The new Star Wars film has what looks like a Sith in it, and his name's Kylo Ren.

It seems pretty obvious from the trailers that he's a Sith Lord of some kind, with his menacing red lightsaber and scary mask.

So if the last Sith died in Return of the Jedi, that got me wondering who trained this Ren guy? That's not actually my question, though, just the inspiration.

I want to know if there's any evidence in the books etc. of any Sith who became a Sith without having a Sith master to train him.

  • 5
    In the old EU canon, as I understand it not all who followed the Dark Side were Sith, the Sith referred to a specific belief system regarding the Dark Side, but there were other non-Sith "darksiders".
    – Hypnosifl
    Aug 24, 2015 at 2:32
  • 14
    You mean besides the first Sith master? Who trained him?
    – trysis
    Aug 24, 2015 at 2:34
  • 4
    @trysis Another Sith, due to time travel... ;-)
    – user11521
    Aug 24, 2015 at 4:50
  • 5
    Who came first, the chicken or the Sith Master?
    – Daft
    Aug 24, 2015 at 15:04
  • 8
    Who trained the first Sith? Or is it turtles all the way down?
    – user31563
    Aug 24, 2015 at 15:07

6 Answers 6


There was an unbroken line of Sith Masters from Darth Bane until Darth Sidious under Bane's Rule of Two, so none of these Sith Masters trained themselves (this direct transfer of knowledge was one of the primary advantages of the Rule of Two, the other being a lack of infighting). However, there are several potential candidates from before this line (and thus outside the Order of the Sith Lords1).

Darth Revan was turned to the dark side when the Sith Emperor dominated his mind, but he does not seem to have received any direct training from the Sith Emperor. He mostly trained himself in the ways of the Sith by searching for and studying Sith artifacts (such as holocrons), and became the Sith Master of Darth Malak (who also turned to the dark side after his mind was dominated by the Sith Emperor's). Notably, Bane's Rule of Two was in large part inspired by Revan's Sith holocron.

Darth Traya essentially trained herself on the Sith world Malachor V. She received some help from Sith assassins at the academy there, but none of them could be considered a Sith Master. She went on to form the Sith Triumvirate.

Revan, Traya, and (likely) Kylo Ren all trained themselves largely from Sith artifacts (especially holocrons). You can't kill an idea.

Note that Revan and Traya are in Legends continuity (specifically, the video games Knights of the Old Republic, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, and The Old Republic, and The Old Republic novel series). Within canon, there are no known examples of Sith Lords who trained themselves (because there are so few Sith Lords in canon to begin with).

(Of course, there had to be a first Sith Lord who had to train himself, but that case is obviously not what you are looking for in your question.)

1 This is the official name for the Sith Order from Bane's line following the Rule of Two.

  • 1
    Very comprehensive answer +1 Aug 24, 2015 at 0:46
  • 4
    @TangerinesonTatooine No, holocrons contain information recorded by a Sith (or Jedi) Master, although they require use of the Force to access them.
    – Null
    Aug 24, 2015 at 1:45
  • 4
    If nothing else, presumably there had to be a first Sith at some point - I don't think the Star Wars universe contains time travel.
    – user867
    Aug 24, 2015 at 1:53
  • 1
    @user867 It does - see here, although I don't think it's relevant to this question, just thought I'd point out that time travel has occurred in SW Aug 24, 2015 at 2:15
  • 1
    Read my answer below, I just posted it. He's also not a sith. The question is a bit confusing in its assertions.
    – JMFB
    Sep 10, 2015 at 14:57

Just to add on above comments, first Sith Lords were: Ajunta Pall, XoXaan, Karness Muur, Remulus Dreypa and some more... These fallen Jedi actually started the name Sith, so they should be included in the list.

  • I was about to post a comment on the question saying that there logically must be at least one "founder" Sith, the person(s) who originally discovered/invented/developed that way of using the Force, but I didn't know if EU canon extended that far back in (pre-)history.
    – zwol
    Aug 24, 2015 at 14:12
  • @zwol they didn't really invented that way of using force, they introduced the name Sith and defined Sith teachings for the first time Aug 25, 2015 at 15:23

Kylo Ren is not a Sith and he does have a master.

Another answer references that Kylo Ren may be self taught but that is incorrect. Since you used Kylo Ren as an example I will focus on him.

Your question confused me a bit since I think you're making the assumption that a wielder of the dark side of the force has to be a sith or a sith in training. I am not going to go through the litany of different types of force wielder after all who'd remember to include the Ones(father, son, and daughter, son is clearly a dark side force wielder and perhaps the darkside flows from or through him somehow), dark jedi, sisters, etc.

Supreme Leader Snoke played by Andy Serkis is Kylo Ren's master and a powerful figure of the Dark Side of the Force. http://www.empireonline.com/news/story.asp?NID=45203

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Kylo Ren above

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Supreme Leader Snoke above (Kylo Rens Master)

As far as whether or not you have to learn the force from a master, the answer is no. Treya for example learned from artifacts as mentioned in another answer. Anakin was already seeing the future, had accelerated response time, etc. before ever meeting Qui Gon Jinn.

As far as Sith in particular, there is the rule of two which was instituted by Darth Bane. After that rule was instituted there was always a master and a student, with the student eventually overtaking the master. Each Sith after Darth Bane was trained by a master until 67 BBY at which point it was annulled. Then sidious tried for a rule of one being completely power hungry. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Rule_of_Two.

Before Darth Bane's rule, the Sith were a larger order, with infighting, including the Sith Wars. So each sith would have been trained by other sith since there were many around.

As for the original sith master. The sith were created when dark jedi left the jedi order to form the sith order. Originally sith had to do with a race of red skinned humanoids. So there wasn't a single first sith master of the dark side who taught himself, they were a group who left together, trained by Jedi. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sith_(language)

I felt like some of the other answers were lacking and that the question was a bit confusing. I hope this helped to clarify things a bit.

  • Kylo Ren is too minor of a character to have his own tag. Please don't create a tag for him.
    – Null
    Sep 10, 2015 at 15:01
  • @Null isn't he the main antagonist of the film? Darth Vader and Darth Sidious both have tags.
    – JMFB
    Sep 10, 2015 at 15:03
  • Possibly, but only of one film in the entire franchise. He is currently far too minor of a character to have his own tag. Only a few very major characters have tags. We don't have tags for Han Solo and Leia, for example. Please roll back your edit again or I'll flag for a mod.
    – Null
    Sep 10, 2015 at 15:08
  • See meta on character tags.
    – Null
    Sep 10, 2015 at 15:11
  • Vader and Sidious are both major characters who have appeared in six films and countless other sources (books, cartoon, video games, etc.). None of that is true for Kylo Ren.
    – Null
    Sep 10, 2015 at 15:15

As explained in 'The Book of Sith' the first Sith were 12 fallen Jedi exiled into the unknown regions. They came across a planet of Sith pure bloods, aliens trained in the dark ways of the force. The leaders of these fallen Jedi were Ajunta Pall, Marichioness XoXann, Baron Dreypa, Karness Muur and Sorzus Syn. These are the first Sith.

  • Although this does not answer the question fully it is correct. +1
    – JMFB
    Sep 10, 2015 at 15:10

Among the first "Dark Jedi" was the Jedi Xendor. He gathered thousands of Jedi under his command to use the force for their own purposes. They didn't want to live after the Jedi-Codex. He used to study and later teach the dark aspect of the Force, Bogan. So you could say that Xendor and his followers started to learn the dark side of the force by themselves, before cultivating it with the original Sith race.

  • However he was trained in the force by the jedi, so he did have a master. And they came over as a group of force wielders together at one time. See my answer and the other one about the 12 fallen.
    – JMFB
    Sep 10, 2015 at 15:11

Yes, the first sith ever as he could have had no master.

  • 1
    Logically, yes, but unless you can name them, this is merely supposition.
    – Valorum
    Aug 24, 2015 at 18:32
  • It's a somewhat unhelpful answer, but I wouldn't call it "supposition". It's not uncertain, merely lacking in detail.
    – smithkm
    Aug 25, 2015 at 4:27
  • 1
    Incorrect. The original sith were a group of dark jedi that all came over at the same time. See my answer. @Richard
    – JMFB
    Sep 10, 2015 at 15:09

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