By Attack of the Clones, the two of them are close friends, so Palpatine had been hard at work during the intermittent 10 years. The crazy part is he never tried to hide his interest in, and influence on, Anakin Skywalker from the Jedi Order.
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Sheev Palpatine hailed from the planet of Naboo. There, he was born into the aristocracy and worked his way through politics until he became the senator to the Republic for his homeworld. That was the position he held at the beginning of The Phantom Menace. Of course, his drive for power was not satiated with that, so he engineered the Naboo Crisis, thereby putting his home and himself into the spotlight. The results were, by and large, successful. He became chancellor, Anakin began his Jedi training and Naboo was put onto the forefront of the galactic stage.
It was only a few short years later, Palpatine used his home again to get closer to Anakin. The “Obi-Wan & Anakin” comic shows Palpatine observing Anakin in a training exercise. After an outburst of anger against his training mates, Palpatine saw his chance to begin influencing the boy. Because he began his training so late, Anakin was already experiencing feelings other Jedi never had, and he needed an emotional mentor to help him. However, detached Jedi masters could never offer such guidance.
Anakin and Palpatine’s previous interactions on Naboo provided the secret Sith lord with the perfect excuse to engage, so he told Master Windu, “Send him to me. I may be able to help. It may not look like it, but I was once his age and I feel a special connection to the boy after his assistance with the Naboo blockade some years ago.” Master Windu could not refuse since Jedi were under the control of the Senate, which Palpatine was in charge of. It was the perfect setup.
Even though he had unquestioned permission to see Anakin, Palpatine still taught him alone and in secret. The new canon novel Skywalker: A Family at War explains Palpatine’s methods: “Using the seedy underworld of Coruscant as his classroom, Palpatine opened the young man’s eyes to the suffering of those dwelling on the planet’s lowest levels.” Palpatine’s excuse was to show Anakin how he tried to do a little bit of good, even in the dark places of their world. However, his real intent was to “expose Anakin to the hypocrisies inherent in the Republic that, Palpatine confidently expected, would one day lead him to reject the Jedi Code.” There was no excuse for the Jedi to live how they did when they could not help the people just outside of the temple.
Palpatine’s cunning should never be underestimated. Because he knew about Anakin’s doubts and fears, specifically regarding his mother, Palpatine was quick to exploit the sudden lack of family structure in the boy’s life. After Anakin left Tatooine, there was a void. The Jedi could not, or would not, connect with him in the way a real family would. So, when Palpatine “called Anakin ‘son,’ the boy felt that he would do anything for him, just for the chance to feel part of a family again.” All of this, combined with Palpatine’s constant praise of his abilities and potential, kept Anakin completely in the dark. Anakin held nothing but respect and admiration for Palpatine, and he never suspected that such a supportive and kindly politician was actively grooming him to become an evil Sith lord.
One of the main things that Palpatine conveniently pointed out to Anakin was the presence of slavery on Coruscant. If the Republic could not eradicate such a practice on its own capital planet, what hope was there for the galaxy and outer-rim worlds like Tatooine where Anakin’s mother was still enslaved. Consequently, “the calculating politician schemed to instill a dangerous sense of ambition in the already arrogant boy.” If the Jedi would not free slaves, then he would find a way to do it himself — with or without the Jedi. So, for now, Obi-Wan could be his teacher, but Palpatine would be like his father.
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