The laws of the Sith Order are the polar opposite to the laws of the Jedi. Both follow rules, but with the Sith, how does the Rule of Two work?
“Always two there are. No more, no less. A Master and an Apprentice.”
For millennia, the Jedi believed their enemies extinct. Has anyone noticed there are only a Sith pair seen at a time? Characters such as Asajj Ventress and General Grievous aren’t included because they did not have Dark Side names and they became assassins to serve Count Dooku.
The concept of the Rule of Two
The definition of the law existed in the prequel films though we only saw it in action instead of getting an explanation. The backstory became crucial in legends continuity during the Darth Bane Trilogy written by Drew Karpyshyn.
Since the Disney buyout of Lucasfilm, the book trio is no longer canonical. However, the character received a rewrite to fit inside canon thanks to a small appearance in The Clone Wars Season 6 finale episode ‘Sacrifice’.
Photo credit: Lucasfilm/The Clone Wars
According to the dead Sith Lord’s spirit, he watched as the Sith crumbled due to the lust of command. The Sith Lord, being the sole survivor, he didn’t allow power to overtake him. He decided that it would best to have just a single teacher plus their disciple and no more.
Bane became the first Sith Lord to take on a trainee under this new law. During this time, Bane engaged in an ancient war, which would later be known as the Jedi-Sith war. When he died at the hands of the Jedi, Bane’s plans continued through his Apprentice and the Jedi thought they destroyed the entire Sith entity.
The evil Force order might have survived, but a single obstacle needed to be maintained: the Sith’s survival had to be kept a secret. A mentor required having knowledge. The protégé, however, had to learn the Sith ways.
A millennia of revenge
Valley of the Sith Lords. Photo credit Lucasfilm [Star Wars: The Clone Wars]For a thousand years, the Sith plotted revenge against the Jedi, but they needed to stay under the radar. The revenge continued through the founder’s legacy.
The plot carried on during waning days of the Republic. Sith Lord Darth Sidious became the final piece the Sith required to regain their control of the galaxy.
A politician, Palpatine served his home planet of Naboo, serving in Senate until the ultimate promotion came along: the title of Supreme Chancellor. During his 13 years in office, he went through two Sith pupils before he received his third with Vader.
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Before being voted in as Chancellor, Palpatine gained an Apprentice in Maul, a Zabrak who hailed from Dathomir. Maul became a disciple to Palpatine after the then-Sith apprentice abandoned his mother, Mother Talzin. He promised her she would someday become his novice. He took Maul with him when he realized the boy had Force sensitivity.
In the following years, Maul trained, sculpting himself into a killing machine who wanted to reap revenge on the Jedi. He served his Master without question. Most thought Maul to have perished during the Invasion of Naboo in his duel with then-Jedi Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi whose mentor, Qui-Gon Jinn, Maul had slaughtered.
On Naboo, Maul was slain by the Padawan, in revenge for slaughtering Jinn and fell to his apparent demise after Kenobi cut him in half at the waist.
Maul and his brother formed their own ‘Sith Order’. Unfortunately, the second of Talzin’s sons was cut down with Maul being forced to flee.
Palpatine made grave mistake as far as Maul perishing was concerned. He didn’t bother to find his body before he took on fallen Jedi Dooku as his next disciple. Like Maul, Dooku served as a piece in a larger plan. Sidious only had Dooku as an apprentice because he was waiting for the right time to seduce his next pupil.
The End Of The Rule Of Two
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm
Before Anakin became Darth Vader, the tradition of the Rule of Two was wiped out with Dooku secretly taking Ventress and Grievous as his apprentices. While it’s unknown if Palpatine knew about Grievous being trained, he knew the Nightsister was Dooku’s assassin.
Sidious’s cunning nature enabled him to break the mold of hundreds of years of Sith convention. He didn’t care about the rule and just wanted to conquer the galaxy. He was patient and had other objectives in case something happened to him before he achieved his goal. This is the reason he had Operation: Cinder put in place, which was executed in 4BY and ended three months later, before the Battle of Jakku.
Palpatine’s objective involved destroying the Empire should he die. He created a Contingency plan, which would have the galaxy witness the end of the Empire, but that doesn’t mean fragments of the defeated Empire didn’t exist.
Vader’s role in the Rule of Two
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm
He may have been the Emperor’s top enforcer, but Darth Vader was more than a pawn. He lost everything as Anakin Skywalker, but becoming Vader meant being open to murdering those who got on his bad side. In typical Sith style, he bestowed death upon anyone who didn’t agree with the Empire. He became renown for killing his own officers when they spoke out against him.
Vader didn’t argue when he did his mentor’s bidding… literally. He was willing to kill for his Master because he had nothing to live for. He followed whatever demands he received and he didn’t question them.
Because he was Sidious’s final apprentice, Vader was in no position to murder his new Master. In the beginning, he became power hungry and thought he could overthrow Palpatine and rule the galaxy with Padmé at his side.
It appeared Vader’s feelings were non-existent towards the law as he became convinced the Emperor would find a way to rule forever. Once he discovered Luke was his child, he tried to turn the younger Skywalker to the Dark Side. When he failed, the Emperor attempted to pit father and son against each other.
While the Emperor’s plan worked for a moment, Vader turned on his inspector and killed him when he tried to slay his and Padmé’s child. In the end, Vader disregarded the rule when he died protecting his son.
Snoke and the Knights of Ren – Resurrection of the Rule of Two?
Photo Credit: [Star Wars: The Last Jedi] LucasfilmLeia and Han had every right to be concerned about their only son, Ben. They spent years trying to prevent him from learning who his grandfather was. However, they failed, and he destroyed his uncle’s Jedi Order like Anakin had once done to the original Jedi.
The evil Force wielder, Snoke, had no love for Sith philosophy and thought Palpatine was a fool because of how he operated. He overlooked the Rule of Two as outdated, though, he may have taken inspiration from it when he formed the Knights of Ren with Ben Solo becoming his Apprentice.
Evidence number one shows the Supreme Leader is similar to the Emperor but on a more mystical level. We weren’t acquainted with his background like we were with the Emperor. His nature was and still is mysterious and we never found out anything about him even after he got slaughtered by the younger Solo.
Snoke had limited interest in the Sith, there were similarities in the way he sat back and let his protégé do the heavy lifting. This is reminiscent of Sidious allowing whatever novice he had to do his bidding.
Observation three slingshots to the evidence that like Vader, Kylo wore a mask to hide his identity. However, unlike his grandfather, everyone was aware the Master of the Knights of Ren was Ben Solo. No one was aware Vader was Anakin Skywalker except a select few people within the Empire and of course, Bail Organa, Yoda and Obi-Wan knew.
The fourth and final point is the manhandling Snoke inflicted on not just his victims like Rey, but on his apprentice when things weren’t going to plan. The abuse came too much for Han and Leia’s child to handle so he took out his Master. As of the end of The Last Jedi, we haven’t gotten word whether Vader’s grandson will take up his master’s post as Supreme Leader.
The Sith were an interesting, yet mysterious group of individuals. They had regulations that didn’t follow the same path as the bylaws of the Jedi. They had their own regulations to ensure greed and power didn’t go to their members’ heads. The procedure was enforced to reduce the risk of maximum fatalities in combat and to prevent any civil wars from breaking out.