A thousand years before the start of The Phantom Menace, a Sith called Darth Bane revolutionized the galaxy in creating the Rule of Two. This “policy” or philosophy, if you will, was intended to help the Sith Order survive. The Sith were fighting a war with the Jedi, yet they also were fighting themselves. This was causing a weakening of the Sith, and thus Bane created the Rule so that they could not only survive but thrive.
A master and an apprentice. One to hold the power, and one to crave it. Previously, multiple weaker Sith Lords would team up to kill a stronger Sith Lord, thus allowing the weak rather than the strong to survive. In limiting their numbers to two, Bane guaranteed that each sequential Sith Lord would be more powerful than his/her predecessor. This, of course, leads to Sheev Palpatine, who is not just the one to bring the Sith Grand Plan to fruition, but is clearly the strongest Sith of all time.
In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey is going to have to figure out how to reform the Jedi Order, just as Bane did for the Sith. While it may seem like Rey would have nothing to learn from the Sith, the Rule of Two could actually be quite applicable.
Before going into why and how, let’s take a step back and look at where the Jedi Order went wrong. One, there were so many of them that it was impossible for the Council to guarantee unity in the vision of what a Jedi should be. Their answer was to lean heavily into rules and structure, which creates issues for Jedi like Rael Averros and Anakin Skywalker. Two, they became so intertwined with the Senate that they basically became a galactic police force, henceforth limiting their capacity to follow the Force. A clear example of such would be Yoda denying Qui-Gon Jinn in his quest to save slaves from the Czerka Corporation in Master and Apprentice. Lastly, the Jedi lost their connection to the root of who they were, their connection with the Force, and the practices of the ancient Jedi.
The same could be said for the pre-Bane Sith. In his quest for knowledge, Bane sought the ancient holocrons of the Sith that came before him, and restructured the Sith in that vein. Rey, likewise, has the original Jedi texts, which will allow for her to see what it was that made the Jedi such a successful organization that it could rise to such prominence. In using these as a baseline, she can create what the new Jedi should be.
That’s the obvious piece, as we know Rey ends The Last Jedi with those texts. What is not so obvious is how Rey will avoid the pitfalls of her predecessors, which is where the Rule of Two comes into play. The Jedi of the prequels clearly grew to be too big, naturally intertwining themselves with the politics of the galaxy and lead to them being soldiers rather than peacekeepers. Thankfully Luke’s Order seemed to avoid that, but there was still a major issue in how it was structured.
By having a master and an apprentice, the Jedi naturally created an unhealthy hierarchy. For the Sith a hierarchy is ideal, but for Jedi it is death. One of the things that draws many fans to characters like Qui-Gon, Ahsoka, and Kanan is that they are continually learning, even from those who are “lower” on the totem pole. If the Jedi were to grow to the size of what we see in the prequels, there is almost no way to avoid a hierarchy, as there will have to be some for of structure that will naturally breed that progression. However, if Rey limits the Jedi’s number to only two, it can be two equals supporting and learning from each other rather than one being dominant over the other.
Rey has to deal with Ben Solo (yes… BEN SOLO) in some form. Ideally this will be some form of redemption, once again proving that Star Wars is about hope. In an effort to avoid having The Rise of Skywalker be Return of the Jedi II, let’s work under the assumption that a redeemed Ben Solo lives. The Rule of Two could work perfectly in this instance. This number, and the abolition of the master/apprentice dynamic, keeps things under control. Even Luke, the greatest Jedi of all time, could not keep a grasp when the Jedi number grew to just fourteen (himself, Ben Solo, and 12 other students). Two, however, means that if one falls he does not take the others. It means that if one dies there is one to continue the legacy. And it means that no Jedi is greater than another, no matter how powerful he/she may become.
Yet, if Ben lives he has to pay for his crimes, right? Yes and no. Yes, in our world, he would have to suffer for his transgressions. But, this story is not happening in our world, nor is the story limited to our world’s rules. Star Wars is a mythology, and myths are there to teach us about becoming our best selves. Nonetheless, it would seem ridiculous to have Ben Solo change into all white and ride off into the twin sunset. The solution? The Rule of Two. By having only Rey and Ben, and having them work communally, there is a natural checks and balances. The two, not connected to the Senate nor any political body, can go out and follow the Force, being true peacekeepers and showing the galaxy that hope still exists, that wrongs can be righted, and that people can change.
Well, at least two people can.