Palpatine says he loves democracy in Revenge of the Sith.

How Many Apprentices Has Emperor Palpatine Had?

Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) has officially returned to the Star Wars franchise with his role in Obi-Wan Kenobi. He will also be returning yet again for the upcoming series Ahsoka. As viewers watched this ruthless Vader wreck havoc and demonstrate the full extent of his powers, it certainly fostered interest in the man who brought him into being. Vader is one of the most famous protégés of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), better known as Darth Sidious.

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The deceptive Sith Lord fostered two separate identities—one as Palpatine and one as Sidious. Under his Palpatine identity, he managed to foster a political career, allowing him to climb the ranks and gain a position of authority. Through his deception, he managed to orchestrate the fall of the Republic and the Jedi Order and established himself as Emperor over the Galactic Empire.

The Sith Lord was born on Naboo and bore a strong connection to the Force. Hence, he began training in the ways of the Sith under Darth Plagueis. The Rule of Two, at the time, dictated that apprentices must kill their masters and take their place, in order to train apprentices of their own. Darth Sidious killed Plagueis and quickly began training apprentices, both under the Rule of Two and of his own accord. Here are all of the canon apprentices that Darth Sidious has had.

1. Darth Maul

Ray Park as Darth Maul
(Lucasfilm)

Upon killing Plagueis, Darth Maul (Ray Park) was the first apprentice Sidious took under his wing. Sidious sensed his potential and took Maul as his apprentice when he was still a child. He was christened Darth Maul by Sidious and trained for the day when the Sith’s power would be restored. Maul became a very powerful and very lethal Sith under Sidious’ tutelage. However, when confronting Master Qui-Gonn Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) he is cut in half by Kenobi and believed dead.

Maul managed to survive and would resurface during the Clone Wars. Upon his return, though, Sidious had already acquired a new apprentice. Under the Rule of Two, Sidious couldn’t take Maul back and he lost his place in the ranks of the Sith. He spent the remainder of his life seeking vengeance on both Sidious and Kenobi.

2. Count Dooku

(Lucasfilm)

Upon Maul’s perceived death, Sidious took Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) under his wing. Count Dooku had once been a Jedi and a politician in the Republic. However, disillusioned with the Republic’s corruption, he renounced the Jedi Order and secretly began training under Sidious. He was christened as Darth Tyranus by Sidious. As Sidious’ apprentice, Dooku was largely responsible for heading the Separatist movement and gaining followers. He oversaw the development of the Separatist Droid Army, as well as the Sith’s tampering with the Grand Army of the Republic.

After propelling the entire galaxy into war, Dooku continued to remain loyal to Sidious, even refusing to take on his own apprentice in accordance with the Rule of Two. However, during the war, he was tasked with abducting Chancellor Palpatine, unaware that it was actually Sidious, who was luring him into a trap. Sidious betrayed Dooku and had him killed by Anakin Skywalker. He wanted Skywalker to kill Sidious, so that the younger, more powerful Skywalker, could be his new apprentice. In the end, Dooku ended up being nothing more than a pawn in Sidious’ game plan.

3. Anakin Skywalker

Palpatine tells Anakin tragedy of Darth Plagueis.
(Lucasfilm)

With Count Dooku out of the way, Sidious took on Anakin as his new apprentice, christening him Darth Vader. He swayed Anakin to renounce the Jedi Order, betray his Master, and re-establish the Sith, by promising him power and the ability to save Padmé (Natalie Portman). Together, the two overthrew the Republic, enacted Order 66, and established the Galactic Empire. For many years, their reign of terror remained virtually unchallenged, until the formation of the Rebel Alliance.

Similar to how Sidious replaced Dooku, he soon began planning on replacing Vader, as well. He was always seeking a more powerful successor and was especially intrigued by the powerful Skywalker bloodline. He soon placed his sights on Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), hoping to kill Anakin and replace him with his son. However, when Sidious propositions Luke with an apprenticeship, Luke refuses. Outraged, Sidious attempted to kill Luke. Vader then redeems himself, seemingly killing Sidious, to save his son. Even though Sidious would cheat death and make a return later in the Star Wars franchise, Anakin remained his third, and last, apprentice.

(featured image: Lucasfilm)


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Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.