The Shrine in the Depths was an ancient Sith shrine situated at a Force vergence on the planet Coruscant, constructed before the rise of the modern Galactic Republic. The Jedi Order later constructed the Jedi Temple over the shrine, hoping to neutralize its dark energies, and occasionally nullified dark side artifacts inside of it.
The Sith constructed the shrine on the planet Coruscant around five millennia before the rise of the Galactic Empire on top of a sacred spire, a powerful light side vergence, hoping to corrupt it with the dark side of the Force, which eventually succeeded. The enormous black edifice stood against the Coruscant sky as a symbol of Sith dominance until it was razed by the Jedi at the end of a great war. Following the Sith Order's defeat, eventually the Four Masters erected the Jedi Temple over the shrine's foundations in a symbolic attempt to bury the legacy that the Sith had left behind on the galactic capital. The Jedi also hoped that the placement of their Temple over the shrine, and the presence of so many light-side adepts within it, would serve to neutralize and cap the dark power inherent in the shrine, and eventually return the vergence to the light side. The shrine itself was something of an oddity, as such places were known to exist only on planets that had been historically considered to be Sith worlds.
About a thousand years before the destruction of the Jedi Order at the hands of Darth Sidious and Darth Vader, the existence of the shrine became known to the Sith Lords of Darth Bane's revised Order, and remained a closely guarded secret. The Jedi normally kept the shrine covered by a meditation area, only opening the shrine to perform rituals aimed at neutralizing dark side artifacts. During the High Republic Era, a set of four statues found at an ancient Amaxine space station was brought to the Shrine to be neutralized. However, those performing the ritual discovered that the statues contained nothing to neutralize, and realized that the Jedi who had brought the statues in had misinterpreted their true purpose.
Following the destruction of the Jedi Order, and the reformation of the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire, Darth Sidious—known publicly as Emperor Palpatine—had the Jedi Temple converted into the Imperial Palace. It was at that time that Sidious made the decision to excavate the shrine, the process of which was carried out entirely by machines under the supervision of Sidious' personal droid, 11-4D. The shrine's existence remained as much a secret as it ever had; only Sidious himself was known for certain to possess knowledge of it. Even Darth Vader, Sidious' Sith apprentice and second in command, was unaware of the shrine's existence as of 14 BBY. Sidious used the shrine as his private sanctum and spent much of his time there meditating on the nature of the dark side. Eventually, he planned on enlisting Vader's help within the shrine to probe the dark side for its most powerful secrets, hoping to gain the ability to reshape reality according to his own ideals.
Behind the scenes
- "The Jedi tried to cap the power of this shrine, but there's leakage. It's not just Sidious; it's the power of history, it's the residue of what's left of the dark side there."
- ―James Luceno
The Sith shrine was introduced in the 2014 novel Tarkin, written by James Luceno. It was first identified as the Shrine in the Depths in the 2021 novel The High Republic: Into the Dark, written by Claudia Gray.
The idea of the Jedi Temple being built over a Sith temple would have been explored in a story arc in the television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but the show was cancelled before such episodes could be produced or released. In the arc, former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano would have returned to the Jedi Temple and, with several other Jedi, taken drilling machines down far beneath the Jedi Temple and discovered a Sith temple beneath it. Series director Dave Filoni and creator George Lucas decided that the Jedi Temple had been built over ruins from ancient worshipers of the Force, possibly including the Sith. The concept of the Jedi Temple being built over a wellspring of dark side energy was previously introduced in the continuity of Star Wars Legends.
In introducing the concept through Tarkin, Luceno compared the shrine and the construction of the Jedi Temple atop of it to how Hernán Cortés, the Spanish Conquistador, destroyed the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. After the destruction, Aztec temples were razed and churches were built in their place, with legends persisting that the churches had not entirely eliminated the power of the temples. In Tarkin, Luceno introduced a similar concept where he postulated that the Jedi were not able to stop the power of the shrine.
- The High Republic: Into the Dark (First identified as Shrine in the Depths, simultaneous with The High Republic: Into the Dark audiobook)
- The High Republic: Into the Dark audiobook
- Tarkin (First appearance, simultaneous with Tarkin audiobook)
- Tarkin audiobook
- "Disturbance"—From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back
- From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back audiobook
- Nexus of Power
- Star Wars: Complete Locations (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 26 (Databank A-Z: Imperial Future Council–Inquisitorius)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 28 (Databank A-Z: Queen Jamillia–Jedi Temples)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 44 (Databank A-Z: Zeb Orrelios–Pau City)
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition
- Star Wars - The Official Magazine 101 (Database: Before the dark times…)