In this article:
- The Sith lords of Star Wars are the masters of an ancient Force-wielding institution that has a history almost as long as the Jedi’s own.
- That said, few Sith appear in the Star Wars movies and most of the ones that do get shown in the franchise are only found in books, comics, and games.
- This list contains the Sith lords you haven’t heard of if you’ve only watched the movies as well as a quick explainer on why we have so few Sith in the franchise.
The struggle between the Jedi and Sith is a major part of the Star Wars movies, but despite all the talk of bringing balance to the Force we get in the films, we always get more Jedi than Sith in the movies.
There’s Darth Sidious (a.k.a Sheev Palpatine) and Darth Vader, but that’s it. Just the number of Jedi masters in the prequel trilogy alone pushes the Jedi to Sith ratio heavily in favor of the Light side of the force.
So why are there so few Sith Lords?
Why Are There So Few Sith Lords?
The Sith Order operates according to a doctrine known as the Rule of Two that dictates that there should only be one Sith master and one apprentice at any given time.
That said, Darth Sidious breaks this rule several times throughout the Star Wars prequels by taking on Count Dooku, Darth Maul, and Darth Vader as apprentices in overlapping periods of time.
Generally, though, the Rule of Two tells followers of the Sith Order that there should be a master who embodies and possesses the power of the Dark side and an apprentice who covets said power.
This is done to motivate the apprentice to become more powerful than the master, kill him, and take his place to continue the Rule of Two.
The Rule of Two hasn’t always existed though and that’s why most of the Sith lords of the Star Wars franchise come from outside the movies.
10 Sith Lords That You Likely Haven’t Heard Of
1. Darth Krayt
Darth Krayt was a Sith lord and former Jedi Master who assumed leadership of the Sith after the “death” of Darth Sidious. He was born on Tatooine to a Jedi father and lived alongside the Tusken Raiders in his youth.
Weirdly enough, Darth Krayt and Darth Vader knew each other in their Padawan days and even went on a mission to Tatooine during which A’Sharad Hett, Darth Krayt’s original identity, witnessed Anakin’s murder of the Sand People.
Believing that it was Anakin’s job to own up to his own moral failings, Hett didn’t report him to the council. He’s later captured and tortured by an enemy force and succumbs to the Dark side.
Despite this, his devotion to the Jedi way gave him a unique perspective on how the Sith Order should be run.
Unlike other Sith lords who were happy to kill each other in pursuit of personal power, Darth Krayt believed that organizing towards a common goal was the way to keep the Sith Order together.
2. Darth Sion
Darth Sion was a Sith lord who lived during the days of the Sith Empire and served in its army, fighting against the Republic and the Jedi. He would have died in a confrontation if he hadn’t used the powers of the Dark side to bring his body back to life.
The guy literally runs on spite. But because this power is unnatural and feeds off his negative emotions, Darth Sion is constantly in pain, thus earning him the title “Lord of Pain.”
He later becomes part of the Sith Triumvirate together with Darth Nihilus, the Lord of Hunger, and Darth Traya, a former Jedi master.
He would eventually betray Darth Traya, however, leading to a chain of events that would lead him to realize that his body’s dependence on the Force was anything but powerful and thus, contrary to his reason for existing.
3. Darth Zannah
Darth Zannah was the first Sith lord to claim the title after the establishment of the Rule of Two. Her master, Darth Bane, was the inventor of the Rule of Two which he created as a solution to the constant infighting that left the Sith Order too weak to resist the Jedi.
Little is known about Darth Zannah, largely because she and her master continued the Sith Order in secret.
The Jedi Order never found a conclusive answer as to Darth Bane’s disappearance, but it’s theorized that Darth Zannah killed him in a duel to take his place as master.
In the Star Wars: Darth Bane books, Darth Zannah is shown to be a very conniving fighter who makes use of her master’s teachings and always keeps a few tricks up her sleeve.
4. Darth Traya
Darth Traya is one of the most tragic and influential figures in the history of the Sith Order. She was originally known as Kreia, a Jedi Master and historian.
She was the master of multiple notable Sith lords and Jedi such as Darth Revan, Darth Nihilus, Darth Sion, and Meetra Surik.
Despite her accomplishments, she was exiled from the Jedi Order for her freethinking approach to training students. She eventually fell to the Dark side, but not without keeping her unique way of interpreting the mysteries of the Force.
After being betrayed by Darth Nihilus and Darth Sion, Darth Traya turned her back on both the Jedi and Sith Orders because she realized neither of them offered true power, but dependence on the Force.
5. Darth Revan
Darth Revan is a favorite in the Star Wars fandom. First introduced in Star Wars Legends, Darth Revan was a former Jedi Knight and ex-Padawan of Darth Traya who abandoned the Jedi order to rebuild the Sith Empire.
Most of his lore right now is no longer canon, but in Legends, Darth Revan was a Sith lord who had different ideas on how to run the Sith Order from Darth Sidious.
Together with Darth Malak, he broke away from the Emperor and fought against the Republic.
6. Darth Tenebrous
Have you ever heard the story of Darth Plagueis the Wise? Darth Tenebrous was his prequel.
Like Darth Zannah, little is known about him other than him being the master of Darth Plagueis, the guy who later became the master of Darth Sidious.
But Darth Sidious likely got his mastery of Force lightning from Darth Plagueis who learned it from Darth Tenebrous, a master of red Sith lightning. He was later killed by his apprentice, Darth Plagueis.
7. Darth Caedus
Darth Caedus may not be canon anymore, but that hasn’t stopped Star Wars fans from comparing him to Kylo Ren, mostly because you can say he’s the original Kylo Ren.
Before his fall to the Dark side, Darth Caedus was known as Jacen Solo, the son of Leia Organa and Han Solo. Though once a talented Jedi knight and hero of the Republic, Jacen Solo had many of the same character flaws that led his grandfather, Anakin Skywalker, to fall to the Dark side.
Jacen Solo was captured and tortured by an enemy force for nearly a year, breaking his resolve and pushing him into the dark side. This marked the beginning of his gradual descent.
Among his many accomplishments are killing Mara Jade Skywalker and becoming a ruler of the galaxy.
8. Darth Vitiate
Darth Vitiate, also known as Tenebrae, was a powerful Sith Lord who was said to be the most powerful of the Sith. Take that with a grain of salt, though, because he’s part of Legends lore and there are arguments for Anakin being the strongest Force user overall.
If there’s one thing that he undisputably has over Anakin, it’s the fact that he became a Sith Emperor of the reconstituted Sith Empire and secretly remained in power for centuries.
Despite his shining accomplishments, he started life as the illegitimate son of a Sith Pureblood noble and a peasant.
His terrifying command of the Dark side and ruthlessness in wielding it quickly led Tenebrae to amass followers in his village. Impressed by his power, the Lord of All Sith, Marka Ragnos, proclaimed him Lord Vitiate.
He would continue his power-hungry ways as he aged and succeeded in a plot to drain a planet of its life essence, thereby extending his own lifespan. Basically, a living Starkiller base.
9. Darth Nihilus
Darth Nihilus was a Sith Lord who formed the Sith Triumvirate together with Darth Traya and Darth Sion. While Darth Sion was known as the Lord of Pain, Darth Nihilus was known as the Lord of Hunger.
Darth Nihilus was one of the few people to survive the destruction of Malachor V at the hands of Meetra Surik, the Jedi General who ordered the use of a superweapon on the planet.
The emotional anguish and trauma caused by this event lead Nihilus to unintentionally channel it as an intense hunger and emptiness that only subsided when he absorbed the life essence of other people.
Sensing a disturbance in the Force, Darth Traya came to him and offered to teach him how to manage his abilities. However, Darth Traya quickly realized that Darth Nihilus was a destabilizing force because his hunger could never be appeased.
Every time he “fed,” the next bout of hunger became more intense until he reached the point where he was eating the life essence of entire planets.
This later resulted in Darth Nihilus’ body disintegrating, forcing him to attach his spirit to his armor.
10. Darth Plagueis
Darth Plagueis’ legacy is mostly just the “Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?” copypasta, but in the lore of the Star Wars franchise, he was a powerful Sith lord who was mainly concerned with achieving immortality.
Unlike Darth Vitiate who just sapped life essence from planets, his approach involved studying the scientific side of the Force to uncover the secrets of the midichlorians.
By doing this, he hoped to find what made things into living organisms and how that could be extended to give himself immortality.
Darth Plagueis later learned of the Doctrine of the Dyad, a mystical Force bond that inspired the Rule of Two. Though he tried to create an artificial one with Darth Sidious, he failed and made the fatal mistake of teaching everything he knew to his apprentice who decided it was time for him to die.
Darth Plagueis’ story explains a lot of the strange happenings in the sequel trilogy.
For one, it gives us an explanation as to how Palpatine was able to create Snoke and Rey as well as how he knew of the Force-bond between Rey and Kylo Ren.
Is Kylo Ren a Sith Lord?
This gets a lot of Star Wars fans confused, but Kylo Ren is not a Sith lord. While he is an apprentice to a Sith lord, he’s part of a different Dark side order known as the Knights of Ren.
The Knights of Ren were followers of the Ren, a sort of pseudo-Taoist Dark side philosophy that saw the lightsaber, and by extension, the Dark side of the Force, as an inherently neutral way of life that was neither Jedi nor Sith.