Everyone is all too familiar with the horrible acts committed by one Darth Vader who, for many years, was granted the title of greatest movie villain of all time (he in fact still sits very high on that list). The only reason, in this author’s view, that Vader has been able to rest so high on his laurels is the simple fact that much of the Sith order have been relegated only to books, comics, and cartoons or, as is the case with Darth Sidious, been waved off as a fragile old man who is only good for not so subtle manipulation, and some mighty powerful force-lightning.
Today, Darth Vader has been relegated to only one section of this list, in which he is merely one part in a much grander scheme, forged by the genius that is the incredibly skillful Sidious. The best way to describe the rest of this evil order is as follows: “jealous…proud…petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak[s]; vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser[s]; misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bull[ies].” This is how Richard Dawkins described the fictional god of the Bible, and as villainous as that god may be, the Sith wield powers the Christian right only wish their god could dream of.
15. The Destruction Of Alderaan
Why not start with a well known bit of Star Wars history? Yeah, Vader happened to be present for this event, but he was of no significance to it, and may have even showed a tiny degree of sympathy for the hard-headed Leia. But Darth Sidious, either being able to suss out Leia’s lie, or simply relishing in the extraction of information via extortion, and subsequently eliminating the leverage he used anyway, takes no second thought in firing up the Death Star and destroying a planet, killing nearly two billion people, sending a shock wave of despair through the galaxy causing Obi Wan Kenobi to become feint from such a powerful disruption in the force. Though he did let him, it’s clear that Kenobi knew he would be no match for the Sith corporeally, so he let Vader take him, and used his death to encourage Luke to take on both Vader and Sidious, the latter of whom could very well be, in essence, Darth Bane.
14. The God-King Of Prakith
Darth Andeddu… the God-King of Prakith! Here was a paranoid and greedy man, and for good reason: his followers, as he assumed they would, did rise up against him, forcing him to leave the Sith stronghold on Korriban and head for the Deep Core. Claiming the world of Prakith as his new domain, Andeddu gathered about him a cult called the “Malevolance” who, upon his death (after centuries of life), built a grand temple laden with traps, and heavily sealed to eliminate any unworthy being from taking the Sith’s riches and most important arcane knowledge. That being said, Darth Bane is never unworthy of villainy, and with relative ease slaughtered a number of the cultists, retrieved Andeddu’s holocron, and learned the very thing that may have led Bane to walk in the shoes of Sidious: The essence transference. While lesser Sith made their way to Andeddu (even once bringing him back from the dead), they came with purpose to save other Sith (rather than eliminating the weak as the Sith should), and they all missed the greatest power, already acquired by Bane.
13. Kashyyyk Burns
Due to its strategic significance, Kashyyyk, after being claimed by the Galactic Empire, was blockaded, and the inhabitants were used as slave larbourers, shipped around the galaxy, worked to the bone on projects like the first Death Star, and even forced to lumber their own beautiful lands, the trees of which they once resided in. Ravaging the resources from the Wookies aided in keeping the imperial forces fed, fuelled, and fearsome (even if no Imperial soldier can shoot worth a damn, unless it’s an iconic moment like Order 66). In true George Lucas fashion, not only is there a newly decreed empire, but also the Wookies of Kashyyyk were not used only as slave labour, but were also huddled into concentration camps, experimented on for the possible future of bio-weapons, and eventually, nearing the end of the Empire, just before the Battle of Endor, there was a great massacre… and one can’t help but think perhaps it would have been wiser to massacre the Ewoks, so as not to risk the destruction of yet another Death Star.
12. Darth Drear’s Zombies
Founding his own Sith academy, Darth Drear used his initial mass of apprentices to build his temple, including a hidden facility beneath the academy library, ultimately working the students to their deaths, starting anew with a fresh crop of apprentices. In his underground facility, Drear experimented, and dabbled in Sith alchemy, searching for the creation of an elixir of immortality. Coming to fruition, there was a very serious stipulation attached to the consumption of the elixir: if one didn’t also consume the heart of a strong force-sensitive, then one would become a mindless, bloodthirsty, maniac, and would eventually decay much like a zombie would; wearing down, eventually, to nothing. Drear’s attempt to gain immortality failed, given that the young Jedi he had captured to eat the heart of was not force-sensitive enough. How sad, especially given that Drear had a sword forged especially for the occasion. All of this is horrible to imagine, but the true horror of the story comes in the discovery of Drear’s holocron, containing the elixir’s recipe, years later.
11. Darth Venamis And Fostering A New Empire
There are many, many deeds of Darth Plagueis’ that could be included on this list of Sith atrocities, but few are as disturbing, or as fatal for the future of the galaxy as both the death of Darth Venamis, and the fostering of a new empire. Venamis’ death, given Plagueis’ ability to manipulate the force in people, was very repetitive, meaning that he was killed, then returned to life, and killed again, over and over until his organs simply wore to nothing. Painful enough to die once at the hands of Darth Plagueis, but to die many times at his hands… In addition to that, Plagueis apprenticed a young Darth Sidious, got him his start in politics, and helped crown him at every step of the way, while engaging with future apprentices Maul and Tyranus. The only good thing that came of Plagueis teaching Sidious, is that the latter was too much of a coward to face the former in combat, and murdered his master in his sleep before learning all that could be learned from him. Perhaps the saving grace of the galaxy.
10. The Lord Of Hunger
Surviving the activation of the ‘mass shadow generator super weapon’, Darth Nihilus began to crave force energy to a point that ravaged his body and nearly consumed him. To stay alive, Nihilus had to encase his spirit in his mask and armour using the strength of the dark side. Severing his master’s ties to the force, and sapping all of her energy from her, Nihilus went on to devastate the planet of Katarr, absorbing the force energy from not only the entirety of the Jedi enclave that resided there, but of every other force sensitive creature as well, save for one: Visas Marr who, though trained as Nihilus’ hand, eventually turned to the light side of the force. After being slain, Nihilus’ armour was, for some silly reason, buried on the Sith world of Korriban where, from then on in, he could be contacted in spirit through his affects, as well as his holocron. Given that the Sith was powerful enough to sap the energy of any force user, and indeed ravage an entire planet’s worth of force to slake his hunger, imagine how his spirit must feed on those who dare to visit his remains.
9. Darth Scabrous’ Zombies
Now this should come as no surprise whatsoever. Following the legacy of Darth Drear, but for some reason thinking that he of course would achieve a different result, Darth Scabrous found the recipe for the devastating elixir that could grant him eternal life. For a while, waiting for the right time and right force-sensitive person to cut the heart out of, Scabrous controlled an army of returned, zombie-like creatures with whom he trained other worthy Sith in the ways of mind control. Of course, to no shock at all, Scabrous failed, and in spite of two failed attempts, the elixir was used later on as a bio weapon which backfired on the ship carrying the vile concoction, infecting all aboard, who would then send distress calls out to other ships in order to likewise infect them. If one zombie plague wasn’t enough, three might very well be, and if not for Darth Drear’s initial ambition and misstep, followed by Scabrous’ folly, and the ignorance of others in handling the elixir as a weapon, there would have been thousands of people saved.
8. The Immortal Emperor
Killing his father at ten, and being granted the title of Darth at only thirteen, Vitiate had a lot going for him in terms of the dark side. Commanding a planet of his own and content to stay out of the struggles of the Sith, by and large, Vitiate offered sanctuary for many straggling Sith who were fleeing from the then stronger forces of the Jedi. This might sound pleasant at first, but the offer of sanctuary was merely a pretense to a dark ritual that laid waste to the Sith, and granted Vitiate eternal life (no zombies required). Creating a new Sith empire, Vitiate ruled for over thirteen hundred years, and sought to wage war in order to complete a ritual that would grant him galactic powers and render him, for all intents and purposes, a god. Setting both Darth Malak and Revan in motion, Vitiate became pure force energy, and while he was thought to be defeated after an incredible confrontation, he came back, feeding off the deaths of the war he waged, possessing and obliterating an entire planet to regain his strength, take a vessel, and vanish. Centuries later, Vitiate would appear in the form of another, wage war yet again, and eventually fall at the hands of his own family.
7. The Galactic Empire
This one goes without saying, and with many thanks to the great Darth Plagueis who trained Darth Sidious for his ultimate role of Galactic Emperor. Apart from the dissembling that eventually granted Sidious the power of an empire, this Sith has committed a number of heinous acts, certainly not the least of which has already made this list in the form of the destruction of Alderaan. In addition to this, Sidious murdered his very own master in his sleep, manipulated Anakin Skywalker, turned him against anyone who ever loved him, and ultimately made him Darth Vader, the strongest of the Sith Sidious tried to take under his wing. Former apprentices, each of which in turn committed heinous acts of their own include: Darths Maul and Tyranus, and to some people, Jar Jar Binks, though it is this author’s opinion that such a rumour is ridiculous. All in all, the atrocities committed by, and in the name of Darth Sidious are indeed staggering.
6. The Clone Army And The Bith Of General Grievous
An example of atrocities carried out in the name of the emperor include the creation of the clone army and the recruitment of the great General Grievous himself. Count Dooku, secretly known to be Darth Tyranus, by way of political prowess and military might, leading the Separatist Alliance and turning star systems against the Republic at every turn, found promise in the military stratagems of one General Grievous. Originally a Kaleesh warrior, Grievous opted for some cybernetic upgrades to boost his performance in battle. That, along with the lightsaber training afforded to him by Darth Tyranus, Grievous became a deadly Jedi-killing machine… or at least mostly machine, who loved nothing more than to collect the lightsabers of his fallen enemies. While Grievous was sent to command the droid army, Tyranus delivered a chip to the Kaminoans. The chip, used in the structuring of the clone army, contained the protocols for Order 66 itself.
5. Order 66
Oh what a coincidence that Order 66 should be the very next item on this list. Now the effect of this Imperial order might not have had the flash of Darth Bane’s thought bomb, but the effect was somewhat similar though ultimately politically motivated. The web of conspiracies that had to be spun into place before Order 66 could be issued was nothing short of incredible, and required so many insects to perfectly fall in specific parts of the web in order to be executed properly. Seeing the slaughter of nearly every Jedi, including all of the Jedi padawans, only key players such as Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi survived. There is that most famous of scenes from the amazingly awful Star Wars prequels where a youthful Anakin Skywalker enters the Jedi temple with a contingent of clone troopers and proceeds to lay waste to the younglings who have absolutely no way of defending themselves against such an onslaught.
4. Genocide Of The Mon Calamari
Given that George Lucas stamps approval on every canonical bit of story for the Star Wars universe, it’s no surprise that the gathering, enslavement, experimentation, and extermination of the Mon Calamari exists. For their support of the Alliance, Darth Krayt dealt punishment to the Mon Calamari species, with ten percent of the species being eliminated instantly, while the rest slaved away in labour camps or were tortured in biological experiments. Leaving Vul Isen, a force-sensitive, Sith-leaning scientist on the planet with Darth Azard, the genocide continued with the Leviathan used to eliminate whole camps in mere minutes, and the implementation of the “Final Protocol” which involved a type of spore poisoning the waters, laying waste to the entire population in only a week. One can’t help but see the direct comparison between the Mon Calamari genocide, and the Holocaust of the Jews. The body count was much different though. While the Alliance managed to save several million of the species, Vul Isen, and the Sith who began the genocide, slaughtered nearly all twenty seven billion Mon Calamari.
3. Revan The Butcher
After calling out the Jedi Council on their inaction regarding the Mandalorian Wars between the Mandalorians and the Galactic Republic, Revan and his good friend Alek (shortly after known as Malak) joined the Republic, pushing back and eventually defeating the Mandalorian clans. Good for the galaxy perhaps, but the two friends were soon on the trail of a Sith presence that had influenced the defeated parties of the war, only to find a long-hidden and prospering Sith empire under the rule of Darth Vitiate. The two Jedi quickly turned Sith, the two men returned to the Republic, shook off Vitiate’s control of them and sought to build their own Sith empire using the Star Forge to fashion an army. Revan, betrayed by his apprentice, Malak, was captured by the Jedi and retrained in the light side of the force to eventually face and defeat his old friend, but before that happened, Darth Malak conquered territory after territory, completely destroyed the planet Taris, and slaughtered the entire Jedi Enclave on Dantooine.
2. The Inquisition
The Grand Inquisitor, once a Jedi Temple Guard turned to the dark side of the force, was given the very important task of ensuring the elimination of the Jedi after Order 66 had been initially carried out. Darth Vader also tasked the Inquisitor with tracking down the “Children of the Force” and either bending them to the will of the dark side or killing them. After watching the execution of one of his Jedi prisoners, the Inquisitor kept her corpse in her cell to lure other Jedi with the rumour that she still lived. Not long after this ruse, the Inquisitor came head to head with two of the very children he was meant to turn or terminate. Failing to best the two, and choosing to die rather than face Vader’s justice, the Inquisitor falls to his demise. Some time later, the spirit of the Inquisitor comes to one of the “Children of the Force” and goads him by suggesting his close friend could soon turn to the dark side. Fighting the vision, the young would-be Jedi bests the Inquisitor once again, only to discover that Yoda had conjured the vision to test him. Even in death, the Inquisitor can boil the blood of the Jedi.
1. The Thought Bomb
After denouncing Kaan’s brotherhood, Darth Bane returns to his former master, offering a spell that would destroy the approaching Jedi, but spare the brotherhood. In a maddened and near defeated state, Kaan graciously accepts the incantation and hurries deep into the caves of Ruusan with his acolytes, purposely leaving Bane at camp, hoping to destroy him with the weapon as well. Of course Bane, having devised the plan well in advance, was responsible for the Jedi force’s approach, and knew that the thought bomb would destroy all force-sensitive creatures within a very large radius. Heading as far away from ground zero as possible, Bane leaves Kaan and the entirety of the Sith to face off against General Hoth and ninety nine of his fellow Jedi. As Kaan spies Hoth and his men entering the chamber, with a simple clap of his hand both Sith and Jedi are consumed into a great orb of despair, where the souls of each and every force-user writhes in agony for eternity. Taking out the one hundred Jedi was a great start for Bane, but the more important and more powerful thing was taking out the Sith completely, leaving room for only him to embody the power of the dark side and to choose an apprentice to crave that power.