4. Emperor Palpatine – Star Wars
While many fans still don’t appreciate the Star Wars prequel films, they do a remarkably good job of depicting the way in which Sheev Palpatine manipulated the Galactic Republic into becoming his Empire. In doing so, they make Palpatine a cunning and fiercely intelligent man, despite the fact that throughout the original trilogy, he’s an absolute moron.
Emperor Palpatine is supposedly one of the most ruthless and conniving figures in all the galaxy, and he’s also shown to be extremely powerful in the Force. Despite this, he doesn’t seem to entertain the idea that his apprentice could potentially side with his own son over the Empire, or that Luke might not want to join the ranks of the wrinkly monster or the hulking mass of life-support system that are trying to recruit him.
He also allows for a weakness in his Death Star, and then continues work on a second even knowing that the first was quite easily destroyed. Despite the half-finished second one being “fully operational”, it’s still destroyed without too much hardship by the rebels. That’s without even mentioning the fact that his Stormtroopers are apparently unable to land a single shot and are genuinely decimated by a tribe of small, angry teddy bears.
Despite the prequels’ work to depict Palpatine as an intelligent manipulator, throughout the events of the original trilogy he’s actually fairly inept. When all’s said and done, it’s no wonder a cocky mop-topped teenager was able to undermine his authority and destroy his Empire.