In the movie Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine tells Anakin: "Once more the Sith will rule the galaxy" right after Anakin turns to the dark side and becomes Vader.

When and how did the Sith rule before, and did it always have two Sith lords even when it was in power previously, or was there an order similar to the Jedi's?

What was the original rule, the republic or the Sith?

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    Given the Sith were called Lord & the Jedi referred to as Knights I used to think that maybe it was like medieval Europe where Lords ruled, and were expected to keep a group of Knights trained and equipped ready for battle. Then (in my meandering reasoning), there had occurred a 'force of wills' between the Lords and the populace that had the Knights side with the people. But I don't think any of that is in Star Wars canon. ;) Feb 11, 2014 at 5:45
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    I feel like Yoda, of all people, should know this (if anyone does)
    – The Fallen
    Feb 11, 2014 at 19:23
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    @SSumner Serve me well.. my memory does not
    – Ray
    Feb 14, 2014 at 6:49

4 Answers 4


The Sith may have never outright ruled the Galaxy Far Far Away prior to the Republic, but they certainly ruled large portions of it on multiple occasions. The term Sith Empire refers to many attempts by Sith Lords to establish their dominion over the GFFA, from the original empire established by the Sith in the Unknown Regions - which came to encompass much of the Republic during the Great Hyperspace War - to the empires of Exar Kun, Revan, and eventually the empire of Darth Krayt.

None of these polities, nor the small Dark Jedib kingdom that sprung up during the Hundred-Year Darkness, however, seem to pre-date the establishment of the Galactic Republic after the Unification Wars (there is very little detail on these, and they end up being retconned out of existence along the line), nor did the Sith even succeed in toppling the Republic until Palpatine cleverly destroyed it from within. It is possible that Mace Windu was simply referring to the Sith ruling a large empire, rather than over the territory of the Republic itself.

To answer your second question, the Rule of Two is a relatively recent Sith invention. Prior to its establishment following the New Sith Wars, the Sith had an order, much like the Jedi.


In the recently released book Tarkin by James Luceno, there is mention of a Sith Shrine that was built on Coruscant, and that the actual Jedi Temple we see in the prequels was built on top of said shrine in a veiled attempt to conceal/weaken its dark side aura. It is also mentioned in the book that the presence of this shrine beneath the jedi temple actually contributed to the clouding of the Jedi's vision during the clone wars.

If a place of such power were constructed on Coruscant, a world long regarded as the Galactic capital throughout history, and if this shrine were built before the jedi temple, it would be reasonable to conclude that the Sith at one time may have controlled Coruscant, and by extension, had a strong grip on the galaxy at large.


To add to James' answer, this could also be referring to Rakatan Empire, who - while not Sith - based their rule on technologies based on Dark Side of the Force and whose inventions were sought after by the Sith later on (the Forge, etc...)

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    The Rakata pre-date both Sith and Jedi though. A reference to 'the Dark Side of the Force ruling the galaxy' might make sense in the context of the Rakata, but not if the reference is confined to the Sith. Feb 12, 2014 at 6:41

Unless there is canon I'm unaware of, the only two times a Sith ruled the universe (or at least, the major power of the time) was Palpatine during the time of the movies and then later Krayt during Star Wars: Legacy. Prior to that, the only ones who came close were Revan and Exar Kun, but they were both stopped during their respective wars, before they could actually rule anything.

Star Wars canon can be a little wonky, especially considering Episodes 7,8,9 in the next few years will probably re-write it all again like the prequels did.

  • Exar Kun's nearly successful war is chronicled in the Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi series of comics.
  • Darth Revan nearly toppled the Republic, which is recounted in the Knights of the Old Republic video games.
  • Palpatine's rise to power & fall is well-documented in the movies themselves.
  • Darth Krayt took over the second Galactic Empire in the Star Wars: Legacy series of comics.
  • Just to nitpick, it was the galaxy, not the universe.
    – jliv902
    Mar 18, 2014 at 14:26
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    I stand corrected :)
    – Omegacron
    Mar 27, 2014 at 18:11

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