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"Once more the Sith will rule the galaxy, and we shall have peace."
Darth Sidious to Darth Vader[src]

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.

HistoryEdit

Ancient timesEdit

Formed thousands of years prior to the Clone Wars, the Sith were the ancient enemies of the Jedi Order.[12] 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.[13] 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.[12] 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.[13]

As the Sith Order grew, they constructed massive temples and tombs on Moraband in a location known as the Valley of the Dark Lords.[3] The Sith built empires on the backs of their slaves[20] and fought wars against the Jedi for control of the galaxy. During these wars, they built massive superweapons powered by giant kyber crystals.[21][22] 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.[23]

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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[3] The Sith abandoned their traditional homeworld of Moraband after it was scarred by many wars.[24] 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.[3]

ReturnEdit

"At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge."
―Darth Maul to Sidious — Gnome-speakernotesListen (file info)[src]
Sidious Maul

Darth Sidious with his first apprentice Darth Maul.

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.[2]

Fulfilling the Grand SchemeEdit

"I have good news for you, my Lord. The war has begun."
"Excellent. Everything is going as planned."
―Darth Tyranus and Darth Sidious[src]
Sidious Tyranus

Darth Sidious with his second apprentice Darth Tyranus.

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.[1] During this time, Count Dooku took on an apprentice of his own named Asajj Ventress,[18] despite a third Sith being forbidden by the Rule of Two.[25] Ventress however, mainly served Dooku as his personal assassin.[26] 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.[27][28] 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.[29] 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.[30] 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.[31] 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,[32] 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.[33] His revenge scheme eventually ended with Maul's control of Mandalore[34] 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,[35] 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.[36]

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.[3]

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.[5]

Age of the EmpireEdit

Hunting Jedi survivorsEdit

Vader Sidious

Darth Sidious with his third and last apprentice Darth Vader.

Following the collapse of the Republic and purging of the Jedi Order, Darth Sidious and Darth Vader ruled over the Galactic Empire for over twenty years until the Battle of Endor. The two Sith Lords established a cadre of Dark Side wielders known as the Inquisitorius.[37] The Inquisitors were tasked with hunting down Jedi Purge survivors and preventing Force-sensitive children from becoming Jedi. The leading Inquisitor was a Pau'an Grand Inquisitor[38], who was a former Jedi Sentinel and Knight.[39] The Inquisitors were trained by Vader and wielded double-bladed spinning lightsabers.[37]

Five years after the end of the Clone Wars, the Free Ryloth movement led by Cham Syndulla embarked on a large-scale operation to assassinate the Emperor and Vader. Cham wanted to kill the two Sith Lords in order to bring about the demise of the Empire. However, Sidious had anticipated Cham's move and the two Sith eluded Cham's attempts to assassinate them. This operation dealt a major blow to the Free Ryloth rebels, who were forced deeper underground, and also led to the exposure of Colonel Belkor Dray as a traitor. Despite Sidious' hopes, he failed to stamp out the sparks of the growing rebellion.[40]

After the outbreak of the Lothal insurgency about four years before the Battle of Yavin, Sidous dispatched Vader to hunt down the Lothal rebels, who were part of the growing rebellion. Vader lured the Lothal rebels into a trap on Lothal in an attempt to track down the Phoenix rebel cell. Vader led an attack on the Phoenix fleet which destroyed the rebel flagship Phoenix Home but failed to destroy the rebellion. During the skirmish, Vader discovered that his former apprentice Ahsoka Tano was still alive. Under Sidious' orders, he dispatched more Inquisitors to hunt down the Jedi Purge survivor Kanan Jarrus and his apprentice Ezra Bridger.[41]

A year later, Vader visited the Lothal Jedi Temple where the Fifth Brother and the Seventh Sister had attempted to capture Ezra, Kanan, and Ahsoka. Vader remarked that the Emperor would be pleased with their discovery. When the Fifth Brother remarked that the power of the Jedi was growing, Vader responded that it would be their undoing.[39] The Sith Lords later took an interest in the Sith temple on Malachor, which was reputed to be home to a weapon capable of destroying all life. Vader sent another Inquisitor called the Eighth Brother to hunt down a "shadow" and to obtain a Sith holocron.[17]

Ezra, Kanan, and Ahsoka encountered the former Sith apprentice Maul in the Malachor Sith temple. Maul had become stranded on Malachor several years ago. He discovered a secret inside the Sith temple that would allow them to destroy the Sith. However, he lacked the strength to do so on his own. Maul managed to befriend Ezra and the two Force-wielders succeeded in obtaining the Sith holocron. Maul later helped the Jedi and Kanan drive several Inquisitors away. Despite Kanan and Ahsoka's distrust, Maul managed to convince them to help him by teasing the opportunity of destroying the Sith.[17]

Maul convinced Ezra to place the Sith holocron in the obelisk. He then helped Kanan and Ahsoka kill the Inquisitors before turning on Kanan and blinding him. Meanwhile, Ezra discovered that the Sith holocron was the key to reactivating the Sith temple, which was a powerful superweapon capable of destroying life. Shortly later, Darth Vader arrived to claim the temple's power for the Sith. He fought with Ahsoka while Kanan and Ezra removed the holocron; triggering the temple's implosion. Ezra and Kanan escaped the temple but Vader and Ahsoka were trapped inside when the Temple began to implode. Vader and Ahsoka survived and parted company.[17]

Later, Ezra came under the influence of the Sith holocron, which was inhabited by an entity called Presence. Under the holocron's guidance, Ezra learned more aggressive combat techniques including forcing an AT-DP walker driver to attack his comrades and walk his machine off a bridge. Ezra's use of the Sith holocron strained relations with his master Kanan, who confiscated it. Kanan later met a powerful Force-wielder called the Bendu, who formed a middle ground between the light and dark sides. He advised Kanan that an object could be use for both good and evil and that only the person had the power to change it. Kanan left the Sith holocron in the Bendu's care.[42]

Maul later captured Kanan and Ezra's rebel friends and used them as hostages to force the two Jedi to bring him the Sith holocron and Kanan's Jedi holocron. Kanan and Ezra recovered the Sith holocron from the Bendu, who warned them that Maul planned to combine the power of the holocrons in order to provide clarity of vision. After rendezvousing with Maul, Ezra and the former Sith combined the two holocrons. Ezra wanted to find a way to destroy the Sith while Maul was looking for hope. The holocrons projected a vision of twin suns, an old enemy of Maul, and offered to show Ezra the "key" to destroying the Sith. However, Kanan convinced his apprentice to look away and the two holocrons separated. Maul took the opportunity to escape into space.[43]

The RebellionEdit

In the years leading up to the Battle of Yavin, the Empire faced a growing rebellion that had grown into the Alliance to Restore the Republic. In secret, the Emperor commissioned the building of the Death Star, a massive superweapon capable of destroying entire worlds. After rebel elements stole the Death Star plans, Vader led a secret mission to Tatooine which ended with the capture of Princess Leia Organa, the adopted daughter of Senator Bail Organa and one of the offspring of Anakin Skywalker. Shortly later, the Emperor dissolved the Imperial Senate and ordered Alderaan's destruction.[7]

Vader and Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin presided over Alderaan's destruction in the presence of Princess Leia. Before they could terminate Leia, she was rescued by a group of travelers including Anakin's son Luke Skywalker, the smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca, the droids C-3PO and R2-D2, and the Jedi Master Kenobi. While the other rebels escaped aboard the Millennium Falcon, Kenobi sacrificed his life to delay Vader. Leia and her rescuers retreated to the rebel base on Yavin 4. The Death Star traveled to Yavin but was destroyed by a rebel starfighter force. During the Battle of Yavin, Vader sensed that the Force was strong in the rebel pilot Skywalker; who fired the missile that destroyed the Death Star.[7]

Vader survived the destruction of the Death Star.[7] Three and a half years after the events on Yavin, Vader resumed his search for Luke Skywalker. Following the Battle of Hoth, the Emperor disclosed that Luke was one of the offspring of Anakin Skywalker. Vader believed that Luke would be a powerful ally if he could be turned. The Emperor charged Vader with winning Luke over and destroying him if he refused to turn to the dark side. After capturing Leia, Han, Chewbacca, and C-3PO, Vader lured Luke into a trap in Cloud City. During a confrontation, Vader severed Luke's right hand and revealed that he was Luke's father. Despite the pain, Luke refused to join Vader and threw himself down a vane.[44]

In secret, the Emperor directed the building of a second Death Star above the forest moon of Endor. In an attempt to destroy the rebellion once and for all, the Emperor arranged for intelligence on the second Death Star to be leaked to Bothan spies. Using this information, the Rebel Alliance made preparations to launch an attack on the second Death Star. Prior to the Battle of Endor, Vader traveled to the second Death Star to warn Moff Tiaan Jerjerrod to accelerate construction. Shortly later, Sidious traveled to the battle station to oversee the final construction stages.[14]

After learning about Vader's true identity as his father Anakin from Yoda and the Force spirit of Kenobi, Luke decided to face Vader on his own. He traveled with the rebel strike team to Endor and then surrendered himself to Vader, who hoped to win his son over to the dark side. On the second Death Star, Luke confronted Sidious, who attempted to win him over to the dark side. Sidious tried to provoke Luke by attacking the rebel fleet and setting Vader on him. Luke, however, steadfastly refused to join him, leading the Dark Lord to torture him with Force lightning. However Vader, torn between his loyalty to his master in the dark side and his old Jedi connections to the light side that were brought back into light by Luke, chose to be Anakin Skywalker once again, was 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, Anakin 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.[14]

LegacyEdit

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.[45] 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.[45] 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.[46]

Behind the scenesEdit

The Sith first appeared as the primary antagonists of George Lucas' Original trilogy and the Prequel trilogy. The Phantom Menace, which premiered in 1999, established key concepts including the Rule of Two. In addition, the origins and history of the Sith was explored by several non-Canon Star Wars Legends works including the 1991 Dark Horse Comics Dark Empire story arc, the mid-1990s Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi comics, the 2003 BioWare game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequels, Drew Karpyshyn's Darth Bane trilogy, the futuristic Star Wars: Legacy comic series, and John Jackson Miller's Lost Tribe of the Sith novellas. More recently, the Canon television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels have touched upon the origins and history of the Sith.

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."[47] 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.[48]

In the non-Canon animated television series LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, the primary antagonist Naare is identified as a Sith agent of Darth Sidious and Darth Vader.[49]

AppearancesEdit

Non-canon appearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sacrifice"
  4. Lords of the Sith
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Star Wars:Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  6. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Eminence"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Tarkin
  9. 9.0 9.1 Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels – "Twilight of the Apprentice"
  10. Star Wars: Complete Locations
  11. StarWars-DatabankII Holocron in the Databank
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Star Wars 9: Showdown on the Smuggler's Moon, Part II
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Encyclopedia-Logo Sith in the Encyclopedia (link now obsolete; backup link on Archive.org)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
  15. Lando, Part IV
  16. SWInsider "The End of History"—Star Wars Insider 154
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels – "Twilight of the Apprentice"
  18. 18.0 18.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars film
  19. Dark Disciple
  20. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Escape from Kadavo"
  21. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Big Bang"
  22. StarWars-DatabankII Death Star Superlaser in the Databank
  23. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
  24. StarWars-DatabankII Moraband in the Databank
  25. StarWars-DatabankII Darth Bane in the Databank
  26. StarWars-DatabankII Sith in the Databank
  27. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Hidden Enemy"
  28. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Cloak of Darkness"
  29. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Nightsisters"
  30. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Monster"
  31. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Witches of the Mist"
  32. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Brothers"
  33. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Revenge"
  34. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shades of Reason"
  35. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless"
  36. Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir, Part One
  37. 37.0 37.1 Star Wars Rebels: Visual Guide: Epic Battles
  38. Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion
  39. 39.0 39.1 Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels – "Shroud of Darkness"
  40. Lords of the Sith
  41. Star Wars Rebels: The Siege of Lothal
  42. Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow
  43. Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels – "The Holocrons of Fate"
  44. Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
  45. 45.0 45.1 Aftermath
  46. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  47. Blauvelt, Christian. Sam Witwer on Darth Maul’s ‘Clone Wars’ Fate: ‘He’s Playing a Long Game’ — Q&A. Hollywood.com. Retrieved on May 2, 2015.
  48. SWCustom-2011 "Ghosts of Mortis" Episode Featurette on StarWars.com (backup link on Archive.org)
  49. The Freemakers mini logo LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "A Hero Discovered"

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