I remember some time before AOTC came out, there were many, many discussion over whether the "rule of two" of the Sith were really true, and many other things concerning this. But also before AOTC, Lucas said that another underlying story within the Prequels was Palpatine's dilemma in having to replenish his apprentices. Now certainly when he lost Darth Maul, this was a dilemma, for apparently he did not foresee losing his prize that he himself had trained from youth, and what his apprentice meant to him as part of his plan to rule the galaxy. However, it has become quite apparent from the growing evidence post AOTC that Dooku came in league with him very soon after he left the Jedi order. And it was so soon afterwards that Dooku plays a part in the creation of the clones, in that he hired Jango. And the Kaminoans said the clones were ordered ten years before the time of the events of AOTC. So Dooku basically joined Sidious/Palpatine in the same year that he left the Jedi order, and quite possibly right after he left the Jedi order [face_shocked] So realistically Palpatine really did not have much of a dilemma in replacing Maul, and quite actually came out better with this former Jedi Master, in that he was a very charismatic leader as well as one of the most powerful Force-users. What a gem to have turned to the dark side and become a Sith, especially with him igniting the Clone Wars. Then will come Anakin Skywalker who will replace Dooku as his apprentice. But as we saw already in AOTC, Palpatine basically has Anakin within his grasp, as that Anakin honors his guidance and thinks he is a good man. Palpatine even has commented to him that he believes Anakin will become the most powerful Jedi ever. We hear the influence of these words come out almost verbatim from Anakin when he said. "Some day I will become the most powerful Jedi ever" After Dooku's death and some traumatic events to happen to Anakin, he will easily become Palpatine's new apprentice, and he certainly will not have to wait any period of time gaining him at his side. So for me, did the dilemma really exist for Palpatine? It appears to me that he actually had a easy time of gaining new apprentices, and the Jedi order provided him with two of its best and most powerful members. I wish I could find where Lucas quoted this, because the Prequel saga seems to contradict what he said in this regard. Darth Sin!