Throughout the first six Star Wars Skywalker Family Saga Films, viewers understanding of the Dark Side primarily relied on the philosophical beliefs of Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious, a Sith Lord who seeks to dismantle the New Republic & the Jedi in order to control the Galaxy.

Revenge of the Sith

Often his method of philosophy relied on pitting his proteges or understudies against each other, in order to always have the best apprentice (by his standards). One primary example in the films is when Anakin is aided by Palpatine to not give mercy, but instead to kill his current Sith apprentice, Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus and have Anakin take his place. (Revenge of the Sith)

In addition, Darth Sidious always then seemed to have back-up plans, such as having Dr. Cylo create force-mimicking genetically-modified human-cyborgs take on Vader after the fall of the first Death Star, in which Vader easily defeats Cylo's creations (2015 Darth Vader Comics). Or Operation: Cinder as means to destroy and rebuild his empire, in case of unexpectedly reaching his demise.

Now it seems like Sidious was trying to stay alive and in control for as long as possible, but never without realizing he could die!

So my question is, despite having plans, and wanting or believing in always having an apprentice (and considering Anakin was "The Chosen One" ), did Darth Sidious ever intend or anticipate that Darth Vader would eventually take his place?

Other things to consider:

  • Dr. Cylo can transfer his conscious to other bodies (New EU is playing with Life Extension).
  • The name Cylo seems like no coincidence to the name Kylo, a name given to Ben Solo by Snoke.
  • By the end of The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren becomes

the leader of The New Order and we know Snoke invested in Ben Solo, because Snoke believes in the power of the blood line.

  • In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren tells the helmet of Darth Vader, belieiving he is communicating with his grandfather, Darth Vader, that he "will finish what Darth Vader had started.".
  • Sidious even allegedly murdered his own former master, Darth Pleagus the Wise, in his sleep.
  • Aftermath Trilogy reveals Operation Cinder went beyond The Empire's Destruction:

The events of the 2017 novel Aftermath: Empire's End, written by Chuck Wendig, revealed that Operation: Cinder was part of a greater Contingency devised by Emperor Palpatine to destroy the Empire and its adversaries so that it could begin again. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Operation:_Cinder

2 Answers 2


Sidious taught Vader that Vader would be expected to attempt to kill him according to the Sith Rule of Two:

Soon after destroying the Jedi, the Emperor had told Vader that he would one day be tempted to kill him. He’d said that the relationship between Sith apprentice and Master was symbiotic but in a delicate balance. An apprentice owed his Master loyalty. A Master owed his apprentice knowledge and must show only strength. But the obligations were reciprocal and contingent. Should either fail in his obligation, it was the duty of the other to destroy him. The Force required it. Since before the Clone Wars, Vader’s Master had never shown anything but strength, and so Vader intended to show nothing but loyalty. In that way, their mutual rule was secure. Perhaps Vader would attempt to kill his Master one day. Sith apprentices ordinarily did. They must, if they were trained well. An apprentice was unquestioningly loyal until the moment he wasn’t. Both Master and apprentice knew this.

Lords of the Sith, p. 27

However, Sidious did not practice what he preached; he intended to gain immortality and literally reshape reality itself:

...he would not allow himself to be sidetracked from his goal of unlocking the secrets many of the Sith Masters before him had sought: the means to harness the powers of the dark side to reshape reality itself; in effect, to fashion a universe of his own creation. Not mere immortality of the sort Plagueis had lusted after, but influence of the ultimate sort. As his Empire swelled, bringing more and more of the outer systems into its fold, so too would his power unfurl, until every being in the galaxy was held captive in his dark embrace.

Tarkin, p. 242

Sidious did make plans in the event of his death, but he fully intended not to need them.

Also, Sidious eventually intended to replace Vader with Luke:

Good! Your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny and take your father's place at my side!

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Clearly if Sidious intended to replace Vader he was not planning on letting Vader kill him. The fact that Anakin was thought to be the Chosen One by the Jedi did not matter to Sidious; the prophecy of the Chosen One was a Jedi prophecy, but Sidious obviously was not a Jedi and did not share their beliefs.

  • 1
    @DarthLocke I doubt Vader was prepped at all by the time Sidious died. Elsewhere there's a quote that Sidious intended to reign for ten thousand years, so Sidious would have had plenty of time to prep Vader if he intended to do so.
    – Null
    Jan 4, 2018 at 20:27
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    @DarthLocke I haven't read the Aftermath books (I heard they were terrible) and I haven't had a chance to read the new Thrawn book yet. If there's anything in those books someone else might be able to dig it up.
    – Null
    Jan 4, 2018 at 20:55
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    Based on the various sources that deal with Operation Cinder, it's quite clear Palpatine was using the same mindset as Hitler was in his last days: if he wasn't going to be around to personally run things, he was going to take everything down with him out of pure spite. Given that, it seems unlikely he'd also be accepting of being replaced by Vader (or whoever). Jan 4, 2018 at 23:17
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    @KeithMorrison Aftermath reveals that Cinder extended past destruction to be able to start everything over! (see my comments below on second answer). Also I think Hitler's mindset is still debatable since he was cultivated by an already existing organization. Also The New Order and Finn being "raised" by the order is also not unlike Nazi Germany and Hitler Youth camp, so it really relates to a number of things in Star Wars, inclduing this idea about where does one character's philosophy start and end with anothers' since we have characters raising and teaching others. Jan 4, 2018 at 23:54
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    That's not waht Aftermath reveils--it says it goes beyond what is presented in BTF2 and SE-- From Wookieepedia: ""The events of the 2017 novel Aftermath: Empire's End, written by Chuck Wendig, revealed that Operation: Cinder was part of a greater Contingency devised by Emperor Palpatine to destroy the Empire and its adversaries so that it could begin again.[8]" Jan 5, 2018 at 17:23

In legends certainly not as Sidious believed "the rule of two" to have and served its purpose. It had brought down the Jedi and created him.

As for canon in battlefront two Sidious created the sentinel droids to carry out his final orders after his death, orders designed to destroy what was left of his empire. If vader was intended to be his successor then that would seem counterproductive.

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    Actually according to wookieepedia, Operation: Cinder was at first about destroying the empire (Shattered Empire, Battlefront 2), but later revealed to be extended to having the empire start over (Aftermath trilogy). In Legends, his clone would surely suggest he put himself first, but when one thinks about ROTJ, and having Vader fight Luke 9and Sidious attack Luke), it's still implied he wanted one of them to still be his apprentice? Otherwise why not just kill them both, no?? starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Operation:_Cinder Jan 4, 2018 at 19:27
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    Quote from that part of the wiki: "The events of the 2017 novel Aftermath: Empire's End, written by Chuck Wendig, revealed that Operation: Cinder was part of a greater Contingency devised by Emperor Palpatine to destroy the Empire and its adversaries so that it could begin again.[8]" Jan 4, 2018 at 19:30

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