Star Wars: The Complete History and Timeline of the Sith, Explained

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One of the things that we know about the world of Star Wars is that the Jedi Order has long been at war with the Sith Order. They have been ancient enemies of one another for thousands of years, and a lot of the things that happened to the galaxy involved the never-ending war between the Jedi and the Sith. While we know that Lucasfilm is set to explore the beginning of the Jedi Order more than 20,000 years ago, we don’t know a lot about the Sith Order in the canon storyline of Star Wars.

The Legends side has a good account of what happened when the Sith Order was formed. However, we aren’t sure whether or not the current canon will adopt the Sith’s beginnings in the Legends. So, with that said, let’s look at what we know about the history and timeline of the Sith in canon.

Ancient era

Around 5,000 years ago, a rogue Jedi established the Sith Order, which was named after the red-skinned species that live on the planet called Korriban. What happened was that this rogue Jedi became disillusioned by the Jedi Order, and that was why he decided to seek power and knowledge through the dark side of the Force during an event in the galaxy called the Hundred-Year Darkness. This Jedi was able to gather several other Jedi to follow him as they all embarked on a journey to the dark side of the Force.

korriban

During that time, the Sith and the Jedi were brothers and sisters in the Force, but they eventually fought one another due to their clashing beliefs. While the Sith were defeated and forced to flee, the Jedi didn’t know that their enemies had fled on Korriban, which eventually became Moraband. On this planet, they rebuilt in secret, hoping for a chance to strike back at the Jedi.

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The Sith Order grew on Moraband as they constructed massive temples in a location now called the Valley of the Dark Lords. They also enslaved people and built entire Empires using the manpower of their slaves. Eventually, they fought the Jedi once more as the Sith wanted control over the galaxy. During this time, the Sith were known to have built a lot of superweapons that were built using giant Kyber crystals.

At some point, the Sith also allied with different people, including the Drengir, and betrayed them while exiling them on the Amaxine space station. They also went on to form a lasting pact with the Nightsisters of Dathomir, and this alliance eventually lasted up to the time of the Clone Wars. However, the truth was that the Nightsisters were never loyal to the Sith because they were only loyal to each other.

nightsisters

Nearly 5,000 years before the rise of the Galactic Empire, the Jedi, and the Sith waged war with one another during the age of the Old Republic. The Sith decided to expand their power from Moraband and attacked the Republic capital of Coruscant, allowing them to build a shrine in the depths of the capital planet. But the Jedi were able to defeat the Sith and repel them from Coruscant.

Around that time, the Sith Lord Naga Shadow decided to make Yavin 4 one of the centers of his dark rule as he constructed the Great Temple there. About 1,000 years later, the Jedi created the Jedi Temple over the Sith shrine on Coruscant in an attempt to contain its dreadful power.

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As time went by, the Sith continued to expand their territory by building temples on different planets, including Malachor. At the top of this temple was the same superweapon that we saw during the events of ‘Star Wars: Rebels.’ This massive superweapon had the ability to turn everyone around it into stone, as the Jedi attacked Malachor in the hopes of destroying the weapon. However, the battle culminated in the superweapon, turning everyone on the planet into stone, thus making Malachor a barren planet.

Sith Resurgence

Thousands of years before the events of the Clone Wars, the Sith Order became resurgent once more, threatening the Jedi Order. As such, the Jedi started using Form VII: Juyo so that they could match the aggression and power of the Sith in battle. But this form also led a lot of Jedi to the dark side, forcing the Jedi Order to ban the study of this lightsaber form.

Eventually, the Sith Lord Darth Momin rose to power after killing his master, Darth Shaa. Momin was powerful, but he was a Sith who was hungry for knowledge in the dark side, and that was why he decided to find a way to become worthy of the adoration of the dark side of the Force.

momin

Momin built a superweapon using the knowledge and resources that he inherited from Shaa, as he also had the aid of his dark acolytes. Momin’s superweapon was so powerful that it could incinerate an entire city. But because Momin fancied himself as an artist, he wanted to use the power of the superweapon to freeze the expressions of people, thinking that their terrified faces were a good artwork devoted to the dark side.

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The Jedi eventually intervened and destroyed Momin’s body, only for his spirit to live on in his mask. Meanwhile, the Sith buried knowledge of Momin’s ideas due to the belief that he was a heretic. Neither the Sith nor the Jedi mentions anything about Momin due to his fanatical beliefs.

After Momin’s reign of terror, the Sith Order established a rule of oppression over the galaxy, forcing the Jedi to go to war with them once more. During this time, a cult named the Ascendant tried to recreate the power of the Force using technology but had been hunted down by the Sith operatives called the Darkseekers, who thought that the Ascendant was an order of heretics, much like Momin.

The Ascendant tried to run and hide away from the Darkseekers, only for them to get cut down. However, an artificial intelligence called the Spark Eternal had been completed by the Ascendant. The Ascendant’s leader, Miril, died protecting the Spark Eternal to make sure that the Sith would never recover it.

darkseekers

Eventually, the Jedi and the Sith fought on the planet Takodana, on which Maz Kanata eventually built her castle. Jedi Master Tal Bota became legendary for the many different battles he waged against the Sith during this time period. 

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Sith legends also rose during this time, as Darth Wrend became famous among the Sith for his ability to keep on fighting despite the belief that he was dead. During this time as well, the Jedi named Radaki fell to the dark side, becoming Darth Krall. He won the Battle of Wasted Years and was known to wield a red lightsaber with a golden hilt.

Fall of the Sith

Of course, the Sith also had a dark age, which involved the final battles between them and the Jedi. The Sith attacked the Old Republic capital of Coruscant and were able to capture the planet and even the Jedi Temple. However, the Jedi eventually drove the Sith away from Coruscant in what was one of the final battles between them and the Sith.

Maul vision of jedi

More than a thousand years before the rise of the Empire, there were thousands of Sith. However, the problem was that the Sith often fought one another for power, and that was how the Jedi were able to match the powerful Sith armada despite the fact that the Sith were powerful. Within a year, the Jedi managed to defeat all of the infighting Sith, bringing an end to the dark order as the Jedi believed that all of the Sith had been defeated and killed.

However, the truth was that one Sith Lord, Darth Bane, survived the legendary battle. He reformed the Sith in secret and under the nose of the Jedi as he established the Rule of Two, which states that there should only be two Sith Lords at any given time—a master and an apprentice—so that the infighting would be minimized and to ensure that the Sith would remain in hiding.

darth bane

The Rule of Two also had another goal, which was to strengthen the Sith. According to the Rule of Two, the apprentice should eventually become stronger than the master by honing their skills in the dark side or by becoming so cunning that they are able to outsmart and kill their master. Through this process, the Sith were able to ensure that the next generations of Sith Lords were stronger than their predecessors. 

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This was also in line with the Grand Plan, which was a master plot against the Jedi so that the Sith could eventually take their revenge on the Jedi. As such, Darth Bane was one of the most important figures in the history of the Sith, as it was his Rule of Two and Grand Plan that eventually allowed the Sith to enact their revenge plot.

Fall of the Galactic Republic

Around a thousand years after Darth Bane created the Rule of Two, the Sith existed in the form of Darth Sidious, who was actually Senator Palpatine of the Republic Senate, and his apprentice, Darth Maul. For a thousand years, the Jedi had believed that the Sith had been extinct.

sidious

However, during the events of ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,’ the Sith finally revealed themselves to the Jedi once more as Darth Maul got involved in the issues between Naboo and the Trade Federation. During this time, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, met Anakin Skywalker, who Jinn believed was the prophesized Chosen One who was supposed to bring balance to the Force. 

Maul defeated and killed Qui-Gon Jinn on Naboo. However, Obi-Wan Kenobi avenged his master’s death by defeating and seemingly killing Maul. But right after Maul’s death, Sidious was able to find a new apprentice in Jedi Master Dooku, who had become disillusioned by the Jedi Order due to the corruption of the Senate and what he perceived was blind loyalty on the part of the Jedi Council.

Dooku eventually became Darth Tyranus. He was the one who spun the wheels that eventually led to the outbreak of the Clone Wars as he convinced many systems to break off from the Republic. The Separatists, as they were called, were under the command of Dooku. However, unknown to the Jedi Order, Sidious had risen to the top of the Republic as the Supreme Chancellor.

sidous and dooku

Maul, a former Sith Lord, was revealed to have survived his duel with Obi-Wan. He formed his own “Sith Order” by taking his brother, Savage Opress, as his apprentice. However, afraid of the power that Maul could eventually consolidate to himself, Sidious took action and killed Opress. He spared Maul, who went on to survive the Clone Wars.

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While Dooku was waging his war against the Republic, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker was becoming stronger in the Force under the guidance of his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, Palpatine started grooming the young Jedi in secret by becoming close to him and by planting dark thoughts and feelings inside his head. Near the end of the Clone Wars, Anakin fought and killed Dooku, thus cutting the Sith Order’s count to only one Sith.

Afraid that the visions of his wife’s death would come true, Anakin betrayed the Jedi Order and sided with Darth Sidious, who had revealed himself to Jedi Master Mace Windu. Anakin helped Sidious kill Windu as he had proven his loyalty to the Sith as the new Sith Lord named Darth Vader.

Palpatine and anakin

Vader and his clone troopers stormed the Jedi Temple and killed all of the Jedi there during the height of Order 66. The different clone troopers stationed in different parts of the galaxy killed any Jedi on sight, causing the number of the Jedi Order to dwindle down to under a hundred Jedi.

In what was a last-ditch effort, Jedi Grand Master Yoda decided to assassinate Sidious, who had proclaimed himself as the Emperor of the Galactic Empire. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan was sent to Mustafar to kill Anakin.

Yoda failed in killing Sidious as he escaped and decided to go into exile. While Kenobi defeated Vader, he didn’t kill him. This allowed Darth Vader to live on as a cybernetic monster housed inside a life-support suit. Sidious and Vader went on to rule the galaxy for more than 20 years as they hunted down any surviving Jedi during the reign of the Empire. 

vader and palpatine

On 19 BBY, around a thousand years since the Rule of Two’s establishment, Darth Bane’s Grand Plan had been fulfilled as Sidious was successful in destroying the Jedi Order—a feat that not even thousands of Sith a long time ago could accomplish.

Fall of the Empire

The Sith continued to live for 23 years while Sidious ruled the galaxy as Emperor Palpatine. However, during the 19thyear of the Empire’s rule, Luke Skywalker, the son of Anakin Skywalker, rose up as a Rebel hero. He successfully destroyed the Death Star, which was the Empire’s superweapon against the Republic. Darth Vader, who never knew that his son had survived after the death of his wife, decided to try to pull Luke over to the dark side.

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Three years after the destruction of the Death Star during the battle known as the Battle of Yavin, which took place on 0 BBY/ABY, Darth Vader reveals to Luke Skywalker that he was his father in an attempt to convince him to join him in his side so that they could destroy the Emperor together.

However, Luke rejected his father’s offer and continued his training under Yoda for about a year. On 4 ABY, Luke emerged as a true Jedi Knight as he defeated Darth Vader and rejected Emperor Palpatine’s offer to replace his father as his new apprentice.

Sidious decided to kill Luke for rejecting his offer, but Vader intervened and killed the Emperor, thus redeeming himself and becoming Anakin Skywalker once more. But the destruction of Vader’s life-support suit made it impossible for him to continue to live on as he died after he fulfilled his duty as the Chosen One who was supposed to bring balance to the Force.

palpatine death 2

The deaths of both Darth Sidious and Darth Vader ended the Sith Order’s reign of terror as Luke decided to rebuild the Jedi Order during the time of the New Republic. However, the Sith would not stay dead for long.

The true end of the Sith

Three decades after the fall of the Empire, a new galactic war had been waged between the First Order, which was composed of the remnants of the Empire, and the Resistance, which is an independent military group that tried to oppose the actions of the First Order and defended the New Republic.

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The First Order was led by Supreme Leader Snoke, who was strong in the dark side of the Force but was not a Sith Lord. His apprentice was Ben Solo, the son of Leia Organa and Han Solo and the grandson of Anakin Skywalker. Under the name Kylo Ren, Ben was a powerful user of the dark side of the Force but was not a Sith Lord.

After Kylo Ren killed Snoke to take over the First Order, he eventually found out that the Sith Order was still very much alive on a planet called Exegol, which was home to a cult called the Sith Eternal.

sith eternal cult

For decades, the Sith Eternal tried to find a way to bring Emperor Palpatine back using cloning technology and Sith science and sorcery. While Palpatine continued to live on in the body of a clone, his new body couldn’t contain the power of his malice. As such, Palpatine stayed on Exegol for a long time before finding out that Rey, the new apprentice of both Luke and Leia, was a suitable host for his spirit.

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Palpatine allowed Rey to come to him on Exegol as he revealed to her that she was the daughter of one of his clones, making her a Palpatine in terms of her bloodline. The Emperor tried to seduce Rey into killing him so that his soul could take over her body. However, she decided not to do so as she and the newly redeemed Ben Solo defeated all of the Knights of Ren. 

The power of Dyad of Rey and Ben, however, allowed Palpatine to return to full power. He was now stronger than ever and had proclaimed himself to have the power of all of the Sith. Rey, in her defiance against the Sith, called out to all of the Jedi as they gave her the power to destroy Palpatine once and for all.

palpatine death

Rey destroyed Darth Sidious in both body and soul as she vanquished the Sith Order once and for all. As such, Rey’s actions on 35 ABY led to the ultimate destruction of the Sith Order, as it is unknown whether or not any Sith remained in the galaxy. 

It is possible, though, that the Sith still live as they have survived the Jedi’s attempt to destroy them for 5,000 years. But as far as the current canon is concerned, the Sith are now extinct from the face of the galaxy.

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