||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (March 2015)|
The Sith is a fictional ancient kratocratic organization that serves as the primary recurring antagonists in the Star Wars universe. The Sith Order established several Sith Empires and have undergone numerous incarnations throughout their existence.
The Banite Sith, as depicted in the Original trilogy and Prequel trilogy, was founded by Darth Bane; it lasted 1000 years BBY and promptly ended with the death of Palpatine. During this dynasty there existed only two at a time: a master and an apprentice.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Background and origins
- 2.1 Before the Battle of Yavin
- 2.2 After the Battle of Yavin
- 3 Organization
- 4 Personnel
- 4.1 Notable Sith Lords
- 5 Sith appearances
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The Sith are 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-prefix 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 are subservient to the Force and aid 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.
Sources and analogues
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.
- Film and television
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- Expanded universe
|This section requires expansion. (March 2015)|
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. Throughout their existence, the Sith Order established several Sith Empires.
The Galactic Standard Calendar was the standard measurement of time in the Star Wars galaxy. It centered around the Coruscant tropical year. The Coruscant solar cycle was 368 days long with a day consisting of 24 standard hours. Numerous epochs were used to determine calendar eras. The most recent of these calendar eras used the Battle of Yavin as its epoch, or "year zero": BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), and ABY (After the Battle of Yavin).
Before the Battle of Yavin
The Tales of the Jedi comics series takes place in this era, chronicling the immense wars fought by the Jedi of old, and the ancient Sith. The Knights of the Old Republic series and the MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic takes place during this time, as well as the Darth Bane series. The Sith Era also takes place during this time.
Third Great Schism
After the Third Great Schism came to an end, and the last twelve ‘Dark Jedi’ surrendered, the public demanded their execution. Ever the merciful diplomats, the Jedi chose to spare the lives of their fallen brethren and their followers. They then proceeded to strip their former allies of their weapons and armor, boarded them onto unarmed transport ships, and sent them into deep space. When the helpless prisoners found the race of red-skinned Sith on the planet Korriban, they did what Jedi do: shared their beliefs and technology and laid the foundations of a new empire.
Great Hyperspace War
Old feuds die hard, so once the Sith had emerged as a suitable army for their Dark Jedi leaders – now Sith Lords – the Great Hyperspace War began. The Sith ultimately succumbed to infighting, and the Republic and Jedi were victorious. Their actions 1,900 years earlier hadn’t worked: the Dark Jedi had survived, and now ruled over a previously-unknown race of Force-sensitive humanoids.
The Sith Holocaust
Supreme Chancellor Pultimo realized that this new enemy posed a credible threat to the Republic. He ordered the Jedi and Republic armed forces to invade Sith Space and destroy any remains of the empire and its citizens. This purge – known as the Sith Holocaust – ultimately failed, leaving the survivors to take refuge on Dromund Kaas. From here they would rebuild their empire, and not rest until they had their revenge on those who had tried to exterminate them.
The Sith Empire
The Sith Empire was established by Darth Revan and his apprentice, Darth Malak, during the Jedi Civil War. It was founded as a dark side organization in direct opposition to the Galactic Republic and its Jedi defenders. Built upon a hardened core of veterans from the Mandalorian Wars and a host of Jedi converts, this new galactic power very nearly succeeded in conquering the Republic. After the redemption of Revan and the death of Malak, the Empire splintered into factions before finally dissolving entirely circa 3950 BBY (Before Battle of Yavin). The Sith Triumvirate emerged as a loose alliance of what remained of Darth Revan's Sith Empire that almost destroyed the Jedi Order during the era of strife that took place after the Jedi Civil War. It was solidified sometime after the Battle of Rakata Prime. It was responsible for the near complete destruction of the Jedi Order during the First Jedi Purge and the attack on Katarr.
The Brotherhood of the Sith
The Brotherhood of the Sith was established by Exar Kun during the Great Sith War. This history of the Sith was officially described 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 was 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 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.
Exar Kun soon gained many followers, some of whom were Jedi who agreed with his views and beliefs. However, the greed and hunger for power from the Brotherhood's members was so great that it was destroyed from the inside. With a fragile alliance based on mutual hatred, and 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.
The Banite Sith
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. This would concentrate the Dark Side of the force into the two powerful beings rather than spread it amongst legions of inneffective warriors. 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 Dark Lord of the Sith, 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, whereas the Jedi had not: "He [Yoda] had lost before he started." George Lucas has stated that Palpatine considers himself the "savior" of the galaxy.
After the Battle of Yavin
However, while Sidious and his powerful apprentice Darth Vader were successful in killing most of the known 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.
Galactic Federation of Free Alliances
Established under Darth Caedus, a Sith Lord who turned against his family and friends, betraying his former principles and leading the Galactic Alliance he once championed into a reign of terror as he attempted to bring order and stability to a fractured galaxy. Caedus desired to protect the galaxy, and was increasingly willing to accept any cost in exploiting the Dark Side.
The One Sith
Following the end of the Sith–Imperial War, before 30 ABY (After Battle of Yavin), 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."
The Sith Code, as written by Sith Lord Sorzus Syn (she was apparently the original author of the Sith Code) and taught by Darth Bane:
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.
Notable Sith Lords
Ajunta Pall was a male Human Jedi Master and the leader of the Dark Jedi that were exiled from the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic following the Hundred-Year Darkness. Upon his arrival on Korriban, he became the first Dark Lord of the Sith. He was regarded as the manifestation of Typhojem, the Left-Handed God by the Kissai. Long after his death, his spirit was redeemed by the Jedi Knight Revan during the Jedi Civil War.
Tulak Hord, known as the Lord of Hate and Master of the Gathering Darkness, was a Dark Lord of the Sith that ruled during the early Sith Empire, commanding great armies and possessing a mastery of the dark side of the Force and lightsaber combat which left him nearly unrivaled. During battle, Hord wore a black mask, making him a fear-inspiring sight.
Marka Ragnos was a male half-breed Dark Lord of the Sith who lived during the time of the first Sith Empire, born long before 5100 BBY, and, around that same year, dueled Sith Lord Simus for the title of Dark Lord of the Sith and control of the Sith Empire. Ragnos defeated Simus, who was beheaded in the battle with the other aspiring Dark Lord. Ragnos lived for over a hundred years, growing in power, pitting his adversaries against each other and ensuring that there were no threats to his throne. Following his death shortly before the Great Hyperspace War, two powerful Sith Lords, Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh, fought each other to occupy his throne; Ragnos' spirit appeared before them and proclaimed that only the most worthy should succeed him. Ragnos lived on as a Force ghost after his death, trapped within the confines of his tomb in the Valley of the Dark Lords on Korriban. A thousand years later after his death, Exar Kun summoned Ragnos from his grave, through the use of talismans, crowning Exar Kun as the new Dark Lord, and Ulic Qel-Droma as Kun's apprentice, as an attempt to resurrect the lost empire thousands of years prior. Thousands of years after the Sith Empire, during the New Republic era, the Dark Jedi Tavion Axmis made an attempt to bring Marka Ragnos back from death, using an old Sith artifact, known as the Scepter of Ragnos in order to siphon the Force from many Force Nexuses all spread across the galaxy, empowering the Disciples of Ragnos. Tavion's goal to resurrect Ragnos almost succeeded, but her operation was overthrown by the Jedi Jaden Korr, defeating Ragnos' spirit, and enclosing him on his tomb once he was inside.
Exar Kun established a dark side presence on Yavin IV. Exar Kun was a human male Jedi Knight who fell from the light and turned to the dark side. Becoming a Dark Lord of the Sith, he led the Brotherhood of the Sith against the Jedi and the Galactic Republic during the Great Sith War. Exar Kun stood out because he was a tall, athletic man with very long, black hair.
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 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 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 who joined the Separatist Alliance during the Clone Wars. Plagueis was eventually killed in his sleep by Darth Sidious.
Darth Sidious (Sheev 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, Sheev 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 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 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.
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 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.
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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- 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.
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- "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