- "Do not fear their feeble attack, my faithful. Nothing will stop the return of the Sith!"
- ―Darth Sidious, to his Sith devotees
The Sith Eternal was a secret cult that sought to resurrect the Galactic Empire and the Sith Order. During the New Republic Era, Sith cultists established their lair on the planet Exegol, an ancient Sith bastion located in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy. Using the Sith Citadel as their base, the Sith Eternal oversaw the gradual rejuvenation of Darth Sidious, who was one of the last two Sith Lords until his death at the hands of his apprentice, Darth Vader. The Sith Eternal also had a vested interest in Vader's grandson, Kylo Ren, and sought to determine his worthiness as inheritor of the Sith legacy.
For decades, the Sith Eternal toiled in secret to create the Final Order, a massive fleet of Xyston-class Star Destroyers armed with axial superlaser cannons and requisite TIE/dg starfighters. The Sith Eternal also trained an army of Sith troopers indoctrinated to be absolutely loyal to the Sith. In order to fill their military's ranks, the Sith Eternal cultists raised thousands of humans from Exegol as their children, teaching them to revere the dark side of the Force and to believe that the galaxy was theirs to rule by cosmic right.
During the war between the First Order and the Resistance, the Sith Eternal was on the verge of launching their military forces to reinforce the First Order's military forces. Ren, having passed the Sith Eternal's final test by slaying his master, Supreme Leader Snoke, learned that he was heir to a new Sith Empire, which they called the New Empire. However, it was ultimately Darth Sidious who reclaimed the mantle of Galactic Emperor after his strength was restored by the power of the bond between Ren and Rey. Despite Sidious' restoration to full strength, the Sith Eternal was destroyed at the Battle of Exegol along with the Emperor and their forces.
Description[edit | edit source]
Organization[edit | edit source]
The Sith Eternal consisted of a cult made of Sith loyalists that had been operating in secrecy throughout galactic history. By the time of the New Republic, the Sith Order had become extinct, but the cultists of the Sith Eternal continued the belief of the Sith tradition in secret and sought to resurrect it. Based on Exegol, the legendary hidden world of the Sith, Sith loyalists were spread throughout the galaxy and within the First Order, while those on Exegol created a fleet of hundreds of new-generation Star Destroyers and amassed legions of warriors. The existence of the Sith Eternal was a safeguarded secret, with even those in the upper echelons of the First Order unaware of their operation.
The reach of the Sith Eternal was vast; their operation extended beyond the veil of the Unknown Regions, with Sith loyalists serving on the executive boards of Sienar-Jaemus and Kuat-Entralla. This allowed the cult to secretly funnel supplies and designs to Exegol through various intermediaries. For years, Sith loyalists toiled in secret to achieve the final stage in the First Order's long-gestating plan of conquest. Among their ranks were engineers, shipwrights, and enslaved labor responsible for the creation of hundreds of warships and thousands of starfighters.
As a cult, the Sith Eternal focused on spiritual matters in addition to their military goals. Steeped in rituals designed to mine the secrets of the Force, they delved into the nature of phenomena such as Force-bonds and dyads in the Force. They revered the power of the dark side of the Force and taught their children to do the same. Ultimately, the Sith Eternal coupled technology and the occult to bring forth unnatural embodiments of the dark side, thus furthering their quest to resurrect the Sith tradition.
Military[edit | edit source]
While the First Order served as the military arm of Darth Sidious' secret Contingency, the Final Order served as its hidden spiritual heart. The Sith Eternal maintained a vast array of military power and groups who acted as enforcers. The Final Order fleet comprising more than a thousand Xyston-class Star Destroyers and massive swarms of TIE/dg starfighters that were operated by fleet technicians and Sith Eternal officers.
Final Order ground forces consisted of an army of at least several legions of Sith troopers that were made up of the ancient standard of 5,000 Sith troopers each. Sith trooper squads consisted of ten troopers and were led by Sith trooper sergeants. The squads were configured in three triads, which consisted of a Sith trooper lance corporal leading two corporals. Legions were numerically identified, but were also given the name of an ancient Sith Lord. Such examples included the 3rd "Revan" Legion, the 5th "Andeddu" Legion, the 17th "Tanis" Legion, the 26th "Tenebrous" Legion, the 39th "Phobos" Legion and the 44th "Desolous" Legion.
After incorporating the First Order under its umbrella more directly, the Final Order was created and First Order military assets were incorporated with friction among First Order members due to their pragmatic nature clashing with the fanaticism of the Sith Eternal cultists.
History[edit | edit source]
The deaths of Darth Sidious and Darth Vader fulfilled a Jedi prophecy that foretold the destruction of the Sith Order. In the impassable depths of the Unknown Regions, however, a group of cultists kept the Sith religion alive on the dark world of Exegol. Calling themselves the "Sith Eternal," they venerated the late Sidious' plan to bring about a new Sith Empire. As such, their shipyards continued to operate for decades, creating a vast fleet long after the fall of the Old Empire, which Sidious had ruled as Emperor. During this time period, Exegol's human population was indoctrinated with the values of the Sith Eternal, having been raised by the cultists as their children to become officers, technicians, and soldiers in the new Sith Empire.
During the era of the New Republic, Emperor Palpatine's family was hunted by Ochi of Bestoon. A hunter of Sith artifacts, Ochi was also a known associate of Imperial advisor Yupe Tashu and the self-styled Acolytes of the Beyond. Though he could not touch the Force, Ochi believed that the dark side propelled him and shaped his actions. He captured the Emperor's son, but failed to locate the man's daughter, Rey, who was sold on Jakku for her own safety. After failing to coerce the parents into revealing the girl's location, Ochi used his dagger to kill Rey's father and her mother. Ochi later perished on Pasaana before he could find Rey and bring her to Exegol.
In their quest to restore the Sith, the cultists deemed Vader's grandson, the dark warrior Kylo Ren, a potential heir to the Sith legacy. Ren's own master, Supreme Leader Snoke, was a product of the Sith Eternal's machinations, having been created for the purpose of testing Ren's worthiness to become the Sith's inheritor. As Snoke's disciple, Ren was subjected to trials designed to groom and mold him not only into a master of attack, but also cunning. However, Snoke's ultimate role was to act as a final crucible in Ren's descent into darkness. By outmaneuvering his master in order to kill him, Ren passed his final test in the eyes of the Sith Eternal cultists.
Using Vader's wayfinder to locate Exegol, the new Supreme Leader discovered the secrets of Exegol, including the Sith Eternal's clandestine operation and the revived Darth Sidious, whose damaged body was in the care of his followers. Ren came to realize that he was heir to the vast Empire forged by the Sith Eternal. Bidden by Sidious to kill Rey—now a Jedi apprentice—and become the new Emperor, Ren accepted the mantle but felt no indebtedness to the Sith Eternal cultists. Although he resolved to return the Sith to power and fulfill his grandfather's legacy, Ren felt that he had sacrificed too much to be subservient.
After losing Ren, who reclaimed his identity as Ben Solo upon the sacrifice of his mother, General Leia Organa, Darth Sidious cultivated Rey as his sole successor. Knowing that the girl was, in fact, his granddaughter, Sidious intended to give Rey the Throne of the Sith after she participated in a ritual that would end with her striking down the former Emperor, thus completing her journey to the dark side. Meanwhile, the Sith Star Destroyer Derriphan was deployed to Kijimi on Sidious' orders, resulting in the destruction of the entire planet as a show of force. As the Sith Eternal's fleet prepared to depart from Exegol, the Resistance made a desperate attempt to prevent the cult from returning the galaxy to the rule of the Sith.
As a battle erupted above Exegol's surface, Rey became a reluctant participant in Sidious' ritual, hoping to save her allies from being destroyed by the Sith Eternal's forces. Her submission pleased Sidious, who declared to his followers that the Jedi Order was dead and a new Sith reign would soon commence. Before the ceremony could conclude with Sidious' sacrificial death, however, the redeemed Kylo Ren, Ben Solo, charged into Citadel to fight alongside Rey. Sensing Solo's presence through their bond, Rey stayed her hand rather than giving into the dark side. His plans thwarted, Sidious attacked both Jedi and discovered that the power of their bond was the key to restoring his strength. Sidious therefore discarded the notion of being succeeded and reclaimed his former title of Emperor, having successfully siphoned enough energy from the prophesied "dyad" in the Force, to become whole again.
Once restored, Sidious reassured his followers that the Resistance and their allies were doomed to fail. However, as he unleashed a chain of Force lightning into the sky, destroying or disabling his opponents' vessels, Rey called on the spirits of all the Jedi to help her vanquish the Dark Lord of the Sith. The resulting explosion of Force energy destroyed Sidious' body along with the cultists who witnessed their master's destruction. Their demise, combined with the Final Order's decisive defeat, destroyed the Sith Eternal cult in the year 35 ABY.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
The Sith Eternal first appeared in the final film of the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker. It was first identified in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary, which was released on the same day as the film, December 20, 2019.
In the Star Wars Legends continuity, a cult known as the Prophets of the Dark Side bears similarities with the Sith Eternal. Both cults date back generations before the events of the Skywalker Saga, were based on hidden worlds with ancient ties to the Sith, its members wore black robes and operated in secret, and served Darth Sidious as they helped further his dark side goals by manipulating the course of galactic events to ensure the outcome. The Prophets of the Dark Side role within the Galactic Empire is similar to the role of the Sith Eternal within the Final Order.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- Star Wars Battlefront II (DLC)
- Star Wars: Squadrons (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker (First appearance)
- Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures – "The First Order vs. The Resistance"
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: A Junior Novel
Sources[edit | edit source]
Notes and references[edit | edit source]
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary dates the events of Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker to one year after the events of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. As Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the events of The Force Awakens to 34 ABY, the events of The Rise of Skywalker must occur in 35 ABY.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
- Prophets of the Dark Side