Star Wars couldn’t have asked for a more foreboding cabal of villains than the dreaded Sith. These nefarious individuals wield the immense power of the dark side of the Force, in direct antithesis to their Jedi competitors. As a result, the two factions have fought relentlessly for thousands of years, building up a series of pivotal moments in the history of the Sith Order.
Over time, the Sith have become more powerful as they unlock more secrets of the dark side, and certain practitioners have gone down in legend as the best of the best. These fearsome foes channeled all their hatred, malice, and passion into the dark arts, wreaking havoc across the galaxy in the process.
Updated on November 24th, 2021 by Derek Draven: There are many fabled Sith in Star Wars lore that live in infamy for their unbridled destructive power, and that’s a testament to how much hate they’ve poured into their dark side training. Many Sith deserve to be remembered for how they’ve used the Force for their own nefarious ends. Each Sith member is a cautionary tale of what can happen when the selfish pursuit of one’s passions overrules the desire for the greater good.
Darth Malgus may be familiar to those who know their history of the Old Republic Star Wars era. Physically, he resembles Darth Vader in many ways, right down to his choice of attire. Malgus was singular in his goals and immensely powerful in the dark side of the Force.
After receiving severe injuries in battle, Malgus did as many Sith do, and relied on a special mask to help him breathe. He wielded a variety of Force abilities with frightening ease, driven entirely by his anger. Yet, for all his hatred, Malgus was rather pragmatic, as opposed to cruel.
The first Sith Empire had a lot of legends, and one of its most fearsome was the dreaded Marka Ragnos. This dark side practitioner was one of the most infamous and powerful Sith Lords of old, helping to forge the direction of the movement as the centuries rolled on.
As such, he’s one of the most fabled figures in Sith lore and was said to be even more powerful than the wisest and most skilled Jedi Masters. So powerful was his dark side training that Ragnos was even able to maintain his spirit many millennia after his death, awakening during the time of Luke Skywalker to try his hand again.
Manipulated from a young age by the being called Snoke and his master Darth Sidious, Ben Solo was enamored by the dark side of the force, and the power he could draw from it. An act of betrayal by his uncle Luke Skywalker was all he needed to take the final plunge into darkness, drawing upon his rich bloodline in an attempt to emulate his grandfather, Darth Vader.
Although having redeemed himself before death, Kylo Ren demonstrated a range of abilities that many Force users have not been known to use, including freezing blaster bolts in mid-air for a prolonged period of time. Despite this, Kylo Ren was not technically a Sith, though it could be argued that his manipulation by Darth Sidious put him in the same category.
Ventress was once the trainee of Count Dooku until she realized she’d never be able to rise up the ranks due to the Rule of Two that Darth Sidious adhered to. She was also blessed with a streak of goodness that eventually overcame her evil ways, prompting her to change her life around for the better.
She eventually turned to bounty hunting, but her background as one of the Night Sisters meant that she was more powerful in the Force than many realized. Her people drew on ancient Force powers resembling witchcraft and darkness in order to fuel their rage and strength. As a lightsaber duelist, she was remarkably talented.
A former Jedi, Ulic fell to the dark side of the Force and has since become a storied member of the Sith religion. Qel-Droma’s gifts were largely natural, as his training was not overly sufficient during his younger years. Nevertheless, he rose to become one of the most profound Sith in history.
His corruption opened the door to many Force abilities that had been off-limits in the past. Mind control and increased agility are two that he often used during his skirmishes. In the end, Qel-Droma abandoned the Sith ways and reverted back to the light side, until he was slain by the cohort of a vengeful Jedi.
Darth Maul represents the epitome of elite Sith physical training, tied directly into the dark side of the Force. Raised from a young age by Darth Sidious, Maul was forged in the fires of hatred and destruction, becoming a living Sith weapon with a frightening degree of power.
As Sith Lord alongside Sidious, Maul worked clandestinely from the shadows to undermine his master’s opponents, and pave the way for his Order’s ascension. After being vanquished in a fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi, he lost his master’s favor and became a renegade seeking to undermine the Sith, while amassing power for himself. Had he continued as Sidious’ apprentice, he may very well have succeeded in taking his place.
One of the key figures in Old Republic lore, Freedon Nadd was Exar Kun’s master and a major player in the galaxy for generations after his own physical death. He ruled Onderon for a hundred years after having subjugated the world, but his true power extended far beyond that simple reign.
Originally a member of the Jedi Order, Freedon Nadd abandoned their teachings and went on to lay the groundwork for the ascension of the Sith. He would even serve as master to future Sith Lord Exar Kun, a being so powerful that he was able to haunt the Massassi Temples on Yavin 4 thousands of years after his demise.
Exar Kun was introduced in the now non-canonized Star Wars “Legends” novels as an ancient Sith Lord who haunted the Massassi Temples on Yavin 4, which were used by the Rebellion in their fight against the first Death Star. He managed to corrupt one of Luke Skywalker’s Jedi disciples and turn him into a weapon before his influence was broken.
It took the combined efforts of Skywalker’s entire academy to overcome Kun’s will and banish him back into the darkness. In his prime, Kun was unbelievably powerful, to the point where even his own lightsaber was imbued with enough dark side energy to corrupt stalwart Jedi Masters.
Revan was an ancient Sith who became the namesake of the 3rd Legion of the Sith Eternal. He started out as a powerful Jedi who became disillusioned by the death and destruction wrought during the Old Republic’s war with the Mandalorians and decided to forge a new path for himself.
Eventually, Revan was seduced by the dark side and intended to use his newfound powers to bring order and peace to the galaxy, by whatever means necessary. The Jedi managed to wipe his memory, giving Revan a second chance to redeem himself for his past actions. He would eventually avert a galactic catastrophe by confronting his former pupil Darth Malak and defeating him in combat.
Darth Tyranus represents a typical being corrupted by the dark side through the desire to do good. Count Dooku was once a predominant member of the Jedi Order before he became frustrated with its inefficiencies. He ended up leaving the Order with a desire to expose the corruption of the Republic senate, and pave the way for change. This led Dooku down a secretive and complicated path towards Sith ascension.
Darth Sidious capitalized on this desire to turn Dooku to the dark side, and Darth Tyranus was born. He mistakenly believed that he could bring the galaxy together by doing away with galactic corruption, but in truth, he was just a pawn for Sidious to assume absolute power, and crown himself Emperor of a new Galactic Empire. Even in his advanced years, Dooku was an incredibly gifted lightsaber duelist, and his natural affinity for the dark side was unmistakable.
Darth Bane is a historical figure in the Star Wars universe, having existed a thousand years before the Clone Wars. His power took on many different forms, from being the only Sith to survive the Jedi-Sith war, to single-handedly establishing the Rule of Two, which was designed to circumvent the competitive nature of the Sith Order.
It was this change that allowed the Sith to remain cloaked in the shadows for a thousand years while the Republic and the Jedi Order became complacent. Darth Sidious would eventually affirm Bane’s faith in the belief when he successfully orchestrated a plot to give himself ultimate power, and create a Sith-based Galactic Empire in the process.
Few Sith were as haunting and terrifying as Darth Nihilus, a Sith Lord who was almost an apparition, rather than a man. He barely spoke, preferring instead to communicate through the Force, which made him almost impossible to reason with. He was also monstrously powerful and capable of incredible feats of dark side prowess.
Nihilus had an inexhaustible hunger that drove him to drain the life force of other beings to sate himself. When the ravages of his affliction became too much to handle, Nihilus was forced to bind his spirit to a ceremonial mask and a suit of armor in order to remain pinned in physical form. He was regarded as a “wound” in the Force; a dark anomaly the galaxy had never before seen.
The twins Jacen and Jaina Solo featured heavily in Star Wars Legends material before it was de-canonized by Disney after they purchased LucasFilm. However, the parallel of Kylo Ren started out in the form of Jacen Solo, a gifted youngster who grew into a capable young man, and a powerful Jedi Knight.
Shortly after the Yuuzhan Vong invasion of the Galactic Core had been thwarted, the galaxy found itself unstable, and under threat of collapse. Jacen embraced the dark side in an effort to save it, taking on the mantle of Darth Caedus. With his power amplified, he slew his own aunt, Mara Jade Skywalker, and waged a war against the remnants of the government before he was finally put down by his twin sister Jaina.
The character of Vergere was introduced in the New Jedi Order series of Legends novels as a strange bird-like humanoid in the company of the ruthless Yuuzhan Vong race. When Jacen Solo was captured by the Vong, it was Vergere who presided over his indoctrination into their culture, including the use of pain as a psychological tool.
Though she claimed to be a former Jedi, Vergere was in fact a double agent working for the Sith, who intended to drive Jacen toward the dark side. For all intents and purposes, she succeeded, thanks largely to her innate Force powers and clever use of Sith manipulation tactics to achieve her goals. Still, for all her scheming, Vergere was a rather neutral character who let the chips fall where they may.
Anakin Skywalker was one of the most powerful Jedi ever to have existed, and the rumored “Chosen One” laid down in Jedi prophecy as the being who would restore balance to the Force. This ended up being true, but the manner in which the prophecy would be fulfilled was something the Jedi couldn’t possibly have expected.
After being defeated by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Skywalker turned himself over fully to the dark side of the Force and became the scourge of the Jedi Order. Vader could tap into his own hatred in a way that few Sith could ever manage, and few who stood against him lived to tell the tale. Despite lacking the mobility and health of his former body, Vader was capable of razing entire structures to the ground with a simple gesture.
The Bith known as Tenebrous was one of the most powerful Sith ever to have existed, and he possessed a number of Force abilities that even the strongest did not have. He was also master to Darth Plagueis, and his Bith science acted as the precursor to that Sith Lord’s eventual meddling with midi-chlorian research.
Skilled in lightsaber combat, Tenebrous could also harness rare red Force lightning, and his precognitive capabilities were astonishing. He could even pinpoint the time of his own death, which was practically unheard of among Force users. It was perhaps for this reason that his experimentation with midi-chlorians became such an obsession.
If the stories are to be believed, Darth Plagueis was an extremely powerful Sith Lord who attained mastery over the Force, enough to resurrect the dead. This was a remarkable feat, though he wouldn’t live long enough to attain the immortality that he no doubt sought.
Darth Sidious seized the moment to slay Plagueis, thereby taking the mantle of Sith Lord for himself. It is possible that Plagueis had simply outlived his usefulness to Sidious, who was preparing to make his move on the Republic senate. Whatever the case, he ended up slaying one of the most powerful Sith Lords ever to have lived.
The woman known as Darth Traya did not showcase her affinity for the dark side in obvious ways. Rather, she was a schemer and a manipulator who straddled the gray area between light and dark to fool her opponents and achieve her goals. As such, many underestimated her and fell victim to her silver tongue.
Pragmatic in nature, Traya waged a campaign of destruction against the Jedi Order, but her true purpose was revealed only shortly before her death. She came to view the Force as a manipulative blight on existence itself and sought to eradicate it by wounding it irreparably.
Darth Vitiate, otherwise known as the Sith Emperor, existed during the time of the Old Republic and was widely regarded as one of the most deadly Sith ever to have taken up the mantle. Before the age of adulthood, Vitiate had already massacred thousands, gaining him enough notoriety for Marka Ragnos to take notice.
He was able to gather the remaining Sith Lords, drain their power–alongside that of an entire planet–and use a combination of both to increase his own power and lifespan. He proclaimed himself Emperor and enjoyed a very destructive reign before his eventual demise.
No other Sith Lord managed to accomplish so much through the dark side of the Force than Darth Sidious. The child of a moderately influential family on the planet of Naboo, young Sheev Palpatine rose through the ranks of the Republic Senate, eventually representing his homeworld as an influential Senator.
In truth, he was biding his time, and orchestrating a series of events that would lead to the downfall of the Republic, and the ascension of the dreaded Galactic Empire. Sidious had incredible powers of foresight, he was a master strategist, and he could best the most powerful Jedi and Sith in combat, even at the same time. Despite his elderly appearance, Sidious could have toppled the most powerful Sith in history with relative ease. His combination of a keen mind, a pitiless personality, and overwhelmingly deadly Sith powers was too much even for the entire Jedi Order to stand against. He was also fine with breaking the Rule of Two, which is one thing the Star Wars films don’t mention.
NEXT: 10 Best Sith Lords from the Old Republic, Ranked
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