The Star Wars franchise began with George Lucas’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), and it quickly exploded — both figuratively and literally with the destruction of the first Death Star — into a cultural phenomenon that still inspires Star Wars fans on a daily basis 43 years later.
By the time the original trilogy ended — it also included Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) — Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia Organa), and Mark Hamill (Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker) were Hollywood stars at the forefront of pop culture.
Although the prequel trilogy — Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2003) — and the sequel trilogy — Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019) — were more divisive than Lucas’s original trio of movies, the Star Wars universe has continued to expand far beyond the Skywalker Saga.
Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, for example, have given fans The Mandalorian saga, which has brought animated characters like Anakin Skywalker’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars Padawan Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) to life for the first time. The hit series also introduced Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu (“Baby Yoda”), truly putting the Star Wars franchise back on the map for the first time in years.
But, at its crux — no matter how many television series or movies or novelizations are released — Star Wars will always be about the battle between good and evil, historically between the Jedi Order and the Sith.
Now, for the very first time the franchise has confirmed the origin of the Sith. The new “Secrets of the Sith” supplemental book, said to be written by Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious (Ian McDiarmid) himself, explains how the order that brought fans Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Darth Bane, Darth Plagueis — and all of the other millennia of Sith Lords surrounding them — came to be.
Legend has it the Jedi Order suffered a deep schism millennia ago. An opposing sect dedicated to the glory of the dark side arose from the ashes. The Sith did not share the Jedi’s myopic view of the Force. They embraced the dark side as a means to personal gain and ultimate victory. And, for a time, that great victory would be achieved. The Sith Order grew, spreading its might across the galaxy. But the Jedi became jealous. They would not tolerate a challenge to their authority. After thousands of years of war, the Sith were pushed to the edge of extinction. From the darkness, those who survived laid the foundations for our Order’s return… and my rise to power.
This new explanation of the Sith religion is simpler and much less convoluted than the Star Wars Legends presumption that there is, in fact, a Sith species.
As we move forward in the Star Wars story, the Sith won’t be left behind. In fact, the dark side order is likely to play a key role in the upcoming Disney+ Original series The Acolyte, which will be the first live-action entry into the High Republic multimedia initiative.
The show will take place at the end of the Golden Age of the Jedi and will focus on the rise of the Sith’s dark powers during that era. Director Leslye Headland has referred to her upcoming show as a “tent revival” for the Star Wars galaxy.
What do you think about this new Sith origin story?