One of the many things that separate the Jedi from the Sith as a “group” is the “Rule of Two.” While there can be countless Jedi and a select few Jedi masters within that order, when it comes to the Sith, they are a bit more selective. Staring with Darth Bane, he decided that there would only be a “master” and an “apprentice” and when the apprentice grew more powerful, they would need to slay their master and take their place as the new leader of the Sith. Which is what makes one scene in The Rise of Skywalker fairly interesting.
***Spoiler for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker***
J.J. Abrams dusted off Sheev Palpatine aka Darth Sidious in order to “correct” Rey’s parentage and make her the granddaughter of Palpatine. During the final conflict between the two, Palpatine says that he has the powers of all the Sith and their “stage” is this sort of gladiator-style arena filled to the brim, with what seems to be a manifestation of all the Sith.
… So I have a question?
In Darth Plagueis by James Luceno, we get some background on the Master who taught Darth Sidious. In one section of dialogue, he says the following:
“Descended from Darth Bane, we are the select few who refuse to be carried by the Force, and who carry it instead. Thirty in a millennium, rather than the tens of thousands fit to be Jedi. Any Sith can feign compassion and self-righteousness and master the Jedi arts, but only in one a thousand Jedi could ever become a Sith, for the dark side is only for those who value self-determinism over all else that existence offers.” (p. 162)
Where did this arena filled with Sith come from them? Of the known Sith Lords we know about across the extensive canon and non-canon universe, before Grandpappy Palpatine, there were twenty of them and that includes three that he trained himself. So when Plagueis says thirty in a millennium, he means it.
Even if there are double or triple this amount, quite frankly the Sith aren’t winning via a numbers game. Regardless, the more I think about this scene of the arena packed full of Sith, the more I think it would have been stronger if we didn’t have the physical, actual Emperor there. While bringing back Ian McDiarmid is awesome, I also think it would have been better to bring his voice and Sith ghost presence rather than himself. Because if he is the only great evil over three trilogies, in the Star Wars universe, then quite frankly, the Jedi really suck at being space police.
If it only takes one Sith Lord to take over the universe twice, then having a whole area full of Sith would have made him unstoppable, because the Jedi really, really are bad at their jobs.
But the question remains: where did all of those Sith observers come from?
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