In the decades since the release of the first film, the Star Wars Universe has expanded across all known media. From the original movies, to the vast collection of novels, to the lore-expanding video games and the television series, comic books, and short stories, over the years Star Wars has become a media empire loved by millions. The franchise continues to expand to this day. With the 2015 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story just around the corner, there is no better time than right now to be a fan of the Star Wars Universe.
When it comes to Star Wars, we all know that the story revolves around the Force and its use by the virtuous Jedi and the villainous Sith. Many among these two clans of super-powered mystics have wielded devastating powers and helped shape the destinies of countless worlds. The ability to command the Force and how the wielder chooses to use its power is at the center of Star Wars. At its core, the conflict between the Light Side and the Dark Side is about the true nature of power itself; that its nature is a neutral instrument that can be used for good or evil. Everyone knows the power the Force can give, but the Force users on this list, Jedi and Sith alike, know the meaning of true power. Many achieved incredible feats and have had a lasting impact on the galaxy for centuries or even millennia.
Here are 20 of the most powerful Force users in the Star Wars Universe. We hope you enjoy, and may the Force be with you.
20. Qui-Gon Jinn
Qui-Gon Jinn was the Padawan apprentice of Count Dooku and later taught Obi-Wan Kenobi and briefly Anakin Skywalker. Obi-Wan noted that Qui-Gon would have been on the Jedi Council if not for his rebellious tendencies. Despite his clashes with the Council, he was highly regarded as wise and having a deep knowledge of the Living Force. Jinn served the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic for his entire adult life, fighting alongside Obi-Wan in the Stark Hyperspace War, one the largest conflicts prior to the Clone Wars. He also fought against the group called the Nebula Front, killing and arresting all their leaders and essentially crippling the organization.
Most famously, Qui-Gon was instrumental in repelling the Trade Federation’s invasion of Naboo, and it was he who discovered the Chosen One, Anakin Skywalker, on Tatooine and ensured his training as a Jedi. Even after his defeat at the hands of Darth Maul, Jinn’s influence would continue to shape the Jedi. Jinn had spent many years studying the idea of life after death, and he returned as a voice to Master Yoda, becoming the first Jedi to return from the grave to assist another. He would teach both Yoda and Obi-Wan how to manifest after death, letting both of them return as Force ghosts later on. Qui-Gon Jinn was not the most powerful Jedi during his life, but he was a capable warrior and deserves a place on this list for essentially discovering the secret to immortality in the Star Wars Universe.
19. Darth Plagueis
Also known as Darth Plagueis the Wise, the Muun Dark Lord of the Sith came from the lineage of Darth Bane and is considered one of the most influential of the Sith. In his obsession with obtaining eternal life, he famously mastered the science of midi-chlorian manipulation, experimenting with ways to prolong and create new life through the midi-chlorians. He is perhaps most famous for training Darth Sidious, who would become one of the most powerful Sith Lords in history. Plagueis’ studies would allow future Sith like Palpatine to cheat death and obtain immortality.
Like his apprentice, Plagueis would prefer controlling events from behind the scenes. Under his public name of Hego Damask II of the InterGalactic Banking Clan, Plagueis engineered the rise and fall of entire star systems, businesses, crime lords and other powerful individuals, helping to destabilize the Republic and put the Sith into power. Palpatine famously had this to say about him:
“Darth Plagueis 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.”
18. Count Dooku
Dooku, the son of the aristocracy of the planet Serenno, was once a Jedi Master of the Jedi Order. He was Yoda’s last official Padawan during the era of the Galactic Republic, and he later took Qui-Gon Jinn as his own apprentice. But he left the Jedi after growing disillusioned with the Jedi philosophy and growing corruption within the Republic government, becoming one of the Lost Twenty. He returned to his homeworld, regaining his family’s wealth and reclaiming his title as Count of Seranno. Dooku took on three different apprentices – Asajj Ventress, Savage Opress, and Quinlan Vos – and helped train General Grievous in lightsaber combat. During this time, he became the apprentice of Darth Sidious, taking the name Darth Tyranus, founding the Confederacy of Independent Systems, and engineering the Clone Wars.
Dooku was a highly skilled duelist and Force user, successfully defeating many difficult adversaries in his time as a Sith Lord, including both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker on Geonosis. He was also shown as being able to command Force Lightning, much like his master.
This Cerean Jedi Master served on the Jedi Council before and during the Clone Wars. He was beloved by all its members, and his wisdom allowed him to speak with authority on a variety of subjects alongside Mace Windu and Yoda. Mundi was known as a proponent of peace and strongly believed that the Jedi should be peacekeepers first and fighters second, but that didn’t stop him from being a total badass when violence became necessary.
Master Mundi fought in many of the greatest battles of the Clone Wars; he was known for charging out in the middle of a fight to be the first one on the front lines. At the first Battle of Geonosis, he assisted Padmé Amidala and Kit Fisto in combat, fighting bravely alongside his fellow Jedi. During the siege of the Geonosis Droid Factories, he destroyed more droids than Anakin Skywalker, understandably becoming feared by many on the Dark Side. He was the only Jedi left after a confrontation with General Grievous at the Battle of Hypori and even dueled the Dark Jedi Knight Asajj Ventress.
His entire family was killed during the Battle of Cerea, which greatly changed him; but instead of succumbing to grief, Mundi only grew more dedicated to the cause of the Jedi Order against the Separatist Alliance. He was also on the Jedi Council before even becoming a Jedi Master, an almost unprecedented achievement. Master Mundi was murdered near the end of the Clone Wars by his own Clone Troopers because of Order 66, but even then he managed to take a few down with him.
16. Naga Sadow
One of the most prominent ancient Sith Lords, Naga Sadow was revered long after his death as one of the most powerful alchemists and sorcerers of all time. Sadow had the ability to manipulate the natural order of the universe to serve his purposes and nearly brought the Sith Empire to galactic dominance during the Great Hyperspace War. Sadow was able to wield the greatest power on his battleship, the Corsair, which was equipped with an array of alchemical crystals on the bridge. Wielding dark magic augmented by these crystals, Naga Sadow was able to summon nearly unlimited power. He was even able to destroy an entire star system using the Force.
Sadow could transform living beings into monstrous beasts and even give flesh to already departed spirits. Using his dark magic and alchemy, Sadow was able to master the art of illusions, and owned a Sith meditation sphere which enabled him to achieve great displays of Force power, including conjuring hundreds of illusions at once from light years away and causing supernovas and solar flares during the Great Hyperspace War. Sadow was a challenge in individual combat as well. He proved a match for Ludo Kressh in single combat through his excellent usage of Force telekinesis.
15. Jacen Solo
Jacen Solo is the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa. He and his twin sister Jaina spent their childhood avoiding assassination and capture attempts due to being the children of such famous people. At the age of 13, he and his sister began training to become a proper Jedi on Yavin 4 under his uncle Luke Skywalker. Like many Jedi, Jacen was originally a peaceful person who never wanted to be involved in the Republic’s war against the Yuuzhan Vong, but was thrust into joining a task force led by his younger brother, Anakin Solo, who would be killed on that mission, forcing Jacen to step up and take leadership in mourning. Jacen was captured by the Yuuzhan Vong and tortured for a year, which brought him to the Dark Side of the Force.
Jacen managed to escape and join the Jedi once more but had a vision that he if he didn’t join the Sith, he would murder his uncle Luke Skywalker and the galaxy would consume itself. So he joined the Sith to complete his destiny. The Dark Side would consume Jacen and he would become Darth Caedus.
Solo was considered the best duelist in the Jedi Praxeum. During his reign as a Sith Lord, he was able to engage multiple Jedi at a time, even against Jedi Battlemaster Kyle Katarn. Jacen was also a skilled user of Force speed, able to throw lightning-fast blows during combat. From the time he was a child, his telekinetic power was enormous. He could exercise powerful mental influence, even using the Force to compel other powerful Force-users to bend to his will. He was able to dispel Force illusions, become immune to pain, enhance healing, manipulate his own blood flow and organ performance, erect force barriers, jump great heights, neutralize toxins, and at one point even became a being of pure energy, achieving deeper unity with the Force than any other Jedi in history. After becoming a Sith, Solo was able to apply the Force choke and Force lightning quite liberally to his opponents, and that was only some of his power. Solo judged only Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker to be on his level, an assessment that was backed up by many.
14. Nomi Sunrider
Nomi Sunrider was married to a Jedi Knight in training named Andur Sunrider. While they were on a trip, they were ambushed by the soldiers of Bogga the Hutt, who were after the Adegan crystals she and Andur was carrying. Nomi witnessed the cold-blooded murder of her husband. After his death, she picked up his lightsaber, set out to finish what he started and eventually became what many fans consider to be the most powerful female Jedi of all time. She became a full Jedi Knight after training under Jedi Master Thon. Sunrider fought in the Great Sith War against the rise of the great Sith Lord Exar Kun and his apprentice, Ulic Qel-Droma.
During the Freedon Nadd Uprising, Sunrider demonstrated her lightsaber skills by defeating a large number of enemies singlehandedly, and during Qel-Droma’s invasion of Coruscant she held the Republic line against the fearsome invading Mandalorians. She was able to hold her own against Qel-Droma in battle, and after watching him slay his own brother, was able to permanently sever Qel-Droma’s connection to the Force, which was vital to winning the Great Sith War. Nomi Sunrider’s power with the Light Side of the Force was so great she was even able to direct the Wall of Light erected by thousands of Jedi to imprison the spirit of Exar Kun on Yavin 4, truly ending the Great Sith War.
After the war, Sunrider became head of the Jedi Order, which had been devastated by the events of the conflict, and set about rebuilding it. After her death, Sunrider was recognized as one of the three elite Jedi Masters with the greatest skills in the use of the Light Side of the Force.
13. Darth Nihilus
Darth Nihilus emerged as a being of pure darkness during the era of strife after the Jedi Civil War. He lost everything during the Mandalorian Wars and was caught in the detonation of the Mass Shadow Generator superweapon ordered by Darth Revan, which destroyed Malachor V. The weapon surrounded the planet with a destructive mass shadow. Nihilus’ body was destroyed, and experiencing the mass shadow around the planet left him with an insatiable craving for Force energy, rendering him a “wound in the Force” and in essence turning him into a Force vampire.
Darth Nihilus was able to escape death by calling upon the Dark Side of the Force to encase his consciousness within his mask and armor. Since Nihilus fed on Force energy to replenish his strength, he was a threat to all life in the galaxy. He was responsible for destroying the planet Katarr by killing and absorbing the life force of every Jedi in the Conclave and every other living thing on the planet. His reach grew so powerful that he could sense Force users throughout the galaxy, which he would then hunt down and consume the entire planet on which they resided. In battle, Nihilus was easily able to best Darth Traya and Darth Sion, even severing her Force ability. Nihilus was able to use the Force to lift entire starships and had his own dark variants of Force lightning and Force rage. He was able to create whirlwinds using the Force and use Dark Healing, his own dark version of Force healing. His very speech made those who served him his mindless slaves and caused pain and death to all who heard it.
12. Darth Revan
Like many Sith, Darth Revan started out as a Jedi Knight who turned to the Dark Side. Possessing a keen thirst for knowledge about all aspects of the Force, Revan achieved the rank of Jedi Knight but found himself at odds with the Jedi Council. Revan was trained by several Masters. Some felt he would be a great Jedi warrior, while others feared his curiosity about the Dark Side. The final straw came when Revan wanted to protect the lives of innocents in the Outer Rim territories threatened by the Mandalorian Wars, but the Council refused to allow any Jedi to intervene in the war. Revan disobeyed the Council and left the Order while assembling an enormous number of Jedi to leave with him. His group essentially won the war for the Republic.
Revan eventually discovered the reconstituted Sith Empire and was seduced to the Dark Side by the Sith Emperor, though Revan and his apprentice Malak were able to break free of his mind control and establish their own empire with the Star Forge. As a Sith Lord, Revan’s strong will was able to influence others and turn Jedi to the Dark Side, even stealing knowledge from others. His known leadership and charisma ensured that he had followers; the Sith were for all intents and purposes unstoppable with Darth Revan in charge
Revan was skilled with a lightsaber, bolstered by his precognition abilities. In his time, he was considered the greatest warrior alive, able to defeat the Echani and the Mandalorians, the galaxy’s foremost warrior cultures. He slew Yusanis, the greatest warrior and strategist of the Echani, destabilizing their government. He also cut down many Sith acolytes and masters on Korriban. In the battle aboard the Star Forge, he slew many Sith Lords and defeated his former apprentice Malak, who had become a cruel and terrible ruler, even after Malak called upon the energy of captive Jedi to overpower himself.
He was also extraordinarily powerful with the Force, able to channel both the Light and the Dark sides simultaneously. As a Jedi, he could move and destroy huge stones at a moment’s notice, and as a Sith, he could choke or crush the organs of others using the Force. He was able to call down chunks of nearby asteroids on his opponents. His telekinesis was unmatched; he could wield two additional lightsabers at a time and still pin down over a dozen or more opponents using his mind. Revan frequently had Farsight and extremely powerful Force sense, even across the galaxy. He was proficient in the use of Force lightning and could summon Force storms.
11. Darth Bane
Darth Bane is revered in history as the primary ideological founder of the formation of the Sith philosophy, and the individual most responsible for the modern incarnation of the Sith. After killing a Galactic Republic ensign in a fight, Bane was in danger of being arrested by the Republic and fled off-world to join the Sith Brotherhood of Darkness, which was led by a Sith Council at the time. Bane believed the organizational structure of the Sith was deeply flawed. At the time, the Sith were structured much like the Jedi, being led by a Council and consisting of many Masters and Apprentices scattered throughout the galaxy. He also believed the problems started at the top with their leader, Skere Kaan, who he considered to be weak and cowardly. This led him to the planet of Lehon, where he studied the holocron of Darth Revan and armed with its knowledge and power, destroyed the Brotherhood of Darkness and seized his place in history when he founded the new Sith Order. Many years later, Bane’s Order would overthrow the Republic.
Darth Bane is famous for creating the Law of Two, where there is always one master and one apprentice, and the apprentice has to become more powerful than their master and ultimately take his life to claim the title, from there gaining an apprentice of their own. which shows his importance to the Dark Side of the Force. As a lightsaber duelist, he was a master of an unorthodox style which was recognized by only the most experienced weapons handlers. He held his own in battles against three Jedi Masters on Tython, including Raskta Lsu, who was considered the greatest duelist of the era. His lightsaber technique was unrefined but intentionally so to favor a fury-driven, strength-oriented style. Bane’s speed was so great that he was able to deflect torrents of rain using his lightsaber.
Darth Bane had tremendous knowledge and understanding of the Dark Side, which enabled him to shatter Force shields with his telekinesis. He caused the Temple of the Ancients on Lehon to collapse using the Force, and after just a single practice session he was able to project Force lightning. His lightning was of such a strong voltage that most opponents died instantly, leaving behind charred bodies. With his orbalisk armor made of parasites that fed on Dark Side energy, he was immune to lightsabers and poisons and healed most wounds instantly. He was also able to resist the mind tricks of Skere Kaan, a feat even other Dark Lords of the Sith Brotherhood were unable to do.
10. Mace Windu
Mace Windu is often seen as the most senior member of the Jedi Council after Yoda; what many don’t know is that Windu was Master of the Jedi order until the Battle of Genosis, at which time he gave the title to Master Yoda. A talented fighter and strategist, Mace was a High General and considered to be the best lightsaber duelist of all time. He was known for creating the form of Vaapad, the modern seventh form of lightsaber combat. Windu was the only Jedi to master all seven forms of lightsaber fighting.
Mace Windu led over two hundred Jedi in the Battle of Geonosis and killed the infamous bounty hunter Jango Fett. He also defeated Mother Talzin, the leader of the Nightsisters. He dueled the powerful Sith Lord Count Dooku and emerged victorious, though the Count managed to escape. Mace was part of a group of Jedi Masters who went on a mission to arrest Chancellor Palpatine. While the three other Jedi Masters fell in battle, Windu dueled Palpatine (in reality Darth Sidious) and won against one of the most powerful Sith Lords in history. He likely would have executed the disarmed Palpatine had Anakin Skywalker not intervened and betrayed him, allowing Mace Windu to be killed by Force lightning. Windu remains the only Jedi to have ever disarmed the Sith Lord.
9. Exar Kun
Like many powerful Sith, Exar Kun was originally a Jedi. He was trained by the venerated Jedi Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, who called Kun the most formidable student he had ever trained. Kun was very confident in himself and his abilities and had a keen thirst for power and knowledge. While a student, he came across some forbidden knowledge about the ancient Sith which he found intriguing. His desire for power became so strong that he left the Order to pursue the forbidden teachings. His quest led him the planet Onderon, where he came across the tomb of the Sith Lord Freedon Nadd. Though Nadd’s spirit planned to take over Kun’s physical form, Kun never trusted Nadd and learned all he could from him before banishing his spirit. This would mark the beginning of Kun’s corruption.
After turning to the Dark Side, Exar went to Yavin 4 and amassed even more power, assuming the title of Dark Lord of the Sith and stealing a very ancient Sith holocron from the Jedi library on Ossus.
Kun exterminated entire Sith cults and used his power to turn many Jedi Padawans to the Dark Side, convincing them to kill their masters. After his apprentice Ulic Qel-Droma was put on trial for war crimes by the Galactic Republic, Kun burst into the Senate Hall, murdered Supreme Chancellor Sidrona and set him free. He was confronted by his old master Baas, whom Kun promptly killed in a duel with his new invention, the double-bladed lightsaber. Kun continued his reign of terror, ransacking the Jedi library and eventually even using an ancient ritual to separate his spirit from his mortal form.
Kun was proficient in the use of Sith magic and Sith alchemy, able to unleash enormous amounts of Dark Side energy, especially when using Naga Sadow’s Corsair. He would eventually gain the ability to spawn monsters such as terentateks and Sith wyrms. His mind control powers were so advanced he was able to mesmerize the entire Galactic Senate and control the mind of the Supreme Chancellor. He also showed a talent for predicting his opponent’s actions through the Force. It took Nomi Sunrider and the powers of thousands of dead Jedi to seal his spirit in a temple, and even then he could appear in the minds of others and possess them, even being powerful enough to severe Luke Skywalker’s spirit from his body millennia later. Kun also engineered the destruction of entire star systems by helping Kyp Durron pilot the Sun Crusher.
8. Freedon Nadd
A very ancient Sith Lord, Freedon Nadd’s era far predates the events of the Star Wars trilogy. He was a Jedi in the days of the Old Republic, training on planet Ossus under Master Matt Tremayne. As an apprentice, Nadd easily mastered techniques that it took others years to achieve, but grew jealous of the power and authority of the Jedi Masters. When he was denied the rank of Jedi Knight, he lost faith in the Order and his rage and resentment grew. True to the Sith philosophy, he ended up killing his master, renouncing his affiliation with the Jedi and fleeing to the heart of the Sith Empire to be taught the ways of the Dark Side by Naga Sadow.
Nadd was the greatest Sith sorcerer to ever exist up until his era. He possessed potent dark energy and controlled the Force much better than he wielded a lightsaber. He was a self-centered and power-hungry man, and after learning all he could from Naga Sadow, he murdered his master and declared himself the Dark Lord of the Sith. Eventually, he acquired the original Sith holocron of King Adas, and using this knowledge, he traveled to planet Onderon where he deposed their monarchs and assumed the throne as king. Nadd ruled Onderon from the capital of Iziz for more than a hundred years, turning their culture into one steeped in Sith magic. By the end, Freedon Nadd possessed so much power that his tomb remained a potent hotspot for Dark Side energy and many years later his spirit manifested and took Exar Kun as his new apprentice.
7. Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the most important figures in the entire Star Wars Universe. The legendary Jedi’s deeds shaped the galaxy. Trained by Qui-Gon Jinn and Master Yoda, Obi-Wan would be the master of both Anakin and Luke Skywalker, two of the most powerful Jedi of all time. A young Kenobi defeated Darth Maul on Naboo while still a Padawan learner, becoming the first Jedi in 1,000 years to slay a Sith Lord. During the Clone Wars, Kenobi competently dueled Count Dooku on several occasions. He succeeded where great Jedi like Kit Fisto and Ki-Adi Mundi failed and vanquished the terrifying General Grievous. Not only was he a powerful warrior, but he was a skilled strategist and one of the leading Generals in the Clone Wars.
Obi-Wan was one of the only members of the Jedi Council to survive Order 66. After Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader and attacked the Jedi Temple, Kenobi faced his powerful apprentice and managed to defeat him in combat, severing three of his limbs. As Luke grew up, Obi-Wan was key to showing him the ways of the Force. Eventually, Kenobi dueled with Vader once more as an older man, which would result in him becoming one with the Force. Obi-Wan couldn’t be stopped even in death, returning as a Force Spirit and guiding Luke throughout important events in his life.
6. Darth Vader
Midi-chlorian levels measure the Force-sensitivity of a sentient being, and even as a boy Anakin Skywalker had the highest midi-chlorian count ever recorded. Though he would never reach his full potential as the result of the crippling injuries he sustained during his fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi (which gave him his famous suit and distinctive breathing), Skywalker would become the legendary Darth Vader and inspire fear throughout the galaxy. Famously, Vader helped Palpatine hunt down and exterminate the Jedi Order, killing all the Jedi in the Jedi Temple himself. After his wife’s death and believing his children to be dead, Vader would be the right-hand man to the Emperor as he transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire, and he himself would hunt down Jedi for many years to come.
Even as he served under Palpatine as the new Sith Empire reigned, Vader was true to the Law of Two and was already plotting to overthrow Darth Sidious and become the new Sith Lord, and secretly trained apprentices for when that day came.
While Vader is mostly famous for his reign of terror as a Sith, the man once known as Anakin Skywalker started by being one of the greatest Jedi of all time, which many tragically forget. Anakin was trained by the great Obi-Wan Kenobi, and briefly Qui-Gon Jinn and Master Yoda. He had fantastic powers and insight into the Force, and was a major figure during the Clone Wars. Skywalker and Kenobi were the two major symbols of the entire Jedi Order for decades, and their adventures were the stuff of legend. Anakin was hailed as the Chosen One who would defeat the Sith and bring balance to the Force. As a Jedi, Anakin Skywalker rarely lost battles. He defeated the Sith apprentices Asajj Ventress and Savage Opress, and even defeated and murdered the Sith Lord Count Dooku and the Dark Jedi Barriss Offee. Skywalker was highly sensitive to the Force, including the ability to sense what was happening in nearby rooms and detect other Force users. He could also sense people’s feelings and disturbances in the Force, and was known to have precognitive dreams.
As both Vader and Skywalker, he was highly skilled with a lightsaber, able to deflect blaster bolts and even shots from starships with ease. His telekinesis was perhaps his greatest power. He was able to stop an AT-AT Walker from crushing him and tear the same vehicle apart with a thought. He had a tendency to use a Force choke, easily killing opponents within seconds. His Force push was so powerful it could kill numerous lyleks, shattering their carapaces (tough enough to repel blaster fire) upon impact. He could also effortlessly bring a Twi-lek freighter to the ground and disable a shuttle’s engine in mid-flight to bring it down. Anakin’s strength in battle was described as being like a meteor strike. He faced the powerful Count Dooku multiple times before killing him and single-handedly defeated a Droid army. Whether Jedi or Sith, Vader was always a force to be reckoned with, and easily the most iconic symbol of the Star Wars Universe.
5. Luke Skywalker
Much like his father, Luke Skywalker was immensely strong with the Force. The center of the original Star Wars trilogy, Luke became the foremost hero of the Galactic Civil War and the founder and Grand Master of a new Jedi Order. With very little training, Skywalker joined the Rebel Alliance and proved to be an excellent pilot, using his Force-sensitive abilities to single-handedly destroy the first Death Star at the Battle of Yavin by making a shot many thought was impossible. Luke would also rescue Princess Leia from Imperial prison, save his friends on Cloud City, prove he was a great pilot like his father, save Han from Jabba’s palace, and not only defeat Darth Vader but bring out the good left in him. Darth Sidious believed that Skywalker was strong enough to destroy the Sith, and when attempting to bring him over to the Dark Side Vader had full confidence that he and Luke together could overthrow the Emperor.
Many Jedi train for decades to master the ways of the Force, whereas Luke was largely self-trained through his connection to the Force, with limited training from his father’s own master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda. Unlike most Jedi, Luke was a teenager when he first started learning the ways of the Force. After losing his hand to his first duel with Darth Vader, Luke constructed his own lightsaber. Once he learned the Empire was building a second Death Star, Luke surrendered and went before the Emperor and once again had duel again with his father, this time being one of the few able to best Vader in battle. If that wasn’t enough, after the death of the Emperor Luke as brought his father back to the light before his death.
Luke Skywalker was able to sense the presence of his father and other Force users and was capable of seeing and hearing Force spirits. His telekinetic ability developed rapidly – by the time the Rebel Alliance had moved to Hoth, he was able to pull his lightsaber into his hands using the Force, and under Yoda, he was able to levitate several objects at once. By the time of Return of the Jedi, Luke had already mastered the Force choke, could use Jedi mind tricks on his opponents, was deadly with a lightsaber and could perform Force jumps. An extraordinarily gifted duelist, Luke improved enough between his encounter with Vader on Bespin and their duel during the Battle of Endor to overpower the Dark Lord himself. He was shown to have visions several times and could foresee the future in ways no other Jedi could. At the end of the original trilogy, Skywalker was the last known Jedi in the universe and used this crucial historical position to found the New Jedi Order, assuming the title of Grand Master.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about Luke Skywalker is how he never wavered: during the course of just the first Star Wars film, Luke loses all his childhood friends, his mentor, his adoptive parents, his home and all his possessions in order to become a Jedi and join the rebellion against the Empire. Luke repeatedly demonstrated his powers and his enormous force of will in the face of adversity, and it’s for that reason he deserves his place among the most powerful Force users of all time.
4. Marka Ragnos
Marka Ragnos is one of the most important and earliest Sith Lords in the history of the Star Wars Universe. He lived during the first Sith Empire in ancient times, over 20,000 years before the formation of the Republic. A Sith-human hybrid, Ragnos grew tired of the leadership on their homeworld of Korriban. He beheaded the Sith Lord Simus in a duel, claiming the title of Dark Lord of the Sith and thus rule of the empire. Ragnos reigned for over a century, leading ruthless and brutal campaigns against the enemies of the Sith, laying waste to any who stood in his path. When he didn’t win victories with violence, Ragnos was a master manipulator and played his enemies off against one another to eliminate threats to his throne, often winning victories without raising a finger.
At the time, the Sith Empire was undergoing a Golden Age – it was immensely rich and powerful, spanning over 120 worlds and built on a foundation of sorcery and use of the Dark Side. Ragnos did not expand the empire as much as some wanted, but only because his vision into the future told him the Sith were not ready to confront the Jedi yet. Ragnos’ death was marked as the end of the Golden Age of the Sith Empire. Ragnos would be even more important in death than in life. During his second life as a Force ghost, he pitted two Sith Lords against each other to determine which was the most worthy to succeed him. Naga Sadow emerged victorious and thus began the Great Hyperspace War. Ragnos’ spirit dwelled in his tomb on Korriban, eventually bestowing Exar Kun with the title of Dark Lord of the Sith. Kun himself would ignite the Great Sith War.
Ragnos is considered to be one of the most powerful Force users in history by both the Sith and the Jedi. He was able to keep his own essence alive 5,000 years after his death. He was also able to possess others, gaining control over them. Ragnos did not use the traditional lightsaber, opting instead for an ancient Sith sword enchanted by magic, which he kept hidden inside his scepter. He could also use the Dark Side of the Force to make himself invulnerable in battle. With his scepter, he was able to release the dark energy of the Force onto ordinary beings and turn them Force-sensitive. The fact that no one challenged Marka, even the mighty Naga Sadow, shows the true depths of his power.
3. Darth Sidious
Darth Sidious’ rise to power is one of the most remarkable stories in the Star Wars Universe, and the result of perhaps the greatest strategic mind in the galaxy. Trained in the ways of the Sith by Darth Plagueis, Palpatine honored the Rule of Two by killing his master in his sleep, becoming a Sith Lord. Sidious would take on his own apprentices, including Darth Maul, Darth Tyranus, and Darth Vader. Unlike most Sith, Palpatine did not hide; he assumed the mantle of a valiant and humble Senator from Naboo acting in the interests of the people to sweep away the corruption of the Galactic Republic. With this, he was elected Chancellor. Aiming to take over the Republic and restore the ancient Sith Empire, Palpatine clandestinely engineered the Clone Wars, and in the chaos was able to seize more and more power before finally being coronated as the all-powerful Emperor and turning the Republic into the Galactic Empire.
Sidious was able to hide his malevolent intentions from some of the greatest Jedi who ever lived, including Mace Windu, Master Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker. It seemed no one suspected his true intentions until it was already too late to stop him. Palpatine was able to corrupt Skywalker into turning to the Dark Side by claiming he could save his loved ones from death.
Above all, Darth Sidious was a Sith who knew how to take advantage of people’s weaknesses, tricking others into doing his bidding and manipulating events on a galactic scale to achieve his ends. He was also responsible for Order 66, which exterminated the Jedi and brought an end to the Order, something even the ancients weren’t able to achieve.
Palpatine possessed very powerful Dark Side abilities, including the use of Force lightning. He was also skilled with telekinesis, able to move levitate several Senate pods during his duel with Yoda with deadly accuracy. Sidious was especially adept at Force sight, able to foresee future events to ensure that all his plots proceeded as he envisioned. He could sense the feelings and thoughts of others, such as Vader, even from half the galaxy away. His power to mask himself was so great that he clouded the vision of several Jedi Masters for years. Sidious was also a skilled lightsaber duelist, slaying Agen Kolar and Saesee Tiin, two of the greatest duelists of their time, with a single blow each. As well as this he is the only person known to defeat Yoda in combat. Sidious would be the last ranking Dark Lord from Darth Bane’s Sith Order. In almost every list of most powerful Force users or Sith Lords, Sidious is ranked near the top; an honor he certainly deserves.
When you think of the Jedi, you think of Yoda. He was the Master of the Jedi Order and the leader of the Jedi Council, trained countless Jedi during his long life of nearly 900 years, possessed legendary insight and wisdom, and might be one of the most quoted pop culture figures of all time. Yoda was known for his mastery of the Force, and revered for his mastery of lightsaber combat, though he rarely fought. Yoda dedicated his life to teaching and passing on knowledge to younger generations to give him the benefit of his vast knowledge of the Force. Yoda trained Mace Windu, Kit Fisto, Ki-Adi Mundi, Count Dooku, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Luke Skywalker, allowing them to become major figures in Star Wars history.
In spite of his age and small size, Yoda was a master of all fighting skills, particularly with a lightsaber. He was able to defeat Darth Tyranus in combat, forcing the mighty Sith Lord to flee. His most intense battle would be against Darth Sidious, in a destructive fight that would become legendary. Yoda was one of the few Jedi Masters to escape the Great Jedi Purge of Order 66, going into self-imposed exile after a vision told him he would one day train Luke Skywalker. While many question why Yoda didn’t stay to finish Sidious off, the canon states that he saw that the Sith has changed and couldn’t be defeated with a simple lightsaber, and he couldn’t die there because future Jedi would need Yoda’s knowledge of the Force.
Yoda was a consistently powerful fighter, able to deflect Dooku and Sidious’ Force lightning with his bare hands (something no one else has been shown as able to do). He was also able to telekinetically block projectiles thrown at him by the two mighty Sith. On Dagobah, he was able to lift Luke’s sunken T-65B X-wing fighter out of the swamp. On the battlefield on Rugosa during the Clone Wars, Yoda destroyed an entire squad of droids, three assault tanks, and various infantry single-handedly. While in exile, he was able to keep contact with other Jedi across the galaxy, and he was able to have Force visions of the future at will, though he understood these predictions were not absolute. When he died, Yoda became one of only four Jedi strong enough to manifest as a Force spirit. All these reasons are why Yoda is the highest-ranking Jedi on this list; put simply, he was the best.
1. Emperor Vitiate
The Sith Emperor Vitiate is easily the most powerful Force user in the entire Star Wars Universe, all the Jedi and Sith included. The illegitimate child of Lord Dramath of Medriaas, Tenebrae, the child who would become the Sith Emperor killed his adoptive father with a thought at the age of 10. He then tortured his mother, keeping her alive for months and feeding on her fear and pain. When he met his real father, Lord Dramath, he stripped him of his sanity and his connection to the Force. His power was so great that he went before the ruler of all Sith, Marka Ragnos, three years later at the age of 13 and held an audience with him. Ragnos recognized the enormous potential in the Force-sensitive boy and that very day awarded him the planet Nathema to rule as his own, along with the new title of Lord Vitiate. When Ragnos died, Vitiate refused to involve himself in the power struggles for his throne, even as the old Sith Empire was torn apart by the Great Hyperspace War. He could have easily bested Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh but chose instead to wait for the perfect opportunity to seize power. That moment came when the Empire at Korriban fell.
Vitiate summoned all the remaining Sith Lords to Nathema. Around 8,000 Sith Lords answered his call, but when they approached his palace, he took over the minds of all 8,000 and forced them to participate in the most complex ceremony of Sith magic ever performed, a 10-day Sith ritual that froze the entire planet with Dark Side sorcery. After ten days, the ritual ended with the complete obliteration of the planet’s surface and the death of the Sith Lords, as well as every living thing on Nathema. Vitiate absorbed the life force from the fallen Sith Lords and the entire planet, becoming immortal and gaining unimaginable power.
Vitiate, now known by the title His Glorious Majesty, Slayer of Izax, Immortal Master and Protector of Zakuul or the Emperor, began rebuilding the new Sith Empire, spending most of his time experimenting with the Dark Side as he continued to gain even more power. When his enormous Dark Side energy began to take a toll on his body, he perfected the art of transferring his consciousness between bodies to sustain his life. He could transfer portions of his consciousness into infants, creating the Children of the Emperor and making them extensions of his own will. The very atmosphere of the planet of Dromund Kaas was warped by the Emperor’s experiments, filling the sky with lightning and terrible rainstorms constantly. When the Dark Council conspired to kill him, the Emperor killed them all with a single blow. He easily bested the mighty Darth Revan with a single Force blast, and even Darth Plagueis the Wise envied his knowledge of the Dark Side.
Vitiate not only achieved corporeal immortality, but could warp reality itself, ravage entire planets, create beings from pure Dark Side energy, strip other’s connection to the Force, reduce millions of people to ash, put his essence into thousands of individuals, possess thousands of Sith Lords, defeat the most powerful Jedi without drawing a lightsaber, transfer his essence without the use of holocrons, and he even plotted to consume an entire galaxy. It’s also worth noting he is the only Sith or Jedi to never have a master.
Vitiate reigned as the immortal Emperor for 1,300 years, which is the longest reign in the Star Wars canon. As if all this wasn’t enough, his ultimate plan was to consume all life in the galaxy and make himself a god. When he met his eventual final end, it was millennia after his birth and he accomplished more in his life than perhaps any other character.
Now that you know all that, are you really shocked that Vitiate stands unmatched as the most powerful Force user in the Star Wars Universe?