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"But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression…the dark side of the Force are they, easily they flow… If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you, it will…"
―Yoda — (audio) Listen (file info)[src]

Ancient symbol of the dark side of the Force

The dark side of the Force, also known as Bogan,[1] was one of two methods of using the Force.[2] To tap into the power of the dark side was to indulge in raw emotions such as aggression,[2] fear, anger, hatred,[3] and passion.[4] The Sith were well known practitioners of the dark side, and were the mortal enemies of the Jedi, who served the will of the Force and thus[5] the light side.[3] The power of the dark side was not greater than that of the light side, although it was comparitively quicker and easier to reach for individuals who yielded to their emotions,[2] such as Anakin Skywalker, who was emotionally attached to his mother and his wife and fell to the temptation of achieving immortality through the dark side in his inablility to let go despite the inevitable change of death.[3][4] The power of the dark side was channeled by Force-sensitives who twisted their gifted ability to use the Force to acquire power for themselves, in return for allowing the dark side to override their character and consume their soul.[4]

Definition[edit | edit source]

"It's called the dark side of the Force because it's secretive. That's all. The Sith kept their knowledge and identities hidden—in the dark, see? They thought it made it easier to impose order."
Lona Aphra to her daughter, Chelli Lona Aphra[src]

Despite the leanings of its practitioners, such as the Sith, the dark side of the Force was so-named because it was secretive. The Sith kept their knowledge and identities secret because they believed it would make it easier for them to impose order.[6]

Description[edit | edit source]

"The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural."
―Darth Sidious, to Anakin Skywalker[src]

Seduced by the dark side, Anakin Skywalker ceased to exist and became Darth Vader.

Although Jedi were taught to follow the light side of the Force, the dark side was considered seductive, and a Jedi had to maintain vigilance in order to avoid falling to the dark side.[2] Anakin Skywalker was a powerful Jedi who, partly through the machinations of the Sith Lord Sidious, succumbed to temptation and began practicing the dark side, becoming the famous Sith Lord known as Darth Vader.[4] Even a Jedi raised in the traditions of the Jedi Order from birth could quickly be corrupted by the lure of the dark side in certain situations. Despite this, while the Jedi often described the dark side as a "quick and easy path," drawing upon its power did not necessarily come with ease or without cost to those who possessed strong compassion and were not used to drawing upon feelings such as hatred.[7]

Dark side abilities[edit | edit source]

Powers[edit | edit source]

Use of the dark side of the Force granted certain abilities that wielders of the light side had no access to, such as possession[8][9] and the ability to manipulate Force visions.[10] Other dark side powers were purely offensive in nature like Force lightning and given the fact that Yoda emphasized that using the Force to hurt or destroy was of the dark side, at the least using powers like Telekinesis to directly harm someone (as when Darth Vader choked people) draws one to the dark side even if it isn't a strictly dark side ability. Dark side power could also be used to alter life and could, according to legend, be used to manipulate midi-chlorians to create life or keep someone from dying.[4] The dark-side historian and Sith cultist Yupe Tashu told Wedge Antilles on Akiva that some Sith Lords were able to siphon the Force from their captives in order to extend their own lives for centuries beyond their natural expiration.[11] Dark side abilities were considered by some to be "unnatural."[4]

Will and usage[edit | edit source]

Additionally, the use of the dark side by somebody with generally good intentions in a moment of weakness could leave that individual feeling weak and shivery, with a general feeling of wrongness. This was once experienced by Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger when he once unconsciously drew upon the power of the dark side to summon a massive fyrnock to attack the Grand Inquisitor.[12]

Dark presence[edit | edit source]

The power of the dark side was penetrating and pernicious. The Jedi Temple was built on top of an ancient Sith shrine and, unbeknownst to the Jedi, the power of the dark side seeped upwards through the Temple from the shrine, slowly weakening the Jedi over a millennium.[13]

If the presence of the dark side was significantly powerful, nearby Force-sensitives often feel the sensation of cold. This happened on several occasions to Ezra Bridger and Kanan Jarrus in the presence of Darth Vader, and also occurred when Luke sensed the dark energy emanating from the Cave of Evil on Dagobah.[2][14] Extensive use of the dark side could leave an entire planet corrupted by its energy. Dathomir was one such place that was heavily steeped in the dark side.[7] This could also resonate through physical objects physically associated with individuals with a strong dark side presence,[15] such as that of Darth Momin and his mask. Momin's mask corrupted nearby beings and turned them into mindless killers.[16]

Perception[edit | edit source]

Jedi[edit | edit source]

Master Yoda had to overcome his dark side in order to learn the way of immortality.

The dark side of the Force was considered highly corrupting. The Jedi Grand Master Yoda, for example, believed that a Force adept who had embraced the dark side would be fated to forever continue down the path of evil,[2] a view he espoused despite having personally witnessed the redemption of at least two individuals who were at one time deeply steeped in the dark side.[7] Anakin Skywalker also proved an exception, as he overcame his past actions to save his son, Luke, and kill the Sith Lord Darth Sidious.[17] Yoda taught that the dark side of the Force was not stronger than the light side of the Force but rather merely "quicker, easier, more seductive." He also stated that the dark side stemmed from emotions such as anger, fear, and aggression and that these emotions were quick to join one in combat.[2]

Sith[edit | edit source]

"The dark side does not serve us. We serve the dark side. If we glorify it through our acts and our work and our art, it gives us power. It gives us life. Even life eternal."
―Momin, to Darth Vader[src]

Darth Sidious believed that the source of his dark side power was the universe beyond the edges of the known galaxy.[11] Sidious's ultimate desire was to use the powers of the dark side to alter the universe itself.[18]

Lord Momin saw the dark side of the Force as a higher power[19] and devoted himself to creation through his given powers.[20] Specifically, Momin believed in the creation of art that glorifies the dark side, which could, in his view, grant the artist eternal life.[19] Such extremist views led to Jedi and Sith holocron chroniclers' neglect of Momin.[20]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

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Kylo Ren was Darth Vader's grandson and the archetype of a new generation of dark side warriors.

Non-canon appearances[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

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