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In Star Wars canon, can there be Jedi who use the dark side of the Force and are not Sith?

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Yes. The article on the Dark Side of the Force on wookiepedia lists several organizations that exist in canon as users of the dark side:

Dark Jedi: Probably the most confusing group, Dark Jedi either were former Jedi who chose to follow the dark side or those with no light side training that simply chose the dark side. The difference between them and the Sith were the specific teachings of the Sith, however they occasionally worked along with the Sith.

Nightsisters, or Witches of Dathromir: The best-known group of dark side users outside the Sith themselves. The dark side users of a shamanistic culture, they led the matriarchal tribes of Dathromir. Noted for riding rancors.

Rakatan Infinite Empire: The first known galactic government, they enslaved billions and used dark side powers to fuel their war machines and to create more with the Star Forge.

Prophets of the Dark Side: Technically a splinter faction of the Sith, this cult was founded by a renegade Sith Lord and eventually rose to some prominence under Emperor Palpatine.

Bando Gora: A dark-side worshiping criminal organization, singled out as a threat by both the Republic and the Sith.

Sorcerers of Tund: Reclusive group of dark side mages native to Tund. Rarely ventured off-planet.



Edit: In the Legends novel Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil, I found the following passage (p.68 of the hardcover edition). This provides an Old Republic Jedi's perspective on the difference.

"What's the difference between a Sith and a Dark Jedi?" Lucia asked.

The Ithorian stopped pacing and turned to face them, instinctively addressing his audience like a teacher giving a lesson.

"The Sith were the sworn enemies of the Jedi and the Republic. They sought to wipe us from existence; they sought to rule the galaxy. They united their strength in the Brotherhood of Darkness, drawing countless followers to their cause with false promises. They amassed an army of individuals foolish and desperate enough to believe their lies, and they plunge the galaxy into a war that threatened to destroy us all."

...

"A Dark Jedi, on the other hand, has much smaller ambitions. He - or she - thinks only of himself. He acts alone. The ultimate goal is not galactic conquest, but personal wealth and importance. Like a common thug or criminal, he revels in cruelty and selfishness. He preys upon the weak and vulnerable, spreading misery and suffering wherever he goes."

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    Episode 7 SPOILERS - Might be worth an edit to add Kylo Ren aka Ben Solo. Not only he is evil, but also not a Sith, yet a former Jedi. Plus, there's Mace Windu with his Vapaad technique which used the dark side on his light saber duels – Oak Jan 11 '16 at 1:07
  • @Oak feel free to edit that in - I haven't actually seen Ep VI – The Fallen Jan 11 '16 at 1:16
  • @Oak per mace windu, he didn't actually tap into the dark side, just strayed dangerously close to it. – The Fallen Jan 11 '16 at 1:20
  • I don't have any novelization quotes :/ @SSumner not false, but also not true. It's a mixed area, because it uses emotions that are considered dark, but at the same time, Vapaad is used to supress and control those emotions, which in turn is lightsideish – Oak Jan 11 '16 at 1:23
  • Were the "Prophets of the Dark Side" ever any level of canon? The only reference I remember to them was that series of children's books – Matthew Barclay Aug 28 at 23:47
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By "Jedi who use the dark side of force and are not Sith" do you mean jedi as in force users or actually Jedi? There are some Jedi who use both sides of the force, they are called grey Jedi. Jolee Bindo was a grey Jedi and Qui-Gon Jinn was rumored to be one.

  • Also the Dark Woman - she was notoriously grey. – Omegacron Feb 13 '14 at 18:17
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Yes

These Force users are referred to by the moniker of “Dark Jedi.”

Among the possible Dark Jedi in canon are:

  • Asajj Ventress

    She’s explicitly referred to as a Dark Jedi in Star Wars Insider #155, the first appearance of this term in Disney canon.

    It wasn’t until season one of Star Wars: The Clone Wars that we’d see an all-female lightsaber duel. And what a duel with was, with Jedi Master Luminari Unduli and Padawan Ahsoka Tano taking on the Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress. At first, Unduli believes she can defeat Ventress easily, due to the Dark Jedi’s undisciplined fighting style—an over-confidence that is not very Jedi-like.

    She fell to the dark side before being taken on by Dooku. At some point, though, she definitely became Dooku’s Sith Apprentice, not merely a Dark Jedi assassin, which motivated Sidious to order Dooku to kill her. Certainly the Jedi (and the narrator) refer to her as a Sith throughout Dark Disciple.

    Asajj Ventress had indeed once been Count Dooku’s Sith apprentice—and pet assassin. Kenobi and Anakin had crossed lightsabers with her on more than one occasion.

    Dark Disciple

    On the other hand, she’s described in Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know as "not fully trained in the ways of the Sith," so it’s not clear which term better applies to her during the Clone Wars series.

    In any case, while the label "Dark Jedi" might still have been technically accurate for her after Dooku starting training her as an apprentice (which may have happened before her fight with Unduli), it was the only term that applied both before Dooku took her in and after she left him.

  • Quinlan Vos

    He went over to the dark side for a while. It’s not clear whether he was ever a Sith. Dooku implies that he was:

    “I won’t be your apprentice!” Vos started to choke Dooku again.

    “No, no!” Dooku wheezed. “A team. Equals.”

    “Sith don’t work that way.”

    “Are you and I ordinary Sith?”

    Vos still looked skeptical. “You know where he is? And do not lie to me!”

    Dark Disciple

  • The Grand Inquisitor

    He was a former Jedi Temple Guard turned evil. Some of the other Inquisitors may have been fomer Temple Guards or other Jedi as well.

  • Pong Krell

    His ambition was to become Dooku’s apprentice, but he never got the chance. He definitely fell to the dark side, though.

  • Barriss Offee

    She may not have been a Dark Jedi. It’s possible, though.

  • Kylo Ren

    A dubious example. He was part of Luke’s new Jedi academy, then turned to the Dark Side. He’s not a Sith, but he’s part of a formal dark side organization (the Knights of Ren).

This doesn’t count the really temporary examples of Anakin and Ahsoka on Mortis, which may have been a Force vision anyway, or of Count Dooku, who may have fallen to the Dark Side before Sidious sought him out.

It’s worth noting that all Dark Jedi in canon are either former Jedi, or concealing their affiliation. Employing the Dark Side is something the Jedi Order frowns upon very deeply.


An important note is that there are non-Sith Force users who draw upon the Dark Side, but are not Dark Jedi, since they were never Jedi. Among these are, for example, some members of the Nightsisters, such as Mother Talzin.

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I was told that Mace Windu used the Dark Side in his lightsaber trainings, but knew the limits of its power and corruption. He adopted the Sith training to gain advantage in lightsaber duels.

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    You were told? That's not much of a source. Who told you this? – Meat Trademark Jan 12 '14 at 7:56
  • It was discussed in one of the comics involving Quinlan Vos that took place during the Clone Wars, if I'm not mistaken. I'll need to go through my graphic novels when I get home to find the exact one. Within the context of the comic, they were discussing an aggressive lightsaber style that was taboo for Jedi since it used the Dark Side of the Force. Mace Windu had adopted the style so that he could use it without turning to the Dark Side. The story concerned a Jedi swordmaster who had turned to the Dark Side, and Windu was ultimately able to defeat him using the style. – Omegacron Feb 13 '14 at 18:18
  • The style I mentioned in my previous comment is Vaapad, which was highly discouraged because of the aggressive mindset involved. The style was invented by Mace Windu and Sora Bulq, who is the master he ended up having to fight. The tale is recounted in Jedi: Mace Windu and/or Clone Wars: Volume 1 (The Defense of Kamino & other tales). This specific tale is called "Schism". – Omegacron Feb 15 '14 at 17:33
  • Um, I'm sorry, Mace Windu adopted the Sith training to gain an advantage in duels? A more incorrect statement has not been made. Mace Windu's fighting style Vaapad allowed the user to tap into the dark side of the force due to the ferocity of the style. Windu has never practiced the dark side of the force, nor has he ever trained in Sith practices. @Omegacron Mace not only practiced and invented Vaapad, but he is the only one to have successfully mastered it. – Robert Dec 23 '14 at 14:35
  • Robert is right, Windu's Vaapad style isn't really dark side, though it does depend on channeling dark emotions: in the Revenge of the Sith novelization (which as I understand it should still be part of the new Disney canon), Windu says "I created Vaapad to answer my weakness: it channels my own darkness into a weapon of the light." – Hypnosifl Jan 26 '16 at 19:39

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