From the MoviesAn ancient order of Force-practitioners devoted to the dark side and determined to destroy the Jedi, the Sith were a menace long thought extinct. The current incarnation of the Sith is the result of a rogue Jedi dissident from the order. Two thousand years ago, this Jedi had come to the understanding that the true power of the Force lay not through contemplation and passivity. Only by tapping its dark side could its true potential be gained. The Jedi Council at the time balked at this new direction. The Dark Jedi was outcast, but he eventually gained followers to his new order. Awakening beliefs from the dark past, the new Sith cult continued to grow. With the promise of new powers attainable by tapping into the hateful energies of the dark side, it was only a matter of time before the order self-destructed. Internecine struggle by power-hungry Sith practitioners dwindled their numbers. Weakened by infighting, the Sith were easily wiped out by the Jedi.
One Sith had the cunning to survive. Darth Bane restructured the cult, so that there could only be two -- no more, no less -- a master, and an apprentice. Bane adopted cunning, subterfuge, and stealth as the fundamental tenets of the Sith order. Bane took an apprentice. When that apprentice succeeded him, that new Sith Lord would take an apprentice.
Thus, the Sith quietly continued for centuries, until the time of Darth Sidious. It was Sidious who was responsible for the revenge of the Sith against the Jedi. His measured and carefully engineered plot spanned decades. Sidious was apprentice to Darth Plagueis, a wise Sith Lord whose knowledge of arcane and unnatural arts was reputed to extend to manipulating the very essence of life. By Sith tradition, Sidious killed Plagueis in his ascent to Master from apprentice. This left an opening for the fearsome Darth Maul to become Sidious' Sith apprentice.
In this age, the final decades of the Republic, the galaxy at large had believed the Sith to be extinct, a fabled threat from the past. Qui-Gon Jinn's report of a Sith attack on Tatooine was met by the Jedi Council with hesitation and skepticism. Surely if the Sith had returned, the Jedi would have detected it, they reasoned.
The dark side, for all its power, is ultimately hard to detect if so desired. A shadowy master like Darth Sidious was able to keep his presence a secret, even though he maintained a guise as a very public figure. Sidious was a politician, a seemingly humble Senator from Naboo. Though he would eventually rise to the position of Supreme Chancellor, and worked closely with the Jedi during the Clone Wars, they failed to detect his true nature until it was too late.
With the death of Darth Maul at Naboo, the Jedi Council realized that the Sith menace was true. What they hadn't puzzled was whether Maul was the master, or the apprentice. Years would pass before the Sith menace arose once more, a menace that would eventually come to engulf the entire galaxy.
It began with a Separatist crisis that threatened to split the galaxy. Count Dooku, a former Jedi, became a political firebrand, fanning the flames of secession across a disillusioned Republic. Unbeknownst to the Jedi at the time, Dooku was a Sith Lord -- Sidious' next apprentice after Maul. As Darth Tyranus, Dooku engineered the vast armies that would fight on both sides of the Clone Wars: the assembled droid armies of the united Confederacy of Independent Systems, and the secretly created clone army of the Republic.
The Clone Wars were an elaborate and costly sham: a massive ruse that spread the Jedi ranks thin across the galaxy, and drew more political power to Darth Sidious. When the time was right -- when Sidious had in his grasp his ideal apprentice, the powerful Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker -- he dispatched a command to the clone forces that identified their Jedi generals as traitors to the Republic. The Jedi were wiped out by their loyal clone underlings. What few survivors remained were branded as enemies of the state.
With Sidious as the Galactic Emperor, and Darth Vader as his loyal apprentice, the Sith ruled the galaxy and plunged it into darkness. It remained so for years until a new hope arose to bring Darth Vader back from the dark side and extinguish the menace of the Sith once and for all.
From the Expanded UniverseAlthough the modern era of the Sith is attributed to Darth Bane, and the Dark Jedi that preceded him, the cult can find its roots further back in the galaxy's ancient past. Long before the Republic rose, there lived a culture on the planet Korriban. These primitive people were called the Sith, and the Force flowed strongly through their bloodlines. Although they didn't practice the Force as the Jedi would, they were talented in their own brand of magic.
In the early days of the Jedi, a great schism tore the order apart. Jedi who had tapped the forbidden power of the Force's dark side rebelled against their light-sided brothers. After a terrible war, the Dark Jedi were exiled from the Republic. Past the Republic's growing borders, these castaways discovered Korriban and the Sith people.
Powerful with the dark side, the Jedi outcasts set themselves up as gods on Korriban. The primitive Sith worshipped them as their lords, and so the Jedi grew, and built temples and monuments to celebrate their power. Millennia of interbreeding blurred the distinction between Sith native and offworlder, and the term Sith came to encompass not only the indigenous people of Korriban, but also the powerful overlords that ruled them.
Five thousand years ago, during the Sith Empire's golden age, a Republic explorer vessel stumbled upon the secluded worlds of the Sith. One Sith Lord, Naga Sadow, saw this as an opportunity to invade the Republic, and exact vengeance on the Jedi who had banished them. History would record the invasion that followed as the Great Hyperspace War, and it would be the first of many terrible conflicts between Jedi and Sith.
Time and again the Sith and Jedi would clash, with devastated worlds lying in their wake. The last great conflict took place on the scarred plains of Ruusan. The Sith Lord Kaan and his Brotherhood of Darkness did battle with the Jedi Army of Light. From this onslaught, one Sith escaped: Darth Bane. It was he who would resurrect the order with duplicity and secrecy in mind.
Behind the ScenesThe term "Sith" dates back to the rough draft of Star Wars, when the "Knights of Sith" battled the legendary "Jedi Bendu" warriors. Later drafts would rename the dark order the Legions of Lettow, before finally settling on a single warrior, Darth Vader, to be Dark Lord of the Sith.
Keywords: Databank - Episode IV, Databank - Episode V, Databank - Episode I, Databank - The Clone Wars, Databank - Episode II, Databank - Episode VI, Databank - Expanded Universe
Filed under: Vault, Organization
Fan Movie Winner Profile: Bounty Hunter II: Pit of Carkoon
Filmmaker Jim Mehsling talks about his Best Animated Feature awarding-winning film.
1986 Howard the Duck "Duck Calls"
Celebrate the 25th anniversary with these funny phone recordings!
Custom Stormtrooper Cruiser
Hey Imperial hipsters - check out this "Phat Stormtrooper!"
Fan Movie Winner Profile: The Tentacle Trap
Read more about the winner of the Spirit of Fandom Award.
Lawrence Noble Website Launches
Learn more about the Star Wars Artist behind the bronze Yoda statue.
Fan Movie Winner Profile: Solo Forever
Learn more about the winner of the Best Comedy Award.
Death Star Cosplay Dress!
Crafty fan Jennifer Landa shows off her Imperial couture!
Fan Movie Winner Profile: Star Wars: Unlimited Power
Find out more about winner of the George Lucas Selects Award.
Comic-Con 2011: Best Star Wars Costumes
Nightsisters, Rebel pilots, Death Troopers, Jawa and more invade Comic-Con.
Comic-Con 2011: The Clone Wars Season 4 Panel Recap
Underwater adventures, Ackbar, a female Mandalorian and Nightsisters cosplay!
How Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Unearthed Lost Photos From American Graffiti
From Technology Review.com
Summer Viewing Fun from Netflix: Young Indiana Jones
Lucas on the Live Action TV Series
Montreal Indiana Jones Show Highlights Props and Rare Finds
From the Brandon Sun
10 Wacky Sci-Fi Themed PSAs
Like Yoda Talk on May 21 You Must
George Lucas and Bob Iger Launch Star Tours
From PR Newswire
ILM's Behind-the-Scenes Youtube Channel
Health Museum to Present Star Wars Exhibition
From Ultimate West U
Q&A With Peter Mayhew
The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Wookiee Hunt
Your complete guide to episode #3.22
The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Padawan Lost
Your complete guide to episode #3.21
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars Invasion Begins!
Coming March 22
Star Wars New Line Look for 2012
Darth Maul Returns
The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Clone Cadets
Your complete guide to episode #3.01
What's New This Week: Clone Wars Magazine #4
Star Wars in 3D Gets an Official Release Date
Coming February 10, 2012
Caption Contest: What's Up?
Your best submissions
The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Citadel Rescue
Your complete guide to episode #3.20
LEGO Star Wars III: Lando Calrissian Revealed!
Hello, what have we here?