Would the Hulk be an acceptable Sith apprentice?

Answer by Thaddeus Howze:

The Hulk as a Sith Lord? Forgettaboutit!

The Hulk could never be a Sith Apprentice, never mind a Sith Master. This mantra by Darth Sidious points out the inherent flaw in choosing a disciple who could become the Hulk at will.

Choose someone as a successor and you will inevitably be succeeded.
Choose someone hungrier and you will be devoured.
Choose someone quicker and you won't dodge the blade at your back.
Choose someone with more patience and you won't block the blade at your throat.
Choose someone more devious and you'll hold the blade that kills you.
Choose someone more clever and you'll never know your end.
Despite these cautions, an apprentice is essential. A Master without an apprentice is a Master of nothing."

―Darth Sidious on selecting Sith apprentices.

Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force talks about the nature of what a Sith Lord looks for in an apprentice. They are seeking students who have the strongest potential for mastery of the Dark Side of the Force.

With training, their natural talents would be nurtured, ofttimes with cruelty and as was necessary in almost all apprenticeships, the detachment ritual required the sacrifice of a person, preferably a loved one, family member, or powerful associate would suffice as the final rite of passage.

These students must have all of the following attributes:

  • Ruthless ambition; kill or be killed mentality
  • Strong achievement orientation; success at any cost
  • A turbulent and emotional psyche
  • An instinctive and powerful connection to the Force

According to Darth Sidious, the purpose of Sith training was to force the apprentice to struggle for every scrap of knowledge he/she attained.

  • Conversely, the master withheld as much as possible for as long as possible, the goal being to prolong his/her own life for as long as possible.
  • Sidious also cautioned that while an apprentice strong enough to serve as an effective agent or enforcer was practically required, one must be careful not to choose an apprentice who was too strong or able.

And here in lies the rub.

While Bruce Banner (assuming he had the awareness to sense and use the Force) might be the ideal Sith Apprentice:

  • He has a brilliant mind and desire for knowledge
  • He was one of the most capable scientists on Marvel's Earth, ambitious to a fault.
  • His rage against his father is an all-consuming one, the same one that makes the Hulk possible would certainly make him an excellent Sith on the face of it.
  • It is exactly his ability to become the Hulk that would disqualify him from becoming a Sith Apprentice.

A Sith Lord must be cruel to his charge in order to break, shape, brainwash, and remold their apprentice into a dark mirror of themselves, bringing out their unique gifts, their special cruelty, elevating their dark connection to the Force until it is a weapon of unique and special malevolence.

This cannot happen with a being like the Hulk. Assuming Banner was accepted as a trainee, there are at least three major difficulties in training him.

  • He cannot be harmed by the power of his dark master; physical coercion and the threat of bodily injury is inherent in the training of Sith Apprentices.
  • He is beyond fear due to his superhuman ability: The very real fear of their master's wrath is one of the ways such apprentices grow in power. To be free of that fear, they increase their strength and ability in order to one day challenge and perhaps on a good day, kill their master and take their place.
  • Without the threat of physical or psychological harm Banner cannot be broken, because no physical effort will ever be beyond the Hulk's ability to achieve even if it was beyond Banner's. Thus the reservoirs of will available to a Sith Force user would remain beyond Banner's reach.

Bruce Banner as Darth Furo

Which is why I presuppose the alternative perspective.

  • A powerful Sith Master could conceivably alter Banner's psyche putting the Hulk aspect of Banner's psychology out of his reach. Such psychological manipulation was not beyond the great masters of the Sith and could allow Banner to be disciplined and punished without fear of releasing the Hulk during the arduous training.
  • If Banner could complete the training, and there is no reason to believe he could not, he would likely spend the rest of his apprenticeship learning how to release the Hulk as a reserve weapon to be used in extremis.
  • His master would also likely encode psychological breaker switches inside of his apprentice to keep the Hulk aspects from attacking or threatening him. He would, however, live in fear of the day when his apprentice's rage would reach a point where it would simply overwhelm his psychological controls. It would be inevitable.
  • As with all things Sith and Hulk, there would come a day when the Hulk would be released, uncontrolled and his Sith master would rue the day he trained Bruce Banner.

Their struggle would be glorious.

  • Banner would want to win the day as himself but as his master fought him knowing his own ascendance would require his student to overcome every psychic block in his mind, he would push Banner to the brink of madness and death.
  • The master's final strike through Banner's heart would release the Hulk, because the blow would drive home the possibility of true death and the Hulk aspect could never accept that.
  • The Hulk would regenerate right on top of the lightsaber. The master would try and withdraw but the tide of the battle would have turned.
  • He would have no chance against the superhuman speed and strength of the Hulk. He would fight a retreating battle, since lightsabers could never do more than cause burns on the Hulk's super-fast regenerating form.
  • The Hulk would eventually tire out his former master. Beating him near death, the master would know his end was near and resent it but at the same time, as he lay dying he would christen his creation Darth Furo.
  • He would hasten his own death by laughing and spitting blood into the eyes of his former apprentice, ecstatic to know with this monster serving the Dark Side, the days of the Jedi Order were over.

For no Jedi would ever be able to contain or defeat the fury of a Hulk-empowered Sith Lord. Darth Furo would be the greatest Sith Lord to ever exist. And likely the last.

Would the Hulk be an acceptable Sith apprentice?