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"It is your duty to learn what I know. It is my duty to learn what there is to teach."
―Darth Sidious, to Darth Vader[3]

A Sith apprentice was a Force-sensitive individual trained by a Sith Master to use the dark side of the Force. The age at which a Sith apprentice began their training varied. Darth Maul became apprenticed to Darth Sidious while still a child. Darth Tyranus and Darth Vader, both former members of the Jedi Order, became Sidious' apprentice, in turn, as adults. Although Darth Bane's Rule of Two mandated that only two Sith could exist at any given time, Tyranus broke with the system by training his own apprentices (albeit at different times)—Asajj Ventress, Savage Opress, and Quinlan Vos—while still apprenticed to Sidious.


"Become my apprentice. Learn to use the dark side of the Force."
―Darth Sidious, to Anakin Skywalker[4]

Sith Masters demanded absolute loyalty from their apprentices, but would betray and replace them if they felt stronger potential in another. Younger apprentices made ideal candidates for masters to turn to the dark side of the Force, as they lacked the emotional control of a fully fledged Jedi Knight. Inexperienced youth were easier to taint and twist for the purposes of the Sith.[5]


Always two there are[]

"You have learned much, my apprentice. But if you think that your training is complete, you are as much a fool as the thief you killed."
―Darth Sidious, to Darth Maul[6]

Following the infighting among the Sith, the surviving Sith Lord Darth Bane created the Rule of Two, stating that there shall only be two; a master to embody the power and an apprentice to crave it.[7] Bane then took an apprentice, Darth Zannah,[8] who was able to evade the Jedi Order when they apparently killed Bane,[9] although it was rumored that Zannah herself killed Bane in a lightsaber duel on Ambria.[8] Believed extinct by the Jedi, the Sith endured and carried on the tradition for over a millennium.[10] Over the centuries of secret actions against the Jedi, Sith apprentices had the custom of using special starships known as Sith Infiltrators.[11]

Darth Maul was the first Sith apprentice of Darth Sidious.

Sometime before the Invasion of Naboo, the Sith Lord Darth Sidious was trained by Darth Plagueis. Together they sought to achieve immortality[12] and control the galaxy as equal rulers of a new Sith Empire.[13] However, Sidious betrayed and murdered Plagueis in his sleep after learning everything he needed from him.[4] The Sith and their practices continued through Sidious and his own apprentice, Darth Maul, son of the Nightsister Mother Talzin.[14]

During Maul's training, Sidious brought him to Malachor, a planet that had been scourged by the conflict between the ancient Jedi and Sith. While young Zabrak's hatred for the Jedi was approved by his master, who sensed the power his disciple gained from it, the latter wanted to teach his apprentice to temper his bloodlust with patience, lest reckless activities on Coruscant revealed the Sith's return to the Jedi Order. The resulting Force vision that Maul experienced taught him that rage alone was not be enough to defeat the Jedi, who held an advantage over the Sith in numbers as well as the trust of the Galactic Republic.[6]

Darth Maul's replacement[]

"I would hate to think you are training your own Sith apprentice to destroy me…"
"Never! My allegiance is to you and you alone."
"Then you must prove it. Eliminate her."
―Darth Sidious and Darth Tyranus, on Asajj Ventress[15]

Sidious replaced Maul with Darth Tyranus, a former Jedi who turned to the dark side.

Although Maul survived[16] his battle with Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi,[10] Sidious moved on with the Grand Plan and replaced him by taking a new apprentice,[17] Darth Tyranus, through whom he shaped the Confederacy of Independent Systems.[18] However, Sidious did not consider Tyranus as a true apprentice, but rather a placeholder and a tool for creating instability.[19] To that end, Tyranus eliminated Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas and took control of his clone army at Sidious' behest.[20] He also recruited the bounty hunter Jango Fett to be the clone template, and around this time he erased the data on Kamino from the Jedi Archives. The Sith Lord further ensured the success of the Grand Plan, allowing the Separatist Crisis to escalate into the Clone Wars before personally delivering the schematics for the ultimate weapon to his master on Coruscant.[21]

For three years, the Count of Serenno led the Confederacy against the Republic. During this time, Tyranus took the Dathomirian assassin Asajj Ventress under his wing,[15] making her his dark acolyte in an interpretable violation of the Rule of Two.[22] Although Ventress endeavored to prove herself worthy of being his apprentice[23] and become a true Sith,[24] Tyranus was forced to discard her during the Battle of Sullust when Sidious grew suspicious of their relationship.[15] He subsequently searched for a new apprentice on Dathomir, Ventress' homeworld, where he found the Nightbrother Savage Opress, taking him on as his second dark acolyte.[25] With Opress at his side, Tyranus resumed his plan to eventually overthrow Sidious[26] until the Count discovered that the Zabrak was part of his old pupil's plan to get revenge on him.[16] He later tried to turn the undercover Jedi Master Quinlan Vos to the dark side, believing they could overthrow Sidious together as master and apprentice. Unlike his other two disciples, the Count told him he would be a proper Dark Lord of the Sith. However, Vos would betray Tyranus after the latter killed his lover Ventress with Force lightning.[27]

The Emperor's general[]

"And my apprentices? Darth Maul was a loss, but Darth Tyranus…he was a proton torpedo. He served his purpose and was gone. I had a…superior candidate in mind. We did it, Vader. The Jedi destroyed! The Republic shattered a corpse for me to resurrect as a puppet! And you, Vader—the boy transformed into the man you were destined to be…"
―Darth Sidious, to Darth Vader[19]

Tyranus was replaced by Darth Vader, another fallen Jedi, as Sidious' apprentice.

Tyranus remained Sidious' apprentice while Opress' training was continued by his brother Maul. Their claim to the mantle of the Sith[28][29] led the true Dark Lord to confront his former apprentice, resulting in Opress' death and Maul's capture.[17] Sidious ultimately sacrificed and betrayed Tyranus in favor of a younger and stronger apprentice who had more potential, the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker who was also the Chosen One destined to bring balance to the Force by destroying the Sith. After manipulating Anakin with promises to grant him the power to save his wife and convincing him that the Jedi were holding him back, Sidious managed to turn Skywalker to the dark side. Skywalker pledged his allegiance to Sidious, becoming a Sith apprentice under the name of Darth Vader.[4] However, Vader was unable to fulfil potential after he was severely injured in a duel with his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi. They ruled the Galactic Empire for a generation with Sidious as Galactic Emperor,[30] while his apprentice, Vader, acted as Commander-in-Chief.[31]

During the Galactic Civil War, Vader tried to convince his son, Luke Skywalker, to become his apprentice and rule the galaxy as a family.[1] Sidious had similar plans, intending to replace Vader with Skywalker. He betrayed Vader by attempting to goad Skywalker to kill his father in order to assume his place as a Sith apprentice, but Skywalker resisted the dark side and inspired Vader to revert back to Anakin and destroy his master at the cost of his life.[2] With the presumed destruction of Sidious and the Sith, the now redeemed Anakin brought balance to the force, and thus fulfilled his destiny as the Chosen One.


"Snoke trained you well."
"I killed Snoke. I'll kill you."
"My boy, I made Snoke."
―Darth Sidious and Kylo Ren[32]

Kylo Ren was trained by Sidious through Snoke, an artificial strandcast.

After returning from death, Sidious conspired to train Vader's grandson, Kylo Ren, by using the strandcast Snoke as a proxy master.[33] Although Ren was not a Sith, he was a product of Sith teachings as well as Jedi training.[34]

It was traditional for a dark side apprentice to kill his master in order to achieve his ascendancy. However, Sidious managed to bypass this custom by having Snoke die in his place.[35] Ren sought to destroy Sidious, who considered himself to be Ren's true master,[33] having sworn to never serve another master after Luke Skywalker and Snoke.[36] By then, Ren aspired to rule the galaxy as the new Emperor[33] and Dark Lord of the Sith.[37]


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Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
  2. 2.0 2.1 Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
  3. Darth Vader (2015) 6
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  5. Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia
  6. 6.0 6.1 Age of Republic - Darth Maul 1
  7. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sacrifice"
  8. 8.0 8.1 Helmet Collection logo small.png Star Wars Helmet Collection 2 (Databank A-Z: Alzoc III—Antilles)
  9. StarWars.com Encyclopedia Darth Bane in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
  11. Star Wars: Complete Vehicles
  12. Tarkin
  13. StarWars.com Encyclopedia Darth Sidious in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  14. Darth Sidious Biography Gallery on Star Wars.com (Image 1 caption)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Nightsisters"
  16. 16.0 16.1 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Witches of the Mist"
  17. 17.0 17.1 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless"
  18. Rise of the Separatists establishes that the Raxus Address and following foundation of the Confederacy of Independent Systems occurred two years before the First Battle of Geonosis, which, along with the other events of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 22 BBY. Therefore, simple math can be used to find the CIS was formed in 24 BBY. Additionally, because the ratification of the Geonosian accord first appeared in Attack of the Clones, the events of which are dated to 22 BBY by Galactic Atlas, the accord must have been ratified in 22 BBY.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Darth Vader (2015) 20
  20. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lost One"
  21. Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
  22. Build the Millennium Falcon.png Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 59 (Guide to the Galaxy: Denizens of Dathomir)
  23. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Cloak of Darkness"
  24. Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition
  25. Ultimate Star Wars
  26. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Monster"
  27. Dark Disciple
  28. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Revival"
  29. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Eminence"
  30. StarWars-DatabankII.png Sith in the Databank (backup link)
  31. Star Wars Bust Collection 30 (Star Wars Universe: The Emperor's Inner Circle)
  32. Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition
  34. StarWars-DatabankII.png Kylo Ren in the Databank (backup link)
  35. The Star Wars Book
  36. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
  37. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: A Junior Novel