You don’t need me to tell you that Star Wars is one of the most iconic sci-fi franchises of all time and that two of the most important classes of characters in the storyline are the Jedi and the Sith. From the very first film in 1977, the differences between these two subsets of Force users are clear, but they aren’t as simple as good and evil. Sith do things very differently from the Jedi, especially when it comes to training new recruits.
The Jedi have set up schools to train legions of their own Force users in an effort to help them defend the galaxy from the threat of the Sith, an act that runs in stark contrast to how the Sith do things. Sith Lords tend to choose only one apprentice to join them in their evil ventures, choosing a two-man bromance over scores of villainous veterans.
Why do the Sith have apprentices while the Jedi train hordes of young blue-and-green-lightsaber-wielding warriors?
It’s that Rule of Two, baby
The Sith take on apprentices for the same reason that the Jedi do: to train them in the ways of the Force and ensure that the knowledge of the Sith does not die out. The biggest difference between how the Jedi and Sith operate comes down to that shady little Rule of Two.
Created by Darth Bane, the Rule of Two says that only two Sith Lords can exist at any one time ⏤ “one to embody power, the other to crave it.” Many times, the apprentice has killed his previous master (as one does), then takes his place as well as an apprentice of his own. But not all Sith have followed this rule. The first Sith to break it and train multiple apprentices was Darth Tyranus, aka Count Dooku the cuckoo.
The Rule of Two was necessary due to the power structure the Sith set up to facilitate their survival. With too many Sith Lords out there, a civil war for power would likely break out, so limiting their number reduced that potential conflict. Also, having fewer Sith makes it easier for them to remain hidden from the Jedi, because the Sith are sneaky little critters like that.
It’s no wonder why the Jedi are always beating them in the end. But don’t tell them that.