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The Sith are a group of characters in the Star Wars fictional universe.[1] They are the central antagonists of the franchise. Characterized by their single-minded pursuit of power and disdain for sentient life, they are an alliance of warrior mages who use the dark side of the Force and serve as counterparts to the Jedi Knights.[2]

The Sith are portrayed in various Star Wars media as individuals who use the dark side to attain power at any cost. The Star Wars prequel films establish that they draw upon strong emotions, both negative and positive, as the source of their power, and care only about themselves. This is in contrast to the Jedi, who are portrayed as forsaking emotional attachment in order to serve others and the galaxy as a whole.

In their later history, members of the Brotherhood of Darkness stopped taking the ceremonial title of "Darth". Darth Bane brought back the tradition to use the title "Darth", meaning "Lord" in the Sith language. He claimed this title when he decided to purge the Sith and bring about the "Rule of Two": one master, one apprentice.


Film use

The first use of the word "Sith" is in the Star Wars novelization for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, as a title for Darth Vader, the "Dark Lord of the Sith." The Sith are introduced on-screen with the prequel film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, where the order is represented by Darth Sidious and Darth Maul.



Prequel trilogy

In The Phantom Menace, the Sith reappear after 1,000 years of self-imposed exile, in the form of Darth Sidious and Darth Maul. Meanwhile, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn inadvertently meets Anakin Skywalker, a nine-year-old slave; Qui-Gon soon becomes convinced that the boy is the "Chosen One" of Jedi prophecy who is destined to "restore balance to the Force".

After killing Qui-Gon, Darth Maul dies at the hands of the Jedi's apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Sith ultimately emerge victorious, however; Palpatine (Sidious' civilian alter ego) is elected to the office of Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, and sets his sights on making Anakin his new apprentice.

In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones former Jedi Master Count Dooku is Palpatine's new Sith apprentice and re-named as Darth Tyranus. Dooku starts the separatist Confederacy of Independent Systems, which threatens the unstable Republic. A motion made in the Senate by Representative Jar Jar Binks, who was sent by Senator Padme Amidala, grants the Chancellor vast emergency powers — an idea planted in Jar Jar's head by the Chancellor himself. When the Jedi discover the threat, the Clone Wars begin with a battle to rescue captured Jedi on Geonosis.

In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine reveals himself to be Darth Sidious, and corrupts Anakin into becoming his apprentice. Palpatine says that the dark side holds the power to stop Anakin's wife, Padmé Amidala, from dying in childbirth; Anakin succumbs to the temptation and becomes Darth Vader, leading the Republic's clone troopers to exterminate the Jedi, under the directive of "Order 66". Sidious then turns the Republic into the tyrannical Galactic Empire and appoints himself Emperor for life, effectively placing the galaxy under Sith control.

Original trilogy

Beginning in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the Rebel Alliance arises to threaten the Empire's unchallenged sovereignty, and surviving Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda make plans to thwart the Sith utilizing their greatest hope, Luke Skywalker, the son of Anakin, who begins his Jedi training under Kenobi. In the film's climactic battle scene, the Rebels destroy the Empire's Death Star superweapon, and both Palpatine and Vader become aware of the young man's identity. Both Sith Lords hope to corrupt Luke to the dark side and use him against each other (Sidious wishes to replace Vader with Luke, while Vader wants to use Luke to overthrow the Emperor and rule over the Galaxy).

In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Luke, by now having nearly completed his training under Yoda, nearly succumbs to the dark side when Palpatine and Vader threaten to kill his friends in the Rebellion. He pulls away from the brink at the last minute, however, and proudly declares his allegiance to the Jedi. Palpatine then tortures Luke with Force lightning. His son's suffering and pleas for help free Anakin Skywalker from the dark side's grip, and he throws his former master down the newly constructed second Death Star's reactor shaft, thus fulfilling the Jedi prophecy.

Expanded Universe

The Star Wars series' "Expanded Universe" of novels, comic books, and video games flesh out the Sith as characters, providing them with an extensive backstory.

Pre-Phantom Menace

The video game Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords explains that early dark-side users, cast out by the Jedi, were exiled to the planet Korriban where they conquered a powerful but malleable indigenous species known as the Sith. Treated like gods by their conquered people, the so-called 'Dark Jedi' proclamed themselves 'Lords of the Sith'. By the time depicted in the game, a handful of Jedi have defected from the Order of the Jedi to form their own group dedicated to the dark side. The Sith use the same powers as the Jedi with the exception that they also use certain powers banned by the Jedi Council.

In the comic book Tales of the Jedi: The Golden Age of the Sith, set 5,000 years before The Clone Wars, the Sith rule an isolated part of the galaxy, calling themselves the "Sith Empire" headquartered on the planet Ziost. The empire is unstable, however; its two most powerful Sith Lords, Ludo Kressh and Naga Sadow, throw the galaxy into chaos as they fight each other for supremacy leading to a savage war known as the Stark Hyperspace War. By the end of the sequel, The Fall of the Sith Empire, after a war that lasts nearly 10 years, their power struggle effectively destroys the empire from within.

In the further novels, set a thousand years after the Stark Hyperspace War, a Dark Jedi, named Exar Kun, who studied the ways of the Sith, surrendered his soul to the dark side of the Force and then formed an alliance with a Sith-worshiping society which then began a new war called the Great Sith War which begins in the year 3,996 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) which lasts three years which ends when Kun is betrayed and killed by his apprentence, the exhiled Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma. Shortly after Kun's demise, his Sith successors, whom include Darth Revan, and his apprentice Darth Malak, nearly destroyes the Jedi Order in a series of battles which the Sith conquer most of the galaxy from 3,963 to 3,951 BBY. The new Sith empire over the galaxy fell through a series of wars known as the Sith Civil War or the Jedi Civil War which lasted from 3,951 to 3949 BBY in which the Sith empire again fell from within.

In The Phantom Menace, Yoda explains that the Sith Order went in hiding after their defeat in last Sith war nearly 1,000 years earlier and, under an old Sith decree, can exist only with two members at a time — one master and one apprentice, an idea which is explored in the Expanded Universe novels Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, Darth Bane: Rule of Two, and Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil.

These novels explained that up until 1,000 years before the events in Phantom Menace, the Sith were as plentiful as the Jedi in the many thousands, but they were too focused on fighting each other for power to unite against the Jedi. Seeing the that the dark side of the Force was spread too thinly and unevenly over many thousands, the title character of Darth Bane solved that problem by engineering a plan that duped the Sith into destroying themselves and the entire Sith Order in the last Sith war at the battle of Ruusan where an entire Sith army was destroyed by the Jedi, save for himself and apprentice Darth Zannah. This ultimately allowed Darth Bane to institute a decree saying that the Sith Order from then on will never number more than two members at a time, and the Order will be commited to secrecy. The decree is known as the "Rule of Two": "Only two shall there be, a master and an apprentice: one to embody power and the other to crave it."[3] Central to this rule is that the apprentice must one day overthrow the master and subsequently take on his/her own apprentice, thereby perpetuating the Order.

Post-Return of the Jedi

The Sith also appear in various "Expanded Universe" material set after the Empire's destruction in Return of the Jedi. Palpatine reappears in the comic books Dark Empire, and Empire's End, and Vader's former minion Lumiya is a main antagonist in the Marvel Comics Star Wars stories and the Legacy of the Force series. In the latter, she convinces Jacen Solo to learn the ways of the Sith. Solo (who is Anakin Skywalker's grandson) becomes the Sith Lord Darth Caedus, partly to restore the galaxy to order in light of a new civil war. He ultimately dies at the hands of his twin sister, Jedi Knight Jaina Solo.

In the series Fate of the Jedi, a great number of Sith appear. The Rule of Two has nothing to do with them.

In the comic book series Star Wars: Legacy, set 130 years after Return of the Jedi, the Sith (led by former Jedi A'Sharad Hett, now Darth Krayt) once again defeat the Jedi and take control of the galaxy. Their one opponent is Anakin and Luke Skywalker's descendant, Cade, who had previously renounced his connection to the Force.


  1. ^ The Sith, Expanded Universe., Lucasfilm. Last accessed 2007-11-25.
  2. ^ The Sith., Lucasfilm. Last accessed 2007-11-25.
  3. ^ Darth Bane Path of Destruction

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