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It's my understanding that per Legends canon, the Sith are/were a Force-capable race who were enslaved by powerful Dark Side users. These tyrants therafter referred to themselves as Sith Lords. Their order expanded and grew more and more powerful, until their defeat in the Sith War at the hands of the Jedi.

After that, the Rule of Two allowed their order to survive under the radar of the Jedi. But this question got me thinking: who decides who the Two are? If Darth Maul was stripped of his title and replaced by a new apprentice under Sidious, what exactly prevents him from declaring himself the new Master? Or if someone trained himself as a Sith and had no idea who (or where) the current Two are, could he start his own?

Disney or Legends answers accepted.

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    My guess: Sith = the main "two" Dark side users who are part of the main Sith group. Anyone else is just a Dark side user but I doubt there's anything to stop them calling themselves a Sith. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 23 '18 at 15:55
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    George Lucas/Disney – Valorum Apr 23 '18 at 16:00
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Actually this is fairly simple

You have to be recognized as Sith by current leader(s) of Sith, or kill him(them)

In Legends, there were several Sith organization, and they usually trained new Sith in various academies. So, to be a Sith you would have to be Force sensitive, then finish that training and be formally induced in the Order. If other Sith didn't like you, well, you would be eliminated in way or another. Darth Bane didn't quite agree with that, so he changed the system by killing all other Sith. From this point onwards, all true Sith must be trained by Sith Master in Banite lineage.There were imposters like Hetton, but they were quickly killed.

In Canon, it is even simpler. There we have only two, Master and Apprentice, both of them Darths. Master decides who is Sith and who is not. Only way Apprentice could appeal is by killing him. Typical example is Palpatine and Maul. Palpatine no longer wants Maul as apprentice after his defeat and loss of legs. Although Maul still introduces himself as a Sith, Palpatine tells him he is now his rival, defeats him, and casts him out of the Order

Remember, the first and only reality of the Sith. There could only be Two. And you are no longer my apprentice."

After that, Maul no longer uses title of Darth and wants to destroy Sith instead of identifying with them

  • So the "official" lineage (by Sith standards) is the one established by Bane, and the latest in that line could credibly say that anyone else is an imposter. I think this answers my question. – PlutoThePlanet Apr 24 '18 at 13:15
  • @PlutoThePlanet There is no credibility among Sith except power, especially in system created by Bane. If Sith Master is not most powerful being claiming the title of Sith, then he does not deserve to be Sith or alive. – rs.29 Apr 24 '18 at 17:28
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What keeps any random person from claiming they're a Sith Lord? The same thing that prevents an ex-Jedi from splitting on and declaring themselves the new true Jedi, or a group of people declaring themselves the new government of the United States. Recognition from enough people to be considered such, and the power to enforce it.

Sure, Maul could split off and call himself Sith. But does he have the sufficient training, experience, power, and recognition to actually pull it off? The Jedi council probably wouldn't recognize him as such since there's only ever two in their view (so maybe former Sith or a dark force user), and neither would Sidious or his newer apprentices obviously. Maul also likely wouldn't have the experience in Sith traditions to continue training new Sith in their ways. And if he went up and challenged Sidious... well, we know how that turned out for him. Supposing he had beaten Sidious though, then yeah, it probably wouldn't have been contested if he claimed the title.

All this to say, what is "true" as far as titles go comes from the authority of those who recognize and bestow it. You can't be king if no one recognizes you as such, even if you have a legitimate claim to it. You might consider yourself Sith, but it doesn't mean others do.

  • The only problem with the recognition argument is that the Jedi would be the only ones to make that determination and "Hard to see, the dark side is." If there was another dark side master hiding on Sullust during the Clone Wars, who would stop him from calling himself a Sith Lord? – Xantec Apr 23 '18 at 17:14
  • @Xantec The point of the answer is that nothing stops anyone from calling themselves a Sith Lord. We see the series primarily from the Jedi perspective, though occasionally through glimpses of the Sith or from the galaxy at large. Yoda states there are always two Sith, recognizing that they respect the existence of Sith practices to only have a master an apprentice. So if someone else called them Sith, we know the Jedi and "known" Sith would disagree, and the majority would probably listen to them instead of this random third party. – Mwr247 Apr 23 '18 at 17:19
  • @Xantec As a real world example, it's like asking who the real government of China is. Both Taiwan and the PRC claim it, but there's clearly one recognized by the majority, and the world at large. So that's the one that tends to be recognized. (Not taking sides and getting political, just making an example in the real world of claims like this). – Mwr247 Apr 23 '18 at 17:24
  • I get your example, but it doesn't translate to the question very well. Unlike Taiwan, the Sith purposefully try to hide themselves so it is entirely possible that two masters might never learn of each other. And if the Jedi are unaware of either of the masters then, what, we have two Sith Lords? If that's the answer then that is fine. – Xantec Apr 23 '18 at 17:40
  • @Xantec If the Jedi recognize there being two Sith Lords, and we subscribe to their views, then yeah, there'd be two Sith Lords. In practice though, typically one is going to have a more legitimate claim (through actual training in Sith tradition and/or in overpowering the other group, since they don't tend to work together), and that's the one they recognize. – Mwr247 Apr 23 '18 at 17:56

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