“Through the ages…I’ve seen evil take many forms. The Sith. The Empire. Today, it is the First Order.”
Maz Kanata, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Since Rise of Skywalker, I have been brainstorming on where the Star Wars story will go in the future. The return of the Sith has been thwarted, but the dark side has ways to return. The dark side is an integral part of the Force and will never go away. Due to this, it will always find a way to turn others against the light. The question is what form will the dark side take in future installments? What kind of evil will Rey Skywalker’s Jedi Order face?
“I thought there were only two Sith.”
“These are not Sith.”
“But they could be should you fall.
Ochi of Bestoon, Darth Vader, and Darth Sidious
“Only two Sith, just as you say, but any one of these might replace you.”
Darth Sidious to Darth Vader
The Sith may be gone, but they left behind a dark legacy. That legacy has taken the form of ruins, artifacts, and the cults who worship the Sith like gods. The cults are an intriguing bunch because they themselves are not true Sith and yet they are devote believers of the Sith religion. So far, the new Canon has featured three Sith cults such as the Sith Eternal, the Acolytes of the Beyond, and the Alazmec of Winsit.
The Acolytes of the Beyond was the first Sith cult we were introduced to in the new Canon. The Acolytes were known to collect Sith artifacts such as lightsabers or masks to either returning them to their owners in death by destroying them or using them as symbols of power. They staged attacks across the fledgling New Republic during the last year of the Galactic Civil War. When attacking, they would paint their weapons red to emulate the red lightsabers the Sith would use. Members included Darth Sidious’s closest confidants such as Yupe Tashu and Ochi of Bestoon. Some members joined the Sith Eternal on Exegol, but the rest of the cult’s fate is unknown.
Darth Vader got his own cult known as the Alazmec of Winsit, who were stationed in the ruins of Vader’s castle on Mustafar. In addition to Vader, these cultists worshipped an ancient Sith Lady who once ruled Mustafar in the distant past. They would plant trees on Mustafar in her honor. Several of their number were slaughtered by Kylo Ren, but it is unknown if there were more of them elsewhere on Mustafar.
The most powerful Sith cult so far was the Sith Eternal, who were stationed on the hidden Sith world of Exegol. They were Darth Sidious’s primary supporters alongside surviving Imperials. The majority of the cult was destroyed during the Battle of Exegol when Darth Sidious was destroyed by Rey Skywalker.
“You’re clumsy. Untrained. You use the dark side like a hammer.”
Luke Skywalker to the Knights of Ren
When one considers a potential return of the Sith, one must consider the potential evolution of Sith cults across the galaxy. It remains unknown if the Acolytes of the Beyond were wiped out or vanished into the shadows at some point. The Alazmec of Winsit took heavy casualties at the hand of their god’s grandson, but it is unknown if the whole cult was wiped out or just a fraction. Due to having vast influence across the galaxy, it is possible that not all members of the Sith Eternal died with their compatriots on Exegol. Essentially, if even one member of any of these cults remains, they can rebuild themselves from the ground up. Also, the Alazmec of Winsit and the Sith Eternal were introduced to us in one movie. TWO Sith cults in one movie! That means there is a strong possibility that there are many other Sith cults scattered across the galaxy, hiding in the shadows. These cults gained power and influence due to the presence of Darth Vader and Darth Sidious even after they were defeated. This means the remaining cults could gain more power and influence despite the Sith Eternal’s defeat simply because Darth Sidious was involved.
Not all Sith cultists were Force sensitive, but there is a strong possibility that some of them were. This means they have the ability to learn to use the Force and may claim the title of Sith for themselves. However, these pseudo-Sith would be a shadow of what the true Sith were. With the true Sith gone, their ability to learn would be limited to what they can salvage from holocrons, ancient texts, and self-teaching. Due to this rudimentary and imperfect form of learning, these cultists’ usage of the dark side would be similar to that of the Knights of Ren, which Luke Skywalker described as being clumsy, untrained, and being like wielding a hammer. This would hint that the pseudo-Sith would discard skill and finesse in exchange for raw power.
In addition to their usage of the dark side, these pseudo-Sith would also have imperfect lightsabers. I can imagine their lightsabers to be similar in design to Kylo Ren’s. Kylo Ren’s lightsaber was crudely made with an unstable blade. The lightsabers of these pseudo-Sith may be as crudely made and unstable of Kylo Ren’s, but they likely will not have the crossguard. When these pseudo-Sith cannot build their own lightsabers, they may likely use ones they find that were already built. However, the Acolytes of the Beyond and the Knights of Ren used regular melee weapons instead of lightsabers. This hints that some of these pseudo-Sith won’t use lightsabers at all, but will use normal melee weapons.
Another source of dark side power these pseudo-Sith could draw from would be Sith artifacts such as masks. The Acolytes of the Beyond were known to utilize Sith masks. When such a mask is worn, the wearer would be consumed by an uncontrollable rage and slaughter everything in sight. When Lando Calrissian hijacked Darth Sidious’s personal yacht, he found a treasure trove of Sith artifacts on board. Like Sith masks, these other artifacts corrupted the minds of everyone who either touched them or came near them. The pseudo-Sith may use whatever Sith artifacts they can find as a way to further augment their power in the dark side.
“Soon enough, you will stop denying the truth of so very many things. And you will understand that I am not a traitor, but a visionary! Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hatred leads to suffering. But what the Jedi failed to teach you, what I have learned, is how to persevere, to pass through the suffering, and achieve ultimate power!”
While the pseudo-Sith would be a threat on their own, it is possible more dangerous individuals may join their ranks. Even if Rey Skywalker rebuilds the Jedi Order, it is likely some of her pupils might turn to the dark side. If they turn and find their way to the pseudo-Sith. The difference between the pseudo-Sith and these fallen Jedi would be that the fallen Jedi would have proper training while the pseudo-Sith did not. With this in mind, the fallen Jedi could use their superior mastery of the Force to take over the pseudo-Sith and the Sith cults. After acquiring the dark side knowledge the cults accumulated, these fallen Jedi may become true Sith. When that happens, the Sith’s rebirth can begin in earnest.
“This is how it must be. The Empire became this…ugly, inelegant machine. Crude and inefficient. We needed to be broken into pieces. We needed to get rid of those who want to see that old machine churning ineluctably forward. It’s time for something better. Something new. An Empire worthy of the galaxy it will rule.”
After the Sith Eternal and the Final Order were defeated, the rest of the galaxy rose up against the First Order. With no Supreme Leader or high-ranking generals to lead them, the First Order’s hold over the galaxy began to crumble. However, I do not think we have seen the last of the First Order. When the Galactic Empire fell, it managed to survive in the form of remnants. Most of these remnants were destroyed by Palpatine’s Contingency while the rest formed both the First Order and the Final Order. This time, Palpatine is not around to enact another Contingency against the First Order. This means that numerous remnants are bound to survive the First Order’s defeat. Some may establish holdouts in known space while the rest may retreat to their territory in the Unknown Regions. The surviving remnants of the First Order would then be given an opportunity to rebuild their strength and reorganize themselves just as their Imperial precursors did before them.
“Our time has come. For 300 years, we prepared. We grew stronger. While you rested in your cradle of power, believing your people were safe… and protected. You were trusted to lead the Republic—but you were deceived, as our powers of the dark side have blinded you. You assumed no force could challenge you…and now…finally…we have returned.”
Through the combined efforts of Sith cults and fallen Jedi, I strongly think the Sith will rise again. In the safety of the Unknown Regions, the remnants of the First Order would be able to rebuild their strength just as they did in the past. For both the Sith and the First Order, the slate would be wiped clean, which would give them ample room to rebuild. That would take years or even centuries. If left unchecked, these two factions can regain enough strength to become a real threat once again. Individually, they would dangerous on their own, but what if they combined their power? For these reborn Sith, their power in the dark side would not be enough to conquer the galaxy. To achieve that, they would need to acquire an army, which they can find in the remnants of the First Order. With this in mind, it would be likely that the reborn Sith and the rebuilt First Order would join forces to renew their quest to retake the galaxy.
“General Leia thought they’d destroyed the Emperor at the Battle of Endor, but he came back. More powerful than ever.”
“You think he might come back again.”
“Maybe or some other evil will rise. Evil always rises.”
“Naw. Not for a long time, anyway.”
Poe Dameron and Finn
Overall, the Sith may be gone and the First Order may be fragmented, but I strongly believe there are ways for them to return in future stories in the Star Wars saga. It’s either that or some other evil will take their place. Rey Skywalker’s Jedi Order is going to have their work cut out for them.