"When your power eclipses mine I will become expendable. This is the Rule of Two: one Master and one apprentice. When you are ready to claim the mantle of Dark Lord as your own, you must do so by eliminating me." ―Darth Bane, to Darth Zannah

As I've mentioned in a previous answer, I feel that many people take The Rule of Two far too literally. I believe that

It can be interpreted that Yoda isn't saying that there are only two Sith ever, but that there are always two Sith working together: a master and an apprentice. If one Sith shows up, there is "always" another one involved.

The Rule of Two seems to exist in C-Canon, being featured in a few books, but to my recollection is never actually defined or even mentioned in G-Canon.

MACE WINDU : There is no doubt. The mysterious warrior was a Sith.

YODA : Always two there are....no more...no less. A master and an apprentice.

MACE WINDU : But which one was destroyed, the master or the apprentice?

Aside from this single vague mention in Episode One, does the Rule of Two actually ever figure into any G or T Canon materials, and is it ever actually defined?

2 Answers 2


The Rule of Two has been mentioned in T canon.
In Star Wars: The Clone Wars S05E16, Palpatine said this to Darth Maul during fight: "Remember, the first and only reality of the Sith, there can only be two and you are no longer my apprentice. You have been replaced."

Jump to 3:37 of this video:

  • It still is reasonable to interpret that as "each Sith master has an apprentice, never two apprentices" without the Legends being canon. A bit of a stretch, admittedly.
    – Yakk
    Aug 24, 2015 at 17:53

Aside from that one brief mention in The Phantom Menace, no, there is no mention of the Rule of Two in the films. There are some allusions to its existence in Return of the Jedi; "Take your father's place by my side," for example. Vader also offers to kill Palpatine and take Luke as his apprentice in The Empire Strikes Back. But there is no outright mention of the Rule of Two in any of the films besides TPM. The Rule is mentioned in The Clone Wars series, and obviously in the books and comics since TPM. It is not mentioned prior to TPM, largely because, despite Lucas's claims to the contrary, he only made up the idea shortly before filming.

  • It's also mentioned in the prequel novelizations (e.g. when discussing Dooku), but IIRC those are still C canon. Dec 9, 2013 at 21:47
  • " It is not mentioned prior to TPM, largely because, despite Lucas's claims to the contrary, he only made up the idea shortly before filming." Actually, my question is looking for any supporting evidence that he even did come up with the idea. With no actual G-Level evidence, I have serious doubts that he ever intended for "the rule" to be interpreted as it does.
    – phantom42
    Dec 9, 2013 at 23:25
  • Fantastic point, phantom42. It should be pointed out that the Rule of Two appeared after Lucas took personal charge of the franchise once more following TPM, after having left the franchise under the guidance of others during most of the preceding decade. Lucas likely had the general idea of the Rule of Two, with the concept being fleshed out by others. That is essentially what happened with all of Lucas's ideas, even many of the ideas in the films themselves. The issue, of course, is that even if Lucas made a statement on this, we couldn't trust his word, given his history. Dec 10, 2013 at 9:41

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