When Jedi die, those strong enough to connect to the Force may return as Force ghosts. So does the same hold true for the Sith, or do Sith Lords who fully retain their identity following death go somewhere else?
A realm called Chaos awaits Dark Jedi and Sith who retain their identity after death. It is a realm similar to Hell in the Christian tradition as a place of eternal torture. The Sith could not return as Force ghosts given their desire to control, and not walk with the Force.
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What Happens to Sith when They Die?
Not all Sith Lords can do what Darth Vader did. Before his death in Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader reverted to his birth name, Anakin Skywalker, and appeared at the end of the movie with Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi as a Force ghost.
Kylo Ren also redeemed himself and became one with the Force when he turned back to the light side and reclaimed his identity as Ben Solo, resurrecting Rey.
But what if a Sith Lord doesn’t redeem themselves like Ben Solo and Anakin Skywalker?
Following death, Dark Jedi, Sith, or Force-sensitives who embrace the dark side may go to a place called Chaos.
Star Wars Canon tells us little about Chaos, also known as the Void, except that it’s an unpleasant place of disorder.
Star Wars Legends is clearer on Chaos, referring to it as the “Netherworld of the Sith.”
In Legends, Naboo mythology described Chaos as a dark place, surrounded by six impenetrable gates to keep the spirits of Sith Lords and Dark Jedi eternally trapped.
However, Naboo mythology may be inaccurate about the gates being impenetrable. In Star Wars Legends, Darth Sidious died at the Battle of Endor when Darth Vader threw him into a reactor, and Sith Spirits helped him escape.
The Jedi and Sith’s Takes On Chaos
Despite the disorder in Chaos, it’s clear the Sith knew about the realm given Darth Plagueis’ description in the novel Darth Plagueis.
Plagueis stated, “Chaos is where dead Sith Lords are believed to dwell in eternal torment.” However, Darth Plagueis flip-flopped on the idea of Chaos, later denying its existence. He then stated his enemies would haunt him unless he killed them in life.
He further believed Chaos to be reserved only for the strongest Force-wielders. He justified this to believe that the strongest Force wielders could maintain their identity as one individual being after death.
To an extent, Plagueis was right, since it’s difficult for even the most talented Force-sensitive beings to maintain their identity after death.
The Jedi shed light on this issue, starting with Qui-Gon Jinn, who had to learn how to maintain his identity following his death in The Phantom Menace. Even Yoda would not have accomplished this without Jinn’s help.
Most light and dark-siders will die, but they will fail to fully retain their identity, with their remaining energy contributing to their respective side of the Force.
Jedi who died and maintained their identity following death could descend to Chaos if they chose to.
Why Don’t Sith Appear as Force Ghosts?
The Sith’s endgame included wielding power for their self-gain. To become a Force ghost, one must first maintain their identity following death. But they must also release themselves from utilizing this power to transcend death to serve others and not themselves.
Since the light side of the Force is the purer of the two sides, one must fully embrace it to return as a Force ghost. This means no foul intentions or the will to exert power over the living.
The impure dark side prided greed over all else, and power over the Force served as their endgame. Since the Sith sought to control the Force and not to become one with it, it prevented them from returning as Force ghosts.
It shows how tragic wielding the dark side is.The Sith further wanted to achieve eternal life, but they lacked the wisdom and peaceful mindset to move with the Force.
Instead, they swam against the Force’s current, believing it would only grant them eternal life if they bent the Force to their will. Blinded by their arrogance, the Sith failed to realize the light side granted them what they wanted.
It further explains why the Sith were at constant war with the Jedi. They were jealous of the Jedi’s ability to become at one with the Force, almost believing the Jedi Order knew something the Sith didn’t.
And the Sith were right. The Jedi mindset, at its purest, was to seek peace and harmony and, through meditation, to continue seeking that peace and harmony.
They realized it was the antidote to all things dark in the galaxy. And potential eternal life served as the reward.
Ironically the Jedi held the answer to the Sith’s endgame.The Sith sought to rule over others and they believed the only way to do so was to exert power over the Force which would ultimately let them conquer death.
However, the Jedi knew better and their wisdom allowed select Force-sensitives like Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and even Anakin Skywalker to return as Force ghosts.
If a Sith was lucky enough to at least maintain their identity after death, they ended up in a realm called Chaos. Here, they suffered eternal torture for failing to achieve their goal of conquering death and ruling over the Force.
Sion Fawkes has been covering Star Wars since January 2022, expanding his expertise in both Star Wars Canon and Legends. When not writing, you can find Sion in the gym or running trails. He also likes watching sports and listening to audiobooks.