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Star Wars: How Did Palpatine Know About Anakin & Padme?

As far as secrets go in Star Wars, it doesn't get juicer than Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Padme Amidala's (Natalie Portman) relationship. Given the Jedi Order's fear of attachment and how emotions could lead someone to the dark side, the couple went to great lengths to hide their oath-breaking marriage. So, how did Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) know that Anakin and Padme were together? 

Like most things in Star Wars, the answer can be found in the Force. One of the powers offered through the mystical energy is called a mind probe. While the name practically speaks for itself, the technique gives Force-users the ability to more or less read someone's mind. Any Force-sensitive being can use a mind probe to detect someone's surface-level thoughts. However, through the dark side, they can go much deeper, searching someone's emotions and memories for information. 

Making matters worse for Anakin, individuals overcome with emotion are much easier to read. The Jedi spends most of "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith" riddled with guilt over Padme's impending death, making him more susceptible to Palpatine's mind probe. Considering the Sith Lord is one of the most powerful beings in Star Wars, it likely wasn't hard for him to probe Anakin's mind and learn about his secret relationship with Padme.

The dark side abuses mind probe

Palpatine's use of a mind probe to learn about Anakin and Padme's secret relationship is a prime example of how the dark side abuses the Force's power. Technically, the Force offers the mind-reading technique to any of its users. However, manipulations of its power have made it primarily associated with the dark side.

In many scenarios, a dark side Force user has harnessed the mind probe's ability to rip information from someone's head. In "Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi," Darth Vader takes after Palpatine, using a mind probe on Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). The subtle probe reveals to the Sith Lord the existence of Luke's sister, Leia (Carrie Fisher). However, the sequel trilogy showcases how much harm a mind probe can cause. In "Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens," Kylo Ren uses the technique to painfully extract information from Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Rey (Daisy Ridley). Then, in "Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi," Snoke (Andy Serkis) uses the technique to pry Luke's location from Rey's mind, causing the Jedi severe pain.

While Palpatine's mind probe on Anakin didn't go to such violent lengths, it showed just how powerful the dark side ability can be. Just a subtle look into someone's mind was enough to help Palpatine bring Anakin to the dark side.