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"The galaxy has long trembled before the might of those who have sworn to execute my grand design. But the most committed of my followers have gone unseen, operating in secrecy here on Exegol. Seeking only my glory, the Sith Eternal have never wavered in their devotion."
―Darth Sidious[5]

The Sith Eternal, also known as the Cult of the Sith Eternal, was a secretive cult that resided on the dark desert planet of Exegol within the depths of the Unknown Regions. Mysterious cultists, they venerated Darth Sidious, publicly known as Emperor Palpatine, revering the dark side of the Force—and followed the ways of the Sith, even after its demise. The reach of the Sith Eternal was vast and went far beyond the veil of the Unknown Regions. Steeped in ancient traditions, they used 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, and believed that the galaxy was theirs to rule by cosmic right.

Due to its remote location and inherent veil of secrecy, the Sith Eternal chose Exegol as its base by the reign of the Galactic Empire, and Darth Sidious had his underlings experiment with cloning technology in a bid to extend his lifespan. They also experimented with other genetic machinations aside from cloning, leading to the creation of various artificial genetic constructs, known as strandcasts, such as Supreme Leader of the First OrderSnoke, as well as the Emperor's cloned son, who sired a natural-born Force-sensitive daughter called Rey. The Sith Eternal additionally constructed a massive force of Xyston-class Star Destroyers to comprise the Final Order, which would become the largest fleet in galactic history.

During the New Republic Era, the cultist remained hidden on Exegol as they had before, which had become Darth Sidious's place of exile after he cheated death by preserving his spirit into a cloned body. The Sith Eternal strove to prevent their master from dying again, and resorted to the science of gene splicing in hopes of building a more suitable vessel for his dark essence. None of their endeavors succeeded in producing a viable host for Sidious's soul, however, and he was forced to rely on life support machinery in order to survive. Meanwhile, the Sith Eternal raised a generation of children not only to embody the cult's values, but to serve as elite soldiers, officers, and fleet technicians in their military for the intended recreated Sith Empire. Although they were not strong with the Force, the new generation was just as devoted to the dark side as the one that preceded them, and believed that the galaxy was theirs to rule by cosmic right.

The Sith Eternal's plans came to fruition by the time of the First Order-Resistance War after the First Order scattered the New Republic. After many years, their fleet and army were ready for deployment when Sidious announced his return across the galaxy. By then Snoke had fulfilled his purpose by dying at the hand of his apprentice, Kylo Ren, who, as Vader's grandson, was heir to the powerful Skywalker bloodline. Using Snoke as a proxy, the Sith Eternal had groomed Ren to lead their forces as heir to the new Sith Empire. However, Ren renounced their cause by returning to the light side of the Force as Ben Solo. After the Sith Eternal destroyed Kijimi, the Resistance invaded Exegol to prevent the Final Order's launch. The cult was ultimately destroyed along with their forces and the Emperor in the Battle of Exegol, preventing their goal to establish the eternal reign of the Sith Order.



"Forgive me, sir, but these allies on Exegol, they sound like a cult. Conjurers and soothsayers."
―Domaric Quinn, to Kylo Ren[1]
Sith Citadel throne room

The Sith Eternal was a secret cult that operated on the Sith world of Exegol in the Unknown Regions.

The Cult of the Sith Eternal[9] was a secretive sect of Sith cultists who worshiped the dark side of the Force as well as the Dark Lord of the Sith and Galactic Emperor Darth Sidious. As Sith loyalists they were instrumental in the preservation of their religion after the Sith Order was destroyed. The Sith Eternal and their followers were spread throughout the galaxy and within the workings of the First Order, while those on Exegol created a fleet of hundreds of new-generation Star Destroyers and amassed legions of well-trained soldiers. 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.[2]

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 various galactic corporations such as Sienar-Jaemus and Kuat-Entralla, allowing them 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 scientists, engineers, technicians, shipwrights, and enslaved labor responsible for the creation of hundreds of warships and thousands of starfighters.[2]

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. Despite lacking in Force-sensitivity, they revered the power of the dark side and taught their children to do the same. The younger generation of Sith cultists embodied the principles of the Sith Eternal, and believed that the galaxy was theirs to rule by cosmic right. 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.[2]

The cultists of Exegol wore a style of apparel designed to conceal their identities. It included an oversize robe, gloves, face coverings, and a multi-layered hood whose length depended on the wearer's years of service to the Sith.[10]


The Sith Eternal resorted to science in their efforts to preserve the life of Darth Sidious.

While steeped in the Sith's ancient traditions, the Sith Eternal utilized modern and highly advanced science, specifically bioengineering and cloning, in their quest to help Darth Sidious achieve eternal life. To this end, the cultists frequently experimented with their master's genetic code, attempting to grow a stable clone modeled on the Emperor's template. They produced a number of strandcasts by resorting to gene splicing, but ultimately their experiments failed to achieve the desired results, leaving them with various unwanted specimens while Sidious remained trapped within an unstable, dying cloned body.[11] Sith Eternal scientists were also familiar with the Kaminoan program of behavioral modification, which they improved upon in order to ensure the programmed loyalty of their Sith troopers.[2]


"They've conjured legions of Star Destroyers. The Sith fleet will increase our resources ten-thousandfold."
―Enric Pryde[1]

While the First Order was the military arm of Darth Sidious's secret Contingency and his ultimate plan to rebuild the Sith Empire, the Sith Eternal served as its hidden spiritual heart. The Sith Eternal maintained a vast array of military power and groups who acted as enforcers.[2] The fleet that the cult created—comprising more than a thousand Xyston-class Star Destroyers along with the requisite TIE/dg starfighters, fleet technicians, and Sith Eternal officers[2]—was officially called the Final Order.[1]


Sith troopers were the culmination of a contingency meant to ensure the perpetual reign of the Sith Empire.

Sith troopers comprised the Sith Eternal's ground forces, which were divided into legions of five-thousand troopers based on the ancient standard of a legion. A Sith trooper squad consisted of ten troopers led by Sith trooper sergeant. The squads were configured in three triads, which consisted of a Sith trooper corporal leading two lance corporals. Legions were numerically identified, but also given the name of an ancient Sith Lord. Such examples included 3rd "Revan" Legion, the 5th "Andeddu" Legion, the 17th "Tanis" Legion, the 26th "Tenebrous" Legion, the 39th "Phobos" Legion, and the 44th "Desolous" Legion. Sith Jetpack Trooper squads also consisted of ten soldiers, and squad names were that of weapons. Several examples included Warblade Squad, Lanvorak Squad, and Parang Squad.[2]

Despite the potential alliance between the Sith Eternal and the First Order military, there was a degree of friction between the two groups. First Order officers were of a pragmatic nature which clashed with the fanaticism of the Sith cultists.[2] General Domaric Quinn and Allegiant General Enric Pryde, both of whom served on the First Order Supreme Council, held opposite views concerning their Sith allies. Whereas Quinn disdained the Sith Eternal as a cult of mystics,[11] Pryde was more concerned with the practical advantages that the cult had to offer, their fleet in particular.[2] Pryde calculated that the Sith Star Destroyers would increase the First Order's resources by ten-thousandfold, more than making up for the destruction of Starkiller Base which he held General Armitage Hux responsible.[11] The alliance between both factions was cemented when[12] Pryde pledged himself to Sidious.[1]


Imperial Era[]

"Well done, Lord Vader, but you seem weary. And so many others wish to meet you. Only two Sith, just as you say. But any one of these might replace you."
―Darth Sidious, to Darth Vader[3]

Darth Vader once encountered the Sith cultists on Exegol who served the Emperor.

In 19 BBY,[13] Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord who masterminded the fall of the Galactic Republic and rise of the Galactic Empire, withdrew from the eye of the public in order to begin probing the secrets of the dark side and arcane Sith lore in order to begin his quest in obtaining immortality.[2] On Exegol, the Sith Eternal, within the ancient Sith Citadel on the planet, began to experiment with the science of cloning in a bid to extend, with the end goal to ultimately permanently sustain, their Emperor's lifespan.[14] During their service to Darth Sidious, the cult's labor and cloning experiments led to the creation several genetic constructs, including an elite guard, and the start of construction of a new fleet of Star Destroyers on the planet by the time of the Galactic Civil War.[3]

Following the Duel on Cloud City, Sidious's Sith apprentice, Darth Vader, discovered Exegol after he acquired a Sith wayfinder from the Eye of Webbish Bog on Mustafar[15] and used it to travel to the hidden planet, where he sought to uncover his Sith Master's secrets.[16] There, at Sidious' command, Vader was attacked by the Tankers and a group of their Sith cultists, whom he killed, and witnessed Sith cultists harvesting a mountain of kyber crystals in order to power the planet-destroying cannons used by the Star Destroyers of the Final Order fleet.[3]

New Republic Era[]

"He's been planning his revenge. His followers have been building something for years. The largest fleet the galaxy has ever known. He calls it the Final Order."
―Poe Dameron[1]
Unidentified Star Destroyer fleet

The Sith Eternal created the Final Order to be the largest fleet in the galaxy.

The deaths of Darth Sidious and Darth Vader fulfilled a Jedi prophecy that foretold the destruction of the Sith Order.[17] In the impassable depths of the Unknown Regions, however, loyalists kept the Sith religion alive even after the destruction of the two Sith Lords and sought to resurrect its tradition.[2] Sith cultists gathered on the lost world of Exegol to venerate and worship the Sith Order and ancient Sith in general while also swearing fealty to the last Sith Lord,[4] Darth Sidious, who cheated death by using the dark side of the Force to thrust his consciousness into a clone body previously prepared by the Sith Eternal using Clone Wars era technology sometime before the Battle of Endor.[11] The cultists followed the Emperor's plan to extend his small Sith Empire and bring about a new fascist order across the galaxy after the Galactic Empire fell in the Galactic Civil War, with the galaxy at large assuming Emperor Palpatine was no more. Their shipyards of Exegol operated in secret for decades, building a vast fleet that the galaxy was unaware of. 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.[2]

During the era of the New Republic, the Emperor's family was hunted by Ochi of Bestoon.[1] A hunter of Sith artifacts, Ochi was an associate of the Emperor's adviser, Yupe Tashu, and the self-styled Acolytes of the Beyond. Though he was not Force-sensitive, Ochi believed that the dark side propelled him and shaped his actions.[2] He captured the Emperor's cloned son, but failed to locate his daughter, Rey, who was left 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.[1]

First Order/Resistance War[]

"Do not fear that feeble attack, my faithful. Nothing will stop the return of the Sith!"
―Darth Sidious[1]

Snoke was one of several strandcast clones, designed to be Darth Sidious's proxy in power.

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.[2] Snoke was a strandcast—an artificial genetic construct—concocted by Sidious to lead the First Order as his proxy. He was also one of several identical clones which were stored in a vat on Exegol.[14] The Sith Eternal designed Snoke to test Ren's worthiness to become the Sith's inheritor. Ren was subjected to trials that molded him into a master of attack and cunning.[2] Despite having a will of his own,[14] Snoke's role was to serve as a final crucible in Ren's descent into darkness. By outmaneuvering and assassinating his master, Ren passed the last test in his apprenticeship as designed by the Sith Eternal.[2]


The Sith Eternal anointed Kylo Ren, grandson of Darth Vader, as the ruler of the new Sith Empire.

Using Vader's wayfinder to locate Exegol, the new Supreme Leader discovered the secrets of the Sith Eternal, including their clandestine operation[2] and Darth Sidious, whose cloned body continued deteriorating in spite of his followers' efforts to keep him alive.[11] Ren came to realize that he was heir to the vast Sith Empire which had been forged by the cult.[2] Bidden by Sidious to kill the Jedi apprentice Rey,[1] Ren accepted the mantle but felt no indebtedness to the Sith cultists who groomed him[2] to become the new Emperor.[1] Although he resolved to fulfill his grandfather's legacy, Ren was unwilling to return to a subservient state, having sacrificed so much to gain power and independence.[2]

The Resistance learned about the Sith Eternal through a First Order spy, General Hux, who sought to undermine Ren and make him lose the war by supplying information to his enemies. Commander Poe Dameron briefed the Resistance on Ajan Kloss where he confirmed the validity of Emperor Palpatine's transmission, revealing that the Emperor was alive once more and that his followers were prepared to unleash an armada of planet-killing warships.[1]

After losing Ren, who reclaimed his identity as Ben Solo upon the sacrifice of his mother and Resistance leader, General Leia Skywalker Organa Solo, Darth Sidious cultivated Rey as his sole successor. Knowing the girl to be his granddaughter, the Dark Lord not only offered the Throne of the Sith to Rey, but also urged her to kill him in anger, to allow his spirit to pass into her body. By then, the Xyston-class Star Destroyer Derriphan had destroyed the planet Kijimi as a show of force. As the Sith Eternal's fleet prepared to depart from Exegol, the Resistance fleet made a desperate attempt to prevent the cult from returning the galaxy to the rule of the Sith.[1]

Sidious triumphant

Standing before his followers, Darth Sidious proclaimed his restoration as the one true Emperor.

During the Battle of Exegol, members of the Sith Eternal witnessed as Rey reluctantly began participating in Sidious's ritual, hoping to save her allies from being destroyed by the Sith forces. Her submission pleased the Emperor, who declared to his followers that the Jedi Order was dead and a new Sith reign would commence with his granddaughter ascending to the throne as "Empress Palpatine." Before the ceremony could conclude with Sidious's sacrificial death, however, Ben Solo charged into Sith Citadel to fight alongside Rey. The Sith Eternal tried to prevent Solo from reaching the throne room, in contrast to how they previously welcomed him when he was still Kylo Ren. Sensing Solo's presence through their bond, Rey stayed her hand rather than giving into the dark side. His plans thwarted, the Dark Lord 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[11] prophesied dyad in the Force,[2] to become whole again.[1]

Once restored, Sidious reassured his followers that the Resistance and their allies were doomed to fail. However, as the reborn Emperor 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's body and caused the Citadel's ceiling to collapse, crushing the thousands of cultists who witnessed their master's destruction.[11] Their demise, combined with the Final Order's decisive defeat, marked the destruction of both the cult and the Sith Order [1] in the year 35 ABY.[8] Without the promised reinforcements of the Sith, the First Order's military rule crumbled under a pan-galactic uprising, ending with the First Order's defeat in the First Order-Resistance War.[14]

Behind the scenes[]

The Sith Eternal first appeared in the final film of the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker.[1] 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.[2]

In the Star Wars Legends continuity, a cult known as the Prophets of the Dark Side bears similarities with the Sith Eternal.[18] 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.[19][20][21][22][23][18]


Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Darth Vader (2020) 11
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 StarWars-DatabankII Sith Eternal in the Databank (backup link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Star Wars: The Secrets of the Sith
  6. StarWars-DatabankII Blade of Ochi of Bestoon in the Databank (backup link)
  7. According to The Star Wars Book, Darth Sidious vanished from the public view and studied the secrets of the dark side upon his rise to power, and that at the same time the Sith Eternal began experimenting in cloning and science to extend his life. So therefore they either existed by that point or were founded during Sidious's reign.
  8. 8.0 8.1 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.
  9. Shadow of the Sith
  10. Star Wars: Character Encyclopedia, Updated and Expanded Edition
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition
  12. StarWars-DatabankII Darth Sidious Biography Gallery in the Databank (backup link) (Image 28 caption)
  13. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary states that Darth Sidious began to probe the secrets of the dark side and unlock the secrets toward immortality fifty-three years before the Hosnian Cataclysm, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 34 ABY. Therefore, he must have began searching in 19 BBY.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 The Star Wars Book
  15. Darth Vader (2020) 8
  16. Darth Vader (2020) 10
  17. Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
  18. 18.0 18.1 Prophets of the Dark Side
  19. The Glove of Darth Vader
  20. The Lost City of the Jedi
  21. Zorba the Hutt's Revenge
  22. Mission from Mount Yoda
  23. Queen of the Empire