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Why Would a Sith Want an Apprentice?

Why Would a Sith Want an Apprentice?

You may find it ironic that even if a Sith’s endgame is to become the most powerful Force-sensitive being in the galaxy, they still take apprentices. Despite a Sith Lord’s desire for more power, the Sith Order’s survival comes before their own interests. 

Sith Lords wanted apprentices who craved power, ensuring the Sith Order continually grew stronger. As Sheev Palpatine showed, Sith Lords also used apprentices to act as assassins, proxies, and enforcers to uphold and maintain the Order. 

Why Does a Sith Take Apprentices?

Sith and Death

A Sith takes apprentices because of Darth Bane’s Rule of Two. The Rule of Two states that one Sith master and one Sith apprentice must exist in the galaxy. 

Bane describes the Rule as, “There should be two. No more, no less. One to embody power, the other to crave it.” 

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However, in Star Wars Canon, apprentices like Count Dooku took on three additional apprentices as his own, even as he trained under Darth Sidious. 

This is because only two Sith Lords could exist. The master harnessed the dark side’s power while their apprentice craved the power, as Darth Bane outlined. 

The theory called for the master to train their apprentice to become more powerful than they. The apprentice, craving their master’s power and status, would someday kill the master or die in the attempt. 

If the apprentice succeeded, they became the new Sith master and would search the galaxy for a worthy apprentice. If they failed to kill their master, the incumbent searched for a worthier apprentice, and the cycle continued. 

However, the master could also kill the apprentice if they felt the latter was not as strong as they initially hoped. 

The Rule of Two helped ensure two things:

  1. Sith Lords steadily grew stronger Throughout the generations, since an apprentice would eventually grow stronger than the master. 
  2. With only two Sith Lords in the galaxy, the Sith could operate secretly. This was proven in The Phantom Menace when the Jedi Council acknowledged the Sith were extinct. 

Come 19 BBY, Darth Bane’s purpose behind the Rule of Two was finally realized when Darth Vader and Darth Sidious brought the downfall of the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic. 

Did Count Dooku Break the Rule of Two?

Count Dooku with his lightsaber

So even though Asajj Ventress, Quinlan Vos, and Savage Opress embraced the dark side and trained under Dooku, they were not Sith Lords. 

Ventress was trained as an assassin, Vos was a Separatist agent, and Opress was an enforcer. 

Further, Darth Sidious, when he grew weary of Ventress’s power, ordered Dooku to kill her. Sidious also killed Opress, while Vos returned to the light side. 

Therefore, neither Ventress, Oppress, nor Vos were considered Sith Lords, further explaining they also did not earn the Darth moniker. 

Did Darth Vader Train Apprentices? 

Star Wars Rebels - Darth Vader talks to The Inquisitor [1080p]

Darth Vader trained the Inquisitorious in the dark side. These Inquisitors weren’t the most well-versed, besides, Second Sister and the Grand Inquisitor. However, you can label them as Darth Vader’s apprentices who hunted Jedi between 19 BBY and 0 BBY. 

Just like with Dooku’s apprentices, neither Vader nor Darth Sidious had much use for them outside of their assigned tasks of hunting Jedi. Some, Darth Vader killed. And by 0 BBY, it’s unclear whether any of the Inquisitors remained in the galaxy. 

What is a Sith Apprentice Called?

The Sith Lords

A Sith apprentice, like their master, is called a Dark Lord of the Sith. Also known as Sith Lords, the Rule of Two gave both master and apprentice to use the moniker. 

Count Dooku’s apprentices were called Dark Acolytes and Sith Acolytes during the Clone Wars. 

Before Darth Bane reformed the Sith under the Rule of Two, many Sith apprentices were known as Acolytes. 

Why Did Palpatine Want an Apprentice? 

Emperor Palpatine

During The Prequel Trilogy and The Original Trilogy, Sheev Palpatine had three Apprentices and he sought a fourth one, Luke Skywalker, in Return of the Jedi. 

In The Prequel Trilogy, Palpatine needed powerful apprentices to become his Jedi hunters, enforcers, and even to become his proxies while he served in the Jedi Senate and later, as Chancellor. 

Without apprentices under him, Palpatine would not have been able to carry out his plan to see the fall of the Republic and the Jedi Order. 

Darth Maul

Maul served as Palpatine’s apprentice in The Phantom Menace. A trained assassin, Palpatine sent Maul to capture Queen Padmè Amidala and force her into signing a treaty that would enable the Trade Federation to invade Naboo.

Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Palpatine's Manipulations. 4K ULTRA HD.

When Maul tracked her ship on Tatooine, Qui-Gon Jinn fought him off. However, exposing himself to Jinn, enabled the latter to relay to the Jedi Council on Coruscant of Maul’s status as a Sith Lord

Maul again faced Qui-Gon Jinn, this time with his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi. While Maul overpowered and killed Jinn, Kenobi sliced him in half. 

While Maul survived the fall, Palpatine replaced him with another, and 10 years later, a new Sith Lord emerged. 

Count Dooku (Darth Tyranus)

Dooku was a unique apprentice who rarely went by his Sith name. He previously served in the Jedi Order and was Qui-Gon Jinn’s Master. Having grown disillusioned with the Jedi, Dooku left the Order before Palpatine recruited him into the Sith. 

Dooku also believed the Republic had grown corrupt, making him the perfect leader for the Separatist Alliance, or the Confederacy of Independent Systems. 

By installing Dooku as the leader of the Separatist Movement, Darth Sidious operated as Chancellor Palpatine and led the Galactic Republic in the upcoming Clone Wars. 

With Dooku as Sidious’ apprentice, it allowed the Sith Lord to control both sides of the war. 

Some of Dooku’s notable actions as Sidious’ apprentice in Attack of the Clones included an attempted assassination of Padmè Amidala and a confession to Obi-Wan Kenobi that Palpatine was a Sith Lord controlling the Republic. Predictably, Kenobi did not believe Dooku. 

Dooku then dueled and defeated Kenobi and his Padawan, Anakin Skywalker before Yoda arrived and forced him to flee. While Dooku brought the plans for the Sith’s future superweapon, the Death Star, his days as Palpatine’s apprentice became numbered. 

Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader)

Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader)

After having failed with Dooku, Darth Sidious sought Anakin Skywalker to become his next apprentice. Not only was Anakin’s status as the Chosen One enticing for Sidious. He also knew Anakin never learned to suppress his emotions despite training for 13 years as a Jedi. 

Sidious further preyed on Anakin’s growing concern regarding the Jedi Knight’s wife, Padmè, telling Anakin that a Sith Lord named Darth Plagueis manipulated midi-chlorians to save one from death. 

Enticed, this eventually led to Anakin’s fall to the dark side. Renamed Darth Vader, he led the 501st Legion to slay younglings at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. 

Having dueled and lost to Obi-Wan Kenobi, Vader fully tapped into the dark side after he learned of Padmè’s death. 

Now in a life support suit, Vader wreaked havoc across the galaxy, using his Inquisitorius to hunt and kill the remaining Jedi who survived Order 66. 

Like Darth Maul and Count Dooku before him, Darth Vader serving under Darth Sidious allowed the latter to go about his own business, often obsessively meditating at the Imperial Palace to deepen his connection to the dark side. 

“From my point of view, the Jedi are evil,” – said Anakin Skywalker, during his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi. 

From my point of view the Jedi are evil.


A Sith wanted an apprentice to continue the Rule of Two’s cycle of one master and one apprentice. Even if they knew in foresight their apprentice would, if they became strong enough, try to kill them. 

The Rule of Two intended to place the ball in the apprentice’s court, unless the master deemed the apprentice too weak. In that case, the master killed and sought another apprentice. 

Even Darth Sidious, who achieved Darth Bane’s goal of overthrowing the Jedi, needed apprentices to carry out the dirty work to act as enforcers, assassins, and proxies. 

Darth Sidious would not have taken over the galaxy to become Emperor Without his apprentices. 

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