Darth Maul and Count Dooku are some of the most iconic Sith from any Star Wars trilogy since both of them were hand-picked and trained by Palpatine himself. Having been trained to become Sith Lords, both Maul and Dooku sought to gain more power under Sidious while simultaneously looking to overthrow him. Toward the end of the Clone Wars, Dooku and Maul did actually meet each other in canon in the Son of Dathomir comics by Jeremy Barlow. And while the comics made it clear who was more powerful than the other, a more detailed approach is needed to determine who has more potential as a Sith Lord.

Despite both of them boasting enormous power in the dark side, Maul and Dooku pale in comparison to the dozens of Sith Lords in canon. Neither of them managed to overthrow Palpatine and claim their place on the top. Instead, both of them were mere tools in Palpatine’s grand scheme for the Sith Empire’s return. The Sith Master of any given era must utilize hatred and deception in order to dominate other wielders of the dark side, whereas Maul and Dooku and a love/hate relationship with Palpatine. They needed his knowledge of the dark side in order to grow stronger, but they also hated him for how he treated them.

Given their very different upbringing, Maul and Dooku turned out to specialize in different areas of the dark side. When Maul first became Palpatine’s apprentice, he was specifically trained as an assassin. In some respects, Palpatine purposefully held Maul back from learning many powerful dark side Force powers. Instead, he trained Maul’s swordsmanship abilities, knowing that his skills with a lightsaber were all that was needed for him to play his role. Despite the lies he fed Maul about his grand role in the conquest against the Jedi, it’s clear Palpatine didn’t give Maul the tools to succeed as a Sith for very long.

While Maul was taken as a child by Palpatine, Dooku was seduced to the dark side as an adult. Dooku has walked the path of a Jedi and Sith, which gives him a unique perspective on the Force that Maul doesn’t have. Palpatine trained Maul to be an assassin, but he chose Dooku to be a leader. When the path to the Jedi Council was blocked for Dooku, Palpatine offered him a position as leader of the Separatist Alliance. Dooku’s training as a Sith was geared more toward perfecting the skills he already had. Nevertheless, Palpatine still did not teach Dooku enough for him to overthrow him.

Maul and Dooku’s differing roles dictated what kinds of Force powers Palpatine taught them. With Maul, Palpatine taught him many basic Force powers such as Force push and Force choke. Maul was also adept in Force-assisted acrobatics, which complimented his duties as an assassin. Nevertheless, Palpatine intentionally didn’t teach Maul any powerful dark side abilities such as Force lightning. This put Maul at a disadvantage against opponents with strong Force powers. Maul’s agile fighting style proved to be too much for many Jedi to handle, but he lacked the ability to use the dark side to its fullest potential.

Meanwhile, Dooku was already a powerful lightsaber fighter and Force user when Palpatine recruited him. While Palpatine helped hone Dooku’s fighting skills in the dark side, there wasn’t much more he could teach Dooku about physical combat. Instead, Palpatine taught Dooku how to use Force lightning. He also taught Dooku some knowledge of Sith sorcery, as Dooku assisted him with a Sith ritual near the end of The Clone Wars season 6. Dooku’s dark side abilities—combined with his already formidable combat skills—allowed him to overpower most enemies he encountered. But more importantly, his power and position allowed him to lead Separatists with poise and tact.

Despite both Maul and Dooku having the potential to become Master Sith Lords in their own ways, they were deceived and held back from achieving their full potential. Palpatine never intended to keep them as apprentices for too long, as he was seeking someone more powerful. In the end, both Maul and Dooku were nothing more than stepping stones and experiments for Palpatine. Maul’s purpose was only to reveal the existence of the Sith to the Jedi. Whether he lived or died beyond that was of little concern to Palpatine. Nevertheless, Maul mistakenly believed the lies Palpatine fed him about his role in the plan to rule the galaxy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *