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The Sith is a fictional ancient kratocratic organization, created by Darth Bane after the destruction of the Sith Brotherhood of Darkness-dynasty that lasted 1000 years, and promptly ended with the death of Palpatine.
The Sith are the primary recurring antagonists in the Star Wars universe. Its members were dedicated to Sith philosophy and to mastering the dark side of the Force. The Sith members, known as Sith Lords or Dark Lords of the Sith, traditionally use the title Darth before their Sith name. The Sith are the archenemies of the quasi-religious Jedi and, like them, their main weapon is the lightsaber. While Jedi serve the Galactic Republic by utilizing the Force for peace, knowledge and defense, the Sith prefer to exploit the Force for power, aggression or personal gain; desires that inevitably led to both imperial conquest and their own self-destruction. By the events of both trilogies, there exist only two at a time: a master and an apprentice.
The first use of the word "Sith" was in the novelization of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, as a title for Darth Vader, the "Dark Lord of the Sith". The Sith were not formally introduced or mentioned on-screen until the release of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, in 1999, though they had been named in some Expanded Universe works before that time.
- 1 Background and origins
- 2 Organization
- 3 Personnel
- 4 Sith appearances
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Background and origins
The Star Wars saga began with the film Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, which was released in 1977. Since then, films, books, computer games and comics have been released, all set in the fictional universe of Star Wars which has expanded the history of the Sith within their stories.
The history of the Sith was officially described for the first time by George Lucas himself in the novelization of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, written by Terry Brooks. There, it is explained that the Sith Brotherhood of Darkness were established two thousand years before the events of The Phantom Menace by a rogue Jedi who believed that the true power of the Force lay in its dark side, and that denial of power was a waste. The Jedi Council of the time disapproved of such beliefs, and the dissident Jedi left the order, swearing vengeance against them.
He soon gained many followers, some of whom were Jedi who agreed with his views and beliefs. However, the greed and hunger for power from its members was so great that the Sith Brotherhood was destroyed from the inside. Weakened by centuries of infighting, the divided Sith factions were easily wiped out by the unified Jedi Order. Still, in the midst of destruction, one member was able to survive: Darth Bane.
Banite Sith dynasty
Learning from the order's past mistakes, Darth Bane established The Rule of Two and restructured the Sith so that there could only exist two members at a time: a master and an apprentice. Bane also adopted cunning, subterfuge, and stealth as fundamental tenets of the Sith. Darth Bane predicted that this kratocratic cycle would continue for a period of 1,000 years, until the Sith were ready to enact their vengeance against the Jedi.
Centuries later, the Sith Master Darth Sidious carefully schemed to exact revenge against the Jedi and restore Sith theocratic control over the galaxy, which led to the Clone Wars, the destruction of the Jedi Order, the enslavement or genocide of non-human species, and the transformation of the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire. During his final duel with Sidious, Jedi Master Yoda realized that Sidious represented a small but powerful Sith Order that had changed and evolved over the years, while the Jedi had not: "He [Yoda] had lost before he started." George Lucas has stated that Palpatine considers himself the "savior" of the galaxy. However, while Sidious and his powerful apprentice Darth Vader were successful in killing most of the Jedi, the Sith would not be completely victorious. An alliance of dissident worlds began a great rebellion against the Galactic Empire, which culminated in a rebel fleet destroying the Empire's second Death Star, and Darth Vader's son, Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker, redeemed his father by turning him back to the light side of the Force. Vader killed his master Darth Sidious to save his son, and Vader's subsequent death meant the destruction of the Banite Sith Order.
One Sith dynasty
At some point before 30 ABY (After Battle of Yevin), a Sith known as Darth Krayt founded The One Sith or the New Sith Order on Korriban, the ancient Sith burial world. In this new Sith cult, most of the followers were trained from birth, sported a red-and-black tattooed appearance and carried lightsabers with a yorik coral-styled hilt design. This Sith Order was considered heretical by the holocrons of Darth Andeddu and Darth Bane. By the year 130 ABY, the One Sith had risen to take the place of Lumiya's Sith faction, itself the remnant of Darth Bane's Order.
Sith Code Doctrine
The Sith embraced passion, which they believed to be a powerful aspect of nature.  "There is no peace, there is anger." "There is no fear, there is power." "There is no death, there is immortality." "There is no weakness, there is the Dark Side."
"I am the heart of darkness." "I know no fear." "But rather I instil it in my enemies." "I am the destroyer of worlds." "I know the power of the Dark Side." "I am the fire of hate."
"All the UNIVERSE bows before me." "I pledge myself to the darkness." "For I have found true life." "In the death of the light."
"Peace is a lie, there is only passion." "Through passion, I gain strength." "Through strength, I gain power." "Through power, I gain victory." "Through victory, my chains are broken." "The Force shall free me."
The Rule of Two
The "One Master and One Apprentice" rule is the principle upon which the Order of the Sith Lords was founded. The Rule of Two was created by Darth Bane, a Dark Lord and former member of the Brotherhood of Darkness, who saw that the Sith Brotherhood of Darkness dynasty had weakened themselves and were ultimately eradicated by the Jedi Order.
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Notable Sith Lords
Darth Bane (Dessel) renewed the Sith order and established the Rule of Two. This rule stated that there must be only two Sith Lords at a time: a master to embody power, and an apprentice to crave it and eventually overthrow his master and adopt an apprentice of his own.
Darth Caedus (Jacen Solo) is the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa Solo and the nephew of Luke Skywalker. He is a major character in several Star Wars novels, particularly the New Jedi Order and Legacy of the Force series. Events during the Legacy of the Force lead the young Jedi to embrace the dark side, and become Darth Caedus. Around 40 years after the Battle of Yavin, after a prolonged conflict with his former brethren, Darth Caedus was killed in combat by his own twin sister, the Jedi Jaina Solo.
Darth Krayt (A'Sharad Hett), The main antagonist of the Star Wars: Legacy comic series. He served during the Clone Wars, but managed to survive the early stages of the Great Jedi Purge and exiled himself to Tatooine, but fled Tatooine after encountering Obi-Wan Kenobi. He fled to Korriban, where he was trained as a Sith Lord. After several hundred years in an extended period of stasis, Krayt formed the One Sith and overthrew the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances, forming a new Sith Empire in its place.
Darth Maul was the first apprentice of Darth Sidious. In Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul is sent by his master to find and capture the escaped Queen Amidala. Later on, he ends up dueling Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi sent to protect Amidala. Wielding a double-bladed lightsaber, Maul is able to defeat Kenobi's master and friend, Qui-Gon Jinn, before falling to Obi-Wan Kenobi in the same duel. Decades later, during the Clone Wars, his brother Savage Opress found him dumped in the junk world of Lotho Minor, where it was revealed that Maul was able to survive the injuries from his last duel due to his strength with the dark side of the Force, which was fueled by his anger against Kenobi.
Darth Nihilus appears in The Sith Lords and in the Star Wars: Legacy comic series. Darth Traya found and trained Nihilus; Nihilus and Darth Sion later betrayed her. The player's character eventually defeats Nihilus. IGN also put the character as their 56th top Star Wars character.
Darth Plagueis (Hego Damask) was a powerful Sith Lord mentioned by Palpatine in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith in a conversation with Anakin Skywalker. He was the master of Darth Sidious and, as the latter tells Anakin, became so powerful that he was able to overcome death and create life. The novel Star Wars: Darth Plagueis reveals his name and identified him as a Muun, one of the race that headed the Intergalactic Banking Clan and which joined the Separatist Alliance during the Clone Wars. Plagueis was eventually killed in his sleep by Darth Sidious.
Darth Revan (Revan) declared war on The Old Republic. A Famous Jedi Hero, Revan led the Republic to victory in the Mandalorian Wars. After the conflict, however, he and his apprentice Malak unwittingly discovered the Sith Empire in the Unknown Reaches of Space. The Sith Emperor turned Revan and Malak to the Dark Side, but the two broke free from his control and formed their own Sith Empire to wage war on the Republic, with Revan as the Dark Lord and Malak as his Apprentice. As the Dark Lord of the Sith prepared to battle with the Jedi who boarded his flagship, the apprentice Darth Malak, in the hopes of destroying both Revan and Bastila Shan, betrayed his Master, ordering the ships under his command to fire on Revan's flagship's bridge. Revan was critically injured and taken by Bastila Shan to the Jedi Council Enclave. The Council chose to wipe Revan's memory, and imprint him with a false identity. Knights of the Old Republic begins with Revan awaking on a starship under attack. Revan eventually encounters Malak, who tells Revan that he is the former Sith Lord. Later, Revan defeats Darth Malak, claiming victory for the Republic.
Darth Sidious (Palpatine) rose to power from being a Senator of Naboo, to Supreme Chancellor, to self-proclaimed Emperor of the Galactic Empire. This was achieved through double agents and a cleverly orchestrated sequence of events done under his alternate identity, Palpatine, who gained respect in the Old Republic while secretly participating in Sith practices and planning an end to the Jedi Order. He had three known Sith apprentices: Darth Maul, Darth Tyranus and Darth Vader. He was eventually killed by his last, Anakin Skywalker, at the end of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi.
Darth Tyranus (Count Dooku) was a fallen Jedi and the second apprentice of Darth Sidious. It is revealed in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, that Tyranus had a prominent role in engineering the Clone Wars, recruiting bounty hunter Jango Fett to become the template for an army of clones to be used by the Galactic Republic. Tyranus led the Separatist Alliance during the Clone Wars until he met his demise while dueling Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.
Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker) was the first Sith Lord shown on-screen, appearing in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. As a Jedi Knight, he was known as Anakin Skywalker and fought in the Clone Wars against the Separatist Alliance. He slowly turned to the dark side with the help of Darth Sidious. After helping Sidious kill Jedi Master Mace Windu, he swore allegiance to the Sith and became his third apprentice. As the Galactic Empire was established and continued to grow, Darth Vader became the Emperor's greatly feared second in command and was given the task of finding the Rebel Alliance's base. After the destruction of the Death Star, Vader was charged with tracking down the Rebel Alliance and destroying their headquarters. However, the actions of his son Luke Skywalker eventually turned Vader against his master, resulting in both Sidious' and Vader's deaths.
Expanded Universe novels
The first Expanded Universe novel was Splinter of the Mind's Eye, written by Alan Dean Foster and published in 1978. The setting for this novel takes place between Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. It provides a new adventure that includes Princess Leia, R2-D2, C-3PO, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. In the story, Darth Vader tries to get the Kaiburr Crystal to use it for his evil schemes.
Other novels that depicted Sith characters were Darth Maul: Saboteur and Cloak of Deception by James Luceno. Cloak of Deception describes the political background surrounding the Republic in the time period before The Phantom Menace, as well as Darth Sidious' plans to rule the galaxy, starting with the blockade of Naboo. In Darth Maul: Saboteur, the Sith Lord Darth Sidious sends Darth Maul to destroy InterGalactic Ore and Lommite Limited.
Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, by Michael Reaves, also showed insight into the Sith. This story is about how Darth Sidious brings his plan into action; however, he soon finds out about a traitor who knows of his plan. He sends his apprentice, Darth Maul, to scope out the traitor who leaked the secret of his plan to take down the Republic.
Star Wars comics
Dark Horse Comics purchased the copyrights to several Star Wars stories. With their publication of Star Wars: Dark Empire #1 in 1991, they initiated what has become a large line of Star Wars manga and comics. The Sith appear as major antagonists throughout this story's plot. Many of the comics that were published helped expand the backstory of the characters and followed the rise and fall of the Dark Lords of the Sith.
Star Wars TV series
Star Wars: The Clone Wars first aired on Cartoon Network in 2008. This series took place between Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. During this time, Anakin Skywalker is a full-fledged Jedi Knight and the series shows how he progresses into his fall to the dark side of the Force. Count Dooku is the active Sith Lord and leader of the Separatist Alliance. The series also explores Dooku's attempts at training secret apprentices like Asajj Ventress and Savage Opress in order to eventually defeat Darth Sidious and become the ruling Sith Lord.
Star Wars video games
Star Wars video games have also been adapted from the plots of the films, novels, and TV shows. The games follow the basic plot of the story, but they can also include alternative, non-canonical, endings depending on which character is being played.
Some of the video games that have a heavy focus on Sith characters and lore are Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, released in 2003, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords, released in 2004 and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, released in 2008.
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- "Darth Tyranus/Count Dooku". StarWars.com. LucasFilm. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- "Darth Vader". StarWars.com. LucasFilm. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- "Splinter of the Mind's Eye". tvtropes.org. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
- Luceno, James (2002). Star Wars: Cloak of Deception. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-307-79570-0.
- Luceno, James (2001). Darth Maul:Saboteur. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-345-44735-7.
- Reaves, Michael (2001). Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter. Ballantine Publishing Group. ISBN 0-345-43541-9.
- "Timeline". www.darkhorse.com. Dark Horse. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
- Lavin, Michael R. (1998). "A Librarian's Guide to Dark Horse Comics". Serials Review 24 (3/4).
- "Star Wars: The Clone Wars". Retrieved 18 November 2011.
- "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic". Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords". Retrieved 18 November 2011.
- "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed". Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- Further reading
- Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side (Chronicle Books, © 2013) ISBN 1452118159
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sith.|
- Sith in the Official StarWars.com Encyclopedia
- Order of the Sith Lords on Wookieepedia: a Star Wars wiki
- The Sith Explained (Howstuffworks.com)
- Who's Who of the Sith on SithOrder.com