second place vote. (Also, I just learned that he has passed away. He will definitely survive in spirit through his time as Palpatine, but he will be missed...)

Sam Witwer is far too over-the-top and his performance is almost comical at time and it almost sounds like he has some sort of accent or speech impediment instead of sounding old. Still, it's passable as an impersonation of Ian McDiarmid, but he gets an arguable last place, either him or Clive Revill.
Porchops
said at 12:56 AM on Thu May 24 2012
Clive Revill gets my vote. I'll admit that McDiarmid is really the best, but I feel that Abercrombie and Witwer try too hard to imitate him; they don't sound completely natural.
TheVengeanceKnight
said at 2:26 AM on Sun Feb 5 2012
Clive Revill - Eh...

Nick Jameson - His Palpatine voice is good, though his Sidious doesn't really do much for me.

Ian Abercrombie (RIP) - Both his Palpatine and Sidious voices work and fit the time period.

Sam Witwer - Works as a post-revelation Palpatine/Sidious
Torak
said at 1:25 PM on Mon Jan 30 2012
Clive Revill was...alright but didn't really fit for me.

Nick Jameson is probably my favorite here, he had a good evil and sinister voice without trying too hard.

Ian Abercrombe is ok, but doesn't sound evil enough really.

Sam Witwer is good but sounds a little odd to me, like he's trying to imitate Ian McDiarmid or something.
Nightmare Crusher
said at 11:24 AM on Sat Feb 4 2012
@Torak He was trying to sound like Ian McDiarmid. He mentioned the full story behind why he was playing Palpatine in an interview somewhere.
TheVengeanceKnight
said at 3:21 AM on Mon Feb 4 2013
@Torak Watch the latest Clone Wars episode and see if your mind has been changed about Abercrombie. ;-D
Torak
said at 4:59 PM on Thu Feb 7 2013
@TheVengeanceKnight Well, from what I heard: he sound pretty dam good! To be fair though, the show got darker just as he did! :D So I'll rank them as this:

1. Ian (Sounds closest to McDiarmid)
2. Nick (Has a quality to his voice that just fits)
3.Sam (Tries a bit too hard to sound like McDiarmid)
4. Clive (Not bad, just generic.) :)
RabidSonicFan
said at 8:08 PM on Thu Dec 15 2011
My favorite here is Nick Jameson. Everyone else is okay, I guess.
TheVengeanceKnight
said at 4:48 AM on Mon Nov 14 2011
Sam Witwer's good, though it sounds a bit too over-the-top. Ian Abercrombie's is more subtle.
Metabad
said at 11:00 PM on Tue Sep 27 2011
 1 Shout Out! [?]
I don't get why everyone loves Sam Witwer's performance as Sidious so much, I think he sounds horrible, he doesn't even make an effort to sound a thing like Ian McDiarmid and hardly fits the character on his own merits. His voice is more fitting for Starkiller than it is for Sidious.

Nick Jameson I think does the best job here, he sounds like Ian while sounding different enough to make the role his own. He sounds the way Sidious manipulative self should sound like.

Ian Abercrombie sounds alright, pretty fitting from what I hear but kind of hard to judge with the effects added to it.

Clive Revill sounds decent, but far too generic in the role. I do sort of like it but at the same time I can see why it never caught on when compared to Ian McDiarmid's performance in the sequel.

McDiarmid of course is the best Sidious overall, but as far as voice acting goes, I'm giving this one to Nick Jameson.
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 3:43 AM on Wed Sep 28 2011
@Metabad Its not a voice actors job to try to sound like the person that came before him or played him in real life!!! Sam Witwer is the clear winner on this one, not sure what you're are hearing when you listen to him but he easily fits the character! I think you are confusing what real voice acting is all about - its not about trying to impersonate those who did the voice before you!!
Metabad
said at 5:08 AM on Wed Sep 28 2011
@OptimusSolo I think you missed the part where I said that he hardly fits the character on his own merits, by that I meant on his own when not compared to the previous performances.

As far as fitting the character goes, I suppose that is only a matter of opinion but I REALLY don't think he fits the character, when I play his clip I hear a deep and far too young sounding voice trying too hard, or perhaps not trying hard enough to sound old and decrepit.

Again, imitating who came before him was not my sole argument. It might seem that way but it was not. Heck, the reason I like Nick Jameson is because yes while he does make a good effort to sound like McDiarmid he has a bit of a higher tone to his voice and his performance really made the role his own.

On another note I'm a bit offended that you said that I was confused about what real voice acting was all about, as I have been interested in voice acting for quite a while, looked into it, and even voice acted before in a flash animation and an RPG game that both sadly never got off the ground. I know its not all about impersonating others, you definitely have to work to make the performance your own. However on the other hand plenty of voice actors can sound very similar to those that came before them with great degrees of success such as Jim Cummings, Frank Welker, Billy West, etc.

I'm sure there have been voice actors before that have been praised for roles that you've certainly disliked.
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 12:48 AM on Thu Sep 29 2011
@Metabad Wasn't meaning to offend at all but your comments did in fact make it seem like you would only appreciate those who sounded just like or close to McDiarmid. Sorry if that's not how you meant it but just try to be more clear next time :) - Of course impersonators can be highly successful as there is always a need to 'carry on' certain voices after others can't. But all of those actors you listed also have an uncanny ability to create original voices/characters as well.
pete
said at 1:29 PM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@Metabad I second that sound the least McDiarmidish to me. Good but not McDiarmid or Abercombie good. Same with Nick.
pete
said at 11:07 PM on Sun Jul 7 2013
@pete *Witwer. I had to rush because I was in a hurry.
StarShooter
said at 1:41 PM on Wed Sep 21 2011
Also, i found out the name of woman who weared played palpatine in phycical form in Star Wars IV. Her name is Elaine Baker (Found it at Wikipedia).
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 3:00 AM on Thu Sep 22 2011
@StarShooter this is pretty common knowledge to most star wars fans but thanks for sharing :)
StarShooter
said at 12:16 PM on Tue Sep 20 2011
Normally Ian McDiarmid would take my vote, but too bad he is not here, so Clive Revill gets it, though i like Nick Jameson too. Ian Abercrombie is unfortuanley the worst in my opinon, with Sam Witwer taking third place.
NCZ (Admin)
said at 8:51 PM on Mon May 30 2011
It's between Clive Revill and Sam Witwer for me.
dreakz (Guest)
said at 6:58 PM on Sun Jan 16 2011
Sam Witwer is the best.

And Starkiller looks like Sam because he is Starkiller :P
christopherlee (Guest)
said at 11:48 AM on Sun Nov 21 2010
Too bad there's no McDiarmid here since his voice is so perfect in every way. Well i hope something turns up so that you can use it here Cypo.
Cypo (Moderator)
said at 10:25 PM on Fri Nov 19 2010
I had checked while doing this, said games just used archive audio of Ian from ROTJ, specifically his laugh.

Which, I didn't think archive audio counted.
pete
said at 10:47 PM on Fri Mar 4 2011
@Cypo Ian Mcdiarmid voiced him in the game version of Revenge of the Sith so he should be on here.
Cypo (Moderator)
said at 9:41 PM on Sat Mar 5 2011
@pete No he didn't. Ian only appears in the ROTS game via cutscenes taken from the movie, while Nick Jameson (who is above on this list) did him in the actual gameplay and alternate "dark" ending.
pete
said at 4:54 PM on Wed Apr 6 2011
@Cypo He dubbed him over for the rereleae of ROTJ so he should be on here
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 5:22 PM on Wed Apr 6 2011
@pete No he did not. He never 'dubbed' the voice. They shot NEW footage with him physically in the role, hence he was the actual actor in those scenes and NOT doing voice work!
jonhardwick (Guest)
said at 5:02 PM on Fri Nov 19 2010
actually in some the early 1990's star wars games for the SNES ian mcdiarmid reprised his role.
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 12:11 AM on Wed Nov 17 2010
One problem this is for VOICE ACTORS not real life actors so sorry prgii
prgii (Guest)
said at 8:25 PM on Tue Nov 16 2010
Ian McDiarmid should be here, as he is the one and only best actor and voice for Darth Sidious in my opinion.

And that Sam Witwer guy looks just about exactly like Starkiller in the Force Unleashed games.
marvefan93 (Guest)
said at 10:17 PM on Mon Nov 15 2010
Nicks has got to be my favorite here, i'm just so used to him its hard hearing anyone else as the character. But i will say that Sam Witwer does nail the character as well and gets my honorary second vote! :)
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 8:20 PM on Mon Nov 15 2010
Sam Witwer is a clear winner here although I do love the old Revill voice as well.


A favorite Voice Compare
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"I Have Always Favored The Sith Since I Saw The Live Films"

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BTVA POLL
Who do you think has been the best from these Emperor Palpatine / Darth Sidious voice actors?
Clive Revill
Nick Jameson
Ian Abercrombie
Sam Witwer
Tim Curry
Trevor Devall