- "Always two, there are; no more, no less. A master and an 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.
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.
- "I am a lord of the Sith. They are the ones who should be running."
- ―Darth Vader
The Dark Lord of the Sith, alternatively known as a Sith Lord, was a title in the Sith Order. In the distant past of the Old Republic, the Sith were led by the Dark Lords during their conflict against the Jedi Order. Ultimately, the Sith collapsed in defeat as a result of infighting and constant war with the Jedi. As the sole surviving member of the ancient Sith Order, Darth Bane assumed the mantle of Dark Lord and established a philosophy known as the Rule of Two, declaring that only two Dark Lords—a Sith Master and a Sith apprentice—could exist at any given time.
The Dark Lords that succeeded Darth Bane would adhere to his teachings, maintaining the Sith Order's ranks to two members throughout the millennium-long reign of the modern Galactic Republic. Darth Sidious, publicly known as Sheev Palpatine from Naboo, was the reigning Dark Lord of the Sith—trained by Darth Plagueis—during the last years of the Republic and the rise of the Galactic Empire. 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 them on Mandalore where 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.
Sidious would later betray Tyranus and have him killed by Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, as he desired to make Anakin his apprentice. Not too long after killing Tyranus, Skywalker fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader, as well as Sidious's third apprentice, while Sidious proclaimed himself Galactic Emperor after destroying the Jedi Order. The Dark Lords ruled the galaxy for a generation until Vader destroyed Sidious at the cost of his own life, fulfilling the Jedi prophecy that foretold the destruction of the Sith. Vader subsequently died as the last Sith Lord in the thousand-year lineage that began with Darth Bane. However, he was not the last wielder of the dark side of the Force.
Unbeknownst to the galaxy at large, Sidious was revived through the art of cloning and the power of the dark side. Aided by his followers on Exegol, the Sith Eternal cult, the fallen Emperor engineered the strandcast Snoke to groom Vader's grandson, Kylo Ren, into an heir that was worthy of inheriting the Sith legacy. Ren, who coveted the power of his Sith grandfather, sought to rule all the galaxy as the new Emperor and Dark Lord of the Sith.
Sidious' plan to restore his order through the creation of a new Sith Empire ended at the Battle of Exegol. 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, the Dark Lord was destroyed along with his followers and the fleet they assembled to conquer the galaxy.
List of Dark Lords of the Sith
Pre-Rule of Two
|c. 4000 BBY|
Rule of Two
|Period||Sith Master||Sith apprentice|
|After 1032 BBY–||
|Prior to 32 BBY||
Darth Tenebrous 
Darth Plagueis 
|Prior to 32 BBY||
|c. 32 BBY–19 BBY||
|20 BBY–19 BBY||
Darth Maul (claimant)
Savage Opress (claimant)
|19 BBY–4 ABY||
|After 4 ABY–35 ABY|
- Star Wars Epic Yarns: Return of the Jedi
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales Episodes I-III (Appears as Force spirit and in flashbacks)
- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
Notes and references
- 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.
- Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sacrifice"
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless"
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side!
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: A Junior Novel
- Nexus of Power
- "Lightsabers and Jedi Equipment" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- 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.
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 2 (Databank A-Z: Ambria)
- Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 44 (Starship Fact File: Sith Infiltrator: Scimitar)
- In Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, Jedi Master Yoda states that there could only be two Sith Lords at a time; a Rule of Two was in place of Sith succession, as explained in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Sacrifice." Since Darth Sidious and Darth Maul were the two Dark Lords during The Phantom Menace, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 32 BBY, and that Darth Plagueis was Sidious' Sith Master according to StarWars.com's Databank, Plagueis had to have been the Sith alongside his apprentice before the title of Darth, and hence the mantle of succeeding the remaining place of the Rule of Two, was conferred to Maul, which had been so by the events of The Phantom Menace, in 32 BBY.
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Eminence"