As the ultimate Dark Lord of the Sith, Palpatine trained many apprentices - in both canon and Legends, who are all the apprentices of Sidious?
The ultimate villain of the Star Wars saga, Palpatine was also known as Darth Sidious and was perhaps the greatest Sith Lord in galactic history. Unsurprisingly, he trained many proteges, both officially within Darth Banes Sith Rule of Two and unofficially. Though a sadistic and megalomaniacal despot, Palpatine is also a genius and superlative practitioner of the dark side and Sith fighting skills. Because of this, anyone who survived his tutelage became a frighteningly powerful Sith in their own right. Who are all of Palpatines apprentices? The original six saga films show his three most famous students, and further material from the current canon and the original Star Wars timeline, the Expanded Universe (aka Legends) reveal even more.
Though Palpatine personally trained numerous beings as Sith (or simply unaffiliated dark side users), there were several instances of tangential apprentices of his in the Legends universe. This includes a Nikto mentioned in the reference book: Book of Sith, the eventual Dark Lady of the Sith Lumiya (who served as an Emperors Hand but was trained by Darth Vader), and the non-Force sensitive Ennix Devian (who was also trained by Vader and served as Palpatines personal assassin).
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The same can be said of the canon version of Palpatine, who mentored two non-Force sensitives: The Imperial leader Gallius Rax and his personal assassin, Ochi of Bestoon. The training of the Imperial Inquisitors was overseen by Palpatine, though it was largely carried out by Vader. Similarly, The Knights of Ren were ultimately loyal to Palpatine and the Sith, despite their training and origins being largely unrelated to the Dark Lord.
The terrifying Zabrak Darth Maul was not only trained by Palpatine but raised by him as well. Taken from his homeworld of Iridonia at a young age, Maul became a disciplined and lethal warrior with an eagerness to kill Jedi (which he secretly did several times before the events of the films). Mauls training was focused far more on martial prowess than leadership and manipulation like his successors tutelage, leading some, like Count Dooku, to see him as little more than Sidiouss attack dog. After killing the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, Maul met his end when Obi-Wan Kenobi bisected him.
In the current canon, however, Maul not only survived his duel with Kenobi but had his background retroactively changed. Now Maul is not an Iridonian Zabrak, but a Dathomirian Nightbrother. Moreover, his training evidently did prepare him for more than fighting, as the Clone Wars-era Maul founded a criminal empire of his own and conquered the planet Mandalore twice, demonstrating shrewd manipulation skills similar to Palpatines.
A political idealist and former Jedi, Count Dooku filled the vacancy left by Maul and became Darth Tyranus. Tyranus was often the face and the voice of Palpatines master plans for galactic domination, having recruited Jango Fett to create the Republics Clone Army and founding the corrupt corporate oligarchy, the Confederacy of Independent Systems, for the clones and Jedi to fight.
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While Tyranus' executive tampering is a focal point of Star Wars - and for good reason -his abilities went far beyond that of the world of politics. Dooku was also one of the galaxys finest duelists, who trained Asajj Ventress in the Sith arts and General Grievous in both lightsaber combat and, in Legends, psychological warfare. Despite his training and successes under Sidious, he was ultimately a mere pawn used to further Palpatines goals and was killed by Anakin Skywalker as part of his journey to becoming a Sith Lord himself.
Palpatine manipulated Anakin Skywalkers tragic fall from grace, transforming him into the disfigured cyborg Sith Lord Darth Vader. Canon and Legends both detail Palpatines training of Vader, where he, like Dooku before him, had to unlearn his instinctual Jedi philosophy and replace it with the draconian mindset of the Sith.
The current canon particularly emphasizes Vaders astounding fighting abilities, with Rogue One and Marvels Darth Vader comics portraying Vader as a veritable one-man army. Legends, especially Marvels original Star Wars comics from the 70s and 80s, showed Vader taking after Palpatine, becoming a chess master-like strategist who often defeated (or corrupted) his opponents without igniting his lightsaber. Vader ultimately turned on his master, not as a Sith following the Rule of Two, but as the Jedi Anakin Skywalker.
A mysterious Umbaran in Palpatines inner circle, Sly Moore was privy to the Supreme Chancellors most closely-guarded secrets and, as a Force-sensitive herself, was trained to use the dark side by him. Due to her training and relationship with Palpatine, Sly Moore assisted him in manipulating the minds of others and impersonating his Sith identity of Darth Sidious to keep his dual identity a secret. In Legends, Moores involvement with Palpatine went even deeper. The two shared a romantic relationship and Moore was the mother of Palpatines son, Triclops. Moore was rumored to have died shortly after the birth of Palpatines son.
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Raised as Palpatines adopted daughter, Mara Jade was also an Emperors Hand, trained as his personal Sith assassin due to her astounding intrinsic strength in the Force. Moments before his first death above Endor, Palpatine planted a suggestion in her mind, compelling her to kill Luke Skywalker. Eventually leaving the Sith and Empire, as well as breaking Palpatines hold over her mind, Mara Jade became a Jedi and one of Lukes closest friends and allies, eventually marrying him.
Having been raised by Palpatine, Mara Jade was a calm and analytical person, able to discover clever solutions to seemingly impossible problems. For instance, Mara Jade followed Palpatines suggestion but, by exploiting a loophole, did so without killing Luke. Unlike her adoptive father, however, Mara was a sensitive and empathetic person, especially after becoming a Jedi. When a corrupted Kyle Katarn attempted to kill her, Mara refused to strike him down, helping him return to the path of the Jedi instead.
In the Legends Dark Empire comics, Luke Skywalker, of all people, became Palpatines apprentice. This was a ruse, however, as Luke was attempting to undermine the reborn Emperor and his hidden backup faction of Sith and Imperial forces from within. Aware of Lukes true intentions, Palpatine nevertheless played along, trying to genuinely corrupt Luke with the allure of the dark side, nearly succeeding several times. With the help of Leia, Han, Lando, and Jedi Purge survivor Empatojayos Brand, Luke defeated Palpatine once and for all.
Formerly a mercenary and Imperial Sith Inquisitor, Sedriss QL became the reborn Palpatines right-hand man and the leader of his new Sith faction, the Dark Side Elite, leading the Dark Empire into battle on numerous worlds during Operation Shadowhand. Though well-trained by the resurrected Palpatine, Sedriss wasnt nearly as powerful as his previous apprentices and was killed by one of Lukes Jedi allies, a skilled Jedi Master named Ood Bnar. The rest of Palpatines Dark Side Elite followed suit, meeting their ends by the end of Shadowhand.
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The mysterious and nihilistic leader of a Sith splinter-religion called The Prophets of the Dark Side, Cronal became an apprentice of Palpatines shortly after the rise of the Galactic Empire. Within the Empire, Cronals influence was almost equal to that of Palpatine himself. Like his master, Cronal was a brilliant and ruthless manipulator, leading Imperial Intelligence, providing dark side-fueled prophecies for Palpatine, and training other Imperial Sith, such his daughter Sariss and the Inquisitor Jerec. Like Palpatine, Cronal tended to come back from the dead but was ultimately defeated by Luke Skywalker not long after Palpatines final death.
Though she never became a Dark Lady, the Fosh known as Vergere was a mysterious and manipulative Sith who, according to the true Lady of the Sith Lumiya, was a former Jedi who may have discovered Palpatines true identity before the start of the Clone Wars. Lukes New Jedi Order believes that she was never a Jedi, but simply a Sith agent of Palpatines who wasnt powerful enough to complete her training under him. Despite this, she was a powerful practitioner of the dark side and a crafty manipulator, like Palpatine. Working alongside Lumiya, Vergere helped corrupt Han and Leias oldest child, Jacen Solo, twisting him into the Sith Lord Darth Caedus and indirectly contributed to the Second Galactic Civil War and the death of Mara Jade.
Garth Ezzar was whats known as a Dark Side Marauder, essentially a criminal who uses the dark side to commit crimes. During the Clone Wars, Ezzar eventually came into contact with Palpatine, who offered to fully train him as a Sith and give him something more than a life of crime. In reality, he was simply another lackey to Palpatine, albeit a formidable one. During the Clone Wars, Ezzar led several attacks against the Jedi and their institutions across the galaxy. Through Palpatines training, he became an impressive user of both the lightsaber and the dark side, taking part in the CIS invasion of Coruscant, where he was killed by the Jedi.
A prequel era-Jedi originally trained by Siri Tachi, Ferus Olin survived Order 66 and became a fugitive during the dark times between trilogies. Like Luke Skywalker would later do in Dark Empire, Olin attempted to feign joining Palpatine so he could undermine his Empire from within. Unlike Luke, however, Olin was unsuccessful in this endeavor. With a particular grudge against Darth Vader, Ferus tried to learn whatever Sith secrets he could to defeat Vader, but ultimately couldnt overpower the cyborg Sith Lord, and was killed by him shortly after the Battle of Yavin.
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A powerful dark side user who is neither Sith nor Knight of Ren, Snoke was thought to be Palpatines successor for a time, but the mysterious Supreme Leader of the First Order is not what he seems. Snoke is actually a creation of Palpatines, a strand cast (artificial humanoid) who served as a proxy for the undead Sith Lord. Although Snoke had free will, it is unknown how much he knew of Palpatines plans for him, or if he even knew that Palpatine was still alive. Nevertheless, Snoke did exactly what Palpatine needed: He took control of the Imperial forces who fled to the Unknown Regions and formed the First Order, he corrupted Ben Solo into Kylo Ren, and most importantly, he was killed and usurped by Kylo. Despite neither being Sith, this followed Darth Banes Rule of Two to the letter, just as Palpatine intended.
Kylo Ren, the leader of the Knights of Ren and formerly the Jedi Ben Solo, was never directly trained by Palpatine, but his tutelage under Palpatines proxy, Snoke, was secretly orchestrated by the Dark Lord. Like Snoke, Kylo Ren is not a Sith, but the influence of Palpatine and thus the Sith Order was at the core of Snokes teachings. Kylo Ren reached the peak of his power after killing Snoke in traditional Sith fashion, and his strength in the dark side nearly rivaled that of his grandfather, Darth Vader. Like Vader, Kylo redeemed himself in the final Star Wars saga film, becoming Ben Solo once again and helping Palpatines granddaughter, Rey, defeat him once and for all at the Battle of Exegol.
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David Miller is an author for Screen Rant, indie comic writer, and life-long lover of all things Star Wars, Marvel, and DC. He was born and raised in New York and has a degree in English from Rider University. When not writing, he enjoys watching classic movies, reading comics, and getting his fix of caffeine. He relates to Peter Parker maybe a little too much.
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