Plenty of villains to choose from in the Star Wars sestet, but I’ll take Palpatine, who represents political and martial power at its most toxic. McDiarmid was aboard for four of the six films; his first was Return of the Jedi when, 22 years before Sith was shot, he played Palpatine as 23 years older! (He also made a digital cameo in The Empire Strikes Back.) One of the major British stage actors of the past few decades, McDiarmid is a weary-looking man with a magnificent vocal instrument. He uses this honeyed voice to pour poison into the ear of Anakin Skywalker and turn the ambitious Jedi into Darth Vader. Most seductively, most repellently, Palpatine does what a movie villain must do: convince the characters he is corrupting, and the audience in the theater, that evil is both plausible and essential, liberating and enthralling.