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"With us, you are ruler of all the Sith, answerable only to the Emperor himself."
―Darth Marr to Darth Nox, upon the latter's elevation to the Council[6]

The Dark Council was the supreme governing body of the Sith Empire. A twelve-member council that served as the ruling body throughout much of the Empire's history. Each member of the Dark Council held the title of Dark Lord of the Sith and controlled one of the twelve Spheres of Influence within the Sith Empire, making the Council the most powerful individuals in the Empire below the Sith Emperor himself. Seats on the council were hotly contested among the Sith, with the tenures of some councilors lasting only months while others lasted decades, and every single individual within the entire Empire ultimately answered to one member of the Council through the Imperial hierarchy of power bases.

Since its inception at the Sith Empire's founding in 4980 BBY, the Dark Council tried and failed to overthrow the Emperor twice and its members were purged as a result. After the true plans of Emperor Vitiate came to light, the Dark Council declared Vitiate a traitor and renounced his status as Emperor and became the dominant power of the Empire. Shortly after the conquest of the Eternal Empire, Darth Marr died at the hands of Valkorion, Darth Nox and the Empire's Wrath had disappeared and with that majority of the Dark Council had either been killed or disappeared leaving only Darth Acina to declare herself Empress of the Sith.


Powers and succession[]

"The Dark Council are the galaxy's most powerful Sith. Thanaton will have access to all resources in his pyramid of the Sith hierarchy."
―Moff Valion Pyron, discussing the power a Dark Councilor wielded within the Empire[7]

The ruling body of the Sith Empire, the Dark Council consisted of twelve Sith Lords who each held the title of Dark Lord of the Sith. As the Sith Emperor retreated into seclusion, the Dark Council took over the day-to-day managing of the Empire, and a seat on the Council meant that one was among the most powerful individuals in the Empire—second only to the Emperor himself. In the traditional order of succession on the Council, a fallen member's apprentice was the first choice to replace them,[8] though there were other routes to gaining a seat. The Emperor himself could select new members, as he did after the two purges of traitorous Councils throughout the Empire's history,[1] while the death of a Councilor at the hands of another Sith guaranteed that the victor would take the seat of the fallen Council member.[6] When the traditional order of succession failed, the other members could select new Councilors during their meetings through a unanimous vote, though the Council was not always unanimous on which candidate to select.[9]

The Twelve Spheres[]

"We all serve the Dark Council and through them, the Emperor."

Each Council member controlled one of the twelve Spheres of Influence within the Empire, and the various Sith who served each Councilor maintained power bases of their own. Through that system of power bases, every single Sith within the Empire ultimately answered to one of the Dark Council, and every non-Sith organization also fell under one or more of the Councilors' Spheres of Influence. The Spheres of Military Offense and Defense of the Empire were advised by the Sphere of Military Strategy, and together those three Councilors controlled the Imperial Ministry of War. The Dark Councilor at the head of the Sphere of Imperial Intelligence oversaw the Ministry of Intelligence, while the Sphere of Production and Logistics controlled the Ministry of Logistics. The Dark Councilor in charge of the Sphere of Ancient Knowledge commanded the Imperial Reclamation Service, while the Sphere of Mysteries worked in secrecy to guard the secrets of the Sith and the Sphere of Sith Philosophy ensured that the Code of the Sith was upheld and spread anti-Jedi sentiment throughout the Empire. The Sphere of Expansion and Diplomacy oversaw the Imperial Diplomatic Service and the expansion of Imperial borders, and the Sphere of Laws and Justice maintained order and justice within the Empire itself. The final two Spheres, Technology and Biotic Science, oversaw the Empire's technological advancements and medical science respectively.[1]

Council Reduced to Five Seats[]

After the defeat of the Eternal Empire, Empress Darth Acina reorganized the Dark Council from twelve councilors to five, with each overseeing two to three of the spheres controlled by the original council. She did this to lessen the infighting that had plagued the Dark Council in the past.[11]

The councilors control the following spheres:


Early history[]

"It's a Sith's job to try and unseat us. That's why we have to keep a close eye on you."
―Darth Howl[12]

When the Sith Emperor established his new Empire on Dromund Kaas in 4980 BBY, he also gathered the twelve wisest and most powerful Sith Lords who had accompanied him during their long exodus and created the Dark Council. As he began to withdraw into seclusion, the Dark Council gradually took over the day-to-day running of the new Empire, and each Councilor assumed control over an aspect of the Empire. Darth Zavakon, the Councilor who chose to adopt the study of ancient knowledge as his domain, soon discovered that his underlings were refusing to share the knowledge they gathered from ancient ruins across the fledgling Empire, and he decided to pair a group of disciplined officers from the Imperial Military with civilian experts in archaeology and history for an expedition into an ancient Sith complex. The combined group's findings far surpassed that of the Sith who had searched the ruins previously, and Zavakon presented their results to the Council. Impressed, the eleven other Councilors agreed to Zavakon's proposal and allowed him to officially establish the Imperial Reclamation Service.[1]

During the first centuries of the Empire's existence, Dark Councilor Darth Lokess summoned her fellow Dark Councilors to a meeting and convinced them to join her plot to destroy the Sith Emperor. The other eleven Sith Lords agreed to join Lokess' cause, but when they gathered on the steps of the Imperial Citadel in order to confront the Emperor, all eleven died instantly in a flash of light. Lokess was locked within the depths of the Citadel by the Emperor, who tortured her until her death.[1] Around 4043 BBY, two members of the Dark Council[13]Darths Qalar and Victun[1]—declared a Kaggath upon each other. The ancient Sith duel ripped apart the Citadel, and the two were summarily executed by the other ten Councilors when they called a draw.[13] At the order of the Council, both Qalar and Victun's family lines were exterminated, and the two Councilors' resources were used in the construction of the new Citadel.[1]

Conspiracy against the Emperor[]

Several years before 3954 BBY, the Dark Councilors Darth Nyriss and Darth Xedrix joined with two other Council members to form a conspiracy with the purpose of unseating the Emperor and preventing him from attacking the Republic again. When the Emperor began to grow suspicious, Nyriss arranged for assassination attempts upon herself to draw away suspicion. Nyriss then led Lord Scourge, the Sith who the Emperor had selected to investigate, through a series of tests and manipulations to determine whether he could join the conspiracy, and she recruited him to their cause by showing Scourge the Emperor's ravaged homeworld of Nathema after the Sith Lord killed Xedrix. However, Scourge would betray the conspiracy to the Emperor four years later in order to free the captive Jedi Master Revan, as Scourge had joined forces with Revan's friend Meetra Surik in an attempt to destroy the Emperor, as well as being dissatisfied with the conspiracy's unwillingness to act due to power plays and doublecrossing that preventing them from making any progress. The Sith ruler summoned the nine innocent Council members to his chambers while he dispatched the Imperial Guard to destroy the three conspirators, and he promptly killed those nine as the Guard killed the three traitors and destroyed their power bases. Revan, Surik, and Scourge would fail in their attack, but the Emperor appointed twelve new members to the Council with the unspoken warning that traitors would receive the same fate as Nyriss and the others.[5]

Great Galactic War[]

In 3678 BBY, Darth Marr, alongside two of his fellow councilors, sent Sith apprentice Teneb Kel to hunt down Exal Kressh, the Emperor's rogue apprentice. After Kel completed his task, he demanded from the Council that he should be elevated to the rank of Sith Lord and granted the title "Darth Thanaton." The Council acceded to his demands when he also agreed to reveal one of the Emperor's secret plots.[14]

Sometime before the end of the war, one councilor renounced the dark side and his title to join the Jedi Order as a Padawan.[15]

Dark Council

Dark Council members bow to the new Emperor's Wrath after the death of Darth Baras

After the Treaty of Coruscant and the conclusion of the Great Galactic War in 3653 BBY,[16] the Emperor withdrew to pursue his own mysterious goals, deferring power over the Empire to the Dark Council. The Dark Council then oversaw the consolidation of the Empire's new domains from the citadel on Dromund Kaas. Only 7 members of the Dark Council survived the war.[17]

Galactic War[]

At the outbreak of the Galactic War, Darth Baras attempted to claim the position of Emperor's Voice. A few on the Council believed his claim to be true, some of the councilors saw an advantage in supporting him and Baras plotted against those who opposed him. Ultimately, his claim was challenged and defeated by the new Emperor's Wrath. The Dark Council quickly disavowed their support of Baras and pledged their loyalty to their Emperor's Wrath.

After Baras' defeat, Darth Thanaton had to deal with a rising threat to his power, Lord Kallig, a former slave and descendant of an ancient Sith of the same name. He challenged Kallig to a Kaggath on Corellia, but lost to the young lord and fled to the other Dark Council members on Korriban. Like the duel between the Emperor's Wrath and Baras, Thanaton faced off against Kallig in the Dark Council chambers, with all of the council watching. Although he put up a good fight, he was ultimately defeated and Kallig earned his seat on the council under the new title, Darth Nox.[18]

Following the Hero of Tython's attack against the Emperor, power in the Empire was left to the Dark Council. Darth Marr, considered the de facto leader of the Empire, worked hard against infighting amongst his fellow Council members while leading the Imperial forces against the Republic onslaught.[17]

The Dark Council was later secretly infiltrated by Darth Arkous, a member of the Order of Revan, a heretical cult the Dark Council had been trying to expunge for years. Even after Arkous' death on Rakata Prime, the Dark Council remained oblivious to the Revanites' infiltration of both Empire and Republic until the Order's existence was exposed at the Battle of Rishi. Marr acknowledged that the Dark Council would not consent to an alliance with the Republic against the Order and thus did so independently. Following the Revanites' subsequent defeat during the battle of Yavin 4, though the battle resulted in the resurrection of the Sith Emperor.[17]

Conquest by the Eternal Empire[]

"Darth Acina was the only Dark Council member left standing; all others died or disappeared in the chaos. Without opposition, she declared herself Empress of the Sith."
Lana Beniko[19]
Acina the Empress

Darth Acina of the Dark Council seized the power and proclaimed herself the new Sith Empress.

Marr later led a joint Imperial-Republic fleet in pursuit of the former Emperor into Wild Space following Vitiate's consumption of all life on Ziost. Doing so intruded on the territory of the Eternal Empire, which Vitiate, under the identity of Valkorion, created in secret. Marr and the Outlander were captured, the former being executed by Valkorion when he refused to pledge allegiance while the Outlander was imprisoned. Arcann, Valkorion's son, usurped his father and launched a campaign against the Sith Empire and Republic. By the war's end, Darth Acina remained the only Dark Councilor – including Darth Nox – to not have disappeared or died and claimed the title Empress of the Sith.[20] The only other confirmed survivor of the former Dark Council was Darth Vowrawn, who continued to serve the Empire under Empress Acina.

In 3631 BBY, The Outlander was freed and created the Alliance to break the Eternal Empire's hold on the galaxy. After Empress Vaylin succeeded her brother, Arcann, as the ruler of the Eternal Empire, Empress Acina took the opportunity to ally the Sith Empire with the Alliance, and to aid the Outlander in seizing the Eternal Throne. In forging this alliance, she acted unilaterally and relied on government ministers, which consisted non-Sith and Sith alike, such as Darth Vowrawn, leaving it unclear as to whether Empress Acina had fully reinstated the Dark Council.

Renewed Conflict[]

Dark Council reformed

The Dark Council reformed

The dissolution of the Eternal Fleet and the Gravestone, paved way for the Sith Empire to strike at the Republic and the Jedi without fear of retaliation from the Eternal Alliance. The new battle commenced on the ancient Jedi world of Ossus where the Sith Empire dispatched Dark Council member Darth Malora to lead the campaign of disrupting Jedi attempts to revitalise the planet. It was later revealed via an Intelligence Report from Lana Beniko that Empress Acina had consolidated the Dark Council from 12 members down to 5, with new seats merging the oversight of multiple spheres.[11]

Darth Vitiate's Dark Council[]

Darth Acina's Dark Council[]

  • Sith Doctrine (formerly Ancient Knowledge, Mysteries, & Sith Philosophy)
  • Military Command (formerly Defense of the Empire, Military Offense, & Military Strategy)
  • Scientific Advancement (formerly Technology & Biotic Science)
  • Civil Administration (formerly Production and Logistics & Laws and Justice)
  • Galactic Influence (formerly Sith Intelligence & Expansion and Diplomacy)

Darth Vowrawn's Dark Council[]

Behind the scenes[]

The Dark Council was first introduced in the 2011 novel The Old Republic: Revan, a tie-in novel to Star Wars: The Old Republic. The novel revealed a great deal of information about the Empire's origins. During the course of the novel, the entire Dark Council is killed by the Emperor as the result of a conspiracy, regardless of whether or not they participated in the conspiracy.

The Council later appears in The Old Republic, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game released by BioWare on December 20, 2011. Many of the Council members can die during the game, depending on the players' decisions. Currently only the light side options for Republic characters and the dark side options for Imperial characters are canon, and the fates of the individuals in the game will be reflected as such.[35]

Upon ascension to the Dark Council Darth Nox can also be dubbed Darth Occlus or Darth Imperius, should they be neutral or light sided, respectively.

Both the former, Scourge, and the succeeding Emperor's Wrath were said to possess powers and skills comparable to or greater than those of a typical Dark Councilor.

The character of Darth Acina was first introduced in Star Wars: The Old Republic: Rise of the Hutt Cartel, the first Digital Expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, but her Codex entry stated that she was the successor to Darth Hadra, who had been killed on Corellia. However, this contradicted the 2012 novel The Old Republic: Annihilation, which stated that Darth Karrid was chosen as Hadra's successor.[9] The Codex entry's error was rectified in Update 2.1.1 to correctly state that Acina succeeded Karrid.[36]

In Chapter 4 Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire, Lana confirms that Acina is the only live and present Dark Council Member, now Empress. However, later updates contradict this, as Vowrawn, Mortis, and Ravage all appear alive, though only Vowrawn appears to have kept his seat on the council. What happened to Mortis and Ravage is unknown, as they do not appear until the Nathema Conspiracy Flashpoint.

At the beginning of Onslaught a Sith Inquisitor Outlander can demand their seat back from Darth Anathel, who will dismiss the claim. Following the end of the expansion, as the Emperor/Empress dismisses the council, the Inquisitor will cast Force lightning on Darth Anathel and yank him out of his throne, killing him and taking the Sith Doctrine Seat as their own. Later during the "Chains in the Dark" storyline, when meeting with Darth Krovos on Ord Mantell, Krovos and the Inquisitor can address each other as fellow Dark Council members.[37]

If the Imperial player is a saboteur, they can allow Darth Savik to be killed on Onderon. Additionally, Darth Shaar can be killed on Mek-Sha, or if Acina is Empress, both Shaar and Darth Vowrawn can be killed. If the player killed Shaar and/or Vowrawn on Mek-Sha during the Onslaught expansion, then Darth Norok will replace them on the Dark Council. When complimenting his work on Darth Malgus's prison cell, Darth Krovos will comment that Darth Eldrid may become Savik's rival for her Council seat if she is alive, or her replacement on the Council if she is dead.[38]


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Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia
  2. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Codex: "The Dark Council"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire Act 1: Shades of the Sith
  4. 4.0 4.1 Star Wars: The Old Republic: Onslaught
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 The Old Republic: Revan
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Sith Inquisitor Mission: "The Dark Council" on Korriban
  7. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Sith Inquisitor Mission: "Building a Power Base" on Fury-class interceptor
  8. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Codex: "Darth Zhorrid (Agent)"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 The Old Republic: Annihilation
  10. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Imperial Agent Mission: "Eve of Destruction" on Corellia
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 11.14 11.15 11.16 SWTOR mini Jedi Under Siege: State of the Galaxy on The Old Republic's official website (backup link)
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Codex: "The Citadel"
  14. The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire Act 3: Burn the Future
  15. 15.0 15.1 SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Jedi Knight Mission: "The Emperor's Wrath" on Quesh
  16. SWTOR mini Timeline 1: Treaty of Coruscant on The Old Republic's official website (article) (backup link)
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Star Wars: The Old Republic
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Sith Warrior Mission: "Retribution" on Korriban
  19. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire — Chapter IV: The Gravestone
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire
  21. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Codex: "Hadra Forces"
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 SWInsider "The Last Battle of Colonel Jace Malcom" — Star Wars Insider 137
  23. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Republic Mission: "Government Clearance" on Corellia
  24. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Republic Mission: "A Gentleman’s Agreement" on Ilum
  25. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic: Galactic Starfighter — [TACTICAL] Flashpoint: "Assault on Tython: Empire"
  26. 26.0 26.1 SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Codex: "Darth Decimus"
  27. 27.0 27.1 SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Republic Mission: "Right to Arms" on Corellia
  28. The Old Republic—The Lost Suns 1
  29. The Old Republic—The Lost Suns 5
  30. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Codex: "Darth Acina"
  31. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Sith Warrior Mission: "Strong Arm" on Belsavis
  32. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic — Codex: "The Spires of Victory"
  33. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic: Galactic Starfighter — [TACTICAL] Flashpoint: "Korriban Incursion: Empire"
  34. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic: Onslaught — Codex: "Darth Savik"
  35. Consensus Track
  36. SWTOR mini Game Update 2.1.1 Patch Notes on The Old Republic's official website (backup link)
  37. SWTOR mini Star Wars: The Old Republic: Legacy of the Sith — Imperial Mission: "A Favor or Two" on Ord Mantell
  38. Star Wars: The Old Republic: Legacy of the Sith
  39. The Official Star Wars Fact File 90 (NAD4, The Shadow of Freedon Nadd)
  40. Tales of the Jedi – Dark Lords of the Sith 6
  41. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  42. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
  43. Tales of the Jedi – The Golden Age of the Sith 3
  44. Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
  45. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed