- "Get help. You're no match for him. He's a Sith Lord."
"Chancellor Palpatine, Sith Lords are our speciality."
- ―Sheev Palpatine and Obi-Wan Kenobi
The Old Republic
- "But there was a Sith Lord who survived the culling—the great Darth Bane. It was he who reshaped the Sith. creating a new hierarchy to ensure the survival of our Order. His Rule of Two dictated that only two Sith Lords could exist at any one time—a master to possess the unlimited power of the dark side and an apprentice to covet it."
- ―Darth Sidious
Founded by a rogue Jedi during the Hundred-Year Darkness, the Sith were an ancient order who used the dark side of the Force and fought the Jedi. During the days of the Old Republic, many individuals held the mantle of Sith Lord and fought countless wars against the Jedi Order. However, their numbers began to dwindle due to infighting, which the Jedi took advantage of, ultimately resulting in the Sith being defeated and nearly destroyed by the Jedi. After Darth Bane established the Rule of Two, Sith tradition dictated that there could only be two Sith Lords—a master and an apprentice—at any given time.
Twilight of the Republic
- "He was trained in the Jedi arts. My only conclusion can be that it was a Sith lord."
- ―Qui-Gon Jinn, referring to Darth Maul
In the years leading up to the Invasion of Naboo, the Sith Lord Darth Plagueis, who had been trained by Darth Tenebrous, was killed by his apprentice Darth Sidious, who also took on his own apprentice, Darth Maul. Sidious' alter ego Sheev Palpatine became the senator of Naboo in order to inflitrate, deceive and eventually destroy the Jedi and Galactic Republic. Sidious planted the seeds for what would become the Confederacy of Independent Systems by forming an alliance with the Trade Federation, a corporation led by Viceroy Nute Gunray and Settlement Officer Rune Haako. Sidious convinced the Trade Federation to use their army of battle droids to blockade and invade the peaceful planet of Naboo, in order to unseat Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum and have Palpatine become the Chancellor. The invasion failed and Maul was seemingly killed by Obi-Wan Kenobi, but Palpatine was elected as Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic.
The Sith then resurfaced ten years later. Darth Tyranus, Sidious' apprentice, met with Viceroy Gunray, and other influential magnates, on Geonosis. They supported the Confederacy of Independent Systems, leading to the start of the Clone Wars against the Republic. A number of other Sith were also active during the war, such as Sidious' former apprentice Maul, Tyranus' first apprentice Asajj Ventress, and Tyranus' second apprentice and Maul's brother Savage Opress. Due to Sidious being both Chancellor of the Republic and Tyranus' master, he was able to manipulate both sides of the war, while deceiving both sides, leading to Order 66, the defeat of the Confederacy, and the establishment of the Galactic Empire.
Reign of the Empire
- "I feel… Cold. I think I know who it is. Back on Lothal I felt something. Kanan did too. The fear. The anger. The hate. It's the Sith Lord we faced."
- ―Ezra Bridger, referring to Darth Vader
Not long after Tyranus was sacrificed and betrayed by Sidious, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side and became Sidious' new apprentice, receiving the name "Vader" which was preceded by the moniker Darth, roughly translated as "Dark Lord." With the Great Jedi Purge in effect and Darth Vader at his side, Sidious consolidated his power over the galaxy as the self-proclaimed Galactic Emperor.
Years into the Imperial Era, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin and Vader oversaw the deployment of the Death Star battle station. However, the Rebel Alliance destroyed it along with Tarkin during the Battle of Yavin. The Rebels then continued to defy Imperial rule for a further five years, leading to the Battle of Endor with the destruction of the DS-2 Death Star II Mobile Battle Station and both Sith Lords. As the battle turned in the Alliance's favor, Vader sacrificed his life by killing his master in order to protect his son, Luke Skywalker, thereby renouncing the dark side, fulfilling his role as the Chosen One, and dying as Anakin Skywalker.
- "Kylo Ren is no Sith Lord, but his helmet was designed to emulate that of his ancestor Lord Vader."
- ―Darth Sidious
The thousand-year lineage that started with Darth Bane came to an end with the demise of the last Sith Lord, Darth Vader. Unknown to the galaxy, Darth Sidious was resurrected when his consciousness transferred to a clone body on the desolate planet Exegol, where his followers, the Sith Eternal cult, preserved the teachings of the Sith religion. In addition to a Sith fleet known as the Final Order, the Sith Eternal trained an army of Sith troopers, divided into legions that were named after ancient Sith Lords such as Revan, Andeddu, Darth Tanis, Darth Tenebrous, Phobos, and Desolous.
The Dark Lord sought to restore the Sith Order through Vader's grandson, Kylo Ren and his granddaughter, Rey. When Ren journeyed to Exegol, he heard the whispers of Sith Lords long dead—Locphet, Mindran, Felkor, Naga Sadow, and Sissiri—and met Sidious, who had been grooming him for use in his plans for decades. Ren was not a Sith Lord, but he embodied the Sith Order's teachings as well as those of the Jedi Order. Sidious doubted that Ren could overcome his connection to the light side of the Force, but still tasked him with killing Rey as a final chance to prove himself. Despite Ren's intention of becoming the new Dark Lord of the Sith, for which he had been groomed to inherit through the machinations of the Sith Eternal, he ultimately rejected the dark side like his grandfather before him. During the Battle of Exegol, Rey prevented the return of the Sith by destroying her grandfather Sidious.
- William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace: Star Wars Part the First
- Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope
- Star Wars Epic Yarns: The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
- Star Wars: Visions – "Akakiri" (Ambiguous canonicity)
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi depicts the deaths of the two Sith Lords of that time, Darth Vader and Darth Sidious, during the Battle of Endor. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the battle to 4 ABY. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition establishes that Sidious sent his consciousness to a prepared clone body during the battle.
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary dates the events of Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker as taking place one year after the Starkiller Incident, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 34 ABY. Therefore, the events of Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker must take place in 35 ABY.
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: The Secrets of the Sith
- Star Wars (2015) 9
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sacrifice"
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 44 (Starship Fact File: Sith Infiltrator: Scimitar)
- "Emperor Palpatine" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Monster"
- Star Wars Rebels: The Siege of Lothal
- Star Wars Made Easy
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: A Junior Novel