Star Wars: The Most Important Pre-Film Sith Lords
Introduction to the Sith
"Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me." - Code of the Sith
The Sith are an ancient order of dark side wielders that believe the force should be used to accumulate power by any means necessary. Eternally at war with the Jedi Order, the Sith will stop at nothing to wipe out all Jedi from the galaxy and plunge it into primal chaos.
A common misconception among casual fans is that any dark side user is automatically a Sith, this is incorrect. According to the Sith rule of two there may only ever exist two Sith at a time, a master and an apprentice, all other dark side users would usually fall under the category of Dark Jedi. The exception to this is in the time prior to Darth Bane, before he established this rule there were as many as thousands of Sith in the galaxy at one point.
Ajunta Pall was the first lord of the sith, a former Jedi, he was exiled for his studies into creating life through the force. Infuriated by the Jedi's rejection he soon gathered a small army of Dark Jedi and declared a war that would plunge the galaxy into a century of darkness. Pall and his forces were defeated and exiled from known republic space, eventually they found themsleves on the desolate planet of Korriban.
Korriban, or Moraband as it was later known, was home to a species of dark side wielding creatures known as the Sith. The Sith were powerful yet primitive and were easily conquered by Ajunta Pall who declared himself emperor and in doing so, became the galaxy's first Sith Lord.
First Appeared In: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic
Lived: 6,900 BBY
Exar Kun was a Jedi Knight who came across ancient Sith knowledge and used it to become Lord of the Sith. Kun lived in a period known as The Old Sith Wars , a time where Sith regimes were constantly rising and falling as the balance of the force shifted almost perpetually. Kun's contribution to these wars was The Great Sith War , a war in which Kun and his Sith empire sought to destroy the republic and the Jedi.
Despite the fact that Exar Kun would eventually be defeated and his Sith Empire dissolved, this war proved a great challenge to both the republic and the Jedi Order. Feeling a responsibility for the devastation of nearly a quarter of republic held planets, the Jedi Order went through major reforms that turned it into a more strict and authoritative organization, these reforms would have a ripple effect even up to the fall of the Jedi Order at the hands of Darth Sidious.
First Mentioned: Tales of The Jedi
Lived: 4030-3996 BBY (Lived on as a spirit until 11 ABY)
Darth Traya was a Jedi Master and Historian exiled because her students chose to follow Revan into the Mandalorian Wars. In her exile Traya chose to retrace Revan's steps and eventually found herself on Malachor V, a planet teeming with the dark side.
On Malachor Traya fell to the dark side and began searching for apprentices, she eventually found Darths Nihilus and Sion and trained them to become powerful Sith Lords. Her reign did not last long however, soon Nihilus and Sion betrayed Traya, stripping her of the force.
Once again exiled, Traya began to go by the name Kriea and searched out fellow Jedi Exile Meetra Surik. Surik unwittingly helped Traya achieve her revenge against both the Jedi and the Sith, when she realized she'd been tricked Surik confronted and defeated Traya.
First Appearance: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II
Died: 3951 BBY
Revan was (surprise, surprise) a Jedi, during the Mandalorian Wars. When the Jedi Council refused to aid the republic in the war Revan, his friend and fellow Jedi Alak, and a few other Jedi known as "Revanchists" went against the council's orders and fought in the war anyway. Revan, being a military mastermind, quickly turned the tide of the war and eventually won it.
Instead of returning to Coruscant after the war to face his punishment, Revan along with Alak journeyed to the far reaches of the galaxy and encountered an ancient sith emperor who turned them to the dark side. Revan and Alak became master and apprentice respectively taking up the names of Darth Revan and Darth Malak.
The two then found an ancient star forge capable of replicating matter, they quickly amassed an enormous military and brought the republic to it's knees, in a last ditch effort to save the republic, Jedi Knight Bastilla Shan made an attempt to capture Revan, thanks to Bastilla's battle meditation and a timely betrayal by Malak, Revan was captured by the Republic.
Suffering from memory loss Revan joins the republic in the fight against Malak, along with Bastilla Shan and companions acquired along the way, Revan scours the galaxy for a map to the Star Forge. Eventually he comes across Malak who reveals to Revan his true identity, faced with a choice between light and dark Revan chooses the light, defeats Malak and saves the republic.
First Appeared: Star Wars Knight of the Old Republic
Lived: 3994 - 3640 BBY
A Quick Summary of Revan
Born a poor miner, Dessel was eventually taken in by Sith at the academy on Korriban. Dessel quickly became a top student and was given the new name of Bane.
Seeing the Sith leaders as weak he left the order and studied the holocrons of Darth Revan's Teachings. Once he learned all that he could from Revan, Bane set out to destroy the dark brotherhood of the sith and establish his own Sith order. Succesful in his mission, Bane formed a new order and established the rule of two that states that there may only ever be two sith at a time, an apprentice and a master.
Bane took on an apprentice, Darth Zannah. Bane trained Zannah with the hopes that she would one day become stronger than her master and kill him. Bane's wish came true as Zannah eventually overthrew Bane as leader of the Sith, thus starting a cycle that would continue on until the deaths of Darths Vader and Sidious.
First Appearance: Darth Bane Path of Destruction
Lived: 1026 - 980 BBY
Raised from a youngling to be a sith lord, Hego Demask II was publicly a muun banking clan representative.
For many years he traveled galaxy with his master, sowing discontent among the republic. Eventually Plagueis continued the cycle of sith murder as he killed his master and took on the title of Sith Lord.
On a visit to Naboo, Plagueis met Sheev Palpatine, a young aristocrat whom he sensed great power within. Plagueis convinced Palpatine to murder his family, when it was done Palpatine was initiated as Plagueis' apprentice, Darth Sidious.
For years the two worked together, plotting a secret takeover of the republic. They moved all the proper pieces into place and everything came together when the trade federation attacked Naboo. Palpatine, having gotten everything he could have possibly gotten from his master, killed Plagueis. The very next day, Palpatine was elected Chancellor of the Republic.
First Appears: Star Wars Episode III
Lived: ? - 32BBY