Dark Jedi is a bewildering term in Star Wars referring to a Force sensitive individual dedicated to the dark side of the Force. Despite the name, however, a “Dark Jedi” is neither a Jedi nor a Sith Lord. Unlike a Sith Lord, a Dark Jedi mostly aspires to enrich their own personal wealth and level importance, rather than harboring aspirations of galactic conquest.
The individual may operate alone or may align with any of a number of dark side organizations. Although many Dark Jedi are former Jedi who have fallen to the dark side of the Force, a Dark Jedi may refer to any dark side user of the Force. The term “fallen Jedi” may refer more specifically to a Jedi who succumbs to the dark as well.
Origins of the Term Dark Jedi
Author Timothy Zahn developed the term Dark Jedi for the novel Heir to the Empire (1991), the first installment of the fan-favorite Thrawn Trilogy of novels. Zahn considers the term “descriptive if not very original.” At the time, the Star Wars franchise had not specifically defined the term “Sith”. The novel refers to Joruus C’baoth, a key antagonist, as a Dark Jedi. Dark Jedi Joruus C’baoth is an arrogant and mad clone of Clone Wars era Jedi Master Jorus C’baoth.
Weapons and Skills
Like many Jedi and Sith, a Dark Jedi commonly wields a lightsaber. Although a red-bladed lightsaber is common, some dark side users may wield a lightsaber emitting other colors as well.
Dark Jedi hone their abilities in the dark side of the Force, succumbing to their passion, fear, anger, hatred and greed to fuel their skills and ambitions. They may develop an ability to channel their anger to create Force lightning, a deadly offensive electric charge. A Dark Jedi may also develop the ability to Force choke an opponent.
Alternative and Related Terms
In recent years, the less ambiguous term “dark side adept” has largely replaced the term “Dark Jedi” in newer Star Wars content as a catch-all term for users of the dark side of the Force. During the Clone Wars, Count Dooku recruits an elite and adaptable force of several dark side adepts. Dooku’s disciples hold the title “Dark Acolyte” or “Sith Acolyte”. He embeds his acolytes within the Separatist military to serve a variety of functions including: enforcer, spy, assassin, or military commander.
Legendary Dark Jedi
During the Clone Wars, Palpatine acquires a few thousand Spaarti cloning cylinders. The cloning method develops clones quickly, but would frequently create mentally unstable individuals. The Empire utilizes tissue and blood samples from Clone Wars era Jedi Master Jorus C’baoth in order to create the clone Joruus C’baoth. Like many clones grown at an accelerated pace, Joruus C’baoth is mentally unstable. He eventually comes to guard Emperor Palpatine’s secret storehouse at Mount Tantiss on the planet Wayland.
After the fall of the Galactic Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn of the Imperial Remnant discovers the location of the secret storehouse. He wants to uses the cloaking technology and clone cylinders from the storehouse to engage in warfare with New Republic. Thrawn develops a tentative relationship with the mad Dark Jedi by promising to deliver Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo and her unborn twins to C’baoth. C’baoth develops delusions of grandeur, envisioning molding Skywalker, Solo, and her children into an army of Dark Jedi that would command to conquer the galaxy.
Although Thrawn quickly becomes of aware of C’baoth’s madness and volatility, the grand admiral leverages C’baoth to use battle meditation, a Force ability elevating the morale of allies and eroding the resolve of enemies. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker is eventually drawn to C’baoth. When Skywalker senses C’baoth’s madness and dark side abilities, the Jedi tries and fails to bring back C’baoth to the light side.
Imprisonment and Final Battle
As C’baoth’s instability and volatility increasingly threaten to interfere with Thrawn’s plans, the Grand Admiral imprisons C’baoth on Mount Tantiss. After C’baoth takes control of the minds of the Imperial left to guard him, Luke Skywalker, smuggler Mara Jade, and New Republic forces arrive on the planet. In an ensuing battle Jade, who is Force sensitive, utilizes Leia’s lightsaber and charges toward C’baoth, impaling him and killing him.
Asajj Ventress, a Dathomirian female, grows up on the planet Dathomir into a clan of Force sensitive Nightsister witches. The criminal Hal’Sted forces the clan to turnover Ventress, an infant, to him. She becomes enslaved to Hal’Sted in her early years until pirates seemingly kill him. Now orphaned, Jedi Knight Ky Narec finds Ventress, taking her under his wing. She becomes his Jedi Padawan. When pirates eventually kill Narec, Ventress becomes distraught and enraged. In her grief, she embraces the dark side of the Force. Eventually Count Dooku, the Sith Lord Darth Tyranus, finds her and trains her as a Sith Acolyte. She serves Dooku’s Confederacy of Independent Systems as an assassin and military commander.
Overtime, Darth Sidious comes to see Ventress’s growing power in the dark side of the Force as a threat. Sidious commands Tyranus to kill Ventress as a test of loyalty. During the Battle of Sullest, Tyranus commands Ventress’s own forces to kill her. After she is left for dead, the former Sith Acolyte returns to Dathomir. She the Nightsisters, led by Mother Talzin, welcome her return. They work together to enact revenge, plotting the assassination Dooku. Their attempts fail, however. Dooku dispatches General Grievous and Separatist forces to kill the Dathomirian witches. Only Mother Talzin, Ventress and a few others escape the planet and survive the carnage.
Near the end of the Clone Wars, Ventress crosses paths with Jedi Master Quinlan Vos, a Jedi on a mission to kill Count Dooku to end the war. The pair team up and she trains him in dark side skills. They eventually fall in love. When their assassination attempt on Dooku fails, Dooku captures and tortures Vos. The torture turns Vos to the dark side. Ventress teams up with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. The group successfully rescues Vos.
In the end, Ventress dies by throwing herself in front of Dooku’s Force lightning targeting Vos. Her sacrifice draws him back to the light side.
Jerec and the Band of Seven Dark Jedi
Jerec learns the ways of the Force, ascending to the rank of Jedi Master within the Jedi Order. An extremely curious individual with an insatiable appetite for knowledge, Jerec works as a Jedi archeologist during the waning years of the Galactic Republic. During the Jedi Purge an Inquisitor, a Jedi hunter working for Palpatine, give Jerec an ultimatum: join the dark side and serve the Empire or die. Jerec embraces the dark side immediately, becomes an Inquisitor and quickly endeavors to pursue dark knowledge.
Jerec becomes obsessed with the Valley of the Jedi, an extremely concentrated area of Force energy on the planet Ruusan. The valley contains the souls of over 100 Jedi and Sith who have been trapped there ever since the final battle of the New Sith Wars.
After Emperor Palpatine’s death, Jerec pursues ambitions of finding the Valley of the Jedi and increasing his power. He recruits six Dark Jedi to his cause: Maw, Boc, Gorc, Pic, Sariss, and Yun. The group eventually locates the Valley and Jerec basks in the power of the Force energy. When Jedi Kyle Katarn confronts Jerec, Katarn yields to the light side of the Force and a shield of light energy around Jerec. The shield cuts off Jerec from the dark side. Katarn ultimately defeats Jerec in battle and fulfills his prophesy of freeing the Valley of the Jedi’s trapped souls.
Savage Opress is a Dathomirian Zabrak Nightbrother tribal leader on Dathomir. Former Sith Acolyte Asajj Ventress handpicks Oppress to play a pivotal role in her plot to enact revenge against Count Dooku, her former Master. Several Nightsisters use dark magick to imbue Opress with Force powers and put the Nightbrother under their control. He infiltrates Count Dooku’s inner circle and becomes one of Count Dooku’s Dark Acolytes during the Clone Wars.
Upon Opress’s successful completion of several missions as a Separatist enforcer, Dooku takes on Opress as a full-fledged Sith apprentice. Dooku intends to use Opress to overthrow Dooku’s Master Darth Sidious. Throughout his Sith training, Opress remained under a spell of loyalty to Ventress and the Nightsisters. Opress’s rage enables him to break his spell with the Nightsisters. He ultimately defies Ventress and Dooku alike, eventually reuniting with his long lost brother, Maul.