They use the Force for power and personal gain, and care only for themselves. The Sith are considered evil. It is important to note that not every user of the Dark Side of the Force is a Sith—to be a Sith requires specific training and instruction. Without this, a Dark Sider is often considered "merely" a Dark Jedi. The Mysterious Somebody, though occasionally referred to as a Sith Lord, was a Dark Jedi, while Rilwen Shadowflame and Cavan Shenn are Sith.
History of the Sith Edit
Before the Films Edit
The Sith were originally an alien species originating on the planet Korriban. Seven thousand years (according to the New Essential Chronology, which retconned several aspects of the Star Wars Universe) before the film timeline, a handful of Jedi break from the Order to form their own group dedicated to the Dark Side of the Force. They then make war on their former comrades, are defeated, and are exiled from the Republic. They then find Korriban, and with displays of Advanced Technology and Force Power, rule over the Sith.
Five thousand years before A New Hope, the Sith Empire is discovered by the Galactic Republic, which is attacked. However, infighting between Ludo Kressh and Naga Sadow, the two greatest Sith lords of the Empire, allow the Republic to regain the initiative and strike back.
One thousand years before The Phantom Menace, there are as many Sith as there are Jedi. However, they are too busy fighting amongst themselves to properly unite and try to regain control of the galaxy. Eventually, Darth Bane decides to solve the problem by exterminating every Sith except for himself and his apprentice, Darth Zannah, and instituting the Rule of Two: "Only two shall there be, a master and an apprentice: one to embody power and the other to crave it." Because of this, it is almost expected that one day either the master or the apprentice will turn on the other, resulting in death for the loser and the need for a new apprentice.
Prequel Trilogy Edit
In The Phantom Menace, the Jedi sent to assist Naboo are hounded by Darth Maul, apprentice of Darth Sidious (who is actually Senator Palpatine). Qui-Gon Jinn battles with Darth Maul twice, once on Tatooine, where he barely escapes, and once on Naboo, where he loses his life. Darth Maul is then killed by Qui-Gon's then-apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi. This incident draws Darth Sidious's attention to the newly freed slave Anakin Skywalker, who is accepted as Obi-Wan's Padawan.
In Attack of the Clones, Sidious, as Palpatine, uses his new apprentice Darth Tyranus (former Jedi Master Count Dooku) to manipulate events in order to gain power. Using his influence as both trusted Senator and Sith Lord, he engineers a war between the Separatists' Droid Army and the newly formed Clone Army of the Republic. Tyranus duels with Kenobi, Anakin, and Yoda on Geonosia after the clone troopers arrive, defeating the first two and fleeing from the third. He flees to Sidious's base on Coruscant and gives him the plans for the Death Star.
Revenge of the Sith sees Sidious reveal himself as a Sith Lord, with Anakin Skywalker as his new apprentice. Once the Jedi realise what is going on, it is too late. The clone troopers are ordered to kill all Jedi. Anakin Skywalker, now Darth Vader, is sent to wipe out everyone within the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Anakin and Obi-Wan battle on the volcanic planet of Mustafar, where Obi-Wan leaves Anakin badly wounded and near death, resulting in his transformation into the dreaded figure that most fans associate with Darth Vader. With the Jedi virtually eliminated, Palpatine declares himself Emperor for life and transforms the Republic into the Galactic Empire.
The Original Trilogy Edit
Darth Sidious, known to most as Emperor Palpatine, and Darth Vader rule the galaxy with an iron fist. Their only opposition is the Rebel Alliance, which is close to defeat. In A New Hope, Vader and Obi-Wan have a final encounter, which ends in Obi-Wan's sacrifice as he buys time for Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Chewbacca to escape in the Millennium Falcon. At the end of A New Hope, Vader and Palpatine become aware of Luke Skywalker's presence after he uses the Force to aim the missiles that destroy the Death Star. They begin making plans to lure him to the Dark Side.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader duels with Luke Skywalker in Cloud City. Here he reveals that he is Luke's father, contrary to what Obi-Wan had told him. Despite Luke's training with Yoda, Vader still wins the fight and manages to chop off Luke's hand, in a chilling parallel to the mutilation inflicted on Anakin by Darth Tyranus.
Return of the Jedi marks Vader's redemption from the Dark Side. Palpatine captures Luke Skywalker and tries to convince him to turn to the Dark Side of the Force. Luke duels briefly with Vader and wins, almost turning to the Dark Side and killing him in a moment of anger. When he recovers his composure and throws away his lightsaber, Sidious tortures Luke with Force lightning. Luke calls out to his father to save him in desperation, somehow penetrating to the small spark of Light within him. Vader saves Luke by throwing Sidious into the main reactor shaft of the new Death Star, receiving a lethal blast of Force lightning in the process. Before he dies, he asks Luke to remove his mask so his last breaths can be as Anakin Skywalker, rather than Darth Vader. His death and the actions leading up to it mean that he has fulfilled the prophecy and destroyed the Sith once and for all.
After Return of the Jedi Edit
The Sith appear a few times in the Expanded Universe material set after Return of the Jedi. Palpatine appears in several of the comic books, and Vader's former minion Lumiya is a main antagonist in the Marvel Comics Star Wars and Legacy of the Force series. In the latter, she causes a new civil war by turning one of the New Jedi Order's best Knights, Jacen Solo, into the Sith Lord Darth Caedus.
In the Star Wars: Legacy series, set 130 years after Return of the Jedi, the Jedi are decimated by the Sith (led by former Jedi Darth Krayt), and the galaxy is once again ruled by a Sith empire.
Sith Mary Sues Edit
Mary Sues like to be Sith as often as they like being Jedi. They both have special powers, but the Sith's are far more edgy and generically "evil." However, the Sith incarnation of the Mary Sue can be far more varied than the Jedi one, capable of taking many different routes to stupidity. They can play the idea of a Sith straight and make a villain Sue, but more often than not they miss the point of being a Sith and make them a token goth with the ability to shoot bolts out of their hands. Or, they can make a speshul "good" Sith who doesn't follow the rules of being a Sith and is really a good guy all along.
The slightly-more-researched Sith Sues often miss the fact that the Sith are not only a philosophy but a culture—and that culture is one that blatantly disregards sentient life for personal gain. Although the philosophy of the Sith doesn't mention kicking puppies or eating babies, the surviving CULTURE is evil. Any "Sith" that follows Sith philosophy and acts like a good person because of it (a reinterpretation of it, for instance) will face rejection and most likely death at the hands of other Sith. In other words, they would be terrible at being a Sith in the same way that a traitor to a country, religion, creed, or social group would be considered a terrible one of those things, too. Which would be an interesting and cool idea for a Sith character. But Mary Sues don't do that.
Sith have done good things, or done bad things for good reasons, but those are individuals and the whole identity of "Sith" contains the ideas of desiring power and eliminating all in one's way to get it. It's not helped by many Canon Sues by various EU authors all wanting their own speshul Sith character that would wow all of the fanboys.
To make a lot of this simpler, Sith are not "just misunderstood." There is no protagonist-worthy crux of Sith culture that would make somebody a hero or a good person. Being a Sith is not something to take lightly, and disregarding the social conventions of being a Sith, or disregarding the impact of being corrupted by the Dark Side of the Force, is very charge-worthy.
If a character takes the bonuses (cool powers, lightsaber, swanky robes) of being a Sith, they must also take the penalties of being a Sith (hostile culture, unable to trust anybody, enemy of Jedi) or face the consequences of not properly fitting in. This can make a good story when done well, but in the case of Mary Sues, it's all gravy and no gristle.
Notable Sith Edit
- Darth Bane
- Darth Caedus
- Darth Maul
- Darth Plagueis
- Darth Revan
- Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine
- Darth Vader
- Exar Kun
- Marka Ragnos
- Naga Sadow