- "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
Darth Bane was a legendary human male Dark Lord of the Sith and the sole survivor of the destruction of the Brotherhood of Darkness at the hands of the Jedi Order during the Jedi-Sith War a thousand years before the Clone Wars. As the only surviving Sith, Bane recognized that Sith infighting had weakened them to the point that the Jedi could destroy them. To rectify this, Bane reformed the Sith and created the Rule of Two, mandating that there could be only two Sith—a Master and an apprentice—at any given time. These new Sith would begin a plot to destroy the Jedi and conquer the galaxy in secret. With Bane's defeat, rumored to have been caused by his apprentice, Darth Zannah, on the Inner Rim world of Ambria, the Jedi wrongly believed that the Sith were defeated with him.
The vendetta Bane held against the Jedi was fulfilled during the Clone Wars, when Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious and a follower of the Rule of Two, transformed the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire in 19 BBY and destroyed the Jedi Order. However, the victory was short-lived, as the redeemed Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, formerly the Sith Lord Darth Vader, defeated the Sith twenty-three years later, and the order was finally destroyed upon Sidious' final death in 35 ABY.
Establishing the Rule of Two
- "Created the Rule of Two, you did."
- ―Yoda, to the specter of Darth Bane
Darth Bane was a legendary Dark Lord of the Sith who lived during the dark age of the Old Republic, a thousand years before the Clone Wars. In his time, the Sith were often fueled by their own individual lusts for power, with squabbling Sith turning against their own. While serving in the Sith Empire, known as the Brotherhood of Darkness, Bane realized that infighting and greed from other dark side warriors created a weakness. The infighting eventually led to the defeat of their dark side order in 1032 BBY, as the Jedi Order was able to all but destroy the weakened Sith. Bane was the sole survivor of the Jedi-Sith War.
Recognizing that the old Sith traditions were a dead end, Bane created a new Sith philosophy that succeeded the older and purer doctrine of the dyad in the Force, a rare and powerful Force-bond that existed between two individuals. Bane's Rule of Two mandated that there could be only two Sith at a given time: a Master to embody power and an apprentice to crave it. Only by slaying their Master could the Sith apprentice gain that title and take on their own apprentice, or they could die in the attempt, and be replaced. These Sith would favor the shadowy tactics of trickery and scheming to destroy their enemies rather than outright force. Called the Great Plan, the plot's aim was to corrupt the Galactic Republic from within, diminish and disgrace the Jedi Order, and eventually rise and conquer the galaxy; in other words, softening up the Jedi before zeroing them in for total subjugation. Believing that this new principle would prevent the power of the dark side from destroying the Sith Order, Bane took on an apprentice of his own, Darth Zannah, and began passing on his knowledge. The Jedi learned of Bane's new philosophy and, with Bane's defeat, falsely believed that they had destroyed the Sith forever. However, Bane's plans continued through his apprentice. Although the historical records were not accurate about the identity of Bane's apprentice or how Bane died, it was rumored that Bane was finally killed on the Inner Rim planet of Ambria by Darth Zannah in a duel, a pattern that was repeated by nearly all Sith thereafter.
After Bane's death, his remains were placed in a sarcophagus in the Valley of the Dark Lords on Moraband, the ancient Sith homeworld. Additionally, a colossal statue of Bane in his armor was erected at the far end of the massive burial chamber. Bane was the last Sith Lord to be buried on Moraband.
- "An illusion. Real, you are not."
- ―Yoda, to the specter of Darth Bane
Darth Bane was considered the founder of the modern Sith, who continued their quest for revenge, working in secret as they plotted their return to galactic dominance. These plans continued through Darth Sidious, publicly known as Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, who engineered the Clone Wars to gain more power over the Galactic Republic. He also manipulated the war, fought between the Republic and the Separatist Alliance, to make the Jedi compromise their ideals, as they served as leaders in the Grand Army of the Republic. Doing so would allow him to justify his eventual destruction of the Jedi Order.
During the war, Jedi Grand Master Yoda ventured to Moraband on a journey to discover the secrets of immortality. He entered Bane's tomb and encountered a fiery vision of the ancient Dark Lord. As part of Yoda's trial to learn the power of immortality, the vision attempted to convince the Jedi Master to turn to the dark side. Yoda refused, remarking that Bane was dead and that what appeared before him was simply an illusion who had nothing to offer. Yoda's defiance banished the screaming specter back into the sarcophagus, while Yoda continued on his journey.
Revenge of the Sith
- "Once more the Sith will rule the galaxy!"
- ―Darth Sidious
The war's end in 19 BBY saw the culmination of the Sith's millennium-long vendetta against the Jedi. Sidious declared himself Emperor and reformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire. To destroy the Jedi, Sidious issued Order 66, a command implanted in the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic to kill the Jedi as traitors. In addition, Sidious seduced to the dark side Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, believed by the Jedi to be the Chosen One of prophecy who would destroy the Sith. The Great Plan that Darth Bane had put in motion a thousand years ago had thus been fulfilled by Sidious, who was recognized thenceforth as the greatest Sith Lord after Bane.
However, the Sith victory proved short-lived, as Sidious met defeat during the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY. A redeemed Skywalker killed the Emperor, resulting in his own death, but also ending the rule of the Sith. Unbeknownst to the galaxy, however, Sidious had survived by transferring his essence to an imperfect clone vessel that had been modeled on his original body. Sometime later, Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi in existence and Anakin's son, included a mention of Darth Bane and his Rule of Two in a book where he chronicled the history of the Jedi Order, titled The Secrets of the Jedi.
About thirty years after the Battle of Endor, Kylo Ren, master of the Knights of Ren and grandson of Anakin Skywalker, betrayed and killed Supreme Leader Snoke, Ren's dark side master and a Force-sensitive creature secretly created by Sidious. Ren then took control of the First Order in an act of ascension worthy of Darth Bane's Rule of Two. A year later, the resurrected Sidious made a failed attempt to restore the Sith Order to its former glory, which resulted in his final defeat.
Personality and traits
- "I chose to pass my knowledge on to only one."
- ―Darth Bane's specter
Darth Bane was a human male who possessed fair skin and yellow eyes. He believed that strength should have dominance over weakness. Bane developed this philosophy after his personal experiences and by studying ancient Sith documents. Having witnessed the destruction of the Sith, Bane saw that their infighting and greed led to their downfall. In order to preserve the Sith as its last survivor, Bane adopted the Rule of Two, believing that limiting the number of Sith to one Master and one apprentice would allow the Sith to survive in secret so they could plot their revenge against the Jedi. Like his descendants, Bane inspired fear in the hearts of other beings.
Behind the scenes
- "One of the themes throughout the films is that the Sith Lords, when they started out thousands of years ago, embraced the dark side. They were greedy and self-centered and they all wanted to take over, so they killed each other. Eventually, there was only one left, and that one took on an apprentice. And for thousands of years, the master would teach the apprentice, the master would die, the apprentice would then teach another apprentice, become the master, and so on. But there could never be any more than two of them, because if there were, they would try to get rid of the leader, which is exactly what Vader was trying to do, and that's exactly what the Emperor was trying to do. The Emperor was trying to get rid of Vader, and Vader was trying to get rid of the Emperor. And that is the antithesis of a symbiotic relationship, in which if you do that, you become cancer, and you eventually kill the host, and everything dies."
- ―George Lucas, on Darth Bane's role in the Sith backstory
Created by George Lucas as part of the backstory for the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Darth Bane was first mentioned in the novelization of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, written by Terry Brooks and published in 1999. Bane's story was then expanded upon in a number of reference books and comic books before being made the subject of a novel trilogy authored by Drew Karpyshyn: Path of Destruction, Rule of Two, and Dynasty of Evil. These stories are part of Star Wars Legends, previously known as the Expanded Universe, and are therefore not part of the new Star Wars canon.
Darth Bane was included in Fantasy Flight Games' Star Wars: Destiny collectible dice and card game via the 2020 booster pack, Covert Missions. According to Martin de Diego Sádaba, who illustrated the card "Darth Bane—Ancient Master" for the pack, his illustration depicts Bane "keeping the gate to a forgotten Sith temple."
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The Mortis arc
- "We are those who have come before, those who were betrayed, those who hate. We are the wielders of the dark side."
- ―Darths Bane and Revan introduce themselves to the Son in the deleted scene for "Ghosts of Mortis"
During the writing of "Ghosts of Mortis," the seventeenth episode in the third season of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series, Lucas wanted to include two ancient Sith Lords who could serve as an "uber evil influence guiding the Son," the villain of the episode. The production team decided that Darth Bane and Darth Revan, the main character of the Legends video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, would be the two Sith Lords.
The two characters were styled and modeled for "Ghosts of Mortis" based on their appearances in the Expanded Universe, but the scene, despite being laid out, was never animated. Dave Filoni, the show's supervising director, was apprehensive of the idea that Sith Lords could return as spirits, believing that Bane and Revan's appearance would have greater implications than the episode was exploring. Lucas thought about it as well and eventually agreed that the scene should be removed from the episode due to those implications on his ideas about the Force.
The unrealized scene, called "Son Confers with Ancient Sith Lords" and released in an uncompleted form in the Jedi Temple Archives feature for Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season Three, depicts Bane and Revan speaking to the Son in the Well of the Dark Side on Mortis. The Son, who has been guided by the two Sith Lords in the past, questions why he feels pain over the events of the two previous episodes, "Overlords" and "Altar of Mortis," and the Sith Lords tell him it is because he has not embraced his pain and resentment. When the Son demands to know their true identities, the two spirits reveal themselves as Bane and Revan and tell him that controlling Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One, is the key to controlling the galaxy.
- "I thought, wow, what a great, bizarre reflection to have Mark play, like, the ultimate side of good and light, and then the, kind of, the father of old, ancient evil."
- ―Dave Filoni, on Mark Hamill voicing Darth Bane in Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Despite being cut from "Ghosts of Mortis," a specter of Darth Bane appeared in "Sacrifice," the thirteenth and final episode in the sixth season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Cutting the previously planned appearance allowed the show's team to redesign the character and define what Bane would look like in the new Star Wars canon. The production team wanted Bane's outfit to resemble ancient warrior armor while still featuring futuristic, high-tech elements.
The concept design for Bane, created by Darren Marshall, included a full armor suit that was influenced by both samurai armor, which also inspired the design of Darth Vader's suit, as well as ancient Chinese medieval armor. The concept art also contained a "Sith warrior lightsaber pike" designed by David Le Merrer. Additionally, according to the Lucasfilm Story Group's Pablo Hidalgo, Bane's specter was conjured by the Force Priestesses in the episode.
Bane's specter was voiced by Mark Hamill, best known for his portrayal of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga. To create Bane's voice as heard in the episode, Dave Filoni recorded Hamill reading his lines using two different inflections, and then sound designers Matthew Wood and David Acord layered the recordings on top of one another. Prior to taking on the role of Bane, Hamill did not know of the character or how Bane fit into the overall arc of Star Wars. His son Nathan Hamill knew about the history of the character and was able to explain it to his father once he took on the role.
- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes (Statue only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Ghosts of Mortis" (Appears in deleted scene(s))
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sacrifice" (First appearance) (Vision to Yoda)