Luke and Leia’s father Darth Vader might be the most famous of all Dark Lords of the Sith, but was he the most powerful Darth of all the Darths? In the entire scope of Star Wars there have been a lot of badasses who have wielded the Dark side of the Force. Here’s a somewhat biased list of who we consider the most powerful.
The recently renewed popularity and excitement about the world of Star Wars: The Old Republic got us thinking a lot about Darth Revan. Now, strictly speaking, Revan and all the various stories of ancient Jedi Knights, either in video game, comic, or novel forms, aren’t part of the current official Star Wars canon. And yet, because we’re dealing with events taking places thousands of years before the established stories, it seems like we could include really ancient Force-users. So, on this list, there are a few non-canon Dark side folks just to mix-it up. Read on!
7. Exar Kun
Back in 1993, we learned about the ancient Jedi Knights and how the first Sith War went down. Among the biggest baddest Sith Lords was a guy named Exar Kun. Like any good Star Wars story, Exar Kun started out as a good guy who turned to the Dark Side. Other than defeating a lot of awesome Jedi, what makes him so scary powerful was the fact that his spirit survived for thousands of years. In the novel Dark Apprentice Kun’s spirit shows up at Luke’s Jedi Academy and causes all sorts of trouble. Though he was never given the title of “Darth,” had Exar Kun existed in the new canon, he certainly would have.
6. Darth Plagueis
Mentioned by Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith, it was later revealed that Plagueis was the Dark Lord who taught the would-be Emperor “everything he knew.” And though a lot of fans have tried to conflate Supreme Leader Snoke with Darth Plagueis, it seems like Plagueis is evil enough on his own. True, he was bested by Palpatine, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t supremely deadly. If he truly taught Lord Sidious all of his evil tricks, then he deserves some reverence.
5. Darth Revan
Revan is a tricky Darth to rank, as his biggest claim to fame is as the player character in the first Knights of the Old Republic game, and later the focus of several storylines within The Old Republic MMO. Still, Darth Revan mastered all seven lightsaber fighting forms as well as both the Light and Dark sides of the Force throughout his career. A leading Jedi Knight in the Mandalorian Wars turned Sith Lord who later turned neutral, Revan survived for hundreds of years, through torture and other hardship. The only reason he didn’t take over the entire Empire in his time was because he was betrayed by his Sith best friend, Darth Malak. But his legacy lives on.
4. Darth Bane
Darth Bane modeled all of his philosophy and teachings after that of Revan. Prior to Darth Bane’s involvement, there were way more than two Sith at a time, which created all sorts of treacherous chaos. But, the post-Bane Sith landscape was different: only two at a time. The success of this strategy is dubious, simply because it’s not like the Sith actually won in the long run. But, anybody who can create an honor-among-murderous-thieves code of conduct is not somebody you want to mess with. When the spirt of Darth Bane appeared to Yoda in The Clone Wars, he was voiced scarily by Mark Hamill.
3. Darth Maul
If you assumed Darth Maul’s reign of terror ended after being sliced in-two by Obi-Wan Kenobi, then you probably wouldn’t think he was all that terrifying. But, according to nearly all in-canon material available, Darth Maul actually lived to cause a shitload of terror for nearly two decades after the events of The Phantom Menace. Along with his long-lost brother, Savage Opress, Darth Maul created plenty of headaches during the Clone Wars, took over the planet Mandalore, and even screwed with the Rebellion. With several sets of robotic legs literally under his belt, he may even be a more successful cyborg than Darth Vader.
2. Darth Sidious
Without a doubt, this guy is the one Sith to Rule Them All. More commonly known as Emperor Palpatine (and sometimes known as Sheev), virtually nothing in the first six Star Wars movies would have happened if not for his involvement. This is a pretty sick achievement considering he’s not even in A New Hope and has a short cameo in The Empire Strikes Back. From dissolving the Senate (politically), to throwing pieces of the Senate at Yoda (physically), to creating one of the evilest laughs of all time, Palps would be at the top of this list if it weren’t for that one Darth who got away.
1. Darth Vader
Yeah. There he is. Your boy Anakin Skywalker. Even before he admitted he loved being evil, Anakin was still an asshole. And once he formally turned to the Dark side of the Force, he killed way more people than most of these guys. The Emperor may have been responsible for more deaths, but Darth Vader did the deed. In an in-canon issue of the ongoing Marvel Star Wars comics Luke says to Vader, “You killed my father!” And Vader is like “You need to be more specific. I’ve killed a lot of fathers.” How much colder do you have to be? The Darthiest Darth of them all is still Lord Vader.
Still, we left a lot of Sith off the list — mostly because they just weren’t good enough: Darth Talon, Darth Krayt and yeah, even — ahem Darth Tyranus. Because Talon and Krayt both exist in the “future” Legacy continuity, they seem non-canon enough to not count anymore. Meanwhile, poor Lord Tyranus, formerly Count Dooku, isn’t even powerful enough to make this list. Why? Well, Dooku was manipulated by Sidious, pwned by Anakin, and generally was a very short-lived Sith Lord. You can’t be the instrument of other badasses to be a badass yourself.
Also, even though Kylo Ren can stop laser blasts in midair, we still haven’t seen everything he can do, and let’s face it: he was beaten in a lightsaber duel against a complete novice. So, we left him off the list … for now.
Photos via Dark Horse Comics, Del Rey, Elucidator at DeviantArt, Disney/Lucasfilm, giphy