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"When you arrive on Mustafar, find the place where the dark side calls to you. Draw upon the energy there—combine its power with your own. Then… use it."
―Darth Sidious, to Darth Vader[src]

An ancient Sith cave was located on the Outer Rim Territories planet Mustafar, which housed a locus for the dark side of the Force deep beneath its volcanic surface. The cave resided in the course of one of the planet's lava rivers and was strong with dark side energy.

Shortly after the rise of the Galactic Empire, the newly-christened Sith Lord Darth Vader traveled to the Sith cave to use its energy to "bleed" a kyber crystal in the construction of his own lightsaber. Vader later built a castle over the cave to channel the power of the dark side and serve as his personal residence.

DescriptionEdit

"Mustafar is not like other planets. It is unique. Deep beneath its surface rests a locus for the dark side of the Force."
―Darth Sidious[src]

An ancient Sith cave was located on[1] the volcanic Outer Rim Territories planet[2] Mustafar,[1] which housed a locus for the dark side of the Force deep beneath its surface. The cave resided in the course of a fiery river of lava, which flowed through and dropped out of the cave as a lava fall. The cave's interior featured various markings on its walls, as well as a round rock table naturally formed at its center.[3]

HistoryEdit

"Here, you will reclaim yourself. From the site of your greatest defeat, you shall rise—strong, unbroken… powerful."
―Darth Sidious, to Darth Vader[src]
Darth Vader cave

Darth Vader enters the Sith cave for the first time.

Shortly after the formation of the Galactic Empire[4] in the year 19 BBY,[5] the Sith Lord Darth Sidious ordered his newly-christened apprentice, Darth Vader, to steal a Jedi's lightsaber in order to construct one of his own.[4] After obtaining Jedi Master Kirak Infil'a's lightsaber,[6] Vader, again following his Master's orders, traveled to Mustafar,[3] where he had previously suffered severe burns all over his body as a result of his lightsaber duel against his old Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi.[7]

To complete the task of constructing his new lightsaber, Vader needed to draw upon the Sith cave's dark energy and "bleed" the stolen lightsaber's green kyber crystal—corrupting the crystal with the power of the dark side and turning its color to red in the process. After Vader placed the crystal on the cave's rock table, the markings on the walls began to glow as he experienced a Force vision in which he denounced the dark side, killed Darth Sidious, and returned to Kenobi's side. By re-embracing the darkness, Vader escaped the vision and finally bled the kyber crystal.[3]

By 5 BBY,[8] Vader had constructed his own castle over the Sith cave,[1] which was also once the site of an ancient castle full of dark secrets. The massive obsidian tower[9] was designed to channel the power of the dark side of the Force—it was divided in the middle to resemble tuning forks and harnessed Mustafar lava for energy.[2]

Behind the scenesEdit

"We don't see it all right now, but the idea was that Vader's castle was built over a natural cave—a Sith cave deep down below, in the lava world."
―Doug Chiang[src]

The Sith cave was created as part of the backstory for Darth Vader's castle, which was designed for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,[10] the first film in the Star Wars Anthology Series.[11] The cave was first mentioned in The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,[10] published on December 16, 2016, the same day as the film itself.[12] The Sith cave made its first canonical appearance in the comic book Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 5: The Chosen One, Part V, written by Charles Soule with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli,[3] and released by Marvel Comics on September 6, 2017.[13]

McQuarrie throne

Ralph McQuarrie's concept art of the Emperor's lair for Return of the Jedi was the inspiration behind the Sith cave.

According to Doug Chiang, co-production designer for Rogue One,[11] the idea of a Sith cave beneath Darth Vader's castle originated from a piece of Ralph McQuarrie concept art of Emperor Palpatine's throne room created for Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi.[14] Chiang found the image of the throne on a lava lake inside a cave compelling and decided that the castle would be built on the foundation of an ancient structure. He intended to give the castle's final design an element of purpose, which was to draw energy from the lava lake much like a dam. Furthermore, Chiang thought that the castle could have a more ancient part below it, in the form of a natural cave where Vader went to meditate.[14]

Although the StarWars.com Databank entry for "Darth Vader" explicitly states that Darth Vader's castle was built over an "ancient Sith cave,"[1] the 2016 reference book Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide states that it was built over an "ancient castle full of dark secrets."[9] Although this is an ostensible continuity inconsistency, the Lucasfilm Story Group's Pablo Hidalgo, the book's author, clarified that "it depends how deep you dig."[15] Additionally, the 2017 reference book Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded also supports the aforementioned book's statement.[16]

AppearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

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Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 StarWars-DatabankII Darth Vader in the Databank (backup link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 StarWars-DatabankII Mustafar in the Databank (backup link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 5: The Chosen One, Part V
  4. 4.0 4.1 Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 1: The Chosen One, Part I
  5. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
  6. Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 4: The Chosen One, Part IV
  7. Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  8. Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm Story Group states in SWCustom-2011 Rebels Recon: Inside "Ghosts of Geonosis" on StarWars.com (backup link) that Darth Vader had his castle "at least as long as the series [Star Wars Rebels]." The events of Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion, the series premiere, take place in the year 5 BBY, according to Star Wars: Galactic Atlas. Therefore, the castle's construction must have been completed by that date.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  11. 11.0 11.1 SWCustom-2011 Rogue One Details Revealed at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim on StarWars.com (backup link)
  12. SWCustom-2011 Rebel Reading: A Guide to Rogue One Books on StarWars.com (backup link)
  13. MarvelLogo Darth Vader (2017) #5 on Marvel Comics' official website (backup link)
  14. 14.0 14.1 SWCustom-2011 "We Set the Bar So High": Doug Chiang on Designing Rogue One on StarWars.com (backup link)
  15. TwitterLogo @pablohidalgo (Pablo Hidalgo) on Twitter "Let's just say it depends how deep you dig. And there's more to come." (screenshot)
  16. Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded