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"What if I told you that the Republic…was now under the control of the dark lord of the Sith?"
―Darth Tyranus, to Obi-Wan Kenobi[3]

Dark Lord of the Sith was a title used by members of the Sith, also known as Sith Lords. Under the Rule of Two, it was applied to both the Sith Master and the Sith apprentice.

Darth Plagueis' apprentice, Darth Sidious, conspired to restore the Sith to power roughly a millennium after the death of Darth Bane, the Dark Lord who reformed the Sith. During the Clone Wars, Darth Maul and Savage Opress claimed the mantle of Dark Lord despite the presence of Sidious and Darth Tyranus. Sidious killed Opress and chastised Maul, reminding his former apprentice that there could only be two Sith Lords at any given time in the galaxy.

After the Galactic Republic fell, the galaxy was ruled by two Dark Lords—Galactic Emperor Darth Sidious and his apprentice, the fallen Jedi Darth Vader—during the era of the Galactic Empire. Their reign ended when Vader sacrificed himself by destroying his master, rendering the Sith extinct through the deaths of the final Dark Lords.

Despite the Sith's prophesied destruction, their legacy endured through Sidious, who was revived through cloning and the dark side of the Force, as well as Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, Vader's grandson. During the First Order's war against the Resistance, Ren aspired to rule all the galaxy as the new Emperor and Dark Lord of the Sith. Following Ren's redemption, Sidious perished along with his followers in the Battle of Exegol as the very last Dark Lord of the Sith remaining.


Early history[]

"The Sith killed each other. Victims of their own greed. But from the ashes of destruction, I was the last survivor."
―Darth Bane's specter — (audio) Listen (file info)[4]

Darth Bane was the Dark Lord of the Sith who created the Rule of Two after the culling of the Sith Order.

The Dark Lord of the Sith, alternatively known as a Sith Lord, was a title in the Sith Order.[3]

The Valley of the Dark Lords on the planet Korriban contained crypts of the deceased Dark Lords of the Sith.[5] The planet became a sacred place of ceremonial rituals for the Sith. The burial ceremony of a Dark Lord of the Sith would be accompanied by hundreds of Sith warriors carrying the body of the fallen master. The corpse was stored in the tomb along with precious objects, and an escort of slaves accompanied the deceased on his journey to the spirit realm. The Sith then left the planet until the next burial.[6]

The Sith later fell victim to infighting because of their greed for power, weakening the Sith Order to the point where the Jedi Order defeated and nearly destroyed their ancient rivals.[7] However, the ancient Sith Order had one surviving member: Darth Bane. Bane assumed the mantle of Dark Lord and established a philosophy known as the Rule of Two, declaring that only two Sith Lords could exist at any time—a Sith Master and a Sith apprentice.[8] After his death, Bane was the last Dark Lord to be buried at Moraband's Valley of the Dark Lords.[9]

Fall of the Republic[]

"Hundreds of senators are now under the influence…of a Sith lord called Darth Sidious."
"I don't believe you."
"The viceroy of the Trade Federation…was once in league with this Darth Sidious, but he was betrayed ten years ago by the dark lord."
―Darth Tyranus and Obi-Wan Kenobi[3]

Darth Sidious concealed his nature as the Dark Lord of the Sith behind the facade of Sheev Palpatine.

The Dark Lords that succeeded Darth Bane would adhere to his teachings, maintaining the Sith Order's ranks at two members throughout the millennium-long reign of the modern Galactic Republic. Darth Sidious, publicly known as Sheev Palpatine from Naboo, became the Dark Lord of The Sith after betraying and murdering his Sith Master Darth Plagueis. Sidious was the Dark Lord of the Sith during the last years of the Republic and the rise of the Galactic Empire.[10]

At the time of the Clone Wars, Sidious' former apprentice Darth Maul sought to reclaim his status as a Sith Lord while training his brother, Savage Opress. Having replaced Maul with Darth Tyranus, Sidious confronted the Zabrak Sith claimants on Mandalore. There, he killed Opress and subdued Maul. The Dark Lord castigated Maul, informing the Dathomirian that he had been replaced in an Order that permitted only two Sith Lords. However, Sidious informed Maul that he still had uses for his former apprentice,[11] using him to draw out Mother Talzin.[12]

Age of the Empire[]

"I am a lord of the Sith. They are the ones who should be running."
―Darth Vader[13]
Battlefront Vader

The dark side of the Force transformed Anakin Skywalker into the Dark Lord of the Sith known as Darth Vader.

Sidious would later betray Tyranus and have him killed by the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, as he desired to make Skywalker his apprentice. After the death of Tyranus, Skywalker fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader, Sidious' third apprentice. Sidious proclaimed himself Galactic Emperor after destroying the Jedi Order.[10] The Dark Lords ruled the galaxy for a generation[14] until the Battle of Endor[15] in 4 ABY,[16] when Sidious betrayed Vader and tried to make Luke Skywalker his new apprentice.[15] Previously, Vader had tried to do the same, but he gave up on his quest to make his son his apprentice after the mission to Exegol.[17]

During the Battle of Endor, Luke refused to kill his father, however, declaring his allegiance to the Jedi.[15] Enraged by Luke's refusal to turn to the dark side, Sidious tortured the Jedi Knight with Force lightning. Luke begged Vader to save him; unwilling to see his son die, Vader sacrificed his life[14] by destroying the Emperor.[18]

Return of the Dark Lord[]

"At last the work of generations is complete. The great error is corrected. The day of victory is at hand. The day of revenge. The day of the Sith."
―Darth Sidious — (audio) Listen (file info)[19]

The deaths of Sidious and Vader marked the end of the lineage of Dark Lords going back to Darth Bane,[20] and the beginning of the New Republic Era.[14] Vader died as Anakin Skywalker[21] having returned to the light side[22] through an act of selflessness and sacrifice,[21] which allowed Yoda to preserve Anakin's identity when he became one with the Force. As a result, Anakin joined Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi in death as a Force spirit. With his death, Anakin brought balance to the Force[23] and his destiny as the Chosen One was fulfilled.[24]

Sidious triumphant

Resurrected on Exegol, Darth Sidious endeavored to reclaim the galaxy as Emperor and Dark Lord of the Sith.

Unbeknownst to the galaxy at large, Sidious was revived when he used the dark side to move his spirit to a cloned body.[18] Aided by his followers on Exegol, the Sith Eternal cult, the fallen Emperor engineered the strandcast Snoke[19] to groom Vader's grandson, Kylo Ren, into an heir that was worthy of inheriting the Sith legacy.[25] Ren, who coveted the power of his Sith grandfather,[26] sought to rule all the galaxy as the new Emperor[27] and Dark Lord of the Sith.[28]

Sidious' plan to restore his Order through the creation of a new Sith Empire[25] ended at the Battle of Exegol. Kylo Ren had returned to the light side of the Force, renouncing the dark side and his claim to the Sith mantle, while Sidious' granddaughter, the Jedi apprentice Rey rejected the Emperor's entreaty to succeed him. Ultimately, Rey used the power from all the past deceased Jedi to destroy Sidious and Sith for good.[27]

List of known Dark Lords of the Sith[]

Pre-Rule of Two[]

Period Dark Lord Sith apprentice
c. 4000 BBY[29] Sith canon
Exar Kun[30]
Sith canon
Darth Quellus[31]
c. 1100 BBY1000 BBY[32] Lady-Shaa-Headshot-DV22
Darth Shaa[33]
Darth Momin[34]

Rule of Two[]

Period Sith Master Sith apprentice
After 1032 BBY[35] DarthBaneHS-CM
Darth Bane[36]
Sith canon
Darth Zannah[36]
Before 132 BBY[37] Sith canon
Darth Tenebrous[38]
Darth Plagueis[38][39]
Before 32 BBY PlagueisAcolyte
Darth Plagueis[19][39]
DarthSidiousEpI SWCT
Darth Sidious[19]
–32 BBY[16] DarthSidiousEpI SWCT
Darth Sidious[40]
Darth Maul profile
Darth Maul[40]
c. 32 BBY[41]19 BBY[16] DarthSidiousEpI SWCT
Darth Sidious[3]
Darth Tyranus[3]
20 BBY–19 BBY[16] Maul SASWS Forbes Promo HS
Darth Maul (claimant)[42]
Savage Opress missing horn
Savage Opress (claimant)[42]
19 BBY–4 ABY[1] EmperorPalpatine-BaseSeries5
Darth Sidious[10]
Vader Rogue One Ending
Darth Vader[10]
After 4 ABY–35 ABY[1] Palpatine-TROS-infobox
Darth Sidious[27]

Other Dark Lords of the Sith[]

Period Sith Master Sith apprentice
Sith canon
Darth Caldoth's Master[43]
Darth Caldoth[33]
Darth Caldoth[33]
Ry Nymbis[33]
Sith Lord Exegol
Darth Noctyss[33]

Behind the scenes[]

In the story of the non-canon Star Wars: Visions short "THE TWINS," the Force-sensitive twins Am and Karre both held the title "Dark Lord."[44] In that capacity, both wielded power over a Galactic Empire[45] that emerged after the Battle of Exegol.[46] The twins' empire hoped to claim control over the galaxy, only for Karre to rebel and abandon the regime.[45]


Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi to 4 ABY and Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens to 34 ABY. Because Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary places Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker one year later, it must take place in 35 ABY.
  2. Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
  4. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Sacrifice"
  5. StarWars-DatabankII Moraband in the Databank (backup link)
  6. AltayaCite "Mustafar and Other Planets in the Outer Rim" — Star Wars Encyclopedia
  7. Star Wars: The Secrets of the Sith
  8. StarWars-DatabankII Darth Bane in the Databank (backup link)
  9. StarWars Darth Bane in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  11. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "The Lawless"
  12. Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 1
  13. Vader Down 1
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 StarWars-DatabankII Sith in the Databank (backup link)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
  17. Darth Vader (2020) 11
  18. 18.0 18.1 The Star Wars Book
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition
  20. Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
  21. 21.0 21.1 StarWars-DatabankII Anakin Skywalker in the Databank (backup link)
  22. StarWars-DatabankII Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Databank (backup link)
  23. StarWars-DatabankII Yoda in the Databank (backup link)
  24. Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side!
  25. 25.0 25.1 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
  26. Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
  28. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: A Junior Novel
  29. Nexus of Power
  30. AltayaCite "Lightsabers and Jedi Equipment" — Star Wars Encyclopedia
  31. "The Kindling" — Life Day Treasury
  32. Star Wars: Timelines
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 33.4 Star Wars The Dark Side Pocket Expert
  34. Ultimate Star Wars
  35. The Star Wars Book places the supposed destruction of the Sith—which occurred at the end of the Jedi-Sith War according to Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy— to 1,032 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas states that A New Hope begins in 0 BBY, meaning the Sith's defeat must have occurred in 1032 BBY. As the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Sacrifice" establishes that Bane created the Rule of Two after the Jedi-Sith War, it must have been created after 1032 BBY.
  36. 36.0 36.1 Helmet Collection logo small Star Wars Helmet Collection 2 (Databank A-Z: Ambria)
  37. StarWars "Lost/Found" Episode Guide | The Acolyte on StarWars.com (backup link) states that the events of The Acolyte take place 100 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, which Star Wars: Timelines dates to 32 BBY. Therefore, The Acolyte takes place in 132 BBY.
  38. 38.0 38.1 Build the Millennium Falcon Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 44 (Starship Fact File: Sith Infiltrator: Scimitar)
  39. 39.0 39.1 The Acolyte logo Celebration The Acolyte — "The Acolyte"
  40. 40.0 40.1 Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
  41. Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
  42. 42.0 42.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Eminence"
  43. "Gaze of Stone" — Myths & Fables
  44. The Art of Star Wars: Visions
  45. 45.0 45.1 VisionsCite Star Wars: Visions — "THE TWINS"
  46. Star Wars Anime Visions Will Include What Became of the Jedi, a Rock Opera, and More by Daniel Robson on IGN (archived from the original on September 22, 2021)