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In The Rise of Skywalker we learn of one of Darth Sidious' plans:

To have Rey strike him down as part of a Sith "ritual", allowing him to in some way possess her body and live on in her.

Looking back this seems very relevant to a Sith history filled with apprentices who have a habit of murdering their masters. So while it is possible that Darth Sidious is the first to really figure this out, it seems more likely (to me anyway) that in the distant past some Sith Lord figured this out and has mastered the art of using the inevitable treachery of an apprentice to effectively attain immortality. If that were the case then it seems quite likely that Sidious was in some way possessed when he killed his own master shortly after becoming Emperor (and therefore he is no longer "himself").

In essence, is it possible that Sidious in the latter stories is simply the latest host body for an ancient Sith Lord who has mastered body hopping?

I suppose it's also possible that this technique has been around for a long time but is rarely used because it is difficult to succeed at (example: Sidious failed to perform the ritual himself). In this case Sidious' attempt may be viewed as a last-ditch and ultimately futile attempt to start over. Still, it seems that if there was a ritual allowing a Sith Lord to take over the body of another, someone in the distant past would have had the time necessary to perfect this art.

If all of Sith history could be seen as a matchup between "Apprentice who wants to kill his master" and "Master who has had dozens of past apprentices try to kill him before", I'd bet against the apprentice every time.

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    Wait, you mean Darth Plagueis? That would be quite a reveal. – Mr Lister Jan 6 at 14:18
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    In the Darth Bane books where it goes into detail on the Rule of Two's creation, Darth Bane does learn a body hopping technique, involves forcing out the mind of the body you intend to posses. But I believe the book says he lost the battle of wills. My personal belief is that he didn't lose and that Bane and Sidious are the same person, but I have no evidence to make this an answer. – Daishozen Jan 6 at 14:24
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    "Kill me, and my spirit will pass into you, as all the Sith live in me. You will be Empress. We will be one." + "A thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight." so Rey is all the Jedi including herself and Sidious is all the Sith including himself. It's not necessarily that he would take over her or she would have all the knowledge but probably some middle ground. – TheLethalCarrot Jan 6 at 14:26
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    @Daishozen The book itself is ambiguous but the author clarified that Bane lost. In any case, those books are Legends (i.e. not canon) so they can't really be used to answer this question. – Null Jan 6 at 15:51
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    @TheLethalCarrot Holy Kwisatz Haderach, Batman! – Lexible Jan 7 at 6:49
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There are two possible "answers":

  1. Disney Canon: Not enough info for a definite answer, but Sidious was likely just Sidious.
  2. Legends: A definite answer is still not fully available, but Sidious was almost certainly just himself.

Disney Canon

Not surprisingly, there is little information about this available at all in Canon. The closest comes from the this answer which references the twitter account of a high level employee who confirms that Plagueis is indeed dead (although the account in question is not canon).

Legends

Not surprisingly, far more details are available in Legends, although a definite answer is still not certain there.

A never-ending line of Sith can be ruled out by simply looking at Darth Sidious' master, Darth Plagueis. Darth Plagueis was trained by Darth Tenebrous. Darth Tenebrous did indeed have plans for "possessing" the body of his apprentice using some specially crafted "maxi-chlorians". When Darth Plagueis betrayed him, Darth Tenebrous took his opportunity to "infect" his apprentice's body. However, he immediately had a premonition of Plagueis' death at the hands of Darth Sidious, and promptly fled his body. His disembodied spirit remained trapped in the cave for (possibly) millions of years.

Therefore the idea of body hopping is indeed possible in Legends, and at least one Sith Lord attempted it. However, it's also clear that there isn't an unbroken line of possessions leading back to some ancient Sith Lord. Since there is no evidence that Darth Plagueis learned the body hopping trick himself, there is no reason to believe that Darth Sidious was anyone other than himself.

Related, this is all in general agreement with the answers in this very related question.

| improve this answer | |
  • is any of this Disney canon? – NKCampbell Jan 9 at 20:13
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    @NKCampbell As I mentioned at the top, none of this is Canon, but rather Legends. I'll clarify that though – conman Jan 9 at 20:24
  • thanks for the edit - makes it more clear – NKCampbell Jan 9 at 21:42

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