The Sith, collectively known as the Sith Order, were an order of Force users who utilized the dark side of the Force in an effort to gain power over the galaxy. The Sith were the ancient enemies of the Jedi Order and fought numerous wars with them for thousands of years.
Formed thousands of years prior to the Clone Wars, the Sith were the ancient enemies of the Jedi Order. Established by a rogue Jedi, the Sith sought further knowledge and power through learning the dark side of the Force. Eventually, this Jedi was able to amass a sizable following, all of whom adhered to this new philosophy that embraced the dark side. This schism in the Jedi Order led to an event known as the Hundred-Year Darkness, in which the Jedi and the newly-founded Sith Order, once brothers and sisters in the Force, fought against one another for power. The civil war ended in the defeat of the Sith, who fled from known space. Unbeknownst to the Jedi however, the Sith settled on Moraband, a world of red sands, where they rebuilt in secret to wait for another chance to strike.
As the Sith Order grew, they constructed massive temples and tombs on Moraband in a location known as the Valley of the Dark Lords. The Sith built empires on the backs of their slaves and fought wars against the Jedi for control of the galaxy. During these wars, they built massive superweapons powered by giant kyber crystals. During one such conflict, the Jedi and Sith fought on the planet of Takodana. The pirate Maz Kanata later built her castle on top of the legendary battlefield.
At one point, nearly six thousand years before the rise of the Galactic Empire, the Sith built a shrine on Coruscant, which became a place of immense dark side power. Later in history, the Jedi raised their own temple over that shrine, in an attempt to contain and eliminate its power. Over many years, the Sith continued to expand their empire, erecting temples on planets like Malachor, a world which later become forbidden to the Jedi.
Their quest to gain power was ultimately the undoing of the Sith, as the dark side made them turn against one another. In the end, the Jedi managed to defeat the infighting Sith, bringing what was left of the dark order to its knees. As it turned out, one Sith, Darth Bane, survived. His fellow Sith Lords destroyed, he reformed the order by establishing Rule of Two, mandating that only two Sith—a master and an apprentice—could exist at any given time, lest they fall prey to in-fighting. The Sith abandoned their traditional homeworld of Moraband after it was scarred by many wars. Eventually Darth Bane was killed and was buried in the Valley of the Dark Lords on its surface, but the Rule of Two continued on through his apprentice.
The Sith continued for a thousand years in secret, their survival unknown to the Jedi, as they plotted their revenge against the Jedi Order. The Sith remained a distant memory until the rise of Darth Sidious, a Dark Lord of the Sith, and his apprentice, Darth Maul, in the last days of the Galactic Republic. Sidious hid in plain sight as the unassuming Senator Sheev Palpatine of Naboo, while secretly orchestrating the Trade Federation’s invasion of the planet. This allowed him to make a play for the galaxy’s highest office in his civilian persona and sow the seeds of Sith revenge. Maul attacked Queen Amidala of Naboo and later killed Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, but fell to his padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Despite this setback, the Sith had returned, clouding the Force with the power of the dark side. The arrival of Anakin Skywalker, a young boy especially strong with the Force, offered a potential new recruit for the Sith with Darth Sidious in the public persona of Palpatine, who had become Supreme Chancellor of the Republic.
Fulfilling the Grand SchemeEdit
With the loss of Darth Maul, Darth Sidious took on a new apprentice, a former Jedi, named Count Dooku. Adopting the Sith name Darth Tyranus, Dooku became the face of the Separatist movement against the Republic and pushed the galaxy into war. Jedi, once peacekeepers, now became generals and warriors, a rank they formerly denied due to the Jedi Code. During this time, Count Dooku took on an apprentice of his own named Asajj Ventress, despite a third Sith being forbidden by the Rule of Two. Ventress however, mainly served Dooku as his personal assassin. Ventress, as well as Dooku's other recruits, also benefited the Sith by concealing the fact that Dooku was merely an apprentice to Darth Sidious. For at least two years into the Clone War, many Jedi believed that Dooku was the master of the Sith Order, and Sidious was able to continue manipulating the Republic without arousing suspicion.
Ventress engaged Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ahsoka Tano in lightsaber duels on numerous occasions. While loyal, she was ultimately betrayed by her Master on the orders of Darth Sidious. Dooku soon after traveled to Dathomir to meet with the Nightsisters in hopes of finding a new apprentice. Dooku and the Nightsisters eventually decided on a young Zabrak named Savage Opress, brother of Darth Maul. However, Asajj Ventress sought revenge for Dooku's treachery and used Opress as a means of attaining her goal. Torn between two demanding masters, Opress eventually turned on both Dooku and Ventress. Returning to the Nightsisters, Opress found that his brother, Darth Maul, had not been killed as previously believed. Maul had survived his injuries on Naboo because of his sheer reliance on the dark side, and was living in the junk heaps of Lotho Minor. However, Maul's tragic events had driven him to insanity. He remembered only one word: "Kenobi." Guided by an Anacondan named Morley, Opress was able to return Maul to the Nightsisters for treatment. Now fully healed by the Nightsister's magic and given a pair of new robotic legs, Darth Maul began a hunt for the man who had nearly destroyed his life, Obi-Wan Kenobi. His revenge scheme eventually ended with Maul's control of Mandalore and the death of Kenobi's true love. However, Darth Sidious sensed his former apprentice's actions, and traveled to Mandalore to put an end to it. He killed Opress and took Maul captive, locking him away in an old mountaintop prison known as the Spire, in an elaborate Sith gambit to settle a longstanding and deadly dispute with the Nightsisters.
Later during the war, Yoda visited Moraband, the Sith homeworld. The Jedi Master encountered an illusory spectre of the ancient Sith Darth Bane, who was buried on the barren planet, and battled Sidious on a spiritual plane as the result of an ancient, arcane Sith ritual. Through his experience, Yoda gained a new enlightenment about the Force that the Sith did not foresee.
After three years of the Clone Wars, Darth Sidious' grand scheme was almost complete. He sacrificed Count Dooku to a violent killing by Anakin Skywalker in order to manipulate the young Jedi. As Palpatine, he told Anakin a Sith legend about Darth Plagueis the Wise. Plagueis, through the dark side, had gained the ability to keep people from dying until his apprentice killed him in his sleep. This story entranced Anakin, who was desperate to learn this power in an effort to save his wife, Padmé Amidala. Eventually, Palpatine revealed himself as Sidious, and converted Anakin to the dark side. With Anakin now a Sith called Darth Vader, Sidious enacted his masterstroke. He executed Order 66, the slaughter of all Jedi, with Vader leading the attack on the Jedi Temple. In the political arena, he reorganized the Republic using the powers given to him as a result of the Clone Wars to transform the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire, installing himself as Emperor. Once more, the Sith ruled the galaxy, unbeknownst to all but the few surviving Jedi.
Following the collapse of the Republic and purging of the Jedi Order, Darth Sidious and Darth Vader ruled for over 20 years until the Battle of Endor. During the battle, Luke Skywalker, Vader's son, faced Sidious, aboard the second Death Star. The Emperor attempted to convert him to the dark side of the Force. Luke, however, steadfastly refused to join him, leading the Emperor to torture him with Force lightning. Vader, unable to stand by and watch his son die, picked up the Emperor and threw him into a reactor, killing him and returning balance to the Force. Badly damaged from the Emperor's Force lightning, Vader, now once again Anakin Skywalker, died, but his selfless act allowed him to transform into the Force and join Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Sith Order, along with their tyranny, was seemingly no more. The Jedi had returned and a new age dawned.
Even after the end of the Sith Order, many individuals and groups still adhered to their philosophy. Yupe Tashu, advisor of Palpatine, was an admirer of the Sith interrogation methods, as well as their teachings and cunning. He believed that the remaining Imperial Military should retreat "beyond the veil of stars," searching for the source of the dark side. The Acolytes of the Beyond collected Sith artifacts, such as what they believed to be Darth Vader's lightsaber, to destroy them, believing this returned the relics to their deceased owners. Supreme Leader Snoke, Kylo Ren, and the Knights of Ren held some of the beliefs of the Sith, although Snoke scorned the sentimentality of Darth Vader, which he believed had led to the Empire's downfall.
Behind the scenesEdit
Sam Witwer, who has voiced Maul and Sidious in animation, opined the Sith do not believe in life after death. That is why they go to such extreme lengths to survive. However, the Jedi will sacrifice themselves as they believe their deaths can inspire others. "You have Darth Vader, who lives a terrible life, he lives a pathetic, tortured existence but it’s still preferable to having nothing, which is how he views death. Same thing with Darth Sidious, you look at him in Return of the Jedi. He's over 100 years old and is a bent, old man. But that's better than the alternative, which is nothing." An appearance from the Force spirits of Darth Bane and Revan in "Ghosts of Mortis" was removed at the last minute by George Lucas due to the disconcerting notion that the Sith could return.
- William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace: Star Wars Part the First
- Epic Yarns: A New Hope
- Epic Yarns: The Empire Strikes Back
- Epic Yarns: Return of the Jedi
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales Episodes I-III (Appears as Force spirit and in flashbacks)
Notes and referencesEdit
- Sith on Wikipedia