During the events of Episode 1, Darth Plagueis is still alive, although he is never mentioned or seen on screen (Plagueis wasn't killed until Palpatine was Chancellor). The Sith Lord we do see is of course Darth Sidious, his apprentice, who also had an apprentice, Darth Maul.

In the canon, does it mention that Darth Plagueis knew his apprentice had a secret apprentice of his own? Given the "Rule of Two", this would have been a nay nay to the Sith. Did he know and just not care or was this something he had no idea was going on?

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    the rule of two, is kind of stupid, since we know their were infact more then two sith many times in history, also its never clear if they mean their are only ever 2 at a time or if they always travel in a pair. i believe while hiding they kept their numbers low to keep out of the jedis sight, but if your about to over throw the jedi why not have as many pawns as you can.
    – Himarm
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 19:19
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    I'm fairly sure that the only confirmation that Plagueis is alive in Episode 1 is from the EU novels.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 19:22
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    Even if Plagueis WAS alive, he would expect Palpatine to be scheming against him and probably have a secret apprentice or two of his own. If he didn't, he wouldn't be worthy of the Sith title. If anything, history has shown us that the Rule of Two only applies to official Sith, not Sith-Wannabes.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 19:38
  • yes ryan you should specify if you want official cannon/ aka movies, or expanded universe cannon aka books as well. because your 2 answeres seem to both be accurate however each answers differently depending on the cannon you want.
    – Himarm
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 19:52
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    @Himarm I think the question is clear that he's looking for the official canon and not the EU/Legends since he asks "in the canon" and the EU/Legends has been de-canonized. Also, it looks like he's read Darth Plagueis since most of the information in the first paragraph is from that novel, and the novel also explains that Plagueis knew about Maul.
    – Null
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 20:04

7 Answers 7


If the expanded universe counts as canon to you...

From the Darth Plagueis novel and the Darth Maul Wookieepedia entry;

Though well trained in the ways of the Sith and a Sith assassin rather than a full apprentice, Maul was technically a violation of the Rule of Two because his own Master was at the time apprenticed to another, the Muun Sith Lord Darth Plagueis. Plagueis however, was fully aware of Maul's existence, and supported Sidious's decision to train him. The primary reason for Plagueis's support, despite the violation of the Rule of Two, was that Maul was trained to be expendable. As an assassin, he could perform high priority, boots-on-the-ground missions for the Sith without running the risk of exposing either Plagueis or Sidious should he fail.


A year after Maul was given over to the Sith, Sidious was granted permission from his own Master to train him as an apprentice. Plagueis, however, instructed Sidious not to give away their most treasured secrets to the Dathomirian; Maul was to be trained as a Sith assassin, not a Sith Lord like Plagueis and Sidious.1



No mention is made of Darth Plagueis in Episode I (either the film or the novel). His first mention is in Episode III (both the film and the novel) by Sidious recounting Plagueis' murder to Anakin. Since Maul was alive until Episode I and we only know that Plagueis died sometime before Episode III there is no way to confirm canonically that both were alive at the same time (it's quite possible they were, though, since the events of the two films are separated by only 13 years). In fact, there is no way to confirm from the films or novels that Sidious was Plagueis' apprentice, either -- though starwars.com mentions that Sidious was Plagueis' apprentice (see the caption for the first picture, of Sidious exiting a Lambda-class shuttle):

enter image description here

The text from starwars.com suggests that Sidious started training Maul and then murdered Darth Plagueis, but that doesn't tell us if Plagueis knew about Maul -- only that both were alive at the same time and there was a violation of the Rule of Two.


In Legends, we do know for sure that Plagueis (real name: Hego Damask) knew about Maul. On page 313 of the novel Darth Plagueis, Plagueis and Sidious are discussing plans and Maul comes up:

Plagueis shook his head. "I intend to see to him personally. Is the Zabrak -- Maul, as you call him -- capable of dealing with Alexi Garyn and his Vigos?"

"He will not fail us." [replied Sidious]

There are several other mentions of Maul in conversations between Plagueis and Sidious. Plagueis therefore knew about Maul and allowed Sidious to train him. On the other hand, Maul did not know about Plagueis. On page 315 Sidious is thinking to himself:

What would become of Maul once Palpatine and Damask assumed control of the Republic? he asked himself. As a secret weapon, he would continue to be useful, but could he ever be eased into public life? How would he react to learning that his Master answered to a Master?

Darth Plagueis also explains that Plagueis did not intend to follow the Rule of Two. On page 15 Plagueis kills his master Tenebrous and tells him

"Yes, Master, your death comes at my bidding. You said yourself that perpetuation with purpose is the way to victory, and so it is. Go to your grave knowing that you are the last of the old order, the vaunted Rule of Two, and that the new order begins now and will for a thousand years remain in my control."

So while Sidious violated the Rule of Two by training Maul, Plagueis did not intend to follow the Rule of Two anyway.

In case you don't have the novel, Wookieepedia's article on Darth Maul has the following with a citation from Darth Plagueis:

A year after Maul was given over to the Sith, Sidious was granted permission from his own Master to train him as an apprentice. Plagueis, however, instructed Sidious not to give away their most treasured secrets to the Dathomirian; Maul was to be trained as a Sith assassin, not a Sith Lord like Plagueis and Sidious.

Canonically we can't be sure that Plagueis knew about Maul but in Legends it is confirmed that he did.

  • At the end of Darth Plageuis, Sidious specifically refers to Maul in a conversation with his Master.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 20:08
  • @Richard It's been awhile since I've read Darth Plagueis so I couldn't remember if that was the case. I don't have the book with me at the moment but I'll look for it later tonight and add the quote to my answer if I find it.
    – Null
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 20:14
  • I have Maul to do what the risk of discovery might not allow me to do, while I execute the rest of the Grand Plan: growing an army, fomenting rebellion and fabricating intergalactic war, corralling the Jedi and catching them unawares … “Rest easy in your grave, Plagueis. In the end, I will be proclaimed Emperor. The Sith will have had their revenge, and I will rule the galaxy.” Plagueis slid to the floor and rolled facedown. Death rattled his lungs and he died.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 20:24
  • @Richard I remembered I have Darth Plagueis on Kindle so I can access it now after all. I found the quote you mentioned. Of course, this is right before Plagueis' death so Plagueis wouldn't have been able to do anything about it. I'm looking for any discussion of Maul in front of Plagueis earlier in the book...
    – Null
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 20:37

Darth Sidious was true to the rule of two. In the Clone Wars series he told Darth Maul that for taking Savage Opress as an apprentice he had become a rival and then proceeded to kill them both.

Sidious ordered Dooku to kill his apprentice Asajj ventress because she had grown too powerful for an assassin and posed a threat to his balancing act of pitting the Separatists and Republic against each other.

Palpatine planned to replace his one apprentice with another.

Palapatine also had Anakin kill Dooku to replace him as his apprentice in Episode III.

Sidious attempted to have Luke Skywalker kill Darth Vader to replace him as his apprentice. Vader wanted Luke to help him kill the Emporer which would still leave two.

I don't doubt that Sidious would lose the rule if it suited him (speculation), but his actions so far have been to uphold the rule.

  • This doesn't seem to answer the question of whether Plagueis knew about Maul.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 20:49

Firstly darth plagueis if anyone remembers was going to abandon the rule of two. Read the book guys. darth maul was trained as an assassin true but plagueis knew he was there. they used him yes to do the grunt work so that plagueis didn't have to come out because at a certain point he was injured and Palpatine didn't have to expose himself because he was under cover in the senate. so there was no way for him to do anything to cause trouble. it was up to maul and plagueis. they needed the Decent in the Galaxy to get plagueis' plan to start and that's where the Taxation of Naboo started. it was all to get Palpatine into Chancellor.


The Sith are liars and deceptive to the core. Darth Sideous could preach the rule of two to Darth Maul because Maul was unaware of Darth Plaguies's existence although Plagueis was aware of his.

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    Welcome to Sci-Fi and Fantasy SE! This website encourages evidence-backed answers; provide evidence if you can to avoid speculation. Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 16:24

I don't believe Sidious killed Darth Plagueis. He had the power to "cheat death". Plagueis was in the back ground waiting for the correct moment to expose himself. Sith will wait years for correct time to exploit there powers. PLagueis new everything that was going on with Sidious!

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    Your answer could use some references - otherwise it's just speculation, which is not welcome on this site. You might want to post this as a comment. Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 19:04
  • MOST of what goes on here is speculation!?! Even Canon can be speculation! (Theory)
    – mmcubb
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 12:25
  • Relevant citations to back your answer is what people come here for in the first place - there are a lot of sites that offer theories and speculations, but this is not one of them. Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 12:54

In the canon universe, Plagueis died before Palpatine became chancellor. It was stated that he died before the event of the movies, so we can assume that simply Palpatine killed him and THEN took Maul as his apprentice. This would not break the rule of the two. To confirm this, in Canon Universe we can see that Palpatine was loyal to the rule of the two, in fact in Clone Wars he said to Maul "Rememeber the one true reality of the Sith: there can only be two". So the Canon Palpatine would not break the rule of the two and therefore it is logical that he killed Plagueis and then took Maul as his apprentice.

The novel they mentioned to you belong to the expandend universe and as such have no official connection to the movies. Like the other novels (including the movie novelizations) the comics and the videogames they belong to another universe. The expandend universe Palpatine is often described as interested in breaking the rule of the two. For example, in the expandend universe comics we learned that he took a secret apprentice at the time of Darth Vader (the one who would later marry Luke). But that doesn't concern the official and true Palpatine. It's just one of the ways in which the expandend universe differ from the canon (which is why is called alternative reality).

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    Where was it "stated that he died before the events of the movies"? I don't remember that, and my link to starwars.com suggests that Palpatine took on Maul as his apprentice and then killed Plagueis.
    – Null
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 19:54
  • I'm pretty sure that the Clone Wars animated series isn't cannon. Also Mara-Jade Skywalker was not Sidious' apprentice, she was his hand and I'm pretty sure Vader knew about her. Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 21:29
  • In response to Matthew Stevenson's comment, The Clone Wars animated series is in fact canon. It and the 6 movies (and now the Force Awakens and Rogue One) are all that is canon. Everything else from video games to novels has been erased. Which in my opinion was a good choice because a lot of it was inconsistent and was starting to get quite messy.
    – Aaron
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 16:18

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