In Lords of the Sith:

“You’ll have to do this yourself, my friend,” the Emperor said to Vader. “I can’t be seen using the Force before so many witnesses.”

Vader openly uses his Force ability in front of people. E.g. in Star Wars.

Lords of the Sith is set 5 years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, so Palpatine's rule was secure.

The few remaining Jedi knew that he was a Sith, so it was hardly a secret to his main enemies. What was he concerned about in this scene?

  • related, possible dupe: Why didn't Palpatine publicly change his name once he became Emperor?
    – phantom42
    Aug 31 '15 at 11:21
  • Unless there is something specific about this scene, this is a dupe of the question linked by @phantom42. Palpatine's rule would not be so secure if it was revealed he was a Sith Lord, especially merely 5 years after the transformation of the Republic to the Empire. The Republic stood for thousands of years, so 5 years is nothing.
    – Null
    Aug 31 '15 at 12:46

In Disney canon, it's not explicitly explained to my recollection, but might be in the upcoming books. However, it is held to be true - definitely - well past ROTS timeline; where ~5-7 years after ROTS Palpatine hides his Force skills in the "Lords of the Sith" book.

In Legends canon, it can be clearly inferred from the fact that the Sith have a poor reputation. To quote from Dooku (conversing with Palpatine in "Darth Plagueis):

“For many, they are the embodiment of pure evil

Palpatine has no need to fuel the rebellion with people who're Okie-dokie with him and Vader "Bringing Law and Order to the Galaxy" - or who simply want to live their life and don't much care which clique of corrupt poo-bahs rule Coruscant. But who just might start objecting/opposing being ruled by the Big Bad Sith Lord. Heck, he might be opposed by his own government figures.

  • The bit that confuses me about this train of thought, is why is it OK for Vader to publicly use the force, but not Palpatine. For the "okie-dokie" people what difference is there to Vader using the force to bring Law and Order to the Galaxy, and both Vader and Palpatine doing so. If the Sith have such a bad rep in the common man's eyes, maybe Vader shouldn't publicly use the honorific "Darth". Sep 1 '15 at 9:50
  • 2
    @NikolaiDante Well Vader isn't the emperor. And who is there to say that Vader is a sith? Most are ignorant to the ways of the force, they probably couldn't even tell the difference between jedi and sith. It's not like Vader went publicly executing everyone, he was just a known force user. Vader being a force user seems like the emperor has a right hand man to enforce law and order. Someone powerful. The emperor being a force user and even more powerful than Vader...and the one who claimed jedi were the enemy...well now things look suspicious.
    – Demarini
    Sep 1 '15 at 13:52
  • Using a Sith title might hint that Vader is a Sith. Of course, in the original trilogy there was no hint that Darth was a Sith title at all that I recall. Even Leia called him Lord Vader, respecting the title if not the man.
    – Oldcat
    Sep 1 '15 at 18:46
  • @Oldcat - also, it's been far enough in history that "Darth" may not click with "Sith" for a vast majority of Galactic population Sep 1 '15 at 18:59

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