The Sith are Star Wars villains that have captivated audiences for decades. Famous for their red lightsabers and names beginning with “Darth,” the Sith are commonly thought of as Force-sensitives who choose to follow the dark side of the Force.
But the beings we think of as the Sith were originally called Dark Jedi. Dark Jedi, or Fallen Jedi, were simply Jedi that turned toward the dark side. The first Dark Jedi was thought to be a male human named Xendor. He was a general of the Legions of Lettow, a group of Force-sensitives who studied the dark side. After speaking out against the teachings of the light side, the Jedi Order forced him and his followers into a war called the Hundred Year Darkness.
In the end, the Dark Jedi lost the war and were exiled by the Jedi Order. After hearing rumors about Sith space and Sith people, they eventually found the planet Korriban in 6900 BBY, where they found the species called Sith. The Sith were a race of humanoids originating on Korriban. They were known for genetic predispositions for being left-handed, as well as leaning more towards the dark side.
Over several generations, with interbreeding and genetic manipulation, the Dark Jedi and Sith merged to become a hybrid race. Although the Sith were in an almost constant state of war, their culture was sophisticated, and they flourished. To become a Sith Lord, one had to train in the Sith Academy on Korriban. In the hierarchy, Lords of the Sith were above Overseers and below Darths. We’ll explore 15 alien species that became Sith Lords throughout the millennia.
15 Darth Ruin - Umbaran
Phanius was a Jedi Master of the species Umbaran who left the Jedi Order and became a Dark Lord of the Sith. While in the Order, he became known for his philosophy, which include moral nihilism and solipsism.
He eventually left the Order to study on his own, and became the first of what was later known as the Lost Twenty. In an event called the Fourth Great Schism, 50 Jedi Knights joined him and pledged themselves to the dark side and Phanius’s new Sith Order. Phanius, who rechristened himself Darth Ruin, was eventually killed by his own followers. Some of his teachings included the Creed of Ruin:
"There is no passion...there is solely obsession.
There is no knowledge...there is solely conviction.
There is no purpose...there is solely will.
There is nothing...
As a character, George Lucas created Darth Ruin as part of the backstory for the prequel trilogy. In Lucas’s original notes, Ruin was an unnamed Jedi Knight who fell to the dark side 2000 years before the movie saga, founding the Sith.
14 Sorzus Syn - Humanoid
Sorzus Syn was a humanoid female who was part of the original exiled Dark Jedi. Syn and her fellow Dark Jedi enslaved the native Sith on Korriban and became the first Sith Lords. She was the original author of the Sith Code, which says:
Syn studied dark side alchemy and Sith sorcery, and created powerful artifacts for her fellow Sith Lords, including a talisman for Karness Muur. After the Dark Jedi settled on the planet Ziost, Syn went back to Korriban with a group of priests and slaves. They opened the ancient sealed tombs of the Sith, including the sanctuary of Sakkra-Kla, which was sealed for over 10,000 years. At the end of her life, Sorzus Syn created her own holocron.
13 Darth Wyyrlok III - Chagrian
Darth Wyyrlok was a Chagrian Lord and loremaster of the One Sith. When the Dark Lord Darth Krayt named himself as Galactic Emperor, Darth Wyyrlok served as his steward. The Chagrin known as Darth Wyyrlok was the third to hold that title, after his father and grandfather.
Wyyrlok came into power during the Sith-Imperial War. Krayt and his followers sided with the Fel Empire, which was the name given to the remnants of the Galactic Empire after 44ABY. After the Massacre at Ossus, he traveled with Krayt, along with others, to Coruscant, which became the Fel Empire’s throneworld. Krayt overthrew the Fel and installed himself as the new Emperor.
After a battle with a Jedi, Krayt lay dying, and Wyyrlok put him inside a stasis chamber. He started searching for a way to prolong Krayt’s life, and turned to an ancient Sith legend: Darth Andeddu and his holocron.
12 Darth Andeddu - Unknown Species
Darth Andeddu, also known as the Immortal God-King of Prakith, was a legendary Dark Lord of the Sith, and he was thought to be the first to adopt the title of “Darth.” The legend of Darth Andeddu and his powers was so great that the Jedi tried to erase all knowledge and references of him from the galactic record.
Andeddu became wise and powerful in the dark side. He studied the ways of the original Lords of the Sith, specifically the arcane rituals of Karness Muur. Andeddu searched for ways to cheat death and eventually succeeded. He learned the secret of Transfer Essence, in which a Sith transferred their consciousness to a new vessel after dying.
As Darth Andeddu grew in power, he also became paranoid that his subordinates wanted his knowledge, which he refused to share. Eventually the other Sith Lords plotted to steal his secrets and destroy him. Andeddu fled to his home world of Prakith, where he recorded all of his knowledge into a holocron.
11 Darth Maladi - Devaronian
Darth Maladi, born Malincha, was a female Devaronian taken by the Sith from her home world after Darth Krayt killed her father. After extensive training in the dark side she became a Sith Lady in Darth Krayt’s One Sith Order.
Maladi specialized in inquisition, torture and mental manipulation. As a result she became the head of Sith Intelligence and Assassination. As a scientist, she experimented with ways to combine science with dark side powers. Maladi was responsible for creating the narcotic ixetal cilona, and was the mastermind behind the sabotage of a Galactic-Alliance project to terraform the planet Ossus, a Jedi world.
Ten years after Darth Krayt made himself Emperor, he ordered Darth Maladi to capture Cade Skywalker, the last of the Skywalker family. After a Sith defeat at the hands of Imperial Knights and a Jedi Master, Darth Wyyrlok took her and others to Coruscant to recover from their injuries.
10 Darth Bane - Human
Darth Bane was a human male who lived a thousand years before the Clone Wars. During his time on Korriban, the Sith were obsessed with power, and fought amongst themselves. Because of this infighting, the Jedi Order were able to defeat the Sith once and for all. Darth Bane was the only survivor.
After realizing that the Sith weakened themselves through infighting, he instated a Sith philosophy called the Rule of Two. Under this rule, there could be only two Sith at a time: a Master to embody power and an apprentice to crave it. Bane was also famous for a plot called the Grand Plan. The Grand Plan was a calculated Sith plot to destroy the Jedi Order, remove the Galactic Republic and have the Sith rule.
Once the Sith master taught the apprentice everything, it was traditional for the apprentice to kill the master and take his/her place. Bane took an apprentice of his own, Darth Zannah, who carried on his legacy.
9 Darth Cognus - Iktotchi
Darth Cognus, known as the Huntress, was a female Iktotchi assassin who was in operation in the years after the end of the New Sith Wars. After working as a bodyguard for the royal house of the planet Doan, she was hired by Princess Serra to track down Darth Bane.
She was able to ambush Bane and immobilize him with senflax poison. She stayed at the prison in which Bane was kept because she believed her destiny was somehow linked with his. After Darth Bane escaped, she asked him to train her as a Sith, and she became Darth Cognus.
Before Cognus could begin her training, Bane’s apprentice Darth Zannah battled him for the right to become a Sith Master. Zannah eventually won and killed Bane, and Darth Cognus joined the Order of Sith Lords. After becoming a Sith Master years later, she took a human mutant, Darth Millennial, as an apprentice, but she had to give him up for blasphemy against the Rule of Two.
Another notable human Sith was Darth Sidious, also known as Emperor Palpatine. He was the last reigning Dark Lord under the Rule of Two. Darth Sidious started out as an apprentice to Darth Plagueis.
8 Darth Nihl - Nagai
Darth Nihl was a male Nagai who served in Darth Krayt’s Galactic Empire during the Sith-Imperial War. Nihl was eventually promoted to become an Emperor’s Hand. One of his first missions was to help out with Darth Maladi’s sabotage of Ossus. He killed the Jedi Master Kol Skywalker, Cade Skywalker’s father, and mortally wounded Zabrak Master Wolf Sazen.
He served as Emperor’s Hand over the next seven years around the galaxy. Cade Skywalker eventually sought to avenge his father’s death, and tried to kill Darth Nihl. After Skywalker was captured, and later escaped, Darth Nihl chased him. After a battle, Skywalker chopped Darth Nihl’s right arm off.
As punishment for losing, Krayt let Darth Maladi perform experiments on Nihl, using Yuuzhan Vong biots. After Darth Krayt’s defeat during the battle on Had Abbadon, Nihl joined Darth Wyyrlok to keep Krayt’s death a secret. They set out to Korriban and searched for Darth Talon. Talon and Nihl dueled in an ancient Sith tomb, and Darth Krayt was resurrected.
7 Darth Talon - Lethan Twi’lek
A female Lethan Twi’lek, Darth Talon became an Emperor’s Hand with Darth Nihl. She helped capture Cade Skywalker and briefly trained him in the dark side, until he rebelled and escaped. After Darth Krayt’s death, Darth Wyyrlock tried to take over the One Sith, but Talon stayed loyal to Krayt.
Talon helped Krayt recover and fought with Darth Nihl against the Sith who sided with Darth Wyyrlok. After Krayt was killed during the Battle of Coruscant, Darth Talon and others went into hiding, but not until they launched a counter attack against a group of Jedi, Imperials and bounty hunters.
During her training under Darth Ruyn, another Twi’lek, she was psychologically molded to completely obey the rules of the One Sith Order. Her final test of loyalty to Darth Krayt was to kill Darth Ruyn. She succeeded in this task and that’s when she was promoted to Darth Krayt’s Hand.
6 Darth Maul - Zabrak
Famous for his tattooed visage, Darth Maul was a Zabrak male apprenticed to Darth Sidious. The son of Mother Talzin of the Nightsisters, he was raised with an intense hatred of the Jedi.
Darth Maul became famous for his acrobatic fighting style with his dual-bladed lightsaber. He showed this when he tracked down the Queen of Naboo and encountered Qui-Gon Jinn and then-Padawan Obi-Wan. He inadvertently revealed that the Sith had returned after a thousand years by battling Qui-Gon, thanks to secrecy and maintaining the Rule of Two.
After a lightsaber battle with Obi-Wan, in which he was defeated, he went into exile and formed an army called the Shadow Collective. He sought out revenge against Obi-Wan and ended up taking his brother as an apprentice.
"You may have forgotten me, but I will never forget you. You cannot imagine the depths I would go to to stay alive, fueled by my singular hatred... for you."
―Darth Maul to Obi-Wan Kenobi on Raydonia
5 Asajj Ventress - Dathomirian
Throughout various points in her life, Asajj Ventress was a slave, a Jedi Padawan, a Sith apprentice, a Nightsister and a bounty hunter. She was apprenticed to Count Dooku, who himself was apprenticed to Darth Sidious.
Asajj Ventress became known for her twin lightsabers, and brutal lightsaber combat. She became a commander in the Separatist military and fought in the Clone Wars.
As the war between the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems raged on, Darth Sidious became alarmed at how quickly Ventress acquired strength through the dark side, and ordered Dooku to kill her. He failed, and Ventress escaped and eventually became a bounty hunter, rescuing Obi-Wan from Darth Maul.
Count Dooku eventually succeeded in killing Ventress. He originally attacked her lover Quinlan Vos with Force Lightning, but Ventress stepped in and sacrificed herself. She was laid to rest in the waters of her home planet, Dathomir.
4 Darth Desolous - Pau’an
Before becoming a Sith Lord, Desolous was a respected Jedi Master. He studied the ways of the Sith and had a “lust for battle.” Eventually he turned to the dark side. As a result, he was expelled from the Jedi Order and became Darth Desolous, known for his rage and unique fighting style.
Swearing revenge on the Jedi, he brought together an army of Pau’ans, training them in martial arts. In a series of ambushes against Jedi Knights around the galaxy, Desolous killed almost two thousand Jedi. With all of these victories, he became overconfident and careless.
Darth Desolous and his army were eventually defeated on the planet Yaga Minor by an ambush of Jedi fleet. During that battle Darth Desolous was killed, and according to legend it took the entire Jedi Council to strike him down.
"A thousand Jedi died cursing Darth Desolous. Now you too will scream my name."
3 Darth Tenebrous - Bith
Darth Tenebrous, also known as Rugess Nome, was a Dark Lord of the Sith whose lineage stretched back to Darth Bane. Under the guise of Rugess Nome, his public persona, he was a legendary starship designer. As Darth Tenebrous, he was a scientific mastermind and obsessed with controlling the future.
Tenebrous viewed the dark side of the Force not as an evil, mystic sentience, but instead as an energy source that could be manipulated. He studied the microscopic life forms that enabled Force-sensitivity, called midichlorians. Tenebrous experimented with altered midichlorians that he called “maxi-chlorians.”
After his apprentice killed him, he used the maxichlorians as a carrier for his consciousness. He secretly possessed his apprentice and robbed him of his Force-sensitivity. With the power of foresight he was able to see a vision of the future, where he foresaw the rise of the Chosen One.
2 Darth Plagueis - Muun
Darth Plagueis was the aforementioned apprentice to Darth Tenebrous. He was a legendary Sith who studied how to use the Force to cheat death and live forever. Like his master, Plagueis had a scientific mind, and experimented with midichlorians.
Eventually, Darth Plagueis became so powerful that, like Darth Andeddu millennia before, he was afraid of losing his power. He also had a belief that the Force would “strike back” at him for his power.
According to his apprentice, Darth Sidious:
"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."
Sidious would later use this story of “the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise” to seduce Anakin Skywalker to the dark side.
1 Sith Emperor - Sith Species
Vitiate, later known as the Sith Emperor, was a Dark Lord of the Sith who reformed the Sith Empire after the Great Hyperspace War in 5000 BBY.
Born in 5113 BBY as Tenebrae, he grew up terrorizing his family and village with his newly-discovered Force-sensitivity. In his rise to power, he presented himself to Maria Ragnos, ruler of the Sith Council, who gave him the title Lord Vitiate.
He conquered his home planet and renamed it Nathema, ruling it for the next century. After the Great Hyperspace War in which most of the Sith were killed, he called the remaining Sith Lords to Nathema. He lured them with the promise of defeating the Jedi, but turned on them. Vitiate used their strength and performed a ritual that made him immortal, at the expense of every living thing on the planet.
Proclaiming himself the Sith Emperor, he journeyed to a world in the Unknown Regions called Dromund Kaas. Over the next thousand years he studied the dark side and built a civilization. He wanted to recreate his immortality ritual on a galactic scale, consuming everything and becoming a god.
Despite his best efforts and immortality, the Sith Emperor was ultimately defeated, and his powers and achievements were still remembered thousands of years later.
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