Star Wars 101: Servants of the Dark Side

Meet those who embraced anger, fear, and aggression.

Taking your first steps into Star Wars with The Force Awakens? Eager to learn more about the galaxy far, far away? The Star Wars 101 blog series is your own Jedi Archives with all you need to know.

“If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you, it will.”
– Yoda (The Empire Strikes Back)

It’s been called the quick and easy path to harnessing the power of the Force. Stemming from anger, fear, aggression, and negativity. But to those who command it, the dark side of the Force is pure, unrestrained, unlimited power. Read on to begin your tutelage in a… larger view of the Force. [If you haven’t seen The Force Awakens yet, be warned that some minor spoilers follow.]

emperor-palpatine-2400x1200-335636179987

Palpatine (Darth Sidious)
“The dark side is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.”
Revenge of the Sith

Dark architect of the Galactic Empire, Palpatine is the ultimate Star Wars mastermind and, prior to The Force Awakens, the saga’s preeminent villain. Possessing an uncanny ability to predict the actions of his enemies, Palpatine (secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious) engineered his ascent from Republic senator to supreme sovereign of the galaxy with a grand plan the Jedi didn’t detect until it was too late. Outwardly frail, Palpatine was in truth a cunning warrior capable of besting even the greatest Jedi warrior in lightsaber combat or by conjuring powerfully destructive Force lightning.

Notable Appearances
Revenge of the Sith
Return of the Jedi
• “The Lawless” (The Clone Wars)
• “Destiny” (The Clone Wars)

The Phantom Menace - Darth Maul

Darth Maul
“Revenge. I must have revenge.”
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “Brothers”

Palpatine’s first Sith apprentice is a devastatingly dangerous combatant and talented tactician who exemplifies the lengths dark side servants will go to in order to preserve themselves and their power. While his defeat at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi sidelined him from galactic events for over a decade, his vengeful reemergence at the height of the Clone Wars subjugated a world, conquered criminal organizations, and claimed the life of Kenobi’s love.

Notable Appearances
• The Phantom Menace
• “Brothers” (The Clone Wars)
• “Eminence” (The Clone Wars)
• “The Lawless” (The Clone Wars)

Attack of the Clones - Count Dooku on Geonosis

Count Dooku (Darth Tyrannus)
“I’ve become more powerful than any Jedi.”
Attack of the Clones

A former Jedi Master, Dooku left the Order after the death of his apprentice Qui-Gon Jinn. Resurfacing years later as the leader of a Separatist movement to withdraw from the Republic, Dooku pledged to end the corruption crippling the galactic government. In truth, he had become Palpatine’s new apprentice Darth Tyrannus and the Separatist movement was meant to trigger the cataclysmic Clone Wars. Dooku possessed a brilliance and charisma matched only by his arrogance, reveling in his dark powers, until a fateful confrontation with Anakin Skywalker under his master’s “protection” taught him that the true way of the Sith was treachery.

Notable Appearances
Attack of the Clones
• “Dooku Captured” (The Clone Wars)
• “The Lost One” (The Clone Wars)
Revenge of the Sith

The Clone Wars - Asajj Ventress

Asajj Ventress
“Now you fall…as all Jedi must.”
The Clone Wars Theatrical Release

Sadness and isolation can be just as easy to give into as anger and hate. For Asajj Ventress, a life of loss and rejection drove her to embrace the dark side as a means to master her own fate. Slave, Nightsister, Jedi apprentice, Sith acolyte, bounty hunter, Ventress passionately strove to find her place in a chaotic galaxy. This made her a riveting character to watch, and one of the most memorable aspects of The Clone Wars.

Notable Appearances
The Clone Wars Theatrical Release
• “Massacre” (The Clone Wars)
• “Bounty” (The Clone Wars)
• “Revenge” (The Clone Wars)

Revenge of the Sith - Darth Vader

Darth Vader
“It is…too late for me.”
Return of the Jedi

He is one of the most memorable pop culture icons of all time, and a character who continues to inspire imaginations all over the world nearly 40 years after he first stepped on to the silver screen. Darth Vader’s tragic origins are the stuff of legend, and his actions the building blocks of nightmares. The Dark Lord executed Palpatine’s will throughout the cosmos, subduing worlds and eliminating any resistance to the rule of the Empire. Upon discovering that he had a son, Luke, Vader sought to turn him to the dark side and overthrow Palpatine. But in the end it was Luke who turned Vader, redeeming his father, who seized Palpatine and ended the despot’s rule by hurtling him into a Death Star chasm.

Notable Appearances
• Revenge of the Sith
• The Empire Strikes Back
• Return of the Jedi
• “The Siege of Lothal” (Rebels)

The Force Awakens - Kylo Ren on Starkiller Base

Kylo Ren
“Show me again the power of the darkness, and I’ll let nothing stand in our way.”
The Force Awakens

In many ways the embodiment of Darth Vader’s legacy, Kylo Ren is ruthlessly determined to follow the example of the long dead Sith Lord he so admires. The leader of the mysterious Knights of Ren originally trained as a Jedi, until he fell under the sway of Snoke and gave himself to the dark side. Like Vader before him there seems to be a glimmer of potential that he may also one day be redeemed, though his horrifying deeds in pursuit of the First Order’s agenda may have taken him beyond such hope.

Notable Appearances
The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens - Supreme Leader Snoke

Snoke
“There has been an awakening.”
– The Force Awakens

The epitome of mysterious, the Supreme Leader of the First Order rules with unquestioned authority. Snoke’s origins are yet to be revealed, though it is known that he is responsible for turning Kylo Ren to the dark side. Despite this, he is gravely concerned about Luke Skywalker’s potential return, suggesting an unpreparedness to confront the Jedi.

Notable Appearances
The Force Awakens

Star Wars Rebels - The Grand Inquisitor

The Grand Inquisitor
“There are some things far more frightening than death.”
Star Wars Rebels – “Fire Across the Galaxy”

Leader of the Inquisitors, vicious bloodhounds assigned by the Empire to pursue the Jedi Order’s shattered remnants, the Grand inquisitor was one of the most prolific Jedi exterminators of his time. Second only to Darth Vader, the Grand Inquisitor was himself a Jedi expert. Using the knowledge contained in the archives of the Jedi Temple (now the Imperial Palace), he equipped himself with information allowing him to exploit the weaknesses of any opponent he could possibly encounter. Despite this advantage and his considerable skill, the Grand Inquisitor was ultimately just another Imperial minion. Faced with repeated failure to defeat Jedi Kanan Jarrus and his rebel cell, the Inquisitor chose to end his life rather than contend with the wrath of his masters.

Notable Appearances
• “Rise of the old Masters” (Star Wars Rebels)
• “Fire Across the Galaxy” (Star Wars Rebels)

Star Wars Rebels - Fifth Brother

The Fifth Brother
“I care not for your struggles. I will succeed where you and Kallus have failed.”
Star Wars Rebels – “Always Two There Are”

Brutish and bloodthirsty, Fifth Brother is a frightening freight train of an Inquisitor who delights in his murderous duties. What he lacks in delicacy he more than makes up for in depravity. And whether alone or paired with one of his sinful “siblings”, he is a considerable force to be reckoned with.

Notable Appearances
• “Always Two There Are” (Star Wars Rebels)
• “The Future of the Force” (Star Wars Rebels)

Star Wars Rebels - Seventh Sister

The Seventh Sister
“The death of the Grand Inquisitor was a surprise to all, yet it does present the rest of us with new opportunities.”
Star Wars Rebels – “Always Two There Are”

Possessing ruthless ambition and masterful manipulation skills rivaling any Lord of the Sith, the Inquisitor known as Seventh Sister is a chilling presence intent on destroying… or converting individuals with burgeoning Force abilities. Relying on the power of the dark side as well as a retinue of small probe droids to aid her in her sinister quest, Seventh Sister seems to take a more personal interest in her quarry. She presses psychological attacks as equally as she does physical ones and takes pleasure in doing so.

Notable Appearances
• “Always Two There Are” (Star Wars Rebels)
• “The Future of the Force” (Star Wars Rebels)

Justin Bolger writes and podcasts about pop culture at his blog, ApexFan.com. Follow and talk Star Wars with him on Twitter @TheApexFan.

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