The only people loyal to the Empire known to be aware of Palpatine's identity as a Sith Lord are the Imperial Royal Guards, Grand Vizier Mas Amedda and of course his Sith apprentice Darth Vader. To members of the Imperial government, especially the military, the only known Sith Lord is Darth Vader.

Many high-ranking officials and officers were present during the Clone Wars however, some old enough to have served the Republic during the war. They, especially those who were a part of the Grand Army of the Republic, should in general be familiar with the existence of the Rule of Two.

As such, has any Imperial ever wondered why they only know of one Sith, and where the other one is?

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    Should they? Even among the Jedi it didn't seem to be that general knowledge before eps 1 that "always two there are".
    – Thomas
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


Yes, but they didn’t know about the Rule of Two

At least one Imperial thought along these lines: soon-to-be Grand Moff Tarkin. He went even further and concluded that the missing Sith was Emperor Palpatine:

The matter of precisely how the Jedi had been killed or the Emperor’s face deformed had never been settled to everyone’s satisfaction, and so Tarkin had his private thoughts about the Emperor, as well. That he and Vader were kindred spirits suggested that both of them might be Sith. Tarkin often wondered if that wasn’t the actual reason Palpatine had been targeted for arrest or assassination by the Jedi.


Sidious assumed that if Tarkin knew that Vader was a Sith, he would have suspected that Sidious was his master.

Sidious assumed that Tarkin had puzzled out that Vader had once been Anakin Skywalker, under whom Tarkin had served during the war. Tarkin may also have determined that Vader was a Sith. If so, it followed that he accepted that Sidious was Vader’s dark side Master.


Why did other Imperials not suspect something similar?

The truth is that knowledge of the Sith was not widely available. The Jedi often seemed reluctant to reveal even the very identity of their foe to the common people, let alone details like the Rule of Two. Further, there was a systematic effort by the Empire to eliminate all details of the Jedi and the Force from public knowledge after Order 66 was executed.

“We no longer speak of the Jedi,” Mas Amedda had said when they had watched Vader issue his warnings to members of Coruscant’s underworld. It struck Tarkin now that the Chagrian’s attitude wasn’t one that was confined to the Emperor’s court. In the five short years since the Order had been eradicated—Jedi Masters, Jedi Knights, and Jedi Padawans wiped out by the very clone troopers they had commanded and fought beside—the Jedi already seemed a distant memory.


As such, it seems unlikely that he would have allowed information about the Sith to travel far and wide. Even Tarkin appears to have concluded that Sidious was Vader’s Sith master, not because of the Rule of Two, but because he reasoned that Palpatine was Sith and obviously Vader’s master.

Not many people even knew what a Sith was. Of those, how many would have associated red lightsabers with the Sith? Of those, probably none knew of the Rule of Two. Did the Jedi even reveal it to anyone else?


  • Few Imperials knew about the Sith before the war, and probably mostly the high-ranking ones.
  • Fewer Imperials knew that Vader was a Sith.
  • Basically no one knew about the Rule of Two.
  • Few people were as close to Palpatine as Tarkin, nor as intelligent, which would be needed to note the similarities in outlook between Palpatine and Vader.

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