One would be hard pressed to find a more terrifying group of bad guys in fiction than the Sith. Pokemon‘s “Team Rocket”, G.I. Joe‘s “Cobra”, SPECTRE in the James Bonds films, the Templars in the historically inspired Assassin’s Creed video game franchise don’t compare to the manipulative, malevolent and destructive power of the dark force wielders of the Star Wars franchise.
It goes without saying but it takes something special to make a group of bad guys. A single villain can be sinister and menacing, but a group of them often have a terrifying creed or set of beliefs along with comradery that makes them even more despicable. While the groups we named earlier are evil, the Sith are among the most awful of any evil group to have ever been featured in any fictional story-line or in this case, galaxy. Of course, many fans do not know that true Sith were a species, but the Sith featured in the Star Wars stories that we know are primarily followers of a dark, menacing, and destructive ideology.
Everything the Jedi are in favor of; protecting people, upholding justice and using their skills for good are opposed by the Sith. Whether they focus on weapon skills or magic, Sith use negativity and hatred to spread everything brutal and terrible across the galaxy, subjugating, enslaving and generally laying waste to everything in their path. Part of what makes them so terrifying is the multitude of things they can do to bring death, pain and misery. Anyone can carry a deadly weapon and act violently, but the Sith are a whole different kind of dark, horrible villain.
While we’re all familiar with Darth Vader’s force choke and the Emperor’s lightning, the expanded universe (Legends) have created some innovative and terrifying force powers. Here are the fifteen that are the most fearsome.
We listed this power first because it is technically just a combination of three powers, used at once to create a terrifying and deadly effect. Within the expanded universe, this skill was employed primarily by Darth Sidious and Galen “Starkiller” Marek of The Force Unleashed video games.
Maelstrom consists of a combination of telekinesis, a protective force bubble and the use of force lightening. The user would first put up a bubble, then using telekinesis to pick up and swirl around various objects, then electrifying them, creating a hazard to anyone in their vicinity.
14. Deadly Sight
Deadly sight is a little known dark side force power that was only featured in one game from the expanded universe: Sariss. She was one of the villains in Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. Deadly sight was the ability to channel hatred into dark side energy to cause damage to opponents simply by looking at them. It could be lethal, but was very difficult to maintain over a few seconds of use.
It was not the most efficient or accurate of the dark force powers, as everyone in the user’s field of sight could be hurt, not just a single target. A painful fate, those who were on the receiving end of this technique were burned and essentially boiled alive.
Force Rage is the blanket term that the Legends/Expanded Universe community has given to Sith warriors who can enter into an uncontrollable fury. Think of the scene in which Anakin kills the village of sand people, Darth Maul anytime he was swinging his double-blade, or even Luke Skywalker when he finally defeated Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi (feel free to challenge us on that one, as there is some debate over whether Luke’s final saber swinging rampage was him channeling the dark side, it does not turn into a full on fall to the dark side as he stops himself, regains his composure and does not kill the defenseless opponent).
Force rage is an impressive and terrifying thing to see, as the user has used all of their hatred, fear, negativity and anger to throw themselves into a brutalizing frenzy of destruction. Of course, against an experienced Jedi, a Sith in the middle of a rage may make a mistake. Anakin is an example of this, continuing the fight against Obi-Wan at the end of Revenge of the Sith.
12. Force Clouding
Some fans may disagree with our placement of force clouding so low on the list, given the part that this power has played in the movies. Darth Sidious (Palpatine) used this power to conceal his true nature as a Sith Lord for years while he was planning and executing the destruction of the Republic and the Jedi. The power itself is generally used by Sith to hide their power and alignment, but few have used it to the effect of Sidious, who, like we said, caused massive change throughout the galaxy. Most Sith are unable to create such a cloud, and on its own the power isn’t quite as terrifying as some of the others we will list. Clouding, however, does get vastly more troubling and fearsome depending on the power of the Sith Lord using it.
11. Monster Creation
This was one of the disturbing powers that was made famous by early Sith Lord Exar Kun. A fallen Jedi, Kun realized how much the dark side offers and fell, quickly learning Sith alchemy and eventually refined this power to be able to actually create terrible dark side creatures such as terentateks, shyraks, certain types of rancors and of course one of the most feared of the mythical species in Star Wars, the Leviathan. Exar Kun is primarily remembered in the Star Wars universe for his lightsaber skills, but the ability to form a living, breathing thing that is essentially dark side incarnate is the kind of stuff from which nightmares are made.
10. Memory Walk
One of the cruelest and most sinister characters in the expanded universe comes from the Lando Calrissian Adventures book series. His name was Rokur Gepta, a Croke (sentient, multi legged creatures whose lives spanned millenia) who was more than adept in the dark side arts. Memory walk (or torture by chagrin) was his own method of torture and sometimes execution. A form of mind control, Gepta could get inside the minds of his victims and force them (as the name would suggest) to relive the most devastating and regrettable events of their lives. This can lead to severe emotional pain but also death if it is prolonged.
9. Force Crush
Force crush is a little known power that is introduced to the Star Wars universe near the end of the video game Knights of the Old Republic II. If you choose to play as a dark side character and (spoiler alert) kill the entire remaining Jedi council on Dantooine, you will receive this disgusting but awesome skill. This is one of the most powerful dark side powers in the game and indeed, the galaxy, and allows the user to lift a victim into the air and use the force to collapse the spine and central nervous system, instantly killing that opponent. Of course, within the game, some enemies require two or three hits to actually be finished off by this technique.
8. Bolt of Hatred
Referred to as “sutta chwituskak” (meaning thrown spears) in the traditional Sith language, the bolt of hatred is, for the most part, exactly what it sounds like. This power dates back to the days of Sith Lord Freedon Nadd, one of the most powerful of the Sith in recorded Star Wars history. Knowledge of this technique would allow the user to manifest their own hatred into a physical spear which they could hurl at any target of their choosing, likely causing a horrifying instant death. Much like Deadly sight, seen above, the Bolt of Hatred is a scary concept through which a force user can cause harm to someone simply through their own hatred.
7. Mechu-deru Vitae
Mechu-deru is a Sith technique that allows the user to control droids and essentially, anything robotic or mechanical. Mechu-deru Vitae built on this ability and rather than just controlling mechanical systems, it allowed the Sith to create “technobeasts”. This awful power was thought up and created by Sith Lord Belia Darzu, who lived about 1200 years before the Battle of Yavin.
She created a virus called a nanogene spore, which caused metallic tumors to grow all over the body of an organic being, gradually taking over not only the flesh, but eventually the brain, turning the victim into a part-machine, part-organic, mindless abomination. Her goal was to create her own army of these creatures.
6. Sever Force
Most Star Wars enthusiasts who are dedicated gamers will not shy away from broadcasting their love of the Knights of the Old Republic games. This is why we have included several of the dark side powers featured in those games on this list; KOTOR I and II are amazing stories that add a great amount of intrigue, and detail to the dark side/light side part of the world of Star Wars.
Throughout the second of these games, KOTOR II: The Sith Lords, you realize that your character, the Exile (Meetra Surik), is a former Jedi whose connection to the force was cut after the final battle of the Mandalorian Wars on Malachor V. Later, we learn (spoiler alert, if you ever plan on playing the game and haven’t) that one of the members of your team is Darth Traya (who has been posing as Kreia), a Sith lord whose connection to the force was severed by her two apprentices; Sion and Nihilus.
The force, as a wise old hermit on Tatooine once said, “binds the galaxy together”. It is the very basis of all life in the Star Wars universe, the fact that a Sith can destroy someone’s connection to the force is among the most terrifying powers there is.
5. Thought Bomb
Another ancient and terrifying ability, the thought bomb results from the efforts of a number of Sith Lords who combine their focus in a ritual. The thought bomb, when achieved by the group, destroys every force sensitive being and traps their souls inside an orb. Having one’s soul trapped by a thought bomb is thought to be the Sith equivalent to some kind of living hell.
The thought bomb works by harnessing the consciousness and dark side energy of multiple experienced Sith and as the ritual progresses, their minds become one. One main downside to the thought bomb is that it is very possible, even likely, that those who carry out the ritual will be harmed or even die because of the energy that is released. This power has only been used a few times in the Star Wars universe. One notable use was by the Brotherhood of Darkness (affiliated with Darth Bane), who used a thought bomb against the Jedi they were fighting on the planet Ruusan, destroying much of the force sensitive life on that planet in the process.
Some of the most troubling and mysterious films in the horror genre center around the topic of spiritual possession. For instance, while The Exorcist isn’t particularly horrifying by today’s standards (you know, compared to torture p*rn like the Saw series) it still ranks among the scariest, most unsettling films ever made. Of course, evil, force-wielding people like the Sith can do something very similar. The spirits of deceased Sith have been known to assume control of living beings in order to carry out their will.
In the time of The Old Republic, Vitiate (Valkorion, the Sith Emperor) was known to use this technique; inhabiting people to spy on his enemies. Later on, after the Battle of Yavin, the legendary Sith Lord Marka Ragnos possessed the character Tavion Axmis in the video game Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.
We just saw that some Sith have dabbled in possession; the use of a living being by the spirit of someone deceased, but the Sith have also performed acts of necromancy, the act of bringing someone or their spirit back from the dead. The main purpose of bringing back a spirit was to make use of their mastery of the force. Of course, when a spirit was brought back, if the person who summoned them was an unskilled or inexperienced force user, they would likely be swiftly taken under the influence of the lord upon whom they had called.
2. Rakghoul Plague
If you played the Knights of the Old Republic video game or have read any of the literature covering that era of Star Wars, you are familiar with the affliction that turns people into snarling, Sith mutants. This disease was created by the ancient Sith Lord Karness Muur. He created an amulet to achieve the goal of bringing others under his influence by turning them into these beasts, but it would only work on certain species so he created the virus that could be spread by scratches and bites from beings that had already been turned into Rakghouls.
We’ve seen the ability to inhabit bodies, to conjure spirits, manifest weapons through pure hate, but turning people into mindless, violent animals is another level of evil and repugnance. Well done, Karness Muur, this is one of the most evil things to ever happen in any fictional galaxy.
1. Manipulation Of The Natural Order And The Galaxy
We’ve seen instances of Sith mind manipulation and some creative uses of hate, but among the most impressive (but dreadful) of the Sith powers out there are those various abilities that allow them to disrupt the natural order. An experienced Sith Lord can use his or her own hatred to create atmospheric and climatic change and chaos on a planet, and in some cases, Sith can create hyperspace wormholes that can devastate entire planets. Creating these wormholes is just one example of Sith being able to mess with the galaxy, and is called force storm.
A powerful enough Sith can create never-ending electrical storms on a planet, can immerse entire planets in dark side energy and may be able to destroy entire star systems. Naga Sadow is one ancient Sith Lord who was known to make entire star systems uninhabitable if it would benefit him. These manipulations and such destruction was never an issue for the Sith as they have long considered the universe to belong to them, along with the other beings in it.