Star Wars: History Abridged– The Origins of the Sith Lords
The Sith, the ancient order of Dark-Side users bent on galactic domination. For forty-three years, their members have been amongst the greatest villains in pop culture. Yet despite how recognizable they are, Disney’s failed to give them a proper origin story. Thankfully, the old Expanded Universe explained some of it, and today, I’m going to abridge it. Come with me back 7,000 years into the past as we look at the origins of the Jedi’s greatest enemies, the Sith
Around 7,000 BBY (Before Battle of Yavin), a group of Jedi began to believe that the Order wasn’t using the Force to its greatest extent. Thus, to satisfy simple curiosity, they began testing how far they could take the Force. Their experiments bore fruit: these Jedi learned that they could use the Force to manipulate life. Given enough time, they could have used it to even restore or life.
These Jedi wanted their comrades to join them in advancing their knowledge. They hoped that they could eventually find a way to cheat death. However, most of the order saw what their comrades were doing as bad. So instead of trying to compromise or talk them out of it, the Order banned these practices. They feared what would happen if they delved into the darker recesses of the Force. Incensed, these Dark Jedi chose to flee into exile and continue their studies in peace. However, the Jedi would not let them go, and a philosophical debate gave wya to armed conflict. Thus began the period known as the Hundred Year Darkness.
The Hundred Year Darkness
During the war, the Dark Jedi found themselves heavily outnumbered by the Jedi. Thus, in order to turn the tide, they tapped as far into the Force as possible. In the end, the Jedi’s worst fears came true: they created new life. The resulting eldritch abominations sent soldiers running for the hills, and came close to turning to the tide in favor of the Dark Jedi. However, the Jedi Order rallied and, working with the Republic, they began to push back against their former comrades.
After decades of conflict, the sheer numbers of the Jedi and the Republic overwhelmed the Dark Jedi. These exiles made their last stand at the Battle of Corbos. Despite throwing all of their considerable assets against their enemies, though, it was no use. The combined Jedi-Republic assault broke them at long last, leaving only a handful of survivors.
Exiled and Finding a New Home
After their final defeat, many in the Republic wanted the Dark Jedi to be executed, saying they were too dangerous to be left alive. Had that happened, the Galaxy may have been a much different place. Instead, the Jedi chose to exile the survivors beyond known space in the hopes that they would learn the error of their ways. Big mistake.
The dozen or so surviving Dark Jedi didn’t travel blindly into the unknown. They had heard legends of an arid planet that was home to a species of red-skinned beings who were strong in the Dark Side. Eventually, these exiles found what they were looking for: Korriban, the homeworld of the Sith species.
Impressing the natives with their mastery of the Force and their technology, the Exiles were eventually hailed as gods and declared Lords of the Sith. From their new base on Korriban, the former Jedi built an interstellar empire far from the reach of the Republic. In addition, they proceeded to interbreed with the Sith, merging their bloodlines until the two were one and the same.
This is how the Sith came to be, and how they would help shape the Star Wars Galaxy.
A People Built on Revenge
Like much of Star Wars, the origins of the Sith and the Hundred Year Darkness got pushed to the side by Disney’s soft reset of the franchise. Which is a shame, as I think this whole thing provides a very interesting backstory to a group that’s given us some of the best villains in fiction. The Sith were born out of a desire to know more about the Force, something most Jedi were unable or unwilling to understand. As a result, they turned on each other, and their former comrades let their anger twist them into something that would cause untold suffering for thousands of years. The question I want to pose, though, is this: would these Dark Jedi have ended up where they did on their own, or did the Jedi force their hand?
Think about it: if the Jedi had been more open-minded, they could have come to an understanding with their counterparts. Their concerns were justified, as well: playing with power on that scale will eventually backfire. It’s important to be open-minded in order to allow progress, but it’s also important to know when to hold back. Had the Jedi, as a whole, figured this out, the Sith may never have existed. Instead, they did exist, and felt understandably mad over what happened to them.
Disney’s since re-integrated the Hundred Year Darkness into the canon. However, it’s far more vague about what happened. Considering how the Jedi-Sith conflict shapes Star Wars, I fail to see why Disney hasn’t tried harder to explain this. It’s a wasted opportunity.
Star Wars History Abridged
One last thing: this article’s the first in a series of articles I’ll be doing about Star Wars. I call them Star Wars: History Abridged, and as the title implies, I’ll be summing up stories and events from the Expanded Universe for people to read. I know there’s Wookiepedia to do that, but I want to see if it I can make it sound more interesting. It’s my hope that this will boost awareness of all the cool stories Disney abandoned so we can encourage them to bring them back. Star Wars can survive without the Skywalkers, and Disney should know that by now.
May the Force be with you!
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