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Were the people of the galaxy not concerned that Palplatine had named a Sith Lord as his number 2 in the Empire?

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Vader was mostly a troubleshooter and assassin for the Emperor, as noted in comments to this answer. He probably was not in the public eye, nor was he much involved in the day-to-day politics and administration of the Empire. As mentioned by Tarkin, this was done by the Senate with its bureaucracy, and later by regional governors:

TARKIN: The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I have just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away forever.

TAGGE: But that's impossible! How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?

TARKIN: The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station.

By the time of Episode IV, it is known that Vader claims to be a Force user, although many do not believe the Force really exists:

ADMIRAL MOTTI: Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient Jedi religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you enough clairvoyance to find the rebels' hidden fortress...

[Vader makes a pinching motion and Motti starts choking]

Vader exhibits all the obvious characteristics of a Sith, including use of the prefix/title "Darth". But Motti does not mention the Sith, and instead refers to Vader as a Jedi. This is an indication that the Sith were not generally known.

It is possible that it suited the Emperor to tell part of the truth, that Vader had once been a Jedi but turned against his order. Interestingly enough, this is much the same as what Obi-Wan tells Luke:

OBI-WAN KENOBI: A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi knights.

It's also notable that Obi-Wan doesn't expect Luke to know what the Sith are, or consider it worth explaining to him.

Some people might remember the history of the Sith and make the connection to Darth Vader, but judging by Motti's remarks and other circumstantial evidence, this was not a matter of great public concern.

(All quotes from Episode IV)

  • Was Vader know publicly as Vader or Darth Vader? I thought everyone was aware of the force at that time? – Josh Schwarzzeskywalker Dec 6 '14 at 19:31
  • It seemed most people knew of the jedi, so I presume they knew of Sith as well. I wondered by the name "DARTH" Vader or did only the emperor call him that and everyone else call him Lord Vader. – Josh Schwarzzeskywalker Dec 6 '14 at 19:37
  • Leia addresses him as Darth Vader in Episode 4. "Darth Vader. Only you would be so bold. The Imperial Senate will not sit still..." – Royal Canadian Bandit Dec 6 '14 at 23:56
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Vader was never officially Palpatine's heir. So outside of the inner circle, who knew what Vader and Palpatine were, it would never have come up in conversation.

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    Didn't Vader use the force to publicly choke out employees that screwed up? Plus he carried a red lightsaber. They're two pretty Sith like qualities. You'd think at least one soldier would mention those shenanigans to his friends after work. – Daft Dec 5 '14 at 11:22
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    @Daft - "My job sucks. My buddy got choked, my other buddy got blown up on a space station by terrorists and don't even get me started on the lack of handrails" – Valorum Dec 5 '14 at 11:36
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    @JamesSheridan Why wouldn't he? – Daft Dec 5 '14 at 16:58
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    @JamesSheridan The regular person on the street could distinguish between a nazi uniform and an American soldiers uniform. Who's to say a Imperial soldier wouldn't know what colour lightsaber the Jedi and Sith used. There are only 3 or 4 colours that anyone has ever seen. – Daft Dec 5 '14 at 17:03
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    @JamesSheridan In fairness your argument makes as much sense as mine. And even forgetting the lightsaber... he uses the force very publicly to murder his employees. – Daft Dec 5 '14 at 17:13
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Most people in the galaxy aren't aware of the force, Jedi, or the sith. They certainly didn't know who Vader was either. Some people clearly took issue to the empire in general through, hence the rebel alliance.

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    A lot of people alive during the Clone Wars would have still been alive and they would have remembered the Jedi. – Null Dec 5 '14 at 5:25
  • True, but they all thought they died and were traitors. And no one will connect vader to anakin – Spider Disco Dec 5 '14 at 5:30
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    I don't dispute the fact that most people were unaware that Anakin was Vader. But people were aware of the Jedi and the Force from the Clone Wars, so the first sentence is not entirely true. – Null Dec 5 '14 at 5:35
  • Most everyone it seemed in the movies and clone wars cartoons knew who the jedi were and knew what the force was. – Josh Schwarzzeskywalker Dec 6 '14 at 19:34

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