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Do Sith Always Kill their Masters?

Do Sith Always Kill their Masters?

If Star Wars Legends and the Skywalker Saga shared a common denominator, it’s that Sith Apprentices like killing. Or at least plotting to kill their Masters. However, Sith Masters have killed their Apprentices, so perhaps this is a two-way street. 

Some believe Sith Lords cared about their Apprentices, but it only seems to be the case if those Apprentices achieved a certain level of power. Even then, Sith Lords should have expected their Apprentices to kill them given the Rule of Two. 

While the Rule called only for two Sith Lords to operate at any time, it was possible, but nearly impossible, to become a Sith if not involved in the Rule of Two. 

Do Sith Lords Care About Their Apprentices?

Darth Bane kicked off the Rule of Two Era, but one side effect comprised an incredible number of Sith Apprentices killing their Masters.

But was this a side effect or Darth Bane’s intention?

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Throughout Star Wars Canon and Legends, numerous instances existed where Apprentices killed their Masters, who seemed to be the trusting type. 

Darth Sidious killed Darth Plagueis. Kylo Ren killed Snoke. And although he returned to the light side, Darth Vader killed Darth Sidious before the latter resurrected himself. 

How did Palpatine kill Darth Plagueis?

Speaking of Darth Sidious, he made an eerie comment in Revenge of the Sith. Before his final duel with Yoda in the movie’s climax, Sidious claimed, “Darth Vader will be more powerful than both of us.” 

Did Sidious care for Vader? And in retrospect, did Plagueis care for Sidious? 

It seems like Sidious wanted Vader to rule with him. And he ultimately saved him from certain death and turned him into a cyborg, so at least to a degree, Sidious cared for Vader. 

However, Sidious also admired Luke Skywalker’s power and encouraged him to duel and kill Vader. Just as Sidious, then known as Chancellor Palpatine, demanded Anakin Skywalker to kill Count Dooku. 

While Sidious cared about Darth Vader, he only cared until he found a strong candidate to replace his Apprentice. 

And had Luke Skywalker succumbed to temptation and joined the dark side, Sidious would have cared about Luke until someone with potentially more Force-sensitivity showed up. 

Luke Confronts The Emperor

We can use Darth Sidious as a template to show how much Sith Lords cared for their Apprentices. They only cared about their Apprentices gaining strength in the dark side. 

And if they believed someone better was out there, they killed their Apprentice in favor of another Force-sensitive candidate. 

Do Sith Always Kill Their Masters?

Why Did Sith Lords Willfully Train Apprentices Who’d Kill Them in the Rule of Two Era?

Darth Bane’s Rule of Two allowed the Sith to feign their extinction while operating secretly to overthrow the Jedi. Bane wanted one Sith Master to “embody power,” and an Apprentice who “craved it.” 

Bane knew two things about restoring Sith influence in the Galaxy: 

  1. The Sith needed to operate in secret. 
  2. They needed to put the dark side of the Force above all else. 

It’s easy to see the flaw in Bane’s plan, since the “craver” would eventually seek to overpower the “embodiment” as both were putting the dark side first. 

But was it a flaw?

Given the Code of the Sith, it’s even easier to see why the craver would kill the embodiment. The Sith believed they gained strength through passion, power through strength deriving from passion, and from that power, victory.

Once an Apprentice gained that power, they were Number Two until they killed their Master and sought another Apprentice. 

Bane’s true intention was for the Master to train their Apprentice to become the stronger of the two. And the Master had to realize their Apprentice would at least challenge and eventually kill them. 

“Know This: Your apprentice will kill you. If this fact frightens you, then the Sith Order has already suffered a fatal infection. Your existence in the Order is not needed. Your battle has already been lost.” – Darth Bane

Why Did Darth Bane Create the Rule of Two?

Why Darth Bane Established the Rule of Two

Darth Bane saw the Sith Order collapse and nearly go extinct at the Jedi’s hands on their own. 

This occurred because the Sith put their self-serving interests ahead of the dark side. Since Sith Lords of old varied in power, it caused factions of Sith to join forces. Mainly, less powerful Sith took on their more powerful counterparts and killed them via the numbers game

This caused the Sith Order to weaken when those larger numbers killed off their powerful peers. The Jedi took advantage and ridded the galaxy of the Sith. Or so they thought, until Darth Maul dueled Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. 

Over the millennium since Darth Bane implemented the Rule of Two, the Sith rose again, but secretly. In the 1,000 years preceding the Galactic Empire’s formation, Sith Apprentices regularly killed their Masters, growing stronger with each generation. 

Can You Become a Sith Without a Master?


The Jedi saw many Force-sensitives leave the Order. Many of these Jedi, like Count Dooku, left because they became disillusioned with the Order’s politics. 

Others had their own reasons. Perhaps they disagreed with the Jedi Code and wanted to live a freer life. Or, they were more comfortable teetering between light and dark, like the Grays. 

And perhaps even some left the Jedi Order because they wanted to embrace the dark side. But, they wanted to do so on their terms. 

Unfortunately for them, the Rule of Two still applied. They could seek out the Sith Master or Sith Apprentice. But, unless they killed one of them, or enticed a Sith Apprentice to kill their Master, they couldn’t join the Sith. 

The alternative would be to embrace the dark side on their own. However, since the Sith were so secretive, this would not be an easy endeavor. 

While they could develop Sith-like powers if they meditated and gravitated toward the dark side using emotions like passion through anger and rage that would translate into strength and power, to achieve this without direction would not be easy. 

And since the Jedi Order did not teach the dark side to their Younglings, but instead to keep clear of it, it would be even tougher to learn the ways of the Sith without a master. 

So the short answer is yes, one can become a Sith without a Master. But given the Sith’s secrecy and the Jedi’s neglect of teaching about the dark side, it would be almost impossible. 


The Sith existed to serve the dark side, and Sith Lords cared about their Apprentices if the latter showed they were well-versed in wielding dark-sided power. If not, Masters killed off their Apprentices and sought another, like when Palpatine pursued Anakin Skywalker. 

Sith Apprentices were supposed to challenge and kill their Masters. This stems from the Rule of Two that Darth Bane established and it helped ensure an Apprentice would grow stronger than the Master. 

After so many centuries, it would eventually allow the Sith to exert revenge on the Jedi

One can become a Sith, or a Sith equivalent, without serving as an Apprentice. However, given the secrecy regarding the Sith this is no easy endeavor and it would take a full commitment to the dark side. 

But if that were the case, odds are greater the Sith Master (or Apprentice) would sense and seek this prospect. 

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