When it comes to the world of Star Wars, we all know that the focus usually goes to the wonderful Jedi. Of course, the Sith have gotten attention here and there as well. There cannot truly be a hero without a villain. The real fun is when a Jedi switches sides.
Harvey Dent told the truth when he said that you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. While he went on to become Two Face in the Batman saga, others like Darth Vader switched after a great Jedi run. He’s not the only one, however. Some switched to the world of the Jedi after a good career on the dark side. You never truly know where things will go in this universe and it is always fun to note where the greats go when things get interesting.
At the end of the day, Star Wars is one of the most notable brands in the world today. Whether it’s a new video game like Battlefront or a new movie like The Force Awakens, fans will eat it up and you may feel intrigued as a casual fan just because it’s Star Wars. However, to understand what is going on as a new fan, you have to know some of the history.
We decided to help by counting down the top 10 Sith in the Star Wars universe. Enjoy.
10. Darth Maul
Many people love Darth Maul, as he was a fantastic villain in Episode I. You don’t hear much of his story in the movie, but the cool thing is that Star Wars has a lot of text about him to help you know a lot more.
He was seemingly going to be a great Sith from the beginning. Maul went to the Academy of Orsis to become an assassin that could help the Sith in the future. The idea was that if he could be a great assassin, they could send him on missions that would allow them to stay hidden. This was vastly important, as the Sith were just starting to rise again at the time. They needed a skilled assassin and Maul was perfect.
He was told to not focus on the Force, but rather focus on heightening his senses, which would be a great thing for Maul since it made him a better assassin (to have heightened senses in a world where he would need them far more than the Force). However, he was not without Force knowledge, which only made him more of a danger to go up against. He didn’t enjoy using the Force as much as physical combat, which is where he excelled.
Darth Sidious trained Maul intensely and forced him to be able to withstand a ton of pain. It seemed he had all the knowledge Sidious gave him on top of the sheer talent he possessed, making him a force to be reckoned with, one that no one wanted to cross. It surely helped him when fighting Qui-Gon Jinn, whom he killed. He was known as the first man we really saw with the dual lightsaber. Although he was not the only Sith to use it, we happened to see him as the first due to The Phantom Menace.
Darth Maul gets overlooked on lists like these, but he deserves a big nod.
9. Freedon Nadd
Freedon Nadd is one of the few people on the list without the “darth” tag, but he was one of the greatest Sith ever. People often forget about him because he is by no means highly publicized like so many others. However, he might have been one of the few on this list who left a lasting impression, as his decisions affected generations to come.
He was first a Jedi prodigy that they wanted to mold into one of the greats, which seemed easy because of his immense talent. However, there was something dark about him and his gifts and it was revealed in full when he began training to become a Jedi. Nadd trained on planet Ossus where many others spent their time. He trained under Master Matt Tremayne, but lusted after the power he had. He ended up killing his master and went on to renounce his Jedi affiliation.
Nadd didn’t just go into hiding after this ordeal. In fact, he went to the very heart of the Sith Empire where he attained a great deal of dark knowledge. Nadd was a very selfish man and wanted all the power he could have.
Nadd declared himself the Dark Lord of the Sith. No man offered it and no master freely gave this title to him. This didn’t sit well with many, but due to Nadd’s immense power, few could stop him. He went on to conquer the world of Onderon where he led until his physical demise after over one hundred years on the throne.
8. Darth Vader
Like Nadd, Vader started out as a Jedi in training. However, he stuck with it quite a lot longer. Originally being trained by both Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master Qui-Gon Jinn, young Anakin Skywalker was rescued in a time when he would have become a slave, if not for the Jedi being in the right place at the right time. Jinn believed the Force brought them to him for a reason which is why Skywalker ended up coming with them.
Kenobi originally was against the idea of it, and when Jinn was killed by Darth Maul, Kenobi was left to train Skywalker in the ways of the Jedi. Skywalker was a fantastic Jedi in his time and was a major figure during the Clone Wars.
Anakin went through a great deal of, shall we say “issues,” after this. It was thought originally that something was off with him, but the Jedi Council felt that Skywalker would become a major symbol for them for decades to come, which is why as a kid, they never saw him as a threat. However, his temper was one that couldn’t be ignored. He wanted more and more. Meanwhile Kenobi, seen as one of the greatest of the Jedi and Anakin’s mentor, knew that Skywalker was beginning to want too much at once and was able to calm him down most of the time. That was before Anakin began speaking with Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. The Jedi were not trusting of Palpatine and told Anakin that a friendship with him was off limits.
He didn’t listen, which allowed the hidden dark lord to get inside the mind of Skywalker and further pushed him into the dark side. He didn’t jump at the chance to be with Palpatine and the dark side however, as Palpatine said he would be able to save a Amidala after Skywalker had visions of her dying in child birth. The only stipulation, become his apprentice. Skywalker, in order to save his beloved and child, agreed.
Skywalker then became Sith Lord Darth Vader. With his help, Palpatine was able to transform the Republic into the Galactic Empire. A memorable part of the Vader story is his fight with his mentor Kenobi. The two have a great battle where he turns into the Sith monster Palpatine wanted. Although Obi Wan Kenobi left him to be burned alive, Anakin did not die.
Thinking his wife and child are gone as his now Sith master told him, Vader joins Palpatine and becomes his second in command while the Sith Empire reigned.
It was not until his son in Luke Skywalker came around that the Empire went down. Vader, in a time of understanding, decided to help his son near the end to take out Palpatine. He did so much in the evil part of his life to deserve this list. Also, he is probably the most popular Sith in the Star Wars universe.
7. Darth Plagueis
One of the many “darths” on this list, Plagueis is seen as one of the most influential among the Sith. When a person like Palpatine has ultimate respect for you, that says a lot. He once said about Plagueis that:
“[He] was a Dark Lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise, he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life. He had such a knowledge of the dark side, he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying.”
This kind of power is by no means easy to maintain.
As Palpatine said about him, Plagueis had power beyond measure. He was able to master the art of midi-chlorian manipulation. He was quite obsessed with becoming immortal, and he experimented with ways to cheat death and create new life from the midi-chlorians.
Like many before him, he ran two lives. One was the Sith lord side and the other was as Magister Hego Damask II of the InterGalactic Banking Clan. It was here that backed the rise and fall of certain star systems, businesses, and crime lords. This ended up causing him to create several enemies for himself and he practically turned the Galactic Republic on its head through his actions.
Plagueis is from the same linage as Darth Bane, which adds a lot of importance to him. This already made him one to fear from the beginning, but he ended up having a master in Darth Tenebrous who was able to teach him how to truly become a Sith master.
One big claim to fame that he has is that he taught Palpatine or Darth Sidious, which is why the man has such glowing remarks about Plagueis. In fact, he used his apprentice to help put the Sith into power. He was able to get the new look Sidious or Palpatine into political power. So it was he who was pulling many of the strings behind the scenes, if you will.
This worked well for a time as he was assuming that once his apprentice was in power, they would rule together. Sidious had other plans and felt Plagueis had outlived his use as a mentor. He then decided to kill his mentor in his sleep and the Jedi really never knew of anyone other than Sidious. Sidious actually used a version of this tale to sway Anakin Skywalker into joining him, which was just the kind of evil his mentor taught him.
6. Exar Kun
Kun is not known by as many people as he should be. He was confident and brash. He was also quite a showman and wanted you to notice and remember him. There was nothing he loved more than to be recognized. Kun comes off to many as one of the ancient Sith, however he technically does not fall into this category unless you count everyone who passes as one.
Exar was not originally set for the Sith path, as he actually started down the Jedi path like so many others on this list.
He was trained to become a Jedi by the Jedi Master Vodo-Siosk Baas. As a student, he came across some forbidden knowledge that really intrigued him. On top of this, it contained information on the old Sith, which was not something his master felt he was ready for.
Kun was very confident in himself and in his own abilities, so the fact that his master told him he was not ready for something truly angered him. Kun loved to learn and found himself naturally curious about everything around him, which included the Sith. It was then that he decided to leave his master and go on his own quest.
This led him to the planet of Onderon, which of course as you read earlier, had a lot of Sith ties for years. He of course came across Freedon Nadd here, which was a big deal for those of you who bypassed him earlier.
Exar was introduced to Nadd when he was taken to his tomb. Nadd felt that the young Jedi would be perfect for him to take over a physical form through. He injured him greatly and was only willing to help heal him if he turned to the dark forces, which he did. After being fully corrupted by Nadd, he was not dumb enough to follow through any plans he had to take him over.
He banished his spirit, as he knew of the plan earlier on and never trusted Nadd. Exar showed great intelligence even when he was being put through the dark forces. He ending up learning from others who were taught by Nadd and gathered more knowledge.
In his time, he assumed the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith and waged a destructive war against the Galactic Republic and Jedi Order. This was during the era of the Old Sith Wars, of course.
Kun is by no means the greatest Sith ever, but he is one of the best and most critical. We didn’t even go over his double bladed lightsaber, his force ability to control people, and much more. He’s certainly a fun read.
5. Darth Revan
Darth Revan or simply The Revan or even Revanchist was a HUGE character in the Star Wars universe. It is tough to affiliate him with either the Jedi or Sith as he worked both sides in his time.
Perhaps a once known friend of his in Darth Malak said it best when he told Revan:
“Savior, conqueror, hero, villain. You are all things Revan… and yet you are nothing. In the end you belong to neither the light nor the darkness. You will forever stand alone.”
Malak was more than correct on this. Revan was usually a loner who was feared by both sides. In some ways, he was like an agent of chaos. He did stand alone. However, due to this solitary nature did he work for both sides and was so good for both that it is really tough to overlook him, especially when it comes to the Sith side of him.
Like only a few other greats, Revan was a human. He started out as a Jedi in training – stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Like many of the Sith before him, Revan thirsted for knowledge and wanted to know more than his teachers were willing to tell him. His first Jedi master was Kreia. Twi’lek Jedi Master Zhar Lestin also helped to teach Revan as well.
Of course Revan, ever the knowledge seeker, was trained by several masters. It caught a lot of attention, and Master Vandar Tokare felt Revan would be a champion of the Jedi Order. Others were very worried about Revan’s thirst for knowledge however.
After much training and studying, Revan achieved the rank of a Jedi Knight. He was said to be well known, charismatic and quite a leader. However, he felt being a Jedi was not his thing and decided to leave the order.
Revan was a key figure in the Mandalorian War and fought on The Republic’s side, technically. It was after this war that Revan found Sith teachings and managed to relate more to them. Keep in mind the knowledge he wanted was something the Sith exploited with many, and it was this that drew Revan greatly.
This is why Revan ended up creating a new Sith Empire. He felt that the Jedi didn’t know what was right and the disagreements created a Civil War among them. He and Malak attempted to take out the Sith Emperor in a major attack on the Sith. Sadly the first attempt did not work in taking him out as he took over their minds and turned them to the dark side. They became Dark Lords of the Sith and were forced to work for the Emperor, but he doubted their abilities greatly.
What finally broke Revan was when he was told to take out The Jedi and was sent out to crush the Republic in the name of the Sith. Somehow he and Malak were able to get some of the mind control to go, but the Sith teachings and dark forces still remained within them.
Revan did as he was told and was able to kill and capture several Jedi. The Sith were practically unstoppable with him in charge. The entire goal on Revan’s end did not match that of his Emperor. He wanted to revamp the Republic and make it better whereas the Emperor wanted all traces destroyed.
The Emperor underestimated Revan and Malak and before he knew it, the men were able to create a new Sith Empire with the goal of making the Republic better and one that could take any assault made by the Sith Emperor.
However, at one point the Jedi were able to corner Revan. Malak managed to make his way to Revan and fired upon his ship hoping to take out all aboard. Interestingly, he really didn’t kill anyone as the Jedi were able to escape with an injured Revan. Revan knew that his friend and apprentice was attempting to not only take the Jedi out, but he along with them. Thinking his master was gone, Malak crowned himself the new Dark Lord of the Sith Empire.
Malak did not agree with Revan and his ideology of a new Republic and became a terrible ruler, slaughtering many and becoming cruel. Revan would have his memory virtually wiped out, and was taught in the ways of the light side of the Force to hopefully bring him back to the world of Jedi. It seemed to work relatively well as Revan found his way back to the old ship that he took over with Malak called the Star Forge. Revan was able to take out his once friend and apprentice later on to regain his empire, but found himself imprisoned later on for around three hundred years.
There is far more to Revan than this, but his story is one upon which movies are made. For some reason we have not seen a lot of him in the films. Ultimately Revan was a good guy but joined the Sith and was able to work with the dark side ultimately to do good things.
4. Darth Bane
Darth Bane was a truly evil Sith in his time. However, he was quite a creative one. The way he started out was by killing a Galactic Republic ensign in a fight. Before the Jedi could capture him, he made his way off world and to the Sith Brotherhood where he became a foot solider in the Sith.
When he was found to be Force-sensitive, he was sent to the Sith Academy on Korriban. Bane quickly became a terrific student and one of the best in the academy. But he began to lose faith in the dark side of the Force. While he was able to gain his faith to an extent, he felt that the entire Sith organization was flawed, starting at the top with their leader, Skere Kaan. One who Bane considered to be a coward and a fool.
He decided to set out on his own path due to this. This led him to the planet Lehon where he studied the holocron of Darth Revan, who we mentioned before to be a man of great knowledge and power. Once Bane had this knowledge, he was able to exploit it and helped destroy the brotherhood, allowing him to create a new one with his ideas and mentality. The new Sith Order was born and Bane quickly began to make some big decisions, such as the infamous Rule of Two.
This was a very important rule which The Sith would employ for a while. It worked quite simply. There would be one master and one apprentice. The apprentice would have to become more powerful than his master to take his title. If he could not, he would never move past where he was and his master would always have a higher rank.
The big kicker was that the only way a transfer of power could take place was when the apprentice took the life of his master. From there he would get his title and eventually an apprentice of his own. Of course both master and apprentice were considered to be Sith Lords during this time. Now going by the name Darth Bane, he lived up to his own words by taking on an apprentice named Darth Zannah.
Bane was a man of tremendous knowledge and understanding of the dark side, not to mention supreme fighting skills. His command of the dark side of the Force was always high.
Although he doubted Zannah as an apprentice that could take his place, especially after helping to save his life, Zannah was by no means unable to take the place of Bane. It was a waiting game. They would fight in a duel that would end with Zannah as the victor, then taking on her master’s title. Bane’s Sith Empire would end up beating the Republic nearly a millennium later. Darth Bane laid the foundation not only for the Sith after him but helped to change things while he was present.
3. Marka Ragnos
Marka Ragnos is not as well known as others on this list, but he might be one of the most important here. His first life was special, and worthy of note. He lived during the first Sith Empire, which lands him as one of the oldest on this list. He took out the Sith Lord Simus to become Dark Lord of the Sith and rule the empire. He ended up holding power for around a century, but his death created a lot of fun in his story.
During this time he grew in power every day. He was physically strong and powerful with the dark Force. He was absolutely brilliant as well, as he was able to turn his opponents on each other in order to keep threats away from his throne.
His power was said to be so high that it could have allowed him to take over any and everyone, but Ragnos choose not to expand the Empire as much as some wanted, as the Sith mostly stayed within Korriban.
His second life as a Force ghost might have been the most important part of his story.
Ragnos died a little before the Great Hyperspace War began, which allowed others to come up to take his place as the leader of the Sith. Two powerful Sith Lords in Nada Sadow and Ludo Kressh would argue about who would have the spot. A Civil War almost broke out between the two sides. Ragnos’ spirit appeared and proclaimed that only the most worthy should succeed him.
Fate played an interesting hand for Sadow. As two explorers came down to Korriban, Sadow manipulated people into believing it was a Republic Invasion. This was a big deal as the Sith wanted to expand and such an attack was all they needed to make the empire grow. Thus Sadow was thrust into power.
Ragnos then helped the Sith after death a bit more before finally being banished by the Jedi.
2. Darth Sidious
One of the more popular of the Sith was Darth Sidious. He is immortalized through the movies we know, which is why most would believe he would be at the top of any list or near it. He would deserve it as well.
His story is one similar to all others on this list. He was trained in the dark forces by Darth Plagueis. He would train him well but due to the rule of two, Sidious would have to kill his master. Sidious waited until Plagueis was weakened and killed him in his sleep. From there he took on his own apprentices, such as Darth Maul and Darth Tyranus. He wanted to take over the Republic in a time that the Sith were not in power. He would become known as Palpatine and became the Senator of the people there.
With this, he was able to swindle people more and more and take power in times that made the Jedi very worried. He oozed dark forces, but was able to hide who he from some of the greatest Jedi who ever existed, such as Masters Yoda and Kenobi. The Jedi did start to feel odd about him later on, especially when Anakin Skywalker became close to him.
Palpatine then was able to trick Skywalker and force him into believing the in dark side, as he claimed he could help save his beloved from death as well as his unborn child. It forced Skywalker into becoming what he was not, an evil man. So much so, he killed Mace Windu to save Palpatine. This was of course after Palpatine tricked the Republic as part of his ultimate plan, which allowed him to form the Galactic Empire.
Darth Sidious goes down as a very powerful Sith who took advantage of any and all, and could mask who he was so well due to the power he possessed. He made others do his bidding and could trick people into joining in on an idea that was absolutely crazy, such as a dictatorship. This takes power and ultimately a great ability to manipulate the Force. He was responsible for the death of several of the greatest Jedi in history and could be considered the most successful in major moments on this list. Not to mention, he shaped a universe with his decisions.
1. Emperor Vitiate
Emperor Vitiate might be one of the most powerful figures across the entire Star Wars universe, Jedi included. His power was so great that at 13, he went before the great Sith and ruler of the Sith Council Marka Ragnos and spoke with him. The Lord of all Sith was very impressed by the teen’s ambition as well as his power. So much so, he made him Lord Vitiate that very day. How many in the entire Star Wars universe can claim such an accomplishment?
Vitiate could easily have involved himself in the battle for succession of the throne after Ragnos’ death, as Kresh and Sadow were by no means better. However, he chose not to and waited for the right opportunity to come, which happened to be after the Great Hyperspace War. He even chose not to get involved in the random crusade Sadow went on to hopefully expand the empire.
Vitiate never participated in any real battle in his early time, as he was said to be more of a reclusive scholar than straight up warrior. However, he had to take action when the Empire fell at Korriban. He decided to put his plan to take the Sith Empire into action.
Vitiate would broadcast speeches across the Empire telling tales about how the Jedi Order would destroy the entire Sith Empire and its people once they discovered them. He would carefully get everyone into a frenzy where they would begin to panic over a potential invasion. Vitiate was easily able to take advantage of this.
Once the Jedi did invade and began to do similar things to what Vitiate claimed, the fears of all were easy to manipulate. Vitiate would call the remaining Sith Lords to Nathema to help him with a Sith ritual. He would promise them all that he would unleash the full power of the dark forces upon the Jedi the likes of which they could never imagine.
Before this time, unknown to the rest of the Sith Lords, his scientists and researchers were trying to find a way to locate Dromund Kaas, which happened to be one of the Sith Empire’s original colonies. Right before the Lords arrived, they ended up finding a new hyperspace route that led them there and kept the Jedi from following them.
Once they knew what to do, the ritual was set to take place with all arriving. Around 8,000 Sith answered the call. He would then dominate all of their minds and forced them to do his will and participate in the ritual. The act itself took around ten days to complete with the entire planet frozen in a dark side sorcery.
After the ritual ended, the entire surface of Natheme was completely obliterated except for Vitiate. This gave him the ability to absorb all of the fallen’s life force, taking an entire world of people. He stripped the Force from the planet itself! This gave him almost unimaginable power and eternal life. He then shed his Lord tag and became simply, The Emperor. The people of the Sith then saw him to be a great man of power and wisdom.
Due to the Sith being in low number, the Empire had to be hidden for some time. The Sith then all re-located to Dromund Kaas, the place the Emperor was able to find beforehand. He then offered the people a chance to help him rebuild the Empire, of which many took him up on.
The Emperor studied to learn more upon his arrival here and was able to unlock powerful secrets to the dark side that only made him stronger. In the early days of the arrival, he ordered the expansion of the area which led to them finding an ancient structure containing the tombs of fallen enemies to the Sith as well as a place for the burial of Sith Lords like Aloysius Kallig.
It was intended originally for the Emperor’s enemies, which was only helpful to our new Emperor in that he was able to perform very powerful dark rituals to steal the knowledge and life forces of all the enemies there. He transformed the entire area into a hub for dark Force energy. Sadly those rituals led to the Kaas’ atmosphere, causing the sky to be filled with terrible rain storms and lightning almost constantly.
Vitiate had enemies in his time, Revan being one. He was always able to get past them however. As a result, he declared himself the Eternal Emperor. To simply survive was a luxury to the Jedi in this time. If you were not with him, you were against him.
In order to avoid Jedi attacks later on, he would use duplicates in his place that were powerful but certainly not him. The Jedi at a few points thought the Emperor was dead, but then realized this was not true.
A Jedi then called The Hero was able to take down the Emperor later on with a devastating force. The issue was that he did not kill the Emperor completely, as he could survive after death as well.
He would then claim in this death that if he had to die, the Jedi were going with him as he would choose the way he went. Thus he released a huge attack of dark energy that nearly killed all inside the dark temple they were in. Happily the Jedi escaped but the voice of the Emperor remained, and it was tough to remove from the minds of many. The Emperor was then able to return to life.
Revan would return from the dead to take revenge on the Emperor, but he never could kill him.
Eventually the Emperor did die, after thousands of years. Darth Plagueis would say that the Emperor was the closest to ever unlocking the secret of immortality as he himself was interested in it. Overall, the Emperor was able to accomplish more than most in the Star Wars universe and never went away unless it was on his own terms.