There are lots of things we know to be true in the Star Wars movies, and one of those things is that there are only ever two Sith Lords. It’s the one thing that Star Wars villains and Noah’s Ark have in common. As Yoda explained: “Always two there are, no more, no less. A master and an apprentice”.
This doesn’t seem the most productive strategy for putting together a plan to conquer the galaxy. Surely the more brains – and lightsabers – the better when you’re trying to fend off the Jedi?
Well, George Lucas has explained why the “Rule of Two” exists, and the Star Wars creator says it epitomises something rotten about the nature of the red-saber-wielding bad guys in his science fiction movies.
Speaking to the official Star Wars website as part of a look back at The Phantom Menace, Lucas explained: “What really happened is, the Sith ruled the universe for a while, 2,000 years ago. Each Sith has an apprentice, but the problem was, each Sith Lord got to be powerful. And the Sith Lords would try to kill each other because they all wanted to be the most powerful. So in the end they killed each other off, and there wasn’t anything left.
“The idea is that when you have a Sith Lord, and he has an apprentice, the apprentice is always trying to recruit somebody to join him – because he’s not strong enough, usually – so that he can kill his master. That’s why I call it a Rule of Two – there’s only two Sith Lords. There can’t be any more because they kill each other. They’re not smart enough to realise that if they do that, they’re going to wipe themselves out. Which is exactly what they did.”
So there you have it, straight from the mouth of the creator. It turns out the Sith are so evil that they can’t help killing each other if you put too many of them in a room together.
For more from the galaxy far, far away, check out our guides to the best Star Wars aliens, the best Star Wars droids, and the best Star Wars scenes. You can also stay up to date with the new Star Wars series in our The Mandalorian season 3 episode 5 recap.
Or to return to Earth, check out our list of the best movies of all time and all of the new movies heading to cinemas and streaming services in 2023.