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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, with Tyranus being almost seventy years old when he became Sidious' apprentice. 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.



As per the hunger for power inherent to the dark side, Sith apprentices longed to overthrow their master to become the master themself.

"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]

Under the Rule of Two, it was the duty of a Sith apprentice to one day slay their master and take that place for themself. With that, the newly christened Sith Master would claim an apprentice of their own[6] to pass down the teachings of the Sith.[7] Such a model ensured the Sith Order grew in cunning and power with each generation[6] and kept to the shadows,[4] rather than repeat the infighting created by having too many Sith at one time.[7]


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[8]

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,[9] who was able to evade the Jedi Order when they apparently killed Bane,[10] although it was rumored that Zannah herself killed Bane in a lightsaber duel on Ambria.[9] Believed extinct by the Jedi, the Sith endured and carried on the tradition for over a millennium.[11] Over the centuries of secret actions against the Jedi, Sith apprentices had the custom of using special starships known as Sith Infiltrators.[12]


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[13] and control the galaxy as equal rulers of a new Sith Empire.[14] 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.[15]

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.[8]

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[16]
Sidious Dooku Talk 2

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

Although Maul survived[17] his battle with Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi,[11] Sidious moved on with the Grand Plan and replaced him by taking a new apprentice,[18] the Count of Serenno and former Jedi Master Dooku. Dooku had already been working with Sidious but had yet to fully devote himself to the dark side. Despite his reservations, he believed he was working to make a better galaxy[19] and worked under the name "Tyranus." He even eliminated his friend, Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas, taking control of his clone army with Sidious in the process.[20] After the duel in the Works,[19] Dooku fully submitted to Sidious as his new apprentice, Darth Tyranus, through whom Sidious shaped the Confederacy of Independent Systems.[21] However, Sidious did not consider Tyranus as a true apprentice, but rather a placeholder and a tool for creating instability.[22]

Dooku 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.[23] 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,[16] making her his dark acolyte in an interpretable violation of the Rule of Two.[24] Ventress was indeed the Count's Sith apprentice[25] but could not formally claim the title of Sith Lord.[26]


Asajj Ventress and Savage Opress were trained, in turn, by Tyranus who was still apprenticed to Sidious.

During a mission on the planet Cato Neimoidia, Ventress also tried to recruit and kidnap a Jedi youngling named Mill Alibeth, promising to free her from the ways of the Jedi and ensure she trained under a true master. However, she was forced to escape and abandon her plan to kidnap Alibeth.[27] Although Ventress endeavored to prove herself worthy of being his apprentice[28] and become a true Sith,[29] Tyranus was forced to discard her during the Battle of Sullust when Sidious grew suspicious of their relationship, having realized that Dooku was training her to be a Sith apprentice[16] to ensure he could take Sidious's place under the Rule of Two.[30]

Dooku 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.[31] With Opress at his side, Tyranus resumed his plan to eventually overthrow Sidious[32] until the Count discovered that the Zabrak was part of his old pupil's plan to get revenge on him.[17] 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.[30]

The Emperor's Fist[]

"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 a shattered 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[22]
Emperors office 1-Dark Lord of the Sith 5

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[33][34] led the true Dark Lord to confront his former apprentice, resulting in Opress' death and Maul's capture.[18] Sidious ultimately sacrificed and betrayed Tyranus in favor of a younger and stronger apprentice who had more potential, 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 fulfill his 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,[35] while his apprentice, Vader, acted as de facto Commander-in-Chief.[36] Before taking on Vader's son Luke Skywalker as his apprentice, Grand Master Yoda entered into the Cave of Evil on the planet Dagobah, where he remained in exile, to confront his fears. As part of the vision, an illusion of Sidious mocked Yoda for his failure to see the Sith Grand Plan while he had the chance, heralding Yoda as the greatest of his apprentices. However, through a vision of the boy Bree Menaren, Yoda was reminded that hope always existed and triumphed over the illusions, readying him for his coming mentorship to the young Skywalker.[37]


Darth Vader acting as an enforcer for the Empire he forged with his Sith Master

During the Galactic Civil War, Vader tried to convince Skywalker to become his apprentice and rule the galaxy as a family.[1] After his failure to turn Skywalker to the dark side and a trial on Mustafar, a damaged Vader ventured to Sidious's hidden Sith world of Exegol, where Sidious was served by many Sith cultists and keep secrets like a generically grown force of warriors[38] known as the Tankers.[39] Discovering Exegol via a Wayfinder and declaring he was no longer Sidious's apprentice upon arrival, Vader turned on his Sith Master and attempted to hunt down Sidious. Upon confronting the Tankers, Sidious's servant Ochi of Bestoon, whom Vader had pressed into his own service, assumed they were more Sith and, therefore, violations of the Rule of Two. Although Sidious teased Vader with the claim that the Tankers could replace him should he fall, Vader rebuked both Ochi and Sidious's remarks. Fighting four Tankers and even falling through the floor, Vader ultimately killed all four. Then faced by a horde of Sith cultists, whom Sidious also heralded as possible replacements for Vader, Vader, used the Force to turn the hordes' own daggers against them, cutting down all.[38]

After discovering the Final Order fleet and a massive kyber crystal being harvested by his servants, Vader once more submitted to Sidious upon seeing the great power at his master's disposal: Sidious turned the power of the crystal on Vader, forcing him to bare witness to the "ultimate power" of the dark side. While he experienced a vision of his son telling him it was his destiny to overthrow the Emperor,[38] Vader was left with the belief only two Sith could exist, thereby forcing him to hunt down and kill his own son, in order to share in the true power of the Sith[40] as Sidious's apprentice; according to Sidious's claims, only as a Sith apprentice filled by pain did Vader have a way to way to share in his ultimate power.[38] After a skirmish against Skywalker in the battle over Jekara[41] and putting down Crimson Dawn's war against the Sith alongside his master in the Battle at Amaxine Station,[42] however, Vader would once more betray his master during the scourge of the droidss crisis: diving into his hatred for himself to rediscover his connection to the Force after the Force Wave and defeat the Scourge threat on Mustafar, Vader rediscovered his hatred for his Sidious[43] and ventured to Coruscant to test Sidious's own abilities.[44]

While he still recognized Sidious as his master, Vader attacked the Emperor at the Imperial Palace and unleashed the Scourge on Coruscant itself. With Sidious soon shutting down the Scourge of Coruscant and besting his apprentice, Sidious revealed that, as long as Vader tried to grow his power via hatred, his own power would grow by thriving off his apprentice's hate:[44] as the Scourge would reason to Vader, it was impossible to overthrow the Emperor with his hatred as his power source. At that time, the Scourge knew that Vader's greatest desire was to overthrow the master who had humiliated him time and time again. Vader bonded with the Scourge briefly and attempted to create his own version of the virus in the name of fighting his master, yet his efforts failed and he was unable to control it.[45] Vader then tried to overthrow his master[46] by joining the ranks of the rogue Schism Imperial. Together, they launched an assault on Exegol.[47]


Anakin Skywalker, the man who lived for years as the Sith apprentice Darth Vader, sacrificed himself to save his son from his Sith Master's Force lightning.

Vader's efforts[47] would fail, however: by the time of the Battle of Endor, Vader believed it was pointless to resist his master and that he had no choice but to obey the Sith Lord. Additionally, Sidious had similar plans to Vader on Skywalker: he intended to replace Vader with Skywalker.[2] Despite his prior belief that Skywalker needed to die in order to maintain the power of the Sith,[40] Vader was under the belief that they would turn Skywalker to the dark side as a third member of their order. Sidious 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[48]

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.[49] Although Ren was not a Sith, he was a product of Sith teachings as well as Jedi training.[50]

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.[6] Ren sought to destroy Sidious, who considered himself to be Ren's true master,[49] having sworn to never serve another master after Luke Skywalker and Snoke.[51] By then, Ren aspired to rule the galaxy as the new Emperor[49] and Master of the Knights of Ren.[52]


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Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
  3. Darth Vader (2015) 6
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  5. Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Star Wars Book
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Sacrifice"
  8. 8.0 8.1 Age of Republic - Darth Maul 1
  9. 9.0 9.1 Helmet Collection logo small Star Wars Helmet Collection 2 (Databank A-Z: Alzoc III—Antilles)
  10. StarWars Darth Bane in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
  12. Star Wars: Complete Vehicles
  13. Tarkin
  14. StarWars Darth Sidious in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  15. StarWars-DatabankII Darth Sidious Biography Gallery (Image 1 caption) in the Databank (backup link)
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Nightsisters"
  17. 17.0 17.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Witches of the Mist"
  18. 18.0 18.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "The Lawless"
  19. 19.0 19.1 Tales of the Jedi logo Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi — "The Sith Lord"
  20. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "The Lost One"
  21. Rise of the Separatists
  22. 22.0 22.1 Darth Vader (2015) 20
  23. Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
  24. Build the Millennium Falcon Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 59 (Guide to the Galaxy: Denizens of Dathomir)
  25. SWInsider "Zoraida Córdova: The Force of Fantasy" — Star Wars Insider 219
  26. Hyperspace Stories 5
  27. Brotherhood
  28. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Cloak of Darkness"
  29. Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition
  30. 30.0 30.1 Dark Disciple
  31. Ultimate Star Wars
  32. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Monster"
  33. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Revival"
  34. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Eminence"
  35. StarWars-DatabankII Sith in the Databank (backup link)
  36. Bust-Collection-Logo Star Wars Bust Collection 30 (Star Wars Universe: The Emperor's Inner Circle)
  37. Yoda 10
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 Darth Vader (2020) 11
  39. TwitterLogo Raffaele Ienco (@Raffaele_Ienco) on Twitter: "Exciting to see Leinil Francis Yu do his brilliant take on the "Tankers", those large fellas surrounding Vader. They never looked so good!" (backup link)
  40. 40.0 40.1 Darth Vader (2020) 12
  41. War of the Bounty Hunters 5
  42. Hidden Empire 5
  43. Darth Vader (2020) 39
  44. 44.0 44.1 Darth Vader (2020) 40
  45. Darth Vader (2020) 41
  46. Darth Vader (2020) 42
  47. 47.0 47.1 Bleeding Cool Presents Marvel Comics' May 2024 Solicits In Full on bleedingcool.com (archived from the original on February 21, 2024)
  48. Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition
  50. StarWars-DatabankII Supreme Leader Kylo Ren in the Databank (backup link)
  51. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
  52. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: A Junior Novel