'Star Wars 9' Theory Shows How Palpatine Could Break the Only Sith Rule

The Emperor might be an even bigger threat than we give him credit for.

The Sith have long adhered to the famous Rule of Two, but a convincing new theory suggests that Emperor Palpatine has been breaking that particular Sith rule for ages, pushing the envelope of what he can and can’t do as a Sith Lord. So what does that ultimately mean for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Sheev’s return? Let’s dive in.

Speculative spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker below.

The Rule of Two pertains to how many apprentices a Sith master can take on at any given point. One master and one apprentice. Makes sense, right? But, as the saying goes, some rules are meant to be broken.

Over at Star Wars Shadow Council, blogger Robotical712 theorized that Palpatine used the Rule of Two to his advantage and on his own terms. That Sith rule book? Well, he threw it right out the window.

“While he only trained a single apprentice at a time, he had no issue with other Force sensitives serving him or even his apprentices,” they wrote. 

So, if we’re to break this down using Palpatine’s logic, then he could’ve reached out and trained anyone he deemed worthy regardless of whether or not they were to be a formal Sith apprentice. Obviously, being Force-sensitive is different from being a Force-user, but that just means Palpatine may have been finding the former to build an army of eventual Force-users who could fight at his side in Episode IX.

Additionally, there’s canonical evidence from the comics that make it clear how Palpatine went after Jedi. He claims as much in the Vader #15 comic book, saying that he “used those who were not Sith to achieve” his goals.

Star Wars the Rise of Skywalker Palpatine
Good old Palps has been making his own rules since before his rise to power. 

It’s important to remember that there are only so many people who are actually Force-sensitive, and Palpatine could have trained many of them. Does that mean Palpatine may have set his sights on Kylo Ren and, by extension, the Knights of Ren? After all, Kylo is practically a Sith lord at this point, and, though he never completed his training with Luke, he became a very powerful Force-user. (We wouldn’t go so far as to call him a Jedi, though.) If Palpatine indeed possessed Supreme Leader Snoke — as some theorists claim — then it’s safe to assume he may have helped finish Kylo’s training through him.

This would definitely explain a lot, especially because Kylo had already been working with Snoke by the time we met them both in The Force Awakens. And while we don’t know much about the Knights of Ren other than they likely report to Kylo, they probably didn’t complete their Jedi training, either, meaning they could have also been under Snoke’s guidance as well.

Even if Palpatine wasn’t possessing Snoke, if the theory that Snoke served alongside Palpatine prior to his death on Endor holds true, then the supreme leader would have carried on Palp’s legacy in working around the Rule of Two. No matter who may have benefited from his training, it’s clear he was only thinking of himself and the power he could attain. The only way to stop him now (and to restore the Rule of Two to its original purpose) is to defeat the Emperor once and for all.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019.

Media via Lucasfilm