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For other uses, see dark side (disambiguation).
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"That place… is strong with the dark side of the Force. A domain of evil it is. In you must go."
"What's in there?"
"Only what you take with you."
―Yoda and Luke Skywalker[2]

The Cave of Evil, also known as the dark-side cave, was a large and living dark side vergence located under a gnarltree on the swamp planet of Dagobah. Entering the cave subjected entrants to the vergence's control, projecting their worst fears as apparitions and illusions.


Dagobah Vergence FDNP

The cave was buried within the swamps of Dagobah

The dark side cave of Dagobah was an overgrown landform deep within the endless swamps of the forgotten world. Little sun ever reached the surface of the planet, due to the thick canopy, therefore shrouding the cave in an endless twilight. Beneath the thick overgrowth of vines and brambles, ancient stone steps and walls could be seen at one entrance, while a second natural entrance opened in the void[3] of a gnarltree known as The Magic Tree.[4] The vergence that manifested in the Force within the cave was intense and fueled by the dark side aspects of the universal energy field.[3] Despite lacking a physical form aside from its place as the cave, the vergence was, in its own way, alive.[5]

Because of the cave's dark energy, the area surrounding the cave was permeated with a sense of dread, while Force-sensitives often perceived the area as being cold, filled with malice and menace. Despite the negative energy felt by sentients, Dagobah's diverse flora and fauna were attracted to the area and flourished. The nature of the vergence's assertion on individuals was highly-personal and acted on their worst fears. Apparitions and illusions would materialize in the cave, interacting with the minds of entrants and exploiting their natural weaknesses and worries. The reactions to these apparitions would determine how the illusion played out. The nature of the cave was not simply dark, but a true and sinister evil. The manipulation of the mind was meant to produce the worst outcome for the victim, drawing out the worst reaction and luring them towards the dark side.[3]


"The cave is power. And darkness. And you will enter."
"What's in there?"
"Only what you've been too weak to bury."
―Snoke and Kylo Ren[6]

The vergence was visited by Force-sensitives for a millennium and lost count of how many came into it, although it noted none of its offworld visitors returned.[5] During the Clone Wars, and while on a quest to learn the path to eternal consciousness, Yoda entered the cave under the guidance of the deceased Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. Inside, Yoda saw a dream-like vision of the destruction of the Jedi Order and the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, a vision that overwhelmed him.[7] Upon casting the vision of Sidious, the vergence wished it had a physical body with which it could kneel before the Sith.[5]


Yoda had a vision of Keeve Trennis in the Cave of Evil while fighting an apparition of Dooku.

Following the war, Yoda returned to Dagobah in exile.[2] Much to the surprise of the vergence, Yoda returned to it, marking the first time an offworlder had ever returned to the cave. Yoda visited the vergence every time several orbits had passed to face his fears.[5] On one such occasion around 3 ABY,[8] during the Galactic Civil War and years after Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi's death at the hands of the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader, Kenobi's spirit visited Yoda and guided him into the cave to face his fears, in preparation for the arrival of the fledgling Jedi Luke Skywalker who would soon come to seek training. Yoda was first met with an apparition of his former student and fallen Jedi Dooku, who confessed to killing Jedi Master Yaddle and many others, which he blamed on Yoda's failure to see what he had become. More visions, including that of Jedi Masters Keeve Trennis and Mace Windu, a burning Anakin Skywalker, Bail Organa, and Padmé Amidala, all appeared around him, blaming him for their deaths. Finally, Darth Sidious, now Emperor of the Galactic Empire, appeared before him, proclaiming Yoda as the greatest of his apprentices due to the exiled Jedi's blindness towards the fall of the Jedi and Republic. Yoda then remembered back to a lesson learned with a young Scalvi named Bree Menaren, that failure was the greatest teacher. Letting go of his guilt and fear, he defeated the visions and left the cave, ready to both teach and learn.[9]

Lukes vision

Luke Skywalker faces Darth Vader in the Cave, only to find his own face beneath the Dark Lord's mask.

During his training with Master Yoda, Luke Skywalker had to enter the cave as a test. In the hollow, Skywalker had a vision in which he faced Darth Vader. As Skywalker seemed to strike down Vader with a high lightsaber blow, the illusory Sith Lord's helmeted head rolled on the floor, and the face shield cracked open to reveal the young Jedi's own countenance behind the mask.[2] As Skywalker departed Dagobah, the vergence realized Yoda had been using it to strengthen himself for years and test Skywalker, additionally feeling a strong word, "Alliance," radiate off the young Jedi.[5]

A few months later, a Sava named Madelin Sun arrived on Dagobah in search of Yoda. After saving her from a monster, Yoda used the Force to lead Sun into the cave. While inside, she saw visions which dissuaded her from looking for him. She then left the planet as Yoda watched from afar.[10]

Kylo vs vision luke

Kylo Ren battles a vision of Luke Skywalker in the Cave of Evil.

Many years after Skywalker was trained by Yoda on Dagobah, his nephew, now Kylo Ren, would travel here alongside his master Snoke and go to the Cave of Evil. There he faced visions of Luke and his parents, Leia Organa and Han Solo. Though able to kill the vision of Luke, Ren was not able to kill the visions of his parents and fooled Snoke by destroying the Cave of Evil. Snoke complained that the cave had stood for thousands of years and that he planned to send other apprentices to it, to which Ren replied that the past is past and that he would not need any other apprentices.[6]

Behind the scenes[]

The Cave of Evil first appeared in the 1980 film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, the second installment of the Star Wars original trilogy.[2] In the film, the cave has a corresponding musical theme called "The Training of a Jedi Knight/The Magic Tree," which was composed by John Williams.[11] The cave was first identified as the Cave of Evil in The Story of Starkiller, a documentary for the Legends video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II.[12] The name was later canonized by the 2015 reference book Ultimate Star Wars.[13]


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Non-canon appearances[]


Non-canon sources[]

Notes and references[]

  1. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places the events of the film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens in 34 ABY. As Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi, which includes Snoke's death, carries on immediately from the events of The Force Awakens, it can be assumed to take place in the same year. As the Cave of Evil is destroyed in Age of Resistance - Supreme Leader Snoke 1, which features Snoke before his death, it can be deduced that the cave's destruction occurred by 34 ABY.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Nexus of Power
  4. Build the Millennium Falcon Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 20 (Guide to the Galaxy: Dagobah: The Cave of Evil)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "Vergence" — From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back
  6. 6.0 6.1 Age of Resistance - Supreme Leader Snoke 1
  7. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Voices"
  8. Yoda 10 takes place immediately before the Battle of Hoth, which Star Wars: Timelines dates to 3 ABY.
  9. Yoda 10
  10. Crimson Reign 3
  11. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Original Soundtrack
  12. LucasArtsIcon Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II Official Website on LucasArts.com (content now obsolete; backup link) (The Story of Starkiller video documentary)
  13. Ultimate Star Wars