Why Palpatine Didn't Take On Another Apprentice After ROTJ


There are several things that have confused or annoyed fans with the new Star Wars sequels, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker. But one in particular is that it is never fully explained what happened with the whole Palpatine/Snoke storyline. Fans had many questions surrounding it, such as who Snoke was exactly, or how Palpatine survived the end of Return of the Jedi. One of the questions, why Palpatine never actually took another apprentice after Return of the Jedi, is finally answered in a section of The Star Wars Book

This particular book answers the question of how Palpatine survived after the Battle of Endor and falling down the Death Star II shaft. According to the section, Palpatine was able to send his consciousness through his dark side power to a clone body on Exegol as he fell down the shaft. There, Darth Sidious remained hidden for decades. 

However, instead of taking a new apprentice like he had throughout the series thus far, with Darth Maul, Darth Tyrannus, and Darth Vader, he instead created a puppet in the form of Supreme Leader Snoke. He pulled the strings and orchestrated the rise of the First Order through his puppet, Snoke, in the hopes that when the First Order rose to full power, he could come out of hiding and show his strength. Snoke is an artificial being created by Palpatine. He has free well, but is manipulated and controlled by Palpatine. Through Snoke, Palpatine was able to circumvent the classic Sith master-apprentice tradition. 

Palpatine was, at this point, failing in health and in a weakened state, especially in the body he was inhabiting. His plan was not to have another apprentice, but to literally transfer his consciousness to a younger, more viable body through a Sith ritual. His options were either Kylo Ren or Rey. He did not want an apprentice following Return of the Jedi because he was still trying hard to be immortal and stay in power in whatever way he could. If he had an apprentice that saw him in his weakened state, then he would have been killed, and the apprentice would have taken over. That would not have worked with his plan at all. He needed to stay alive another way. 

In a twisted change of fate, instead of the apprentice killing the master to gain power, the master sort of ended up having the “apprentice” killed when Kylo betrayed and murdered Snoke. If Palpatine had shown his hand too early, Kylo might have gotten the best of him. Snoke was Palpatine’s pawn, a test for Kylo before leading the young Force user to him. Palpatine knew that Kylo was strong enough by this point for his plan to move forward. He wanted Kylo to be the new Emperor, not his apprentice. 

Palpatine’s obsession with immortality, however, was his downfall. He did not expect for Kylo Ren and Rey to act the way they did. In the end, he did not think of the free will of people. Snoke technically had it, but he was able to be controlled and manipulated much better since he was artificial. Kylo and Rey were not. 

Palpatine was able to extend his life for three decades by not taking an apprentice and by manipulating his master plan from behind a façade and a pawn. And if he hadn’t, he most likely would have been killed sooner. He had a great plan. However, Kylo Ren and Rey were not quite as corrupt as he needed them to be. Perhaps if Rey were not in the picture, Kylo would have been ready. But who knows? Neither one of them were fully evil like Palpatine. And in the end, he could not fully corrupt them, which led to his actual real downfall.

At least, we think so.

Source(s):  Screen Rant